Harley-Davidson Pan America prototype breaks cover at motorcycle show


Hey kids! Here’s another look at the Harley-Davidson Pan America adventure bike.

News of the Pan America broke last summer, when Harley-Davidson dropped a bombshell, saying it was entering the streetfighter and adventure bike segments. We haven’t seen much evidence of those projects since, only a few schematics, so this video of the Pan America from a motorcycle show (possible in Milwaukee?)  is veerrryyyy interesting.

The Streetfighter prototype also appeared at the show, with Euro mags publishing shots of it. Looks like the Motor Company is staying the course on these important projects so far at least.


  1. If I’d built a bike like that and sent you a pic, youd be laughing yourself shitless.
    Boeing can’t build an airplane. 6 weeks after the intro of the new corvette and still no one is allowed to drive it. A public and private education system devoted to a medieval religion, what would you expect.

  2. It still has a transversely-mounted V-twin. Why oh why do the cruiser people insist on putting Vtwins in frames sideways?

    As for the Harley “culture” I have a better description. Pirate costumes!

    If you want a cool, retro V-Twin, street-oriented ADV from a storied marque with history, I have a suggestion, Moto Guzzi V85tt!! it’s better looking too…

    -If you want a reliable and decently performing ADV, get a Tiger.
    -If you want a reliable and good-performing (but bland) ADV get a Honda Africa-Twin.
    -For a super-high-performance but semi-reliable, high maintenance & persnickety ADV, get a KTM.
    -For poor performance and poor reliability there’s the Yamaha Super-T.
    -For no redeeming qualities whatsoever, (except cheap) there’s the VStrom.
    -For complete lunacy at an absurdly high price, get a Ural (they’re actually super fun to ride if you have discounted rates at your local chiropractor).
    -And for semi-reasonable performance with poor reliability, astronomical parts cost and a “culture” that rivals Harley for being kinda annoying, there’s those Beemer GS’s with their blue & silver riding suits. Apparently they sell a spray that fades those suits so it looks like you’ve crossed the Kalahari or Atacama desert when all you really did was ride to Tim’s for an ice cap.

    So now I’ve insulted everyone! But my point is, courses for horses… A chacun son gout… Now HD will have an ugly, heavy, poorly-performing, unreliable, expensive ADV. The super-Tenere guys are ecstatic – now they have someone to look down on! But Harley will probably sell a bunch of them.

    I really want a V85tt. But my totally dirt-ready (slightly modified) 2004 Tiger 955i with the best motorcycle engine of all time (that triple!) – it just won’t die… Damn those reliable tigers…

  3. I saw the sign that said ‘Styling Prototype’ so I won’t comment on the looks… I would like to see shaft drive rather than chain as I’m sure this will be, despite the tires, rims and high pipe, a 98% street ride – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    I like the radiator/engine guards and the windshield design appears to be quite well thought out. I’ll bet it could end up being a decent all around motorcycle.

  4. I have to admit, I like the front styling, it reminds me a truck or utilitarian vehicle, which all these bikes basically are in one form or other. That said, I’m sure this thing is at least 50kg too heavy for practical adventure use.

    The best thing Harley Davidson could do.. is build a new engine. The v-twin is an albatross around their neck as much as the Harley Cult is.

  5. It would look better if the white section up front was black or matched the tank. Most adventure bikes are not going to win a beauty contest. If they can keep the weight in line with a V Strom or Africa Twin it might be okay. Look forward to riding one to see if they can actually pull it off.

  6. Harley tries to found new buyers. I don’t like cruisers and heavy bikes like touring bikes. Once, Harley offer one model that seems interesting for me; the 2011 XR1200X. I never demo rided it. I really like adventure bikes. But this one is big and heavy. So, my next bike (would be my 12th) will not be a Harley. Another point is the Harley cult. I really don’t fit. A few times, i entered a Harley store. I felt like i was in a wrong place (like a snowmobile store).

    I applaud the effort. Harley tries.

    • I think that the « Harley Cult » May be the biggest obstacle for them to overcome. I had a Harley for a year… part of the reason I sold it was that I felt embarrassed being associated with some of the Yahoos that ride HDs. The other reason was lack of cornering clearance. Also, the dealer was what I would simply call arrogant.
      But yeah, HD dealers and current customers have to try to do a better job of inviting non-HD types into their world…

    • I did ride one of the XR 1200s. It reminded me of the Norton Commando in many good ways. I don’t think it would take detachable hard luggage and a windshield very well. The fuel injection wasn’t well sorted out at that time. It seemed to be on and accelerating or off and decelerating. It was not easy to keep a steady rpm. In general, nice bike but not what I was looking for at the time.

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