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Harley-Davidson Singapore launches the Pan America

Harley-Davidson Singapore launches the Pan America

H-D Singapore debuts its GS rival, prices start at S$47k. Plus: First impressions on the road and in the dirt

SINGAPORE – On August 4, 2021, Harley-Davidson of Singapore debuted the American motorcycle maker’s first adventure touring motorcycle, the Pan America, here.

The motorcycle is sold here in two versions, both with the same engine: The S$46,900 Pan America 1250, and the S$56,900 Pan American 1250 Special. Both prices include road tax, but exclude COE and insurance.

A large adventure tourer, the Pan America is named after the 30,000km Pan-American Highway that stretches from the upper reaches of Canada right to the tip of Cape Horn in Chile. 

The motorcycle, is a full 180 for H-D. The American brand has been peddling primarily cruiser-style motorcycles for most of its near 120-year history, but as of late has been rapidly reinventing itself in a bid to survive with the Livewire electric motorcycle, and an all-new Sportster just announced.

As mentioned, this is Harley’s very first adventure tourer and is a clean-sheet design. But even on paper, it looks impressive, with no half measures taken here.

The design takes cues from classic cruiser Harleys (Peanut tank; Road Glide fairing; Fat Bob headlights; circular turn-signals), but there has been a clear focus on adventure touring function, and that includes a flat, wide headlight for more throw; minimalistic body work (note the ‘beakless’ design).

This philosophy extends to the architecture, for example a dry oil sump for better packaging. Rider ergonomics has been given a prime focus – concessions to this include an offset rear cylinder (more to the left), taller handlebars, a commanding seating position to manhandle the bike over the loose stuff.

Harley-Davidson’s Revolution Max engine really lives up to its name for once: It’s bristling with modern tech

Harleys have plenty of torque, but they have never been renowned for outright power. But the Pan Am’s new ‘Revolution Max’ 1,250cc 60-degree V-twin is an eye-opener: It has 150hp – yes you read right – and 127Nm. There’s dual-sparkplugs and four valves per cylinder. It even has variable valve timing on both inlet and exhaust valves. It’s pretty amazing if you remember that nearly none of these features could be found on your ‘normal’ H-Ds of the recent past.

Features like adaptive ride height/suspension and hill-hold control will be very useful on a fully-loaded Pan Am

The Pan Am also looks to have everything a rider could want from a modern adv-tourer: Hill Hold Control featuring a soft-release for easier move-offs from inclines, enhanced (cornering) ABS, enhanced traction control, seven riding modes (with two customisable modes that also adjust suspension settings), cornering lights and tyre-pressure monitoring. There’s a tilt adjustable 6.8-inch TFT glove-friendly touchscreen that displays everything (instruments and infotainment) but navigation.

An IMU and full suite of rider aids/modes will help normal riders do stuff like this

In an age of towering adventure bikes, the Harley has a great trick up its sleeve: What it claims is an industry first, the Adaptive Ride Height system. It’s a conventional adaptive suspension system – like Ducati’s Skyhook or BMW’s ESA – but the twist is that it automatically lowers the seat height at standstill. The standard bike’s seat height is 789mm, but with the system it pops down to 772mm when not moving. That would be very useful for riders with a limited inseam.

The entry level version, the Pan America 1250, that for S$10,000 less, comes equipped with non-electronic suspension, and excludes items like the aluminum skid plate, center stand, and Daymaker Signature adaptive headlamp, hand guards/wind deflectors and tyre pressure monitoring system. A must-have for the avid adventurer would be the factory fitted tubeless laced wheels that add S$1,000 to the price.

The Pan-Am looks impressive on paper, but what about from the saddle?

First Impressions of the Harley-Davidson Pan America

CarBuyer’s test rider and contributor Deyna Chia

Harley’s Singapore debut of the Pan Am at the Sarimbun Scout Camp included a short test ride with both on and off-road segments.

The on-road segment included low speed maneuvers (first gear chicanes, down and uphill u-turns), a gravel road taken in fourth gear and a few twisties in the Neo Tiew area.

The Pan Am’s low speed balance was exemplary, with the engine delivering torque smoothly in perfect response to the throttle. The Pan Am even resisted flopping over when we tried to induce a stall mid-u-turn. The semi-active suspension soaked up the bumps and irregularities of the gravel road impressively, egging us to speed up. On the paved roads, the Pan Am tackled tight corners competently, the balanced 150hp power-plant linear and punchy, emitting just a little buzz.

 With the on-road test done, we returned to the grounds of Sarimbun Camp, where the rain-soaked grassy terrain presented us with tricky conditions. Here the adventure touring capabilities of the Pan Am really shone – good feel from the front end, communicating changes in grip levels expeditiously and traction control (we left it on, in Enduro mode) taking care of the fish-tailing rear wheel as conditions got more slippery with each successive lap.

Most impressively, the Pan Am did more than well in hiding its 254kg kerb weight. We liked that the handlebar was raised higher than those from competition, allowing for great stand-up ergonomics. 

Harley-Davidson launched the Pan Am, and it also LAUNCHED the Pan Am, geddit?

Ride Leader Tommy Lee also demonstrated the enduro prowess (and hardiness) of the Pan Am by executing steep hill climbs and launching the bike into the air several times. Incidentally, Harley tested the Pan Am for more than 1.6-million km to ensure it would survive the rigours of adventure riding. 

Much Pan-fare?

The Pan Am enters one of the most crowded and hard-fought segments in modern motorcycling. Almost every major motorcycle manufacturer has a large adventure tourer, including Honda African Twin, Ducati Multistrada V4, KTM 1290 Adventure, and Triumph Tiger.

As it always has been though, the one to beat is the king of the Adv Tourer Hill, the BMW GS. BMW Motorrad Singapore recently launched the updated version for 2021, which we covered in our launch story. But Harley Davidson’s first foray into the ultra-competitive Adventure Touring segment with the Pan America 1250 Special exceeds expectations. Whilst we had only a short stint with the bike, we found that it rode really well both on-road and off-road. We really liked the way the engine delivered torque at low speeds and top end punch, and the confidence inspiring low-speed and off-road handling.

If you thought Harley-Davidson was all about the show and less about the go, with large, heavy cruisers perfect for ambling around in, well we don’t blame you since the past decades have shown as much. But it’s best to forget all that when it comes to the Pan Am. The bike is a real eye-opener, it’s well thought out, has lots of features, and looks like it’ll be great both on and off-road. In other words, it’s a full-fledged modern adventure tourer, one that just happens to have a H-D badge on it.

Article written by Deyna Chia and taken from

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