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Hawk's American Stepbro?

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  • Hawk's American Stepbro?

    I'm floored there's no discussion of the Pan America here. Ignore the HD Bar and Shield, look at the motor, no, look at it! 60deg Vtwin with an offset crank pin to make it behave like a 90deg twin, where have I heard that before? Ok, no 3v head, and it's fuel injected, with variable cam timing, knock sensors to maximize timing no matter the fuel grade... dry sump... so, not a direct relative but still interesting to see a modern incarnation of that crank setup.

    For the record, bought one this weekend, if you have preconceived notions of what a Harley is, take an opportunity to go for a rip on a Pan Am, they got a LOT right with this one.

  • #2
    Congrats on the Pan Am! I've heard nothing but good things about those. In fact, one just completed the Baja Aragon It even still had it's mirrors on! Just don't drop in the dirt or your risk a hernia.


    • #3
      The parts manager at the dealership I bought from has one, fully in dirt mode and invited me to go woods riding with him... I'm not that rider yet, sure while it's upright and moving it feels like a somewhat heavy motard but if it tips? That's 560lbs of I don't wanna lift it to deal with.


      • #4
        I threw out my back lifting a 360lb bike that I dropped in the dirt, I would not even think about trying to lift something that big.


        • #5
          Just learned right now that they existed...
          Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.


          • #6
            Kurlon keep us informed about the PanAm.
            I am interested in what you like/dislike about the bike and also its reliability.
            I've seen a number of used '21 and even '22 bikes with mileages of 100 to 8K miles for sale and curious why.
            Acta non verba

            '88 Blue 99% stock SOLD
            '88 Restomod
            '22 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT


            • #7
              They've had some teething issues out of the gate, which makes sense as this is a full clean sheet bike from the ground up for HD, done in a very different style then they've tackled in the past, Buell shenanigans included. The vast bulk of the problems are software from what I've seen. There were a few big hardware faults, there was a batch of engines that had oil pump issues, a couple lunched motors but HD fully replaced them and recalled the others before they ate themselves. In general HD seems to be very good so far on rectifying issues as they come up, they really need these new bikes and motors to do well. In my case, I've got a front to back warranty for 5 yrs as piece of mind for having a new model bike. There are also literally HD dealers everywhere you can think of going, unlike say, finding support for an Aprilla on the road which is comforting. HD will also pay out for trip interruptions if you are on their extended support plan, they've got direct financial incentives to keep their rider's happy and rolling which is why I'm willing to roll the dice a bit.

              On the likes/dislikes front:
              - Hill Hold, a feature I'd never thought I'd want on a bike, HD is the first with it I'm aware of, and literally after using it waiting to pull out of the dealership on my demo ride it just made sense. Come to a stop, give either brake lever a harder application, then let off and the bike will hold the brakes for you so you can have both feet down, both hands off the bars (If in Neutral of course) and the bike won't move, brake light won't go out, lets you stretch/fiddle with things, etc.
              - Cruise Control, another thing I'd never thought I'd use, but great for freeing up your right hand for a stretch/etc on a long stretch of road.
              - Ride Modes - Sport is taut, tight, and snappy, full power (150hp) on tap. Road noticeably softens the suspension so tar snakes/etc that were telegraphed in sport mode now disappear as the bike more comfortably floats, motor is neutered down to 90hp or so with a still healthy midrange. Put it in Rain and you're down to 70hp, very soft predictable response and even softer suspension. I'm surprised by the W I D E range in throttle and suspension feel between the modes. Haven't played much with Off Road/Off Road Plus or customizing any yet. I have the full enhanced active suspension which is why I get both engine and suspension changes with the modes.
              - 150hp - My prior fast bike was a Ducati ST3, tuned with Leo Vince exhausts it put an honest 105hp to the ground, and was about 100lbs lighter than the Pan Am, with proper full fairing and better aero plus sports tuck riding position, the Pan Am will trounce it right up till the nannies limit you at around 140mph. FUCKING ROCKET SHIP. Rides like a motard, goes like a bat out of hell, it's like a 450 Sumo with JATOs when rolling.
              - Adaptive Ride Height - Bit of a gimmick, I'm tall enough that I don't need it, but it just makes things that much nicer at a stop particularly with a passenger, a bit of bend in my legs so I've got more leverage/control with no ride quality sacrifices.

