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2022 Pan America 1250 Special
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got back from a 5000 round-trip from Indianapolis, Indiana to Portland, Oregon on my 2022 PAS. First of all, despite the impression you might get here, the mechanicals on the bike were flawless. I did have some issues with electronics but nothing that caused anything more than minor annoyance. More details on that later.

I forgot to take a photo when I left Indianapolis but here is a picture at my first gas stop in Carlock, IL:

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Automotive fuel system

As you can see, the bike is stock except for:

1. HD top case and racks
2. Mosko Moto Panniers
3. Adventure Bike Pegs (Highway Foot Pegs for BMW and Pan America ADV Bikes)
4. HD Sundowner Seat
5. Old (circa 1980) Eclipse Tank Bag
6. HD 18" windscreen

At this point it looked like rain on the horizon so I put on my rain gear and pressed on toward Iowa where I planned to stay in Sioux City for the first night.

It did rain and this underscores the importance of being sure of your equipment. I thought I had waterproof boots but it didn't take but 5 minutes and they were filled with water. Oops! Nothing worse than having wet feet. I stopped again for gas in Iowa City, IA and was trying to find a way onto I-380 N but there was construction everywhere and I ended up being lost. In my driving about I noticed an HD dealer there just off I-80. It turned out to be McGrath Hawkeye Harley-Davidson and I decided to see if they had some waterproof boots. Well they fixed me up and I was again on my way with dry feet and boots.

Made it to Sioux City, IA and spent the first night there. First day was about 675 miles but I was there before dark (my plan was to avoid night riding):

Sky Plant Tree Building Asphalt

This was near sunset but I had already checked into the hotel and had dinner.

The next day my destination was Casper, WY via US-20 across Nebraska. I've never been across Nebraska but it gets a bad reputation. Beautiful rolling hills in eastern NE and a relaxing ride. The last 50 miles or so into Casper on I-25 I had to put my rain gear on again and give those new boots a water test. They worked great but the wind was horrible. Gusts from the north must have been 40-50 mph and somehow it was swirling up and trying to pull my helmet off my head. I did make it to Casper and spent the 2nd night there:

Tire Sky Wheel Cloud Land vehicle

That's Casper Mountain in the background looking over I-25. My next destination was Mountain Home, Idaho and there is a lot of beautiful scenery in Wyoming. I had intended to take US-26 most of the way but here is where I had my first experience with Harley's HD app failing me in the navigation department. Even though I had carefully mapped out my route, when I started it the route changed to take me to Rock Springs, WY and I-80. Unfortunately I didn't notice this until I was well on the way there. So even though it was not my planned route, it was a nice ride. I ended up going through Ogden, UT and then up I-84 to Mountain Home, ID.

I had two serious problems with the HD navigation app and they are, IMHO, inexcusable! These are:

1. Rerouting without notice which may lead you to somewhere other than where you want to go. (This happened again on the way home - more on that later)
2. Navigation just stops, usually at an important time and you cannot just "re-start" a route unless there is internet. As best I can tell the downloaded maps do nothing!!

Since HD decided to use their own app vs. Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, they need to step up and do better than these established players. In my view they have fallen way short and this detracts from the HD user experience in a HUGE way!

I found that in order to be sure it routed me where I wanted to go I needed to verify the route on the bike's display (not all that easy to do since you have to zoom way out and you can't always make out the details) and if it's not right, you need to use the "take me there" feature to take you to someplace where the rest of the navigation is what you want.

