Finally saw the HD Pan America in person...

nophix

Where's my coffee?
Apr 15, 2012
143
185
43
40
Stevens Point WI
I ride a
2015 Yamaha FJ-09
And first impressions are "this is NOT a Harley, and I love it for that".

My local HD dealer got a PanAm Special in, and I popped up to check it out. Couldn't demo it, due to an event they were having, which blocked the door they get the bikes out of. Mostly my fault, I got there late, knowing that event was happening. BUT, they're awesome guys, and have me coming back next Saturday early for an extended ride. Basically, they want me to get it out and really get a feel for it. They're wanting direct feedback on the bike from ADV and Sport Touring guys. This dealer is also tightly involved with corporate, being in Wisconsin and a big volume dealer. There was actually a guy there from the PanAm team yesterday too.

I did get to mess with it a ton. They handed me the key and had me check the thing out up and down, play with all the features, etc.

Some things I love: The seat and riding position is excellent. I sat on it messing with everything for an hour easily, and any other bike I would have been wanting a new seat. I felt very comfortable on this bike. The TFT display is very fluid, and menus are easy to navigate. This one also has the dynamic ride height, which I wrote off initially as a gimmick. I ride tall bikes all the time, and its about as tall as my FJ-09. When he flipped the switch on, and the height lowered with me on it, I had an immediate sense of "wait, how have I lived without this for so long!" The wire wheels with the easy repair spokes is quite possibly one of the neatest things I've seen too.

Some things I don't like: The switch gear is a bit tricky. There are a lot of buttons on the bars, and they can be a bit akward using a few of them. The headlight control is really the worst one. It's an odd switch in a weird place, with little to no feedback in gloves. It's also tiny. The lock for the handlebars is even more of a pain to get to than the ignition on my FJ09. Not a huge issue, since it's a keyless system otherwise, but I do use my bar lock daily when I park at work. And the 1 hand adjust windshield seems ok, but I really wish they would have just gone the extra and made it electronic. Then again, that may or may not be a good idea on a bike getting thrown down dirt tracks and through water crossings... But man, the one I had on my FJR was baller.

So, there may be a PanAm sitting next to the FJ soon. I need to go ride the Triumph again, and try out the new GS 1250 A, and see what the Shift Cam engine is all about. But who knows, HD may have me!
 

Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
1,205
1,096
113
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
I sat on a PA Special with no adj. suspension, and it was a hard pass for me... I couldn't even tippy-toe the bike. I want to go back to the HD dealer when they have one on the floor with it and try it again... it may take the top spot in my "lust list" :D

Glad you got to spend some time on one and are going back to ride one - I have a couple of local dealers who are supposed to be calling me to ride one, but neither has - and their FB pages show why: people are buying them still in the shipping container LOL.

-John
 
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Moto Mengy

Motovlogger from PA, USA
Mar 23, 2020
828
1,263
93
49
I ride a
2018 Honda Goldwing Tour DCT
I test rode a Pan Am Special about a month ago and absolutely loved it. Fantastic bike, if I ever buy an ADV for a second bike this will be at the top of my list of candidates.
 
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nophix

Where's my coffee?
Apr 15, 2012
143
185
43
40
Stevens Point WI
I ride a
2015 Yamaha FJ-09
I test rode a Pan Am Special about a month ago and absolutely loved it. Fantastic bike, if I ever buy an ADV for a second bike this will be at the top of my list of candidates.

Thats actually my plan, to add another bike for ADV. Was basically sold on the Triumph, but I think that may have changed.
 

nophix

Where's my coffee?
Apr 15, 2012
143
185
43
40
Stevens Point WI
I ride a
2015 Yamaha FJ-09
I sat on a PA Special with no adj. suspension, and it was a hard pass for me... I couldn't even tippy-toe the bike. I want to go back to the HD dealer when they have one on the floor with it and try it again... it may take the top spot in my "lust list" :D

Glad you got to spend some time on one and are going back to ride one - I have a couple of local dealers who are supposed to be calling me to ride one, but neither has - and their FB pages show why: people are buying them still in the shipping container LOL.

-John

Definitely try it with the dynamic suspension. I more or less tip toe tall bikes, but it doesn't bother me much. My FJ-09 is just as tall. But the DS makes such a huge difference.

As for the bike, I'm lucky that I live in the home state of HD, so the dealers up here are getting some demo only bikes that have to have so many miles on them before they can officially sell them. At least that's what I was told by a few guys.
 
