A smaller, more affordable Pan America makes a lot of sense if Harley-Davidson wants to expand its share of the ADV market.
by Dennis Chung from https://www.motorcycle.com
Earlier this year, signs of a Pan America 975 were mistakenly mentioned in an official Harley-Davidson web page for an accessory locking fuel cap. Up until shortly after our article went live, the page listed the fuel cap as being compatible with the RA1250 (Pan America 1250) and RA1250S (Pan America 1250 Special) as well as two unannounced models: the RA975 and RA965S, which we assumed to be Pan America models powered by the 975cc version of the Revolution Max engine, like the one equipped on the Nightster.
Motorcycle.com has now obtained further evidence of the existence of middleweight versions of Harley-Davidson’s adventure-tourer, once again from Harley itself, as well as the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The proof comes via official installation instructions for a pair of accessory mirrors designed for Revolution Max models. The ’66 Collection Round Mirrors and Empire Mirrors (available in black anodized or anodized with machine-milled highlights) are designed to fit all RevMax models, including the Pan America 1250, Pan America 1250 Special, Sportster S, and Nightster. For most markets, including the U.S., the installation instructions specify additional steps for “for all models except RA1250S”, which is the model code for the Pan America 1250 Special. These added steps are necessary because the non-Pan America models (i.e. the Sportster S and Nightster) come with bar-end mirrors and require installing handlebar mounts for the accessory mirrors.
The instructions for a few other markets, however, provide the same additional steps “for all models except RA1250S and RA975S”. Both model codes are listed in the instructions for Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, and Ukraine. We’ve gone through the mirror kit instructions for all other markets and languages, and none of them mention the RA975 (or the previously leaked RA965S which now appears to have been a typo.)
It’s probably not a coincidence that the nine markets above do not have their own dedicated sections on www.harley-davidson.com (i.e. they do not appear in the country and language dropdown in the top right corner of every page of the Harley-Davidson consumer website.) What this suggests is that someone on Harley-Davidson’s web team went through every language on their site and scrubbed mentions of the RA975S, but because these nine countries aren’t on the site, they somehow got overlooked.
Further proof comes to us from NHTSA’s Safety Issues and Recalls page. This page lets people look up any recalls, safety investigations, consumer complaints and manufacturer communications in NHTSA’s system. As of this writing, if you click on the Vehicle tab and search for “RA975” or “RA975S,” you will find three service bulletins for a 2022 Harley-Davidson RA975 and RA975S.
Two of the bulletins, M1559 and M1560, are for all Harley-Davidson Revolution Max models, including the 2021-2022 RA1250 and RA1250S, the 2021-2022 RH1250S (Sportster S), the 2022 RH975 (Nightster) and the 2022 RA975 and RA975S. The third service bulletin, M1558, is for all 2021-2022 Pan America models regarding the proper routing of the lower radiator hose, and it affects the 2021-2022 Pan America 1250 and 1250 Special, as well as the two 2022 RA975 models. The wording of service bulletin M1558 suggests the smaller models will also go by the “Pan America” name.
Looking at all this evidence, it seems pretty clear the RA975 and RA975S exist, and are unlikely to be the result of a simple typo, alhough the previous leak listing a RA965S now appears to be an error. There is no logical reason to exclude the RA975S from additional installation steps if it doesn’t exist. Likewise, the NHTSA information suggests it’s highly unlikely someone mistook the RA975 and RA975S for the Sportster S or Nightster.
What’s particularly interesting is that NHTSA lists the RA975 and RA975S as 2022 models. That, plus the fact the smaller Pan America was mentioned in instructions for accessories currently on sale suggests that Harley-Davidson likely planned to include the mid-sized ADVs this year but decided against launching them, perhaps due to supply chain constraints. The installation instructions and all three service bulletins are dated between Aug. 8 and Aug. 16, which gives us an indication on when a decision may have been made.
Still, we expect the RA975 and RA975S will come out at some point, likely for 2023. Harley-Davidson is expected to announce the bulk of its 2023 models in January. An appearance at EICMA might be possible, but at this point, the only Harley presence confirmed for the show is a booth about the brand’s 120th anniversary events.