Anyway, made it to Mountain Home, ID and spent night #3 there. All packed up any ready to get to Portland. Beautiful morning in Idaho:

Wheel Tire Fuel tank Plant Vehicle

Once I was west of Boise there are just miles and miles of green irrigated fields. I hit the Oregon Welcome Center on I-84:

Plant Plant community Sky Natural landscape Tree

From there I took US-26 from Ontario, OR to Vale, OR and then US-20 to Bend, OR. This part of Oregon is starkly beautiful as the green fields give way to scrub brush and then to mountains. Here is where I had the 2nd electronic issue with the bike. I stopped at a turn-out to stretch my legs a bit and when I turned the bike back on the opening ceremony completed and then the display blanked out. I tried turning it off and back on a few times without any success but the bike started fine but riding without ANY information is difficult. I rode for another 20-30 miles ("blind" as it were) and then stopped again and after about 10 minutes I turned the bike on again and the display worked. Oddly my trip odometers were reset to 0 but other than that it was the same. Again the navigation bit me here since the map was gone and there was no internet where I was so I couldn't re-start the route despite the useless saved map. I had picked up an Oregon map at the rest stop earlier so I double checked that and went on.

AGAIN - bugs like this are UNACCEPTABLE! This is a 2022 model and crap like this should not happen!

Once I was out of the hills I was able to get a signal and restart the navigation app. I came up over a ride and was greeted with this:

Cloud Sky Plant Ecoregion Azure

That's the Three Sisters on the right and Mt. Bachelor on the left. You could also see Mt. Jefferson but it was too far to the right to get in the photo. This was taken from a rest stop somewhere east of Bend, Oregon.

After gassing up (food and fuel) in Bend, I took the scenic route via US-20 and then OR-22 through Sisters and Detroit to Salem, OR where I hopped on I-5 for the last leg into Portland. Well, Hillsboro actually where my daughter lives. Here I am showing up trying to figure out which building is hers...

Plant Tire Wheel Tree Window

So that was 4 days of riding, mostly about 600 miles each for a total of 2400 miles +/-. The route was:

Indianapolis, IN => Sioux City, IA => Casper, WY => Mountain Home, ID => Portland, OR

I was very impressed with the bike's handling and comfort. That's something because my other bike is a Honda Goldwing GL1800. Wind protection, while not as good as the Wing is actually excellent but I did need the 18" windscreen as I'm 6' 2" and the stock screen put the airflow at eye level. The Sundowner seat is awesome! I highly recommend it. The stock seat is above average for OEM seats but I was hurting after 100-150 miles on it. I went all day for 4 days straight on the Sundowner seat and had no issues.

HD Sundowner Seat

I did the pillion too as the small projection on the OEM pillion hit me right in the butt and it was annoying as heck!

I checked and lubed the chain at each nightly stop. I had the tools needed to adjust the chain if needed but I found that there was no change in the chain slack from before I left home. So the only maintenance I did in Oregon was to clean and then re-lube the chain, check the oil, and clean some of the bugs off the bike.

I won't go into a lot of detail about Portland as this is about the bike, but despite its major issues, there are still many cool things to do in the city. We took what turned out to be quite a hike up to Washington Park and got this view of Mt. Hood and the Rose Garden up there:

Plant Sky Flower Plant community Cloud

While peaceful looking, that's an active volcano and has been called the most dangerous volcano in North America. You can see Mt. Saint Helens from this vantage point too but it's a lot shorter now that its top half is blown off...

PART II - The Trip Home

I planned to take a different route home which was:

Portland, OR => Missoula, MT => Gillette, WY => Albert Lea, MN => Indianapolis, IN

The scenery from Portland to Missoula was amazing. If you have not been down the Columbia River Gorge you are missing out. It's also amazing that you're almost to Idaho and there is a shipping port on the Columbia. Then it was up into Washington and through Spokane. Then into the mountains and through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and more scenery. Idaho is narrow in that part so I was soon into Montana. Again, very scenic.

Of course they have beer in Missoula:

Tableware Drinkware Beer Barware Beer glass

The next day, from Missoula to Gillette, WY was the tough one as they were forecasting HOT weather and they did not disappoint! The day started off cool (I usually started by 0630) and I had 3 layers on but by the first gas stop it was 90F. Before long it was 95F. The hottest I saw was 106F. At that temperature the more air you get the hotter you get, so the only thing to do is stop and cool off and drink plenty of water. I went through nearly a gallon of water this day but I did make it to Gillette, the last 20 miles or so in the rain.

