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2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike Review

The new 2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike is the ultimate motorbike for adventurers considering road and off-road travel equivalents. Wherever the road may take you, you can be confident in this multipurpose vehicle’s ability to provide comfort, safety, and entertainment. One such luxury adventure touring motorbike is the Pan America 1250 Special. Adaptive Ride Height (ARH) is a first-of-its-kind suspension system that automatically adjusts itself from a low stopped position to the appropriate ride height while the motorbike is in motion; it is electrically adjustable semi-active front and rear suspension.

2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike

2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike – Features and Specs

Adventure Touring – Touring becomes detouring, and everything is a road.

Harley-Davidson’s Pan America model is the ultimate motorbike for adventurers considering road and off-road travel equivalents. Wherever the road may take you, you can be confident in this multipurpose vehicle’s ability to provide comfort, safety, and entertainment. These brand-new adventure touring bikes from Harley-Davidson are the result of the company’s considerable design and technical prowess, and each one is loaded with high-end amenities, powerful engines, and cutting-edge gadgetry.

Dual Purpose Powertrain

The Revolution Max 1250 is integral to the motorbike chassis, replacing the conventional frame to save weight while maintaining responsive handling.

Partially Responsive Front and Rear Suspension

This mechanism responds to the rider’s throttle and brake inputs as well as the vehicle’s speed, vertical acceleration, roll angle and rate, and chosen Ride Mode to preserve the driver’s preferred level of comfort.

Road Ready

Even when fully loaded, the refined, powerful, and intuitive Pan America 1250 Special is built to provide a comfortable ride and responsive handling at high speeds.

Pan America 1250 Special Ultimate Trekker Package

Pack your traveling bags for a weekend getaway or a trip across the globe with this assortment of essentials for even the most extreme adventure trip. Transport your belongings in rugged, removable baggage. Improved safety for both the rider and the motorbike. What lengths are you willing to go to?

Pan America 1250 Special Midnight Package

A stealthy beauty outfitted with the proper set of extras to power the wildest adventure journey. Enhancements in efficiency. Durable bags to hold all of your things. Improved safety for both the rider and the motorbike. What lengths are you willing to go to?

2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike

Pan America 1250 Special Great Escape Package

Outfitted with a carefully curated assortment of attachments to maximize adaptability, comfort, and performance, it’s ready for everything from the morning commute to a weeklong tour. Easily removable bags. Enhancements in efficiency. To shield against the wind and rain. To what destination are you headed?

2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike – Test Ride

I was skeptical when I heard that Harley-Davidson was working on an adventure motorbike. So, what would a manufacturer famous for its large, heavy, air-cooled (and excellent) cruisers know about the niche market of adventure motorcycles? Also, against market open-class giants like BMW, KTM, Triumph, Ducati, and Yamaha, how could H-D hope to compete in such a red-hot segment? Major manufacturers have made adventure bikes in the open class for many years. When the first pictures of Pan America surfaced, my doubts multiplied. The motorcycle seemed cumbersome, ungainly, and uninteresting.

Let’s start with what everyone is thinking about large adventure motorcycles and the places where people ride them. I count myself among those bikers. Twenty years ago, I saw an advertisement for a BMW GS motorbike in a magazine and immediately thought, “This is me!”

Even after realizing early on that riding a 600+ pound motorbike with a week’s worth of gear in tricky off-road conditions is no fun for us ordinary mortals, the adventure bike class has always had a special allure for me, and I have owned and ridden several large adventure motorcycles over the years. Motorcycles with less weight and more suspension travel are better suited to rough terrain. However, in my opinion, it is not where adventure motorcycles excel. Large adventure bikes are perfect for long-distance riding, in my opinion.

Adventure bikes in the open class are often large and powerful. On paved surfaces, I can ride with a passenger and all my gear without trouble. The size of these motorcycles also makes them suitable for long-distance riding, even on routes with plenty of twists and turns or 18-wheelers. The high driving posture gives me a commanding perspective of the road and is great for my 58-year-old shoulders and back. Finally, I have confidence that the bike will be able to handle the terrain if I decide to take a dirt road or path to a distant campground.

