Pan America after Rally report (how it did)

Jim in FL

Premier Member
#1
During & after the 2021 I was asked by over half a dozen riders to post something about my Pan Am after running it in the rally (just FYI: completed Rally, DNF on points), so here it is.

My bike is a 2021 Pan America Special with both the Semi-active suspension and Adaptive ride height. The only two factory parts added were the HD tank bag and pannier rack mounts. I added Great loop bags to the sides, a Garmin 595 GPS, a Ram mount phone charger (that immediately died), and ratchet strapped a harbor freight hard cast to the pillion for the computer. That was all the prep I had time for (I had 6 weeks & worked full time every day).

To put it bluntly, this bike performed absolutely flawlessly (to the point that I was becoming obsessed with the idea I was missing something – this is the only bike I’ve owned in my life that didn’t have a major issue in the first 10,000 miles). No warning lights, no hard starts, no issues skipping the mid-rally oil change, nothing. Oil level stayed good & surprisingly clean. Water level went down after getting stuck in 4 traffic jams in NY, and went down again after that 45 min long one in AL, but never overheated. No issues firing back up after running out of gas in NY either. It ran fine on regular in NM when Premium wasn’t available. More power than I ever needed and sport bike handling. I was getting 230-250 miles per 5.6 gal tank, it really needs an aux fuel tank.

There are a few quirks I found irritating.

Riding position seemed good, but after 11 days I’d say the bars are too far forward & pegs are too cramped. The bar riser (when off backorder) + highway pegs ought to fix it. Seat also seemed pretty good at first, but after 11 days I think it needs a trip to Russell.

Hi beam/low beam lighting is awful, turning lights are actually useful. Aux lights + wiring from HD available sometime next month. 45W alt, unique CANBUS electric system, and wiring diagrams are not available/complete, so putting Clearwaters on it could be sketchy.

Chain: this bike runs a 530x128 chain. The highest quality 530 chain is only available 530x120, not long enough. I started with 2,500 miles on it and chain stretch was still an issue through the whole first leg (you actually do need to measure/adjust it every 600 miles) before it settled in. I remember 3 times up on the center stand on leg 1 adjusting it, and it was dangerously loose when I swapped tires at checkpoint 1.

Tank bag: the HD one was the only one available that fit at the time. I had to unclip to fill gas, & too small to hold rally book (rally book had to go in hard case, huge waste of time ratcheting every bonus). Hard panniers and/or Wolfman tank bag ought to fix that.

Side stand w/adaptive ride height. When you turn on power the suspension lowers 1-2”. When you do that with the side stand down all that weight goes straight on to the side stand, and you wind up leaning way past center to flip it up – and if your right foot is not on solid footing you run the risk of dropping it to the right. And you really don’t want to drop this bike.

You’d never know it from the handling, but this bike is incredibly top heavy. When I went down on the Jeep trail to Adams it went down so fast & hard it pinned me and dented my motojug – in the sand. I couldn’t budge it, and it took me + CHP two tries to stand it up. Just for a frame of reference I have no problem picking up sportsters, lowriders or FXRTs, and picked up my old F80GS four times during the polar bear rally in Ocala was comparatively easy. Either hard cases to keep it from going over so far or some kind of jack, I have to figure this out.

Is it a great bike? Absolutely, “for a Harley” not needed. Will it be the bike I list when I put in my unfinished business application for 2023? Maybe. If the hard panniers position it high enough to lift it up without assistance there’s a good chance of it. If not, I may just put a faring on my Crossbones, or buy a Road Glide.

Jim
 
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Jim in FL

Premier Member
#3
One more important thing on changing wheels. The front axle assembly has quite a few parts, and can be put back togeather wrong. There are no instructions available. There is a assembly tool listed to help, and it comes with instructions. Both the tool and instructions are also unavailable. The owner's manual does give instructions on measuring chain slack, but absolutly no instructions on how to adjust it (fortunatly it is pretty straightforward). This lack of information is a reoccuring theme with this bike.
 

Auburn

Premier Member
#4
One more important thing on changing wheels. The front axle assembly has quite a few parts, and can be put back togeather wrong. There are no instructions available. There is a assembly tool listed to help, and it comes with instructions. Both the tool and instructions are also unavailable. The owner's manual does give instructions on measuring chain slack, but absolutly no instructions on how to adjust it (fortunatly it is pretty straightforward). This lack of information is a reoccuring theme with this bike.
Kind a piss poor roll out by HD. They could (and should) do better than that.
 
