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2021 Harley Pan America: Review & Thoughts

2021 Harley Pan America: Review & Thoughts

Harley-Davidson has changed course by introducing their first adventure bike. Different from a cruiser or bagger motorcycle, the Pan America has gathered quite the anticipation and excitement since it was announced in 2018. And now the expectations continue to rise for the bike as it has recently become a best selling motorcycle in the States.

The team at Ramjet Racing, one of Arizona’s largest motorcycle shops, also couldn’t wait to take the new Pan Am for a spin. We agree that this motorcycle has certainly lived up to the hype as we review our Harley-Davidson Pan America first ride.

First Thoughts

The first thing you’ll learn about the Pan America is that it comes in two different models: the standard model (Pan America 1250) and the special model (Pan America 1250 Special).

The Standard is an incredible ride for those who see “touring as detouring” either on or off-road. And together the standard and special model share:

  • Electronic ride modes
  • Linked brakes (rear braking is activated as well when you pull down on the front lever, which you can disable when you’re riding off-road)
  • Cruise control
  • ABS
  • Hill Hold Control
  • 4-way adjustable windscreen

The Special. Harley adds that the Special is for riders that are looking for “power, tech, and capability” for everyday comfort and control. And it has quite the additional list of exclusive features, including:

  • Semi-active front and rear suspension
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Adaptive headlamp
  • Tubeless laced wheels (factory-installed option)
  • Plus more

But riders’ favorite touch of the Special is the factory-installed option adaptive ride height, so the bike seat automatically lowers height when the bike comes to a stop. This gives riders the confidence and comfortability for a carefree ride. Some are calling it one of the most approachable adventure bikes, because adjusting the seat height for your stop/start can be a frequent problem with other adventure bikes.

Both styles also share a sleek, attractive design. It sits tall with a frame mounted fairing that allows for gliding off-road to navigate any obstacles or narrow roads. The Special has a little more color and visible gadgets to it, but there’s no doubt both have a strong first impression to any rider or spectator. You can tell Harley has spent a good part of the last decade trying to come out with a bang for this bike.


What both bikes also share at their core is a powerful engine. The 1252cc Revolution Max engine is liquid-cooled and 4-valve, so it has a design for low-end torque and a throttle response to low-speed. The weight has been reduced, and the engine fits a narrow profile. The engine produces 150 horsepower and about 94 foot-pounds of torque.

This engine also may surprise normal Harvey bikers, because it is more of a “revver” engine. It responds better when driving around 5,000 rpm. And on the flip side, it doesn’t seem to be responding to well under 2,000. You can tell it wants to be driven a little more intensely than that. Additionally, the engine has a six-speed gearbox and has noticeably smooth shifting.

How Does It Ride? 

As Harley’s introduction to the adventure bike world, this Pan Am rides really well, especially for novices or those looking to, just like Harley, get into adventure biking. It has 5 different ride modes (rain, road, sport, off-road, and off-road plus) that let anyone quickly change their riding style depending on the conditions. The Pan Am walks the line of approachability (which is attractive to new riders) and capability (so experienced bikers still have a great time when venturing off-road). It’s a forgiving motorcycle that is best in-between 35 or 50 miles per hour when off-road, and it doesn’t seem like the bike many will try to push the limits on. 

The adjustable height, linked brakes, effective suspension, and flashy wave of electronics and features makes this an easy choice for riders to choose one of the best motorcycle brands.

Final Thoughts

The crowd (of riders and buyers) has decided: Harley-Davidson has stepped up to the plate of the motorcycle world with the Pan America, and they knocked it out of the park.

If you’re looking to jump on the Pan Am bandwagon, the prices are reasonable compared to other adventure bikes.

  • The Standard costs $17,319.
  • The Special costs $19,999.
  • The Special with factory-installed adjustable rider height and crossed wheels costs $21,499.
  • If you’re looking for the full experience, there is no doubt that this option is what you’re looking for. You’ll want this adventure bike with all of its added perks for a smooth, comfortable, and thrilling ride.

About Ramjet Racing

Founded over 20 years ago, Ramjet has proudly become one of the largest motorcycle shops in Arizona. With superior knowledge and customer service, the professionals at Ramjet can perform any of your motorcycle needs, including full repairs and services. We even carry everything in stock to build a motorcycle from the ground up.

Visit our website to learn more or get in touch with us (either by phone at 602-788-0364 or email) to see how we can help make sure your motorcycle is riding as best as it can.

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