Casting our minds back to autumn 2022, all of the motorcycle manufacturers were revealing their motorcycles for 2023…well for the most part that is, apart from Harley-Davidson who favour the January launch.
In the same period, there was much chatter, speculation and assumption that Harley Davidson would be bringing out a brand new Pan America but this time with a 975cc engine, the same that is currently found in the Nightster and Nightster S.
The rumours gathered pace and it was almost a foregone conclusion that the PanAm 975 would be the show stopper at the launch, but it was ominously missing. In fact many of the predictions in the ether were unrealised, so what happened?
The adventure bike world has been in transition in the last few years as more riders are leaning towards smaller engine motorcycles that sit in the mid range. 600-900cc bracket yields many offerings from the likes of Triumph, KTM, BMW, Suzuki and Kawasaki to name but a few. Whilst the big ADV is no dead yet, there was a feeling that the big bikes weren’t really needed for most riding applications and for those who really liked to get muddy, then a smaller, more nimble and easier to handle bike was the order of the day.
Enter Harley Davidson who had a good deal of success with the PA and PA Special using the 1250cc Revolution Max engine, now wondering if they really should have introduced a smaller variant to fit in with the current trend.
So all seemed logical that a PA 975 would be launched in 2023 but something made the company pause for thought. So what was it?
Well it could be based upon 2nd years figures for the Pan America 1250 which was significantly less than the first year. Also other manufacturers such as Ducati with the Desert X and Yamaha with the Ténéré 700 had a good market share too.
So whilst the 1250 PA was surprisingly good, it could have had a short lived beach party, and the 975 project might just have got buried in the dunes. So part strong competition and in part the realisation that even a smaller Pan America would not sell very well, especially in the American heartlands where smaller is not viewed as generally better.
However there is still time for the company to surprise the sun seekers for the remainder of the summer. It was always thought that the company would also be releasing an Icon bike and even another Enthusiast bike before the year was out. However, as we know, these two offerings arrived early some two months ago at the beginning of May.
So this definitely leaves the door ajar for the company to release another bike before the autumn, and it could very well be the Pan America 975.
We had merely assumed that it would arrive within the first six months of 2023, but the company may have revised their schedules to capitalise on demand indicators and leave the dirt capable machines ready for when fun can most certainly be had in the mud from September onwards.
Recent mutterings in the back channels would appear to confirm that this indeed could have been their cunning plan the whole time. To let it be known that a bike of two would be coming soon, only to go radio silent on the topic thus generating a groundswell of speculation and desire. This is all great marketing by the way, especially if it is true.
Could we see another Pan America before autumn and could it come with a 975cc engine? What about an even smaller size bike with a smaller engine? Possibly a 500-700cc engine in a smaller chassis? Other manufacturers such as Honda are making hay with smaller ADVs right now so this could be what the company need to focus on.
Is the 975 Pan America coming soon? Perhaps. However at this stage it could be thrown our way anytime during any month, or possibly they could play the waiting game and launch in 2024!