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I am still looking for my next motorcycle to replace my LT. So far, nothing has ticked enough boxes. I haven’t followed the Harley Pan America development all that closely as I am not interested in an adventure bike as my KLR650 ticks that box at the moment. However, after watching the RevZilla first look road test, I looked into the engine more closely as it sounds interesting. I am very impressed with the Harley Revolution Max 1250 engine. This engine looks to be designed almost perfectly for a luxury touring bike. It has large enough displacement to develop decent torque at the lower end, it revs high enough to develop good HP, it is liquid cooled, 4 valves per cylinder, high compression (probably requires high octane fuel which is probably the main negative), variable valve timing for broad power band and, best of all, hydraulic valve lifters to avoid valve adjustments.


I sure hope that Harley has enough success with the Pan America to convince them to build a luxury touring bike around this engine. I think this could be a hugely successful platform. It has nearly the power of the K1600, but with a smaller, more compact engine, that requires much less maintenance and is much simpler to work on. And the dynamic ride height feature is very nice and addresses the seat height issue that affects many bikes. It looks like Harley is showing signs of getting on the innovation train.

It is probably too much to expect Harley to develop a world class touring bike to compete with Honda and BMW, but it sure would be nice to have a competitive luxury touring bike combined with the extensive Harley dealer network. Ok, time to stop dreaming and get back to reality. 😁
 
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From motorcycle.com, the engine has a 13:1 compression, runs 91 octane but has knock sensors in case you have to use lower octane fuel
 

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From motorcycle.com, the engine has a 13:1 compression, runs 91 octane but has knock sensors in case you have to use lower octane fuel
I missed that. Good catch. I am even more impressed. Knock sensors just like cars have had for 30 years. I have never been a Harley fan and did not think they had the engineering chops to design something modern and competitive (they had Porsche do the heavy lifting last time they tried), but this engine is really impressive and may be the most modern engine on the market today.

Now if they will just design a broader range of bikes around it, I may ... gasp, cough, sputter ... consider buying a Harley. 😁
 

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Now if they will just design a broader range of bikes around it, I may ... gasp, cough, sputter ... consider buying a Harley. 😁
Trouble is, you will then be recognised as a "Harley owner". Can you cope with that? :LOL:
 

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I am also curious about new development from any manufacturer that appear to go "outside of its comfort zone" and brings new ideas / concepts on the market. Too many manufacturer of car and motorcycles just follow the current trend and copy whatever seem to catch on.

For the last 5 to 10 years the trend is less of "large sport touring motorcycles OR pure sport motorcycle" and more so-called "large adventure bikes" - many that will never see dirt. A bit like the trend of buying a large 4x4 SUV and staying in the city - a lot of marketing (brainwashing) and not enough good economical logic (in fuel consumption) I would say ;-)

HOWEVER, given that I have seen too many bugs and design failure in my lifetime career and hobby (software and car / motorcycles), I now wait at least 3 years before I buy any NEW MODEL of car or motorcycle. For the big 4 from Japan, I can trust to wait only 2 years.

Let whoever wants to be a guinea pig work out the bugs and mechanical issues. Down the road, this will let you have access to a new or used one in 2 to 3 years , depending on result of course...
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Trouble is, you will then be recognised as a "Harley owner". Can you cope with that? :LOL:
I’m actually pretty much brand agnostic. I ride what best suits my mission. I owned Kawasaki exclusively for the first half of my life, well, ignoring my first mini bike which was a Chibi. Then Kawasaki abandoned their luxury touring customers when they dropped the Voyager XII in 2004. When they came out with the Vulcan Voyager 1700 they moved into the Harley wannabe world so I moved to BMW and the LT. When BMW moved away from the luxury touring customer in 2009, I figured I would at some point have to make the same decision regarding BMW as I had to make with Kawasaki. I keep hoping BMW will address the market the LT represented, but I suspect that will not happen before I buy my next bike, which probably will be this year or next. Even Honda has moved away from the luxury touring market. I guess it is just too small to worry about. If Harley were to address our niche, I would buy a Harley and not look back. 😁

This new Harley engine is a tour de force and, assuming it is reliable, gives Harley a very nice platform to design a range of street bikes around. I suspect Harley won’t be able to shift away from this traditional cruiser domain, but then I never thought they’d make an electric bike and an adventure bike. So, to borrow from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”, maybe the dwindling traditional Harley customer base has awoken a sleeping giant.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am also curious about new development from any manufacturer that appear to go "outside of its comfort zone" and brings new ideas / concepts on the market. Too many manufacturer of car and motorcycles just follow the current trend and copy whatever seem to catch on.

For the last 5 to 10 years the trend is less of "large sport touring motorcycles OR pure sport motorcycle" and more so-called "large adventure bikes" - many that will never see dirt. A bit like the trend of buying a large 4x4 SUV and staying in the city - a lot of marketing (brainwashing) and not enough good economical logic (in fuel consumption) I would say ;-)

HOWEVER, given that I have seen too many bugs and design failure in my lifetime career and hobby (software and car / motorcycles), I now wait at least 3 years before I buy any NEW MODEL of car or motorcycle. For the big 4 from Japan, I can trust to wait only 2 years.

