C’mon, you knew it was going to happen. How could we not put the newcomer to the ADV scene head-to-head with the long standing heavyweight from the Fatherland? Our comparison of the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special and BMW R 1250 GS kicks off a series of monthly two-bike tests for 2022. Look out for a new scorchin’ comparison from MO every month. Spanning the smorgasbord of genres, your favorite kooky MO characters will ride, review, and bicker about some of the spiciest meatballs on the market today. To kick things off though, America versus Germany!
To those of you who have been paying attention over the past year, our selecting the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special as Motorcycle.com’s Motorcycle of the Year should come as no surprise. To win the MOTY, a bike has to do two very important things. First, it has to claim victory in one of the MOBO categories, proving that it has the chops to successfully compete against its peers. For the Pan America to do this in the ultra-competitive heavyweight adventure touring class in the first year of its production says a lot about how seriously Harley took the task of stepping out of its cruiser/bagger comfort zone. Second, the MOTY has to say something about the current state of the motorcycle art, where the industry is, and where it’s going.
The new 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S that was unveiled this morning looks so much like the earlier prototype we dubbed Custom 1250 and already closely examined, most of the conjecture is already over except for the how much and when. And that’s $14,999 and this fall.
I thought it best to make a trip back east for this story and the ones to follow. Putting down 3,000 quick and dirty miles on the way back to my roots sounded a lot more worthwhile than just flying in to ride for only a few days before flying back out. I wanted to ride thousands of miles traversing this country – one that contains so many different landscapes and cultures all bubbling over in a big ol’ melting pot of freedom. Also, I needed the forced introspection.
Well folks, the latest Harley machine to grace the motorcycle market jumps, slides, and rips with the best of them – “them” of course, being the heavyweight adventure motorcycle class. The entire world had its reservations, some optimistic, and plenty pessimistic. But after cruising for two days on the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special, it’s clear that it’s adept at much more than just that.
Harley-Davidson laid out the details for The Hardwire, the company’s new strategic plan for the next five years. Highlights of The Hardwire include investing in the touring and heavyweight cruiser segment, expanding into new segments and creating a new division dedicated to electric motorcycles.
A couple of weeks ago, Harley-Davidson provided an update on its Rewire strategy, including a commitment to releasing the Pan America 1250 adventure tourer in 2021. Harley-Davidson did not, however, provide the same vote of confidence to the Harley-Davidson Bronx, leaving the fate of the streetfighter unclear.
During its first quarter report in late April, Harley-Davidson announced it was changing course on its “More Roads” business plan, replacing it with the new “ Rewire” strategy. While Harley-Davidson has only described the new plan in broad strokes, we’re already seeing some signs of Rewire falling into place. As the Rewire plan continues to develop, we figured we’d look back at the previous plan to help us figure out where Harley-Davidson goes from here. (UPDATED: July 9, 2020: Harley-Davidson says it will provide more details about Rewire with its Q2 results later this month. Harley-Davidson also says Rewire “set the foundation for a new 2021-2025 strategic plan which is expected to be shared in Q4.”)
Harley-Davidson has registered designs for its liquid-cooled engine that will power a new range of middleweight motorcycles including the production versions of the Pan America adventure tourer, Custom 1250 cruiser and Streetfighter concepts. The designs, originally filed in January with the European Union Intellectual Property Office and now fully registered, give us the best look yet at the engine that will power multiple models that will be introduced from 2020 to 2022.
Harley-Davidson is launching a new modular platform including a liquid-cooled DOHC engine that will be produced in four displacements ranging from 500cc to 1250cc. This platform will result in three product lines, an adventure touring family, a streetfighter/standard family and a more traditional H-D custom lineup.
Last week, Motorcycle.com was first to break the news of trademark filings for “ Harley-Davidson Bronx.” Today, we can report on two more trademarks we believe were also filed for Harley-Davidson: “48X” and “Pan America.” UPDATE: further filings with the UK’s trademark office confirm these names were filed by Harley-Davidson.