Harley-Davidson is going to build an adventure bike. This morning, Harley-Davidson announced the new Pan America 1250 adventure bike, scheduled to hit the market in 2020. It’s a new direction for the company, and it’s an all-new platform. The Pan America will be built around a new liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin. We don’t know much about that engine, only what we see in photos.

Harley-Davidson is also making some noise about a new “modular” design, with engines of different capacity, so we may see this new V-twin available in different displacements, similar to the old Sportster design.

It would not be surprising to see this new V-twin replace the Sportster, as we’ve been saying for a while that the old air-cooled Sportster motor is going to be harder and harder to sell overseas due to emissions standards. The new liquid-cooled engine will be easier to tune for emissions reduction.

Harley-Davidson has released no specs for the new Pan America, only a minimal text blurb and photos that show a bike that looks like the love child of a Road Glide and a dual sport bike.

Many of the components do look like something you’d see on a familiar adventure bike: trellis subframe, big wire wheels, skid plate, hand guards, etc. This means that the Pan America 1250 will share its frame with the upcoming 1250 Custom and the smaller 975cc Streetfighter. Of course, it will feature a different subframe and swingarm to suit its adventure touring needs. The split cradle frame uses Harley’s 45-degree V-twin as a stressed member. But, overall, it’s still definitely derived from Harley-Davidson’s Big Twin lineup.

Harley-Davidson does intend to make this machine offroad-worthy, though, as the marketing blurb reads “The commanding riding position allows the rider to see the world from another point of view. Travel coast-to-coast. On road or off.” Interesting times are ahead, for sure.

A clear look at the underpinnings of the Pan America reveals a relatively compact engine and frame. The ABS controller can also be seen tucked away inside the trellis subframe.
Chain drive suggests the Pan America is ready for hard duty in the dirt.
This screen capture of a test rider jumping a Pan America prototype says much about the suspension performance.