#5
Not limited to HD - I've seen Yamaha do the same thing - release a bike and start sales, with the service manuals and such coming months later. I guess they assume no one will get through the break in period described in the owners manual during the first 6 months so they've got time to get manuals finished.
 
#6
During & after the 2021 I was asked by over half a dozen riders to post something about my Pan Am after running it in the rally (just FYI: completed Rally, DNF on points), so here it is.

My bike is a 2021 Pan America Special with both the Semi-active suspension and Adaptive ride height. The only two factory parts added were the HD tank bag and pannier rack mounts. I added Great loop bags to the sides, a Garmin 595 GPS, a Ram mount phone charger (that immediately died), and ratchet strapped a harbor freight hard cast to the pillion for the computer. That was all the prep I had time for (I had 6 weeks & worked full time every day).

To put it bluntly, this bike performed absolutely flawlessly (to the point that I was becoming obsessed with the idea I was missing something – this is the only bike I’ve owned in my life that didn’t have a major issue in the first 10,000 miles). No warning lights, no hard starts, no issues skipping the mid-rally oil change, nothing. Oil level stayed good & surprisingly clean. Water level went down after getting stuck in 4 traffic jams in NY, and went down again after that 45 min long one in AL, but never overheated. No issues firing back up after running out of gas in NY either. It ran fine on regular in NM when Premium wasn’t available. More power than I ever needed and sport bike handling. I was getting 230-250 miles per 5.6 gal tank, it really needs an aux fuel tank.

There are a few quirks I found irritating.

Riding position seemed good, but after 11 days I’d say the bars are too far forward & pegs are too cramped. The bar riser (when off backorder) + highway pegs ought to fix it. Seat also seemed pretty good at first, but after 11 days I think it needs a trip to Russell.

Hi beam/low beam lighting is awful, turning lights are actually useful. Aux lights + wiring from HD available sometime next month. 45W alt, unique CANBUS electric system, and wiring diagrams are not available/complete, so putting Clearwaters on it could be sketchy.

Chain: this bike runs a 530x128 chain. The highest quality 530 chain is only available 530x120, not long enough. I started with 2,500 miles on it and chain stretch was still an issue through the whole first leg (you actually do need to measure/adjust it every 600 miles) before it settled in. I remember 3 times up on the center stand on leg 1 adjusting it, and it was dangerously loose when I swapped tires at checkpoint 1.

Tank bag: the HD one was the only one available that fit at the time. I had to unclip to fill gas, & too small to hold rally book (rally book had to go in hard case, huge waste of time ratcheting every bonus). Hard panniers and/or Wolfman tank bag ought to fix that.

Side stand w/adaptive ride height. When you turn on power the suspension lowers 1-2”. When you do that with the side stand down all that weight goes straight on to the side stand, and you wind up leaning way past center to flip it up – and if your right foot is not on solid footing you run the risk of dropping it to the right. And you really don’t want to drop this bike.

You’d never know it from the handling, but this bike is incredibly top heavy. When I went down on the Jeep trail to Adams it went down so fast & hard it pinned me and dented my motojug – in the sand. I couldn’t budge it, and it took me + CHP two tries to stand it up. Just for a frame of reference I have no problem picking up sportsters, lowriders or FXRTs, and picked up my old F80GS four times during the polar bear rally in Ocala was comparatively easy. Either hard cases to keep it from going over so far or some kind of jack, I have to figure this out.

Is it a great bike? Absolutely, “for a Harley” not needed. Will it be the bike I list when I put in my unfinished business application for 2023? Maybe. If the hard panniers position it high enough to lift it up without assistance there’s a good chance of it. If not, I may just put a faring on my Crossbones, or buy a Road Glide.

Jim
Thanks for sharing Jim. Good feedback on the bike. Sorry about the unfinished business. Glad you made it back safe.
 

Olaf Moon

"And I think to myself...."
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#7
During & after the 2021 I was asked by over half a dozen riders to post something about my Pan Am after running it in the rally (just FYI: completed Rally, DNF on points), so here it is.

My bike is a 2021 Pan America Special with both the Semi-active suspension and Adaptive ride height. The only two factory parts added were the HD tank bag and pannier rack mounts. I added Great loop bags to the sides, a Garmin 595 GPS, a Ram mount phone charger (that immediately died), and ratchet strapped a harbor freight hard cast to the pillion for the computer. That was all the prep I had time for (I had 6 weeks & worked full time every day).

