The last Harley-Davidson that I’ve had the pleasure of riding was back in 1992 on an air-cooled 883 Deluxe Sportster. The highlight then was that the attainable and charismatic bike had the Evolution engine combined with a 5-speed transmission and a belt drive. It has literally been 30 years since I’ve actually ridden a Harley-Davidson until this 2022 Pan America 1250 Special adventure bike. So, yes even if I am totally aware of the progress and literal evolution of the product range over the years that now include electrified propulsion, I was very surprised with how starkly different the riding experience was even taking in full consideration the tall adventure bike configuration.
The traditional mighty rumble has been silenced. Don’t get me wrong, I honestly do not like the excessively loud aftermarket exhaust pipes, more particularly the systems that also remove the catalytic converters that liberate a little power but sacrifices our environment and creates too much noise pollution in the process. But I did miss the characteristic low resonance notes nonetheless.
Once again, our test unit of the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special was possible through the courtesy of Wheeltek Harley-Davidson of Cavite (Wheeltek Harley-Davidson of Cavite, Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Anabu 2-D, Imus Cavite, Contact person: Louise Cabral, Sales & Marketing Manager, 0917-6014240 and (046) 4027844).
When many seasoned fellows like myself think about the Harley-Davidson brand, the images that swiftly pop up in mind automatically are leather clad and heavily tattooed biker gangs cruising the open roads in Middle America in huge numbers. In fact, before throwing my leg over the Pan America 1250 Special, my introduction to the new adventure bikes of Harley-Davidson was through the awesome latest documentary series of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, their third series, called The Long Way Up, where they rode bespoke LiveWire electric bikes from Ushuaia in Argentina through South and Central America to Los Angeles in the United States. So, riding the Pan America 1250 in the flesh was certainly exciting and I was already mentally prepared for the non-traditional but tasteful and unique styling.
The Pan America 1250 Special is a lot of motorcycle but its size is mostly accentuated by its height. Once you are on the bike and moving, it rides like a much smaller bike. The excellent semi-active suspension and adaptive ride height (under normal operation the front and rear suspension have a total of 191mm (7.48 inches) of travel, and lowers the suspension a couple of inches while at a standstill, allowing vertically challenged riders to reach the ground with both feet, and raises the suspension to its optimum ride height when at speed) all contribute to a sensational riding experience with genuine confidence.
Our Wheel2Wheel Editor Maynard Marcelo expertly reviewed the bike awhile back and his shared experience was so compelling that he made me want to give it a try too. I am a bit shorter and much heavier than Maynard so I was worried that my chunky legs would struggle with mounting and managing bike. Thankfully, the two-toned Orange Pan America is a very well-engineered and thoughtful multi-purpose riding tool. I can’t say it was easy to manage at first but you adapt swiftly to its proportions and customable riding modes.
The all-new Revolution Max 1250 V-twin motor is a very smooth and linear powerplant that produces all the power you need to explore our archipelago. The only criticism I may have is that it may even be perhaps too refined. But that is obviously a good thing, for example, the hydraulic valve adjusters of the Revolution motor don’t need as much attention like the older Harley engines so you save on maintenance costs and down time. Unlike older generation powerplants, the Revolution Max 1250 runs on significantly higher engine speeds and seems to relish it too. The torque delivery, though substantial at 94 lb-ft, arrives at a higher peak engine speed so that it is easier to manage low-speed trailing off-road.
Our Baja Orange/Stone Washed White Pearl test unit came with a good number of optional equipment like additional lighting, a Screamin’ Eagle exhaust (which was thankfully muted) and the rear aluminum TopBox for bringing extra gear. The dealer has a long list of available optional equipment to suit every rider’s requirements.
Thankfully too, much like most available premium motorcycles in the market, Harley-Davidson made sure that the standard safety equipment and rider aids like the five pre-programmed riding modes for Rain, Road, Sport, Off-Road, and Off-Road Plus with two additional customizable modes are very thorough combined with the vital ABS systems. A 6-axis IMU governs the semi-active electronic suspension, cornering ABS, lean sensitive traction control, hill hold control, and for the 1250 Special, the cornering lights.
The large 6.8 inch TFT color touchscreen instrument panel is fairly straightforward and necessary nowadays but I honestly wish the instrumentation still had a separate analog speedometer and tachometer combined with the screen.
For off-road ability and versatility, the Pan America 1250 Special rolls on 19-inch front (120/70-19) and 17-inch rear tubeless laced wheels shod with (170/60-17) H-D co-branded Michelin Scorcher Adventure tires that’s designed for 70 percent road and 30 percent off-road use.
The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special adventure bike is a charismatic and classy tool to own and enjoy for a lifetime. It is generally quite a substantial motorcycle for our riding environment that would be blissfully enjoyed further in less restrictive theaters but for the few that can afford the brilliance of it and have the physical ability to explore its very deep abilities, their spirits would soar every second behind those lofty handlebars.
|Engine||60° V-Twin, Liquid-cooled|
|Cylinder Head||4 valves, DOHC|
|Fuel Injector||EFI, VVT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||150 bhp @ 9000 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||94 lb-ft @ 6750 rpm|
|Top Speed||228 km/h (142 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||3.5 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||5.1L/100km overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 1,520,000.00 (two-tone and our test unit sans the optional equipment), PhP 1,500,000.00 (single color), PhP 1,480,000.00 (black)|
|What's Great||Innovative adaptive ride height, hydraulic valve lash adjuster, powerful and smooth motor, fully customizable ride modes and suspension settings.|
|What's Not So||No quick shifter, cumbersome button control layout, unusual side-stand placement.|
|C! Editors Rating||9.5/10|