Harley Pan-America. A motorcycle with a face only a mother could love.

Harley Pan-America. A motorcycle with a face only a mother could love.

Harley Davidson has seen some big changes in the last couple of years. The killing of one of the most popular lines - the Dyna, saw a massive public outcry along with the introduction of a brand new powertrain and chassis of the Milwaukee 8 series.

Even more shocking was the electric-powered Livewire (no pun intended). There is no doubt that electric bikes have a big future, but whether it was all too much, too soon for the Hog-history brand - only time will tell. Change is inevitable, but for my money, Harley has changed a bit too much in a very short time including their target market.


I applaud the big HD for their willingness to try new directions. Especially given that in the past they have been criticized for being stuck in the past. Needless to say, you can't please everyone and when sales are down, you have to take some action.

The Pan-America concept is perhaps the biggest departure from Harley history as there really haven't any been any production ADV bikes by Harley (aside from the custom bikes made in someone garage).

The Pan-America looks promising until you look at it from the front. Believe me, looks matter, particularly when it's in such a hotly contested segment. Some will say, looks are subjective. True. But when 99.9% of people think the front end of your most important bike in years looks like a train wreck, it should be setting off alarm Bells in the design room.



As good as the ADV Harley could be, it's going to be a tough sell with that dirty snout. Realistically they'll be competing with the likes of the BMW GS, KTM Adventure, Ducati Multistrada, Honda Africa Twin. All very formidable competition which you are unlikely to beat with your first crack in the sector.

The more-than-likely outcome is that the Pan-America will be a mediocre shot at best when compared to the competition. So why undermine your first effort with a design that looks the hunchback from Notre Dam after falling down a staircase.

Harley has many bikes in the past on almost looks alone, why stop now.