To put it bluntly, this bike performed absolutely flawlessly (to the point that I was becoming obsessed with the idea I was missing something – this is the only bike I’ve owned in my life that didn’t have a major issue in the first 10,000 miles). No warning lights, no hard starts, no issues skipping the mid-rally oil change, nothing. Oil level stayed good & surprisingly clean. Water level went down after getting stuck in 4 traffic jams in NY, and went down again after that 45 min long one in AL, but never overheated. No issues firing back up after running out of gas in NY either. It ran fine on regular in NM when Premium wasn’t available. More power than I ever needed and sport bike handling. I was getting 230-250 miles per 5.6 gal tank, it really needs an aux fuel tank.

There are a few quirks I found irritating.

Riding position seemed good, but after 11 days I’d say the bars are too far forward & pegs are too cramped. The bar riser (when off backorder) + highway pegs ought to fix it. Seat also seemed pretty good at first, but after 11 days I think it needs a trip to Russell.

Hi beam/low beam lighting is awful, turning lights are actually useful. Aux lights + wiring from HD available sometime next month. 45W alt, unique CANBUS electric system, and wiring diagrams are not available/complete, so putting Clearwaters on it could be sketchy.

Chain: this bike runs a 530x128 chain. The highest quality 530 chain is only available 530x120, not long enough. I started with 2,500 miles on it and chain stretch was still an issue through the whole first leg (you actually do need to measure/adjust it every 600 miles) before it settled in. I remember 3 times up on the center stand on leg 1 adjusting it, and it was dangerously loose when I swapped tires at checkpoint 1.

Tank bag: the HD one was the only one available that fit at the time. I had to unclip to fill gas, & too small to hold rally book (rally book had to go in hard case, huge waste of time ratcheting every bonus). Hard panniers and/or Wolfman tank bag ought to fix that.

Side stand w/adaptive ride height. When you turn on power the suspension lowers 1-2”. When you do that with the side stand down all that weight goes straight on to the side stand, and you wind up leaning way past center to flip it up – and if your right foot is not on solid footing you run the risk of dropping it to the right. And you really don’t want to drop this bike.

You’d never know it from the handling, but this bike is incredibly top heavy. When I went down on the Jeep trail to Adams it went down so fast & hard it pinned me and dented my motojug – in the sand. I couldn’t budge it, and it took me + CHP two tries to stand it up. Just for a frame of reference I have no problem picking up sportsters, lowriders or FXRTs, and picked up my old F80GS four times during the polar bear rally in Ocala was comparatively easy. Either hard cases to keep it from going over so far or some kind of jack, I have to figure this out.

Is it a great bike? Absolutely, “for a Harley” not needed. Will it be the bike I list when I put in my unfinished business application for 2023? Maybe. If the hard panniers position it high enough to lift it up without assistance there’s a good chance of it. If not, I may just put a faring on my Crossbones, or buy a Road Glide.

Jim
Jim
I dont know anyone else who has put 10,000 miles on this new bike.. I look forward to hearing any more details about servicing for example, after you are home and have time to go through it in detail -please?
 

tdragger

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#10
Thanks for the write up. I bet the lowering suspension and the side stand issue was a real "oh shit" moment the first time. Harley might want to consider disabling the lowering if the side stand is down.

How many miles until the chain length normalized? In the later legs did you have to adjust periodically?

How was the engine heat factor, especially when trapped in the traffic delays?

I'm sure next time you will have the bike much more situated for the rally. You were certainly on a tight schedule this time. I look forward to future updates as I'm very interested in this bike.
 
#12
When I get my bike back from the 10k service I plan to do both a video on how I set it up for the rally, and also a 12k ride review. I heard someone else did a 48/10 on theirs, so I'm not the only one running long.
There's a girl who's YouTube Channel I watch who is doing (or has now completed) a 48/10 on her PA. Wit Mega I believe is the name. Pretty decent content
 

cacomly

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#13
When I get my bike back from the 10k service I plan to do both a video on how I set it up for the rally, and also a 12k ride review. I heard someone else did a 48/10 on theirs, so I'm not the only one running long.
Thanks for this Jim. One question, you said 45W alternator which I suspect is a bit low. Can you clarify?

There's a girl who's YouTube Channel I watch who is doing (or has now completed) a 48/10 on her PA. Wit Mega I believe is the name. Pretty decent content
Whit (or Whitney) Meza is her name, she had a corporate bike for the 48 in 10. She did a SS1K before she left. Have not watched the videos but I have chatted with her and she said the bike ran great also
 
#14
^^I was curious how the corporate bike thing worked, anyone know? It's obviously some sort of short-term lease?
I recommend her videos for anyone who (like me) is preparing for their first IronButt!