Harley-Davidson Pan America 975 and 965S Middleweight Adventure Bikes on the Way

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

RA975 and RA965S models appear on official Harley-Davidson website

Last week, we broke the news confirming Harley-Davidson‘s next Sportster will be equipped with a 975cc version of the liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine, after spotting the model code “RH975” mentioned on an official Harley accessory page.

It turns out the next Sportster wasn’t the only new model accidentally leaked by Harley-Davidson. Another accessory product listing, this time for a Pan America locking fuel cap, revealed two more model codes: the RA975 and RA965S.

Harley-Davidson has since edited the page for the Round Style Locking Fuel Cap to remove mention of the two new model codes, but we were tipped off to the page by Brazillian blogger Dan Morel on the weekend and were able to grab the screenshot above. The original, unedited page is still available on a Google cached search, but we expect that will be updated soon.

So, what do we make of the RA965S and RA975?

For those unfamiliar with Harley-Davidson’s nomenclature, the RA model codes designate Harley-Davidson’s Revolution Max-powered adventure bikes. The Pan America 1250 has the model code RA1250. Harley-Davidson tacks on an “S” at the end of a model code to designate a “Special” or up-spec version, hence the Pan America 1250 Special getting the code RA1250S.

Following this logic, the RA975 should represent an adventure bike using a similar 975cc Revolution Max engine as the one expected on the next Sportster. We expect the RA975 will be called the Pan America 975.

The RA965S is a bit more of a mystery. The “S” should denote a Special model, but numbering it “965” instead of “975” is an odd choice. We can’t entirely rule out the possibility of a typo, but if it was supposed to say “RA975S”, you would figure it would be listed second, as the RA1250 and RA1250S are listed later in the sentence. The S model should offer a higher level of performance, with features like Harley-Davidson’s adaptive ride height, but it does seem unusual for it to have a smaller number. Assuming the model code is accurate, we expect it will be called the Pan America 965 Special.

The RA975 and RA965S would expand Harley-Davidson’s adventure bike line-up and give customers options against the likes of the KTM 890 Adventure, Triumph Tiger 900 and BMW F850GS. It’s too soon to say whether these two models will offer the larger Pan America 1250’s divisive styling. Sharing an accessory fuel cap, we expect the RA975 and RA965S will at the very least have a similar fuel tank design.

When Harley-Davidson first released details about the Revolution Max engine in 2019, it made it clear the platform was supposed to be modular. At the time, Harley-Davidson claimed the 975cc version would claim 115 hp and 70 lb-ft., but that was a state of tune intended for the Bronx streetfighter. We expect the 975cc Sportster (which we suspect will be called the Nightster 975) will be tuned to offer more torque at the expense of horsepower. Perhaps the two mini-Pan Americas will offer different engine tunings, with the RA965S producing more power and the RA975 getting more torque.

With the Sportster 975 reveal set for April 12, we may get a sneak peak at the two new adventure bikes.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 42 comments
  • Patriot159 Patriot159 on Apr 17, 2022

    Smaller engine still has plenty of steam but it will need to be $2-3 K less and 40 lbs. lighter. I'd opt for a 975 if it came in at above since uber ADV's are not my cup 'O joe.

  • MotoMike MotoMike on Jul 20, 2022

    Give me a road-oriented adventure touring version with a belt drive and I am in! Super low maintenance with no valves to check or chain to clean and lube.