I had heard stories about the bike not handling high temps well but I did not have any issues with the bike. The coolant temperature, while I was riding, even at 106F never went above about 210F. When I stopped it often went up to about 220F but it does that almost all the time. So no issues, the engine performed very well even at high elevation and high temperature.

BTW - I am an ATGATT rider so I didn't strip down for the hot weather. Safety is just as important when it's hot as when it's cool. So that means full-face helmet, armored jacket, gloves, padded riding jeans, and flip-flops. Just kidding, riding boots. Staying hydrated is the key in my opinion. Don't risk yourself by taking off the gear to stay cool. It's not a good tradeoff!

Day #3 back was from Gillette, WY through South Dakota, to Albert Lea, MN. I went by Spearfish, Deadwood, Sturgis, Rapid City but I didn't really feel the need to stop. That part of SD is not what I had expected. Very green and hilly and a nice ride. The hot weather had moved on and the high was only about 93F. Made it to Albert Lea, MN and spent the 3rd night there. Thunderstorms overnight soaked the bike but did wash some of the bugs off.

Day #4 was rain gear all the way home. I was chasing the storms and hit rain and even some hail all the way from MN to IN. But this is where I had that problem with the navigation again. I had mapped out a route from MN down to Iowa City and then via I-74 through Peoria and Danville to Indianapolis. It's not the shortest but I didn't want to go through or even near Chicago:
Ecoregion Map Slope Rectangle World

But when this ends up in the bike somewhere it gets re-routed through Chicago. It's VERY frustrating!! I ended up having to create a new route from Albert Lea to Iowa City, IA and then I could use this route home. I don't get why this is so difficult. If I have designed a route it should take MY route with no questions asked!

Anyway, rain on and off and sometimes pretty hard rain all the way home but made it safely (#1 priority) and without any mechanical issues. I had taken enough tools that I could have adjusted the chain slack (didn't need to), remove the front and/or rear wheels, and adjust just about anything. I also had a tire patch kit, an electric air pump, a tire pressure gauge, a roadside emergency flasher, and a flashlight. I had two 1L bottles (the red bottles in the LH rear pocket) a chain cleaning brush, a can of chain cleaner, and a can of chain lube. I didn't use the spare fuel but I did use the chain lube every day and I used the brush and chain cleaner in Portland.

The Adventure Bike pegs were awesome as were the Mosko Moto bags and the Harley top box.

Overall, I give the PAS a 7.5/10. It would be a 9.5/10 if not for the electronic issues which I cannot believe Harley has not addressed or even acknowledged at this point. My guess is that they farmed all that development work out to some sweat shop in India and nobody in the states has a clue as to how it all works.

Hopefully someone will get smart on these systems and get some updates out there. Until then, I guess we'll have to live with it.

I really was looking forward to posting this to help offset what seems to be a lot of bad news from PAS owners but it's my belief that happy owners generally don't talk a lot while those who do have issues are much more vocal.

Enjoy and ride safe!

2022 Pan America 1250 Special
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'll also add that many times when I stopped for fuel, food, or for the night, people asked about the bike. It ran the gamut from "what the heck is that?" to "that's the first LiveWire I've seen on the road!" Oddly that last one was when I was pumping gas and I was tempted to tell the guy, "you don't put gas in an electric motorcycle" but I was nice and said, "no, it's a Pan America Special, not a LiveWire."

But people wanted to talk about it and wanted to know what I thought. Some said they were thinking about trading in their "xxx-glide" for one or that they had one on order and were waiting for it to come in. I did have a nice conversation with 3 guys on traditional Harleys in South Dakota who were on their way back from Fairbanks, Alaska. They had been on the road for 3 weeks. Hard core of you ask me. To the casual observer they looked like a rough group but they were really nice and we had a good talk. They wondered how the PAS would handle the 100s of miles of washboard on the Alaska Highway. I've not had mine off-road but my guess is it would do better than what they were riding.
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