              - Bars - Not sold on the bend yet, my first 30mins or so in the saddle my the outer side meaty portions of my palms get a bit of an ache/pull, I ether need the bar angle to be flatter or more angled, not sure which. I don't need the bars higher or more pulled back, just the angle tweaked but it doesn't seem like anyone's making bars yet for the bike. Everyone, HD included seem to think taller risers are the answer based on what's out there?
              - Exhaust - Out of the box it's quiet, like CBR250R quiet, only with more mechanical noises from the hydraulic lifters/variable cams/etc. I joked with my wife that it's got as much mechanical noise as the Savage we traded in, and it had slightly loose valves... :P I have the Screaming Eagle exhaust on order, as that drops some decent weight and is still EPA/49 state emissions/noise legal with the baffle in. I don't want loud, or a drone, really just want the weight savings but won't object to the few extra ponies and better exhaust note I get as a side effect.
              - Parasitic Drain - Lots of reports of early battery death in these bikes, including a software update to help correct some of the bike off drain the early bikes were seeing. HD includes a batt tender SAE lead as part of the main harness, and advises leaving the bike on a tender right in the manual. If you're going to leave the bike unplugged for more than two weeks they suggest to pull the main fuse and disconnect the battery. The battery BTW is in the chin of the bike, gotta pull the skidplate to get to it.
              - Navigation - It has a full touch screen with BT and USB connectivity, but not Apple Car Play or Android Auto, so if you want to use the nav feature you have to use HD's app on your phone, not your preferred app of choice. I'd try it, but my ye olde iPhone 6 is too old to run said app as it requires IOS 13 or later. Time to pester work for an upgrade I guess. I don't know any bike mfg yet that has gone full Car Play / Android Auto despite everyone getting on the big touch LCD dash bandwagon so I guess I can't fault HD here, but they have so many other firsts, this would have been killer. But, it'd also be going against the 'all things must be HD sourced' mentality so... tough sell at to corp? I'm hoping younger riders who are used to this stuff just working in their cars push back on this choice in general.

              I've only got 150mi on so far. Bought it Saturday after confirming my wife was comfortable on it in the demo ride, and it was too damn hot to really want to do anything other than aim for home. Sunday, the same so I did a short solo sprint to feel it out when riding a bit more aggressively, but that's it. Today, work and storms after so the Pan Am is tucked in the garage with the KTMs and Yamaha waiting for the next opportunity. Meanwhile I'm waiting on a large swath of accessories to arrive so I can farkle it out proper as a sports tourer.

              Edit: One other WTF HD bit - You put all this engineering effort into the audio capabilities of the bike, full intercom and phone integration, media controls on the right switch cluster, etc... and you didn't spend the $0.15 to put an AM/FM radio in?!
              Last edited by Kurlon; 08-08-2022, 08:47 PM.


              • #8
                Originally Posted by Kurlon
                and you didn't spend the $0.15 to put an AM/FM radio in?!
                In fairness to them.... (and I'm not one to be fair to Harley) I cant not tell you the last time i actually plugged in an AM/FM antenna into a car radio. been over 10 years, and longer since i actually listened to am/fm by choice.

                Its on its way out fast and maybe with their desire to appeal to a younger generation and ditch the Paul Tuttle listing to Bon Jovi image, that may have been a "virtue signaling" (to misuse an over used term) move, or a desire to look younger, more than it was a cost savings thing.

                My cell phone gets am/fm I've never ever attempted to try the feature and i'd bet I'm not alone.

                GREAT write up on the bike Josh.. Loved reading it.
                Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.


                • #9
                  I get that, but this is a bike designed and advertised to go where cell phone reception doesn't... it's nice to be able to get a bit of news/weather where internet is just a theory.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the write-up. I've been following the Pan Am and new Sporters using the same engine and for the first time there are bikes made by Harley I would consider owning when $$ are not an issue. I'm hoping to pick up a used one in a few years from a Starbucks rider when they decide they want something new.


                    • #11
                      Originally Posted by Kurlon
                      I get that, but this is a bike designed and advertised to go where cell phone reception doesn't... it's nice to be able to get a bit of news/weather where internet is just a theory.
                      That makes lots of sense. Had not though of that.

                      YOU will probably use it like that.. The rest of their clientele I wonder.

                      Lots of things like to project that vibe.. Here on the seacoast we have an epidemic of decked out overlanding Toyotas that see less dirt than a Bugatti.. image sells yo. If Harley thinks they can catch that base while also appealing to the modern user who wants the latest in modern everything...

                      But that's just he douche bag hater/cynic in me i suppose.

                      Nothing makes me happier than when i see a capable bike with Alberta pates covered in travel chugging down Rt. 1 a.. Some people actually use their stuff as designed, restores faith in humanity. but most buy the image. And really, thank god, because without the image peeps, they would NEVER build anything cool to sell to the actual use case.

                      Disclaimer: these opinions are offered with absolutely no real knowledge and very little thought. and offered by a man who drives a farm truck with a winch and 33's on 16's to go do i.t. work in the city. Take them with a grain of salt.
                      Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.


                      • #12
                        I'd like to see that engine put in a lighter roadster. H-D has talked about it (The Bronx). But I can't stand the PA fairing and headlights....


                        • #13
                          Ok, points to HD on this one, if you sign up for a free account at you can see release notes and dates for firmware updates on all the various modules in the Pan Am and other bikes. It looks like many of them customers can apply themselves?!

                          They're also maintaining their own firmware and software for HD branded Sena communicators.


                          • #14
                            Originally Posted by Kurlon

                            They're also maintaining their own firmware and software for HD branded Sena communicators.
                            Harley as a software company is a scary thought.

                            How open are they with the code? Will we see Harley software hacks and mods popping up out there?
                            Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.


                            • #15
                              They're not offering source code, so about as 'open' as you can get with signed binary blobs and no decryption keys. But at least they're showing all service bulletins, code releases, etc to the end user without heavy lifting. I can't get this level of detail for my Jeep for example, or any other brand bike I've ever chased.

                              In other news, my Pan Am is melting it's lower right radiator hose on the exhaust... so back to the dealer it'll go. Known issue since launch, seems getting that hose installed correctly for proper clearance is a monumental task for the assembly team...