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Harley-Davidson Goes for ADV Glory With the Pan America

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 is a ground-up design that marks a new era in H-D’s history.

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 is a ground-up design that marks a new era in H-D’s history. (Harley-Davidson/)

Harley-Davidson makes its entry into the adventure motorcycle market official this spring with the release of the new Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special. We’ve known about Harley’s adventure intentions for a few years now and are well aware of the company’s need to branch out to a more diverse rider set, but even so, the full Pan America technical rundown is exciting to see. Especially because it shows an ADV bike that has the potential, on paper, to be a competitive entry in the segment.

The 2021 Pan America 1250 has fully adjustable suspension and a bevy of electronic aids.

The 2021 Pan America 1250 has fully adjustable suspension and a bevy of electronic aids. (Harley-Davidson/)

Engine

The beating heart of both the Pan America 1250 and 1250 Special is Harley’s new liquid-cooled Revolution Max 1250 V-twin engine, which promises up to 150 hp, 94 pound-feet of torque, and a 9,500 rpm redline.

Harley designed a totally new engine in the Revolution Max 1250 V-twin.

Harley designed a totally new engine in the Revolution Max 1250 V-twin. (Harley-Davidson/)

“The Revolution Max 1250 is a clean-sheet, advanced-design effort that will carry Pan America riders over new horizons with reliability, efficiency, and exciting performance,” Alex Bozmoski, Harley-Davidson chief engineer, explains in a company press release.

Every component was carefully crafted to create the optimal adventure ride.

Every component was carefully crafted to create the optimal adventure ride. (Harley-Davidson/)

The 60-degree V-twin is a stressed member of the chassis and comes with magnesium rocker covers, camshaft, and primary covers to keep the weight as low as possible. Harley also eliminated as much excess material from the engine as possible using finite element analysis during the casting and molding of a number of components.

The Pan America 1250 will price at $17,319.

The Pan America 1250 will price at $17,319. (Harley-Davidson /)

Forged aluminum pistons come with low-tension piston rings and an anodized top ring. The connecting-rod journals are offset by 30 degrees, producing a 90-degree firing order. Harley wanted to smooth the powerband, particularly in the higher rpm, with this design while still providing an appealing exhaust note.

The DOHC design utilizes electronic variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust cam, and each cylinder gets four valves. Harley uses roller-finger valve actuation with hydraulic lash adjusters for a maintenance-free valve train. Each cylinder gets two spark plugs as well.

Harley has created an adventure machine that will be able to hold its own against more established competitors in the segment.

Harley has created an adventure machine that will be able to hold its own against more established competitors in the segment. (Harley-Davidson/)

Centrally located dual down-draft throttle bodies, an 11-liter airbox, and a high-velocity airflow design allow the engine to breathe effectively. Optimized cooling passages throughout the mill ensure maximum cooling efficiency. A dry sump oil system features an oil reservoir incorporated into the crankcase casting. There are triple oil scavenge pumps to clear oil from the crankcase, stator cavity, and clutch cavity. The exhaust system is made from rust-resistant 304 stainless steel and is designed to provide optimal ground clearance and lean angle.

The 1,250cc mill also features a primary balancer and secondary balancer to reduce vibrations.

Ride modes and cornering sensitive electronics provide a sophisticated package, even in base trim.

Ride modes and cornering sensitive electronics provide a sophisticated package, even in base trim. (Harley-Davidson/)

Overall, Harley sought to design an engine with a responsive powerband suited to the needs of adventure riders with plenty of low-end punch and steady delivery through the rev range. Cycle World Technical Editor Kevin Cameron observed that the engine “owes nothing at all to the 1903 tradition except for the exhaust sound,” and that in its design, it resembles an “international engine, in that it could have been designed almost anywhere.”

Despite its worldly design, the mill will be assembled at Harley’s Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility in Wisconsin.

The transmission makes use of a mechanically actuated clutch with a large-diameter cable. It’s equipped with assist functionality for lighter clutch pull and features a slipper function for smoother downshifts. The six-speed gearbox is designed to minimize friction while optimizing shift quality with elements such as Teflon-coated shift-shaft support bushings and a semi-dry transmission cavity.

Chassis

The front, mid-, and tailsection of the newly designed frame bolt directly to the engine, and a cast aluminum swingarm helps to reduce unsprung weight. The bike will roll on 19-inch front and 17-inch rear cast aluminum wheels and feature fully adjustable Showa suspension, with 7.5 inches of travel on both ends of the bike. Michelin partnered with Harley to develop special Scorcher Adventure tires specifically for the Pan America.