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Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
1,205
1,096
113
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
That's the plan! :D

-John
 
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mymotorrad

Wannabie Member
Mar 26, 2021
125
141
43
Fountain Hills AZ
www.mymotorrad.com
I ride a
2009 R1200RT
And first impressions are "this is NOT a Harley, and I love it for that".

My local HD dealer got a PanAm Special in, and I popped up to check it out. Couldn't demo it, due to an event they were having, which blocked the door they get the bikes out of. Mostly my fault, I got there late, knowing that event was happening. BUT, they're awesome guys, and have me coming back next Saturday early for an extended ride. Basically, they want me to get it out and really get a feel for it. They're wanting direct feedback on the bike from ADV and Sport Touring guys. This dealer is also tightly involved with corporate, being in Wisconsin and a big volume dealer. There was actually a guy there from the PanAm team yesterday too.

I did get to mess with it a ton. They handed me the key and had me check the thing out up and down, play with all the features, etc.

Some things I love: The seat and riding position is excellent. I sat on it messing with everything for an hour easily, and any other bike I would have been wanting a new seat. I felt very comfortable on this bike. The TFT display is very fluid, and menus are easy to navigate. This one also has the dynamic ride height, which I wrote off initially as a gimmick. I ride tall bikes all the time, and its about as tall as my FJ-09. When he flipped the switch on, and the height lowered with me on it, I had an immediate sense of "wait, how have I lived without this for so long!" The wire wheels with the easy repair spokes is quite possibly one of the neatest things I've seen too.

Some things I don't like: The switch gear is a bit tricky. There are a lot of buttons on the bars, and they can be a bit akward using a few of them. The headlight control is really the worst one. It's an odd switch in a weird place, with little to no feedback in gloves. It's also tiny. The lock for the handlebars is even more of a pain to get to than the ignition on my FJ09. Not a huge issue, since it's a keyless system otherwise, but I do use my bar lock daily when I park at work. And the 1 hand adjust windshield seems ok, but I really wish they would have just gone the extra and made it electronic. Then again, that may or may not be a good idea on a bike getting thrown down dirt tracks and through water crossings... But man, the one I had on my FJR was baller.

So, there may be a PanAm sitting next to the FJ soon. I need to go ride the Triumph again, and try out the new GS 1250 A, and see what the Shift Cam engine is all about. But who knows, HD may have me!

I am probably the outlier. It's got the beans, I just didn't walk away looking back at it after the ride. I put that caveat out, that because of certain considerations, it wasn't perfect for me. Too much wind, too tight seat to pegs, I like the bars a little higher. The bike I test rode probably had a hard short life. The other thing is, I am not likely to do dirt riding anyway. I do like that it has simplified maintenance with chain and no valve adjustments. That's a plus. The BMW R1250s have adjustments or checks really every 12k miles and they are shaft drive. BMW's recommended final drive lube is $65 a pint. Yes, you read that right. You could use something else, but if it takes a dump under warranty, you'd be hating yourself. After warranty, it's open. In terms of the R1250GSA, it's going to be more money up front, but BMW has been doing this for a while. Less HP than the PA, but more torque. Ergonomics for taller folks is better on the GSA too. Huge gas tank and better wind protection. On either bike you'll have to add luggage if you want to carry stuff. I'd look at the Shad 36L panniers and a 58L topcase, if I was so inclined for either bike. The thing is, I don't necessarily need all the bells and whistles on either bike. My old RT has ABS, cruise control and an electrically adjustable windscreen, the panniers can hold a FF helmet each and the topcase can hold 2, so I am good. It came with all of that. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky.
 

nophix

Where's my coffee?
Apr 15, 2012
143
185
43
40
Stevens Point WI
I ride a
2015 Yamaha FJ-09
I haven't ran a GSA for a while. My last one was an 1150, if that tells you how old it was. But it was a TROOPER! Binned it off road so many times, and it never missed a beat. But, I'm a Wisconsin boy, and while I'm shopping I have to at least give ol' HD a look. I'm short, so the peg height felt decent to me. Same with the bar reach. I still may end up on the Triumph, or GSA, but I would feel like I didn't do my due dilligence if I didn't try the HD.

Price wise they all seem to be fairly close to each other. Close enough for me that it's not a deciding factor.

