A brief Harley-Davidson press release makes the bold claim that the new Pan America adventure bike is “the #1 selling adventure touring motorcycle in North America.”
Unfortunately, H-D provides no actual sales numbers to back up this claim. While there’s a great deal of interest in the Pan America (and definitely include me in that category), without knowing how many Harley sold compared to the BMW R 1250 GS, the Honda Africa Twin, and all the other usual suspects in the big ADV bike world, and in what timeframe this occurred, such claims are little more than posturing.
Is H-D lying? No, I certainly don’t think so. I’ve started seeing Pan Americas on the road. People in motorcycle Facebook groups I’m on have been posting pictures of their new Pan Americas. They’re definitely selling. Additionally, as Canada Moto Guide points out, it’s entirely possible that the international chip shortage has left certain models built elsewhere in the world high and dry, while Harley doesn’t appear to have had any problems building theirs. I would say their claim is, as Mythbusters would describe it, “plausible.”
It’s also possible that they could be only counting sales on Tuesdays between June 28 and August 7, in Iowa, in counties whose names contain the letter C. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, such claims can still be true, “from a certain point of view.”
Which is it? I don’t know, and I won’t speculate. I’m not getting down on Harley here. I genuinely want to see the Pan America succeed, not just because I’m an adventure bike rider myself, but also because H-D desperately needs to innovate or die. The Pan America is their best shot at breaking out of the mold they’ve created for themselves, as middle-age riders (like me) seem more interested in ADV bikes than cruisers these days.
I absolutely plan on booking a Pan America demo ride at IMS Outdoors. Stay tuned to read how that goes.