We were impressed and encouraged by spy photos of the Harley-Davidson’s Pan America back in 2019. The prototype represented a major departure for a company known only for its cruiser and touring bikes. Two years later, the Pan America is poised to hit dealer showrooms and backcountry dirt roads. It looks pretty darn great. Harley-Davidson did a commendable job in the adventure bike arena on their first try. Kudos to the Milwaukee wrecking crew.
Does that mean you adventure-type riders should rush down to the local Harley-Davidson dealership and scoop up a Pan America before they are sold out? Nope.
EARLY ADOPTERS ONLY
The Pan America will appeal to early adopters (and collectors) who know the risks they are taking. Those risks? A motorcycle that is 100% new and untested in the real world. The Pan America is a total departure from a company that specializes in low-slung, low-tech, loud, pavement-only motorcycles. The Pan America isn’t an update of any previous Harley-Davidson model and, as far as I can see, doesn’t borrow any technology from existing models.
That’s good and bad. It is good because it signals that Harley-Davidson is serious about their future. It is bad because there is no track record of success. The Pan America is riding on uncharted territory.
WAIT A YEAR, OR TWO
Unless the doctor just gave you 14 months to live, I can’t see a reason to swoop in and buy this motorcycle right now. It is likely that problems uncovered by the early adopters will be addressed in future versions of the Pan America.
If you just gotta have one, well, you’re gonna get one. The rest of you need to be patient and thank the early adopters for doing your R&D.