I'm running Shad gear on my FJ-09, and love it. May go that route. But the factory gear for all 3 are pretty tough, and the Shad stuff feels far more oriented to sport touring. Nothing wrong with it, but if I bin this big pig on a dirt track, the factory gear may hold up better. I think it's touratech that does it for all 3 of them.
 
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mymotorrad

Wannabie Member
Mar 26, 2021
125
141
43
Fountain Hills AZ
www.mymotorrad.com
I ride a
2009 R1200RT
I haven't ran a GSA for a while. My last one was an 1150, if that tells you how old it was. But it was a TROOPER! Binned it off road so many times, and it never missed a beat. But, I'm a Wisconsin boy, and while I'm shopping I have to at least give ol' HD a look. I'm short, so the peg height felt decent to me. Same with the bar reach. I still may end up on the Triumph, or GSA, but I would feel like I didn't do my due diligence if I didn't try the HD.

Price wise they all seem to be fairly close to each other. Close enough for me that it's not a deciding factor.

I'm running Shad gear on my FJ-09, and love it. May go that route. But the factory gear for all 3 are pretty tough, and the Shad stuff feels far more oriented to sport touring. Nothing wrong with it, but if I bin this big pig on a dirt track, the factory gear may hold up better. I think it's touratech that does it for all 3 of them.
I ride a RT and that's how I would use an Adv bike. In fact the GSA of the vintage of my RT fit me better than the RT. I just got a good deal on the RT and it works fine. As far as dirt, I have too much titanium in me to want to ride off road now. I would say try the PA and I would say that to any rider. I think for most folks that are looking for an adv bike, it'll be fine. Have you ever checked out Jesse Panniers? Those are heavy duty. Not cheap though.
 

MachKneel

Insta : @flex_and_freedom
Mar 23, 2021
114
140
43
Co.Derry, Ireland
I ride a
Harley Davidson Softail 2021, Yamaha R6 2005
Our local Harley dealer only got one in on Saturday past (5th June) and I couldn't get down to see it but I am really excited about it.

To be fair all the social media attention this is getting is making me more intrigued as it really wouldn't be my typical style! power of the internet eh?

Plus, if the people of the Youtube want #PanAmerica, then that is what I shall try and produce!! :L
 

nophix

Where's my coffee?
Apr 15, 2012
143
185
43
40
Stevens Point WI
I ride a
2015 Yamaha FJ-09
I ride a RT and that's how I would use an Adv bike. In fact the GSA of the vintage of my RT fit me better than the RT. I just got a good deal on the RT and it works fine. As far as dirt, I have too much titanium in me to want to ride off road now. I would say try the PA and I would say that to any rider. I think for most folks that are looking for an adv bike, it'll be fine. Have you ever checked out Jesse Panniers? Those are heavy duty. Not cheap though.

No, I didn't even know about those panniers. But I'm going to give them a look now! Thanks!
 

nophix

Where's my coffee?
Apr 15, 2012
143
185
43
40
Stevens Point WI
I ride a
2015 Yamaha FJ-09
Had this for an hour on friday. First time riding a large adv bike, some main takeaways: it's pretty easy to ride and engine is very smooth at low revs. There is something that needs fixing with the front but I've slowly warmed to the styling.
View attachment 5864
I noticed the front end could be really spongy on non sport mode settings. But in sport mode it really seemed to firm up and plant itself. Sport Plus was my favorite.
 

chris 2WJ

Wannabie Member
May 29, 2021
41
46
18
Dublin, Ireland
www.instagram.com
I ride a
Ducati Hyperstrada
To clarify I was referring to the styling of the bike from the front :D in particular the black plastic bits in between the winscreen and the headlight.

I'm going through my footage at the moment to see if I can extract a viable first impressions video from it. First time doing this so a bit trickier than I thought. The biggest constraint was only having it for an hour.
 

nophix

Where's my coffee?
Apr 15, 2012
143
185
43
40
Stevens Point WI
I ride a
2015 Yamaha FJ-09
To clarify I was referring to the styling of the bike from the front :D in particular the black plastic bits in between the winscreen and the headlight.

I'm going through my footage at the moment to see if I can extract a viable first impressions video from it. First time doing this so a bit trickier than I thought. The biggest constraint was only having it for an hour.
I have noticed the more I look at them the less I like the orange and white paint scheme. They look much better in the black or grey.
 
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