Harley-Davidson reveals Pan America touring motorcycle

Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz. Photo by Daniel N. Johnson.

Last updated on February 25th, 2021 at 10:56 am

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson is diving into what company executives are calling a “new genre” for the motorcycle maker with the launch of its Pan America model, a touring motorcycle built for on and off-road adventure.

Chairman, president and CEO Jochen Zeitz said Pan America is the first adventure touring bike designed and built in America. However, a promotional video for the product launch draws a comparison between the new model and Harley bikes of the pre-World War II era.

“From its inception more than a century ago, when many roads were little more than dirt trails, Harley-Davidson has stood for adventure,” Zeitz said in a statement. “The Pan America models exude that go-anywhere spirit, shared today by riders in the U.S. and around the globe who want to experience the world on a motorcycle.”

At the core of the Pan America is Harley’s new 1,250-cc, liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-twin Revolution Max engine, which has 150 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque at 9,500 rpm – Pan America can reach max speed of 135 miles per hour with cargo, the company says.

Separating Pan America from other Harley models is its engine placement as part of the chassis. Harley’s chief engineer Alex Bozmoski said the idea for Pan America’s engine was to make it stiff enough to be a central member of the frame, which allows for a lighter build and from a designer’s perspective, more flexibility to design from the engine out, Bozmoski said during the video.

Zeitz, who called the new model “incredibly agile for its power,” was featured in the video riding through Kenya near a herd of Zebra.

“This bike does everything and it’s just the start,” Zeiz said in the video. “We have great plans to expand on Pan Am and lots of innovation waiting. This is just the launch into a whole new dimension for the company.”

Harley’s plans to enter the adventure touring segment date back to 2019 when the company faced increased tariffs on European motorcycles, comments from former President Donald Trump and shifting demographics in the industry as well as changing consumer preferences.

Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson’s vice president of styling and design, noted during the video that Pan America was “a missing link,” but the desirability for Harley’s products, the power of its brand and its core customers developed throughout the ’90s and early 2000s are still critical to the company’s identity.

“…we love that customer,” Richards said during the video. “That customer has been incredibly special and important to us, but we’ve got to start thinking about a new customer too. Like (Pan America) is something that should have been in our lineup and all these things came into place and we eventually said, ‘yeah lets do this, man. We can absolutely own this.’”

The motorcycle manufacturer expects Pan America models to reach dealers by this spring. The Pan America base model will cost about $17,319 while the special model is $19,999.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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