Harley-Davidson’s Pan America 1250 has been an extremely crucial bike for the company’s image in recent times. When a company known for making cruiser bikes around lazy V-twins makes an adventure bike for the first time ever, the industry tends to take notice. So, to put the Pan America 1250 through its paces and test its mettle, a group of five riders that included Raid de Himalaya founder — Vijay Parmar, avid traveller Vir Nakai, Ravi Avalur (head of Harley-Davidson business unit at Hero MotoCorp), Ankush Gulati (regional HOG director) and Amar Sandhu (dealer principal, Himalayan Harley-Davidson) traversed through the recently inaugurated Key La Pass which is 18,600 feet above sea level.
The Key La Pass is situated in Changthang in Leh district of Ladakh. At an altitude of 18,600 feet, it is the highest motorable pass in the world. The road leading to the pass is one riddled with obstacles like rocks, loose gravel, steep gradients, snow, ice and steep drops. That's not all, in addition to the challenging terrain this region sees temperatures dip below zero. Did we also mention the lack of oxygen? Yes, this wasn't just any long-distance expedition, this was a test both for man and machine.
The objective was straightforward - take the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 through the most challenging routes possible. Taking charge was veteran rider Vijay Parmar, who was tasked with chalking out the route for the ride. The troupe made overnight stays at Jispa, Pang and Leh but ensured they took roads that consisted of tricky off-road trails and sub-zero temperatures. The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 held up perfectly through all of this except on one occasion when the batteries had to be jump started due to the temperature falling to minus 12 degrees celsius the night before.
In Vijay Parmar’s own words - “The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 successfully traversed every obstacle-strewn course without missing a beat. The low-end torque easily dealt with a rocky gully that was at least a level three enduro climb and in the last two weeks of the bike being in our stewardship, it has only surprised us pleasantly”.
Commenting on the completion of the ride, Ravi Avalur, head of the Harley-Davidson Business Unit at Hero MotoCorp, said, “When Hero MotoCorp and Harley-Davidson began operations in India, our Chairman and CEO Dr Pawan Munjal’s brief to my team was to take the Harley-Davidson brand to new heights never seen before. We took his words quite literally, and my team and I took five Pan America 1250 motorcycles to an altitude that no other Harley-Davidson has ever been to anywhere in the world. It is a strong testament to the capabilities of the Pan America 1250 and a proud moment for all of us at Hero MotoCorp.”
The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 was recently launched and it took us by surprise with its overall packaging. You can read our review of the bike here. The first lot of Pan America 1250s that came to India has already sold out, such was the response to the bike. Is it time for us to pit it against the big daddy of ADV bikes, the BMW R 1250 GS then?