Since time immemorial, Harley have been known for engines with big cubes, high torque, and relatively low power. The new Revolution Max 1,252cc V-Twin engine changes all that with an eye-opening 150hp and 127Nm of torque.
It’s an impressive powerplant and very un-Harley. The the fly-by-wire throttle provides linear throttle response at almost all speeds, with no noticeable flat spots through the rev range. The strong torque from low revs mellows into a constant shove from 5,500rpm through to redline. Eyes closed, you might mistake it for another orange-tinged V-twin adventure mill.
That full 150hp is unleashed in Sport mode, and it feels what it claims, giving more on-road oomph than what’s typically found in bikes of this category save the Ducati Multistrada V4. Impressively, the engie felt smoother at higher revs, unlike most big capacity two-cylinder bikes.
So far, so un-Harley. A gripe that Harley diehards might have is the stifled Euro5 exhaust note, that whilst audible, lacks the baritone blast that 114 cubic inches might imply.
For those planning the inevitable adventure after restrictions end, the Pan Am should be able to drink non-premium gas too. Harley boasts that the 1250 only requires 91 RON fuel (like back home) so it should have no problem where the fuel is of lower octane rating. On paper it should have (Peninsula Malaysia) coast-to-coast ability, with a claimed 5.5L/100km delivering a theoretical 380km from a 21.2-litre tank.
Before testing the Pan Am we were genuinely cynical about its handling – after all Harley has mostly made cruisers and tourers through its long history, XR1200 and Roadster aside.
So we were surprised that it handles really well, and up to par with the Adventure Bike Class of 2021. Bends of all types, from chicanes to fast sweepers and reducing radius corners were negotiated without fuss, the communicative steering responding to inputs precisely. The adaptive suspension is very well setup, steam-rolling speed strips and bumps alike, while the light-action gearbox was precise, with and without using the clutch.
A notable omission here is the lack of a quickshifter, which isn’t even on the paid-for options list, and the busy TFT dash can be hard to read with its tiny text. Our final gripe is that the service intervals of 8,000km are short by today’s standards. Fortunately H-FD says the first service at 1,600km is free of charge, minor service costs S$380 (at 8000km) and major service (at 16000km) costs S$480.
Without doing a head-to-head and going by ‘seat memory’, we’d say the BMW R 1250 GS is still king of the adventure hill, what with its sheer accessibility and capability. It’s down on power over the Harley, but to regular riders anything north of 130hp is really only useful when blasting down the highway at illegal (in Singapore) speeds.
But the Pan Am is a total 180 from Harley, and a very impressive first showing for an adventure bike. It’s not at the top of the heap yet, but it’s not far off. In short, living with America is pretty good.
|Power||150hp at 9000rpm|
|Torque||127Nm at 6750rpm|
|Seat Height (1250 Special)||890mm/ 850mm (with adaptive ride active)|
|Agent||Harley-Davidson of Singapore|
|Price||S$56,900 OTR (with COE, sans insurance)|
|Verdict||Count us pleasantly surprised: A full-fat, tech-filled modern adventure tourer with H-D badge on it.|