This is the first time in Harley-Davidson’s history that the brand has ventured into the adventure segment.
I was excited when I heard the news of the launch of the bike and even more thrilled when I was given the opportunity to do a review.
I decided to ride the bike around Peninsular Malaysia.
My journey of 2,537km in five days revealed what the bike is capable of.
The Pan America is offered in two models of Standard and the Special.
The Special comes with engine guards, main stand, electronically adjustable Showa suspension, Daymaker Signature headlight with cornering lights, steering damper, tyre pressure monitoring system and Adaptive Ride Height System which lowers the seat height to just under 800mm when the bike comes to a stop.
I reviewed the Standard.
For a start, the bike does not look like an adventure bike you would have seen before.
No beaks and no familiar adventure headlights.
The aesthetics of this bike is different and I guessed the folks at Harley-Davidson did this with the purpose of letting the world know that this is a one-of-a-kind adventure bike.
Like any other adventure bikes, Pan America is fitted with an adjustable windscreen with four positions.
During heavy rain, the highest position of the windshield kept most of the water from me.
However, it was not easy to adjust the windshield while on the move.
I had to use a lot of force to adjust it to the height I needed.
There is a trick to how to handle this and once I got used to it, the job became easy.
The saddle was firm and wide.
I clocked about 400km every day and I did not feel any pain on my rear end.
The seat was comfortable and designed for long journeys.
The ergonomics of this adventure bike were spot on.
The reach of the handle and the position of the footpegs were well thought off in reference to the height of a rider.
At the end of my daily ride for five days, I did not feel any aches in my body.
I was perfectly fine and could had clocked another few hundred kilometres if needed.
The bike also comes with a 6.8-inch TFT screen that offers a host of information useful for riders ie date, time, riding modes, temperature, speed, fuel gauge and not to forget Bluetooth connectivity and navigation system.
While riding, be it during the day or night, the information available on the TFT screen is legible.
All the buttons and switches are easy to reach except for the horn and indicator lights which are located at the bottom of the handle.
It is placed in a position that is hard to reach.
I am baffled by this design and hoped this will be rectified in next Pan America model.
The heart of the machine is the new Revolution Max, 60-degree V-twin liquid-cooled 1,250cc engine that produces 150hp at 8,750rpm and torque peaking at 127Nm at 6,750rpm.
Revolution Max is the newest engine and found only on the Pan America and Sportster S.
The new Revolution Max engine performs well on high and low rev.
The engine also comes with dual overhead camshafts and sounds like a 90-degree V-twin and thus loses the "Harley sound" synonymous with the 45-degree V-twin.
I personally found the new soundtrack unattractive as it made the engine sound light and does not reflect the feel of a big engine.
The bike has four riding modes of Road, Sport, Rain and Off-road.
During my five days' ride around Malaysia, I was able to experience all the modes except the Off-road due to unfavourable weather.
Road mode offers a comfortable ride when you are on a long journey where the ride is effortless.
There is enough power and torque for you to conquer any open road.
Rain mode keeps the rider safe on the wet roads while Sport unleashes the needed power complemented by excellent throttle response and firmer suspension.
I tried Sport on many occasions when I needed to overtake three to four vehicles quickly on the highways.
While riding from Penang to Kota Bharu, the winding roads on the hills were easy to handle.
The smooth ride would not had been possible if not for the Showa suspension system.
The bike comes with a wide powerband and every time there is a gear upshift, I could get instantaneous power delivered.
While riding through the back roads and twisties in Tronoh en route to Taiping, I was on the fourth gear and clocking between 30kph to 80kph without stressing the engine.
I could ride for a good 40 minutes without changing gears till I came to the entrance of Taiping.
Besides the available horsepower, equally important is the torque.
The torque allowed me to shift from pleasant cruising speed on the highway to insane acceleration power overtaking any vehicle the Pan America came across.
This adventure bike has more than enough torque that any rider desired.
Throughout my ride around the peninsular, I came to appreciate that this machine’s weight is well distributed thus making Pan America felt light like riding a bike that is 50kg lighter.
In fact, this 245kg Pan America was nimble and slim enough to whizz in and out of traffic during the jams in downtown Penang and Kota Baru.
The adventure bike handled gear downshifting and upshifting gears like a pro in any traffic-laden road.
While riding through a Felda settlement in Sedili, Johor; I had to slam on my brakes when a wild boar ran across the road in front of me.
Thanks to the Brembo brakes fitted on this bike, I avoided a mishap.
Stopping power came from front radial-mount four-piston Monoblock Brembo calipers matched to 320mm discs and a rear floating single-piston Brembo caliper with a 280mm disc.
The front and rear are linked except during Off-road mode.
My verdict is that the Pan America, priced at RM99,900, offers impeccable handling, great performance, comfortable ride and loaded with practical riders aids.
You must test ride the bike.
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250
Engine: 1252cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 60-Degree V-Twin
Maximum power: 150hp at 8,750rpm
Maximum torque: 127NM at 6,750rpm
Suspension: Front fully adjustable 47mm USD fork, rear fully adjustable monoshock
Braking system: Front 320mm twin discs with radial 4-piston calipers and cornering ABS, rear 280mm disc with floating single piston caliper and cornering ABS
Features: Hill assist, cruise control, traction control, link brakes, ABS, Bluetooth connectivity and navigation map
Fuel capacity: 21.2 litres
Price: RM99,900 (without insurance, road tax and number plate)