So, when UM Editor Don Williams sent me on a week-long journey on the 2023 Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, I rode it the way I ride my big adventure motorcycles and most other large adventure bike owners ride, despite what they may tell you. I plan to go on a road trip and maybe even take back roads. The Motor Company got it right, as a spoiler.

When I finally got my hands on a Pan America Special, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it looked even better in person than the photographs had led me to expect. With the Harley-Davidson Aluminum Side Cases ($1039/pair), Pan America’s large front end is brought into visual harmony. In addition to the road-oriented, tubeless Michelin Scorcher Adventure tires and the wire-spoke wheels (a $ 1,000 option), the outside was painted in a surprisingly appealing Industrial Yellow/White Sand. The H-D adventure bike is a beautiful machine.

When I flung my leg over the bike and straddled it, I didn’t expect my feet to land flat on the pavement. What kind of magic is this? My feet shouldn’t be flat on the ground, given my (minimum) 31-inch inseam and the 7.5 inches of travel provided by the Showa suspension. Adaptive Ride Height, a $1200 Harley-Davidson add-on, is responsible for the suspension’s automatic 1-inch drop at low speeds and stops. It provides additional assurance and steadiness without sacrificing ride quality, clearance, suspension travel, or handling. I kept thinking about how incredible it was all week. It worked well, and I loved being able to put both feet on the ground during pauses. It’s a game-changing addition that I expect other makers of ADV bikes to copy.

My friend and I have planned a road trip from L.A. to San Francisco and back along the coast. The initial part of the journey was using the interstate and other highways to get to McKittrick, from whence they would pick up California State Route 58 and go to Santa Margarita. It’s a great place to put the Pan America Special’s sports intents to the test since it’s a sparsely frequented, favorite twisty road in the heart of the state.

The flexibility of the Pan American Special was on full display on the first day. It was steady, smooth, and quite comfortable on the congested, never-ending straightaways of Interstate 5 into the San Joaquin Valley. The suspension was soft enough to absorb bumps in the road without being mushy, and this was the first thing that passengers noticed.

The default windshield, raised to accommodate my six-foot frame, dramatically reduces wind noise and eliminates buffeting. Long highway travels may necessitate the use of an extension for taller passengers. The screen is legible and has all the data I prefer to view when traveling. I could quickly choose between Road, Sports, and Off-road riding modes by pressing the “mode” button on the handlebars.

Highway 58 is a terrific route through various canyons and valleys, made much better by moving from Road mode to Sport mode, which stiffens the semi-active suspension and increases the immediacy of power. The suspension is very well-balanced and consistent. The Pan America Special is a joy to drive through corners with just the proper amount of steering input and some body English.

The following two days of riding brought me through more excellent roads in Napa Valley, through Lake Berryessa, and along the Sonoma Coast to Timber Cove (population: 107) on California Highway 1.

The 2023 Harley-Davidson Pan America Special was perfect for testing on the various routes. Both the suspension and the power of the engine kept impressing us. Only when I was going sport bike-hard did I discover the limitations of the machine, which was equipped with all the latest technological rider aids and grippy Michelin tires. Pan American riders can only go so fast around corners because of the bike’s 569-pound weight (with the 5.6-gallon fuel tank full) and upright sitting posture.

It gave me six hours of riding time to reflect on my experience with the 2023 Harely-Davidson Pan America Special.

2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike – Price

The new 2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike is available from $20,399 to $21,049 only.

2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike

2023 Harley-Davidson Pan-America Special Adventure Touring Bike – Technical Specifications


Length 89.4 in.
Seat Height, Laden 32 in.
Ground Clearance 6.9 in.
Rake 25
Trail 4.3 in.
Wheelbase 62.4 in.
Tires, Front Specification 120/70R19 60V
Tires, Rear Specification 170/60R17 72V
Tire, Type Michelin Scorcher “Adventure”, Radial
Fuel Capacity 5.6 gal.
Oil Capacity (W/Filter) 4.75 qt.
Weight, As Shipped 534 lb.
Weight, In Running Order 569 lb.