Jason Momoa, a Pan America 1250 brand ambassador, putting the Special through its paces.

Jason Momoa, a Pan America 1250 brand ambassador, putting the Special through its paces. (Harley-Davidson/)

The 1250 Special comes with a more sophisticated, semi-active suspension package from Showa. It will come with five preprogrammed profiles—Comfort, Balanced, Off-road Soft, Off-road Firm, and Sport. Custom settings will also be available.

The Special will also have Adaptive Ride Height as an option, a novel system that lowers the bike while in the stopped position, then raises it to optimal ride height while moving. The system does not affect the suspension travel, lean angle, or ground clearance according to H-D. Riders will have four modes to choose from in the ARH system—Auto, Short Delay, Long Delay, and Locked. Short and Long Delay modes engage only after the bike is at a stop so riders keep optimal ride height even at low speeds. Locked mode retains the optimal ride height without lowering at a stop. Auto will ensure the bike is fully lowered as the bike comes to a stop. The seat itself will be adjustable as well with high and low positions.

The 2021 Pan America 1250 will be available spring 2021.

The 2021 Pan America 1250 will be available spring 2021. (Harley-Davidson/)

Harley utilizes Brembo braking components to bring the bike to a stop, with four-piston Monoblock calipers and dual 320mm discs at the front and a single-piston, 280mm disc setup at the rear.

Electronics

The base 1250 will come with five selectable ride modes—Rain, Road, Sport, Off-Road, and Off-Road Plus. Each mode calibrates settings for the cornering ABS and traction control systems, power delivery, and engine-braking. There will be a range of other cornering-focused electronic systems too, including cornering enhanced linked braking, drag-torque slip control, and hill hold control. Information will display on a tiltable, 6.8-inch TFT instrument panel.

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special will price at $19,999.

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special will price at $19,999. (Harley-Davidson/)

The Special gets two additional ride modes, a Custom and Custom Off-Road Plus option. There is also a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (an optional upgrade with the base model), heated grips, and an Advanced Daymaker Adaptive Headlight. The adaptive headlight is lean-angle sensitive to provide a better view through corners in low-light conditions.

The 6.8-inch TFT instrument panel will have a variety of information display options.

The 6.8-inch TFT instrument panel will have a variety of information display options. (Harley-Davidson/)

Both bikes will be Bluetooth compatible and riders can download the free Harley-Davidson app for iOS and Android to access navigation functionality. This setup marks the first-ever moving navigation display on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The Special edition will feature semi-active suspension, Adaptive Ride Height, and other specialized electronics.

The Special edition will feature semi-active suspension, Adaptive Ride Height, and other specialized electronics. (Harley-Davidson /)

Other Amenities

The standard 1250 features a four-position-adjustable windscreen, 5.6-gallon fuel tank, and LED lighting throughout.

The Special will feature the same elements but adds an aluminum skid plate, brush guard, adjustable rear brake pedal, and steering damper to the mix in addition to the variety of electronic enhancements already mentioned. A full range of luggage and other bolt-on accessories will also be available through H-D for those looking to tailor the ride to their specific needs.

Both versions will be available this spring. The base-model Pan America 1250 will price at $17,319 and the Special will start at $19,999.

Harley will offer a bevy of accessory upgrades for the Pan America line.

Harley will offer a bevy of accessory upgrades for the Pan America line. (Harley-Davidson/)

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Technical Specifications and Price

Price: $17,319/$19,999 (Special)
Engine: 1,250cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled Revolution Max V-twin; 4-valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 105.0 x 72.0mm
Compression Ratio: 13.1:1
Fuel Delivery: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multiplate w/ slip and assist
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain
Frame: Steel w/ engine as stressed member
Front Suspension: 47mm Showa USD fork, fully adjustable; 7.5 in. travel (Semi-Active functionality on 1250 Special)
Rear Suspension: Linkage-mounted Showa shock, fully adjustable; 7.5 in. travel (Semi-Active functionality on 1250 Special)
Front Brake: Brembo Monoblock 4-piston calipers, 320mm discs w/ C-ABS
Rear Brake: 1-piston caliper, 280mm disc w/ C-ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Spoked aluminum; 19 in. / 17 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: Michelin Scorcher Adventure; 120/70-19 / 170/60-17
Rake/Trail: 25.0°/6.2 in.
Wheelbase: 62.2 in.
Seat Height: 31.8 in.
Fuel Capacity: 5.6 gal.
Claimed Dry Weight: 534 lb./559 lb. (Special)
Warranty: 12-month limited warranty
Available: May 2021
Contact: harley-davidson.com

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