It’s been a wild couple of years—and particularly if you’re Harley-Davidson. Its first foray into the adventure segment, the Pan America 1250, has amassed a strong following in a relatively short amount of time. Skeptics were given a lot of food for thought as the machine exceeded expectations, largely leaving both customers and critics pretty well impressed with its performance.
As the Motor Company turned its attention to the newly 975 Revolution Max-equipped Sportster Nightster in April, 2022, naturally, some began to wonder where else that engine might show up next. It turned out that Harley itself left one awfully big breadcrumb on an accessory listing for a lockable fuel cap meant to fit the Pan America 1250. The listing read, in part, “Fits ‘21-later RA965S, RA975, RA1250, and RA1250S models.”
For those unfamiliar, Harley’s model designations for the Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special are RA1250 and RA1250S, respectively. Thus, for the eagle-eyed individuals that spotted this text before it was taken down, it didn’t exactly take a rocket surgeon to figure out what RA965S and RA975 could possibly mean. (Sure, RA965S seemed slightly strange displacement-wise, but it could also have been a typo.)
Fast forward to October, 2022, and ace detective Dennis Chung over at Motorcycle.com makes the strongest case yet for the existence of a Pan America 975, somewhere in the ether. This time, he’s got a pack of accessory mirror installation instruction screenshots from nine separate countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, and Ukraine) to back him up. Additionally, he found three National Highway Traffic Safety Administration service bulletins that are linked to the existence of 2022 Harley-Davidson RA975 and RA975S models
Wait … 2022? Here, Chung speculates that the company may have intended to release middleweight PanAms sometime this year, but was deterred by ongoing supply chain issues. That’s a totally reasonable explanation, because OEMs have to file appropriate paperwork and get the regulatory ball rolling well before they start bringing out their latest and greatest to dazzle us all. While we may never know for certain if that’s what happened, it certainly seems plausible.
There are still a couple of months left in 2022, so it’s also possible that the Motor Company could wheel out Revo Max-engined PanAms sometime between now and the New Year. However, since the introduction of 2023 models is already well underway, if they do, that model year designation seems much more likely.
Would you be into a smaller Pan Am if it became available?