Engine Revolution Max 1250
Bore 4.13 in.
Stroke 2.85 in.
Displacement 76.4 cu in
Compression Ratio 13.0:1
Fuel System Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust 2-into-1-into-1; catalyst in header


Engine torque testing method J1349
Engine Torque 94 ft-lb
Engine Torque (RPM) 6750
Horsepower 150 HP / 112 kW @ 9000 rpm
Lean Angle, Right (DEG.) 42
Lean Angle, Left (DEG.) 42
Fuel Economy Testing Method Estimated City/Hwy
Fuel Economy 46 mpg

Drive train

Primary drive Gear, 49/89 ratio
Gear Ratios (Overall) 1st 13.11
Gear Ratios (Overall) 2nd 9.687
Gear Ratios (Overall) 3rd 7.509
Gear Ratios (Overall) 4th 6.057
Gear Ratios (Overall) 5th 5.08
Gear Ratios (Overall) 6th 4.436


Front fork 47mm inverted fork, including electronically adjustable semi-active damping control. Aluminum fork triple clamps.
Rear Shocks Linkage-mounted mono-shock with automatic electronic preload control and semi-active compression & rebound damping
Wheels, Optional Style Type Anodized aluminum tubeless laced
Wheels, Front Type Aluminum cast, satin black
Wheels, Rear Type Aluminum cast, satin black
Brakes, Caliper Type Front: radially mounted, monoblock, 4-piston caliper; Rear: floating, single-piston caliper


Lights (as per country regulation), headlamp, tail/stop/front signal lights Daymaker Adaptive LED Headlamp with 6-segment LED banking lamp, LED Tail/Stop lamp with signature tail lighting, LED Bullet Turn Signals
Gauges 6.8-inch viewable area TFT display with speedometer, gear, cruise, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, ambient temp, side stand down alert, low temp alert, TIP over alert, range, and tachometer indication BT capable – phone pairing to access phone calls, music, navigation (H-D App ONLY)


Type Color TFT w/ Touch
Screen Size 6.8 in.
Headset Specifications (If Equipped) Bluetooth
Languages Arabic, Chinese (Simplified/Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (default), Norwegian, Finnish, French (Canada/France), German, Russian, Japanese, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal/Brazil), Indonesian, Slovak, Spanish (Mexico/Spain), Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
Hands-Free Mobile Phone – Via Bluetooth Standard
Voice Recognition Languages: Phone Functions Only Phone dependent
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/Navigation Phone dependent
Text-To-Speech (TTS) Languages Phone dependent
Rider/Passenger Intercom Headset function only
Vehicle Information Screen (Air Temperature, Oil Pressure, and Eitms) TPMS, Engine temp, Battery Voltage, Ambient Air Temp
USB Charging and Instrument update, USB-C, 5V, 3A
Bluetooth Phone/Media Supported

Rider safety enhancements

Anti-lock brake system (ABS) Included
Electronic Linked Braking (ELB) Included
Traction Control System (TCS) Included
Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) Included
Hill Hold Control (HHC) Included
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Included
Wheel Lift Mitigation Included
Cornering Enhanced Anti-Lock Brake System (C-ABS) Included
Cornering Enhanced Electronic Linked Braking (C-ELB) Included
Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) Included
Cornering Drag-Torque Slip Control System (C-DSCS) Included
Enhanced Lift Mitigation Included

Concluding Remarks

Riding along on the smooth semi-active suspension and shielded from the wind behind the excellent fairing, it was easy to see that Harley-Davidson had done an outstanding job with its first adventure bike. Its on-road performance falls somewhere in the center of the performance scale despite its sporty character, good suspension, and loud engine. Compared to the BMW R 1250 GS and Honda Africa Twin 1100, it’s noticeably quicker, but it can’t keep up with the Triumph Tiger 1200 or the triple Ducati Multistrand V4. Regarding off-roading, the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R is a better option than the Pan Am. Pan America’s strong suit is its equilibrium, achieved with a refined chassis, superior ride quality, cutting-edge Adaptive Ride Height technology, and cutting-edge ergonomics and wind protection. Because of this, the 2023 Harley-Davidson Pan America Special is an excellent sport-touring bike capable of handling the odd off-road journey.

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