Let whoever wants to be a guinea pig work out the bugs and mechanical issues. Down the road, this will let you have access to a new or used one in 2 to 3 years , depending on result of course...
We think similarly. One of the big questions is: can Harley make this engine reliable and durable? If they can, this is a huge leap forward for Harley in particular, and for motorcycles in general. I am amazed at how far behind auto technology the motorcycle world still is to this day. My 2006 Sonata had VVT and it is just now appearing in motorcycles and often is a “poor man’s” binary solution like what BMW has in the R1250 rather than a true continuously adjustable system like many cars have had for years. And knock sensors and such to handle a range of fuel quality is available on the cheapest economy cars and has been so for years now, yet appear on only a couple of motorcycles. There is no excuse for this, especially for companies like BMW and Honda that make very technologically advanced cars. Don’t their bike divisions talk at all with the car guys?

I agree that we need to see 3+ years of service on this new Revolution Max engine, but if it proves reliable, this may be one time where Harley’s engineering actually lives up to the marketing “Revolution Max” hype.
 
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Baldy (one of the founders of Adventure Rider) did a great write up and video of the Pan America. You can view it here:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Baldy (one of the founders of Adventure Rider) did a great write up and video of the Pan America. You can view it here:
Great video. Thanks for posting. I am even more impressed now. Harleys attention to detail is impressive. Still not really into an adventure bike like the PA, but if they build a luxury touring bike around this engine, I may find myself at a Harley dealer. And my nearest Harley dealer is 18 miles away rather than 130 miles to my nearest BMW dealer.
 
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I've owned Harleys since my first, a '74 SX-350, made by Aermacchi . I recently sold my '86 FLH in favor of an '06 Ultra, and now also an '02 LT.

Harley's bread and butter from a profitability standpoint is the FLH line, and the Motor Company is known to strangle its children in the cradle. Over the years it has done all sorts of "advancements" to expand its appeal and market to simply walk away after the big splash. For example, how many of the "Street" 500/750s do you see on the streets? They have been discontinued. Dealers had no inventory at their introduction, then got stuck with stock when interest quickly waned. They were actually nice bikes. The engine would work well as a Sportster replacement. And there is the V-Rod...another showroom dust collector that never reached its potential despite a Porsche designed engine. Its margins were too small for dealers. Wait until the Livewire is ditched...won't be long. I see the same for these Pan Americas. And whatever happened to the Buell line and its Ulysses models?

Harley has to break away from the founding family influence. Willie G. doesn't do much more than design blackouts and skulls. Neither do the others. Maybe the new CEO can make it happen. I don't bet on it.

BTW: First post in the forum. As noted, new to BMWs, under my son's influence.
 

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I've owned Harleys since my first, a '74 SX-350, made by Aermacchi . I recently sold my '86 FLH in favor of an '06 Ultra, and now also an '02 LT.

Harley's bread and butter from a profitability standpoint is the FLH line, and the Motor Company is known to strangle its children in the cradle. Over the years it has done all sorts of "advancements" to expand its appeal and market to simply walk away after the big splash. For example, how many of the "Street" 500/750s do you see on the streets? They have been discontinued. Dealers had no inventory at their introduction, then got stuck with stock when interest quickly waned. They were actually nice bikes. The engine would work well as a Sportster replacement. And there is the V-Rod...another showroom dust collector that never reached its potential despite a Porsche designed engine. Its margins were too small for dealers. Wait until the Livewire is ditched...won't be long. I see the same for these Pan Americas. And whatever happened to the Buell line and its Ulysses models?

Harley has to break away from the founding family influence. Willie G. doesn't do much more than design blackouts and skulls. Neither do the others. Maybe the new CEO can make it happen. I don't bet on it.

BTW: First post in the forum. As noted, new to BMWs, under my son's influence.
Thank you for your point of view - the fact you have some Harley experience makes it more credible. Useful as a 1st post.

Although I have never owned a Harley , I have been around the motorcycle industry for more than 40 years. A few years in my youth being a parts dept guy - remaining of this long period just being a rider and a guy who enjoys wrenching on bikes - a few BMWs.

From my perch, I would say your post is pretty much what I think about Harley right now. Time will tell if they will be able to get out of the corner they have painted themselves into. Given current economy and aging baby-boomers , I think their attempt to make serious changes is a bit late.
 
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I've owned Harleys since my first, a '74 SX-350, made by Aermacchi . I recently sold my '86 FLH in favor of an '06 Ultra, and now also an '02 LT.

Harley's bread and butter from a profitability standpoint is the FLH line, and the Motor Company is known to strangle its children in the cradle. Over the years it has done all sorts of "advancements" to expand its appeal and market to simply walk away after the big splash. For example, how many of the "Street" 500/750s do you see on the streets? They have been discontinued. Dealers had no inventory at their introduction, then got stuck with stock when interest quickly waned. They were actually nice bikes. The engine would work well as a Sportster replacement. And there is the V-Rod...another showroom dust collector that never reached its potential despite a Porsche designed engine. Its margins were too small for dealers. Wait until the Livewire is ditched...won't be long. I see the same for these Pan Americas. And whatever happened to the Buell line and its Ulysses models?

Harley has to break away from the founding family influence. Willie G. doesn't do much more than design blackouts and skulls. Neither do the others. Maybe the new CEO can make it happen. I don't bet on it.

BTW: First post in the forum. As noted, new to BMWs, under my son's influence.
I hope you are wrong, but I fear you are correct.
 
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