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RideFast Dec 2019

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TWINING Harley-Davidson

TWINING Harley-Davidson is not messing around. It’s on a moon-shot mission to save itself by metamorphosing into a modern motorcycle company, while trying not to tread on its “badass” Boomer cruiser base in the process. Step one: the all-electric Livewire, a next-to silent streetbike. And now, at EICMA, far from the stars, stripes and apple pies of home, the company has released its next two efforts to find new relevance in a changing age. One has to wonder how these things would’ve gone down at an American release full of die-hard Harley fans who hold the brand’s old-school image very dearly. N E W H A R L E Y - D A V I D S O N P A N A M E R I C A & B R O N X and we’re not. The saddle is a thin two-tone leather pad, and there are leather handlebar grips matching one of those two tones, along with very minimalist controls and buttons. The brakes are racy radial jiggers on non-vented discs, and the rims are barelythere forged aluminum jobbies. As far as motorcycle designs made by car companies go, the AMB 001 would have to rank as one of the better examples going around. Aston’s car designs are among our favorites in the auto world, and it seems the design aesthetic works on two wheels as well as four. Its looks are fresh, strange and shocking, and yet it still looks like it’d work as a motorcycle if you can deal with the seating position. That’s hardly a worry, as it’s only ever going to be ridden on racetracks and up onto display stands at events, anyway. It’s got more than enough special bits and street cred to make it a collectible, and we doubt Aston will have a problem moving those 100 individually numbered units – even at a price of €108,000 including tax. That would equate to around R1.8m, but prices can do weird things as they cross the Atlantic, so who knows what it’ll fetch on our soil. The new bikes are an adventure tourer and a streetfighter, both powered by a new Revolution engine platform. These will be 60-degree V-Twins, naturally, but liquid cooled and with dual downdraft throttle bodies. They’ll also make a lot more power than Harley riders are accustomed to, by revving significantly higher than the big cruiser donks. The engines are narrow and compact, they form part of the frame for engineering purposes, and they feature internal counterbalancers to cut down on vibrations. The new bikes will have to stop as well as they go, and Harley has teamed up with Brembo to create a special set of radial, 4-piston monoblocs that should set new braking standards for the marque. Harley’s key input seems to have been minor and mainly aesthetic, adding a few “softer curves” to the caliper designs. Hopefully that’s all; Brembo knows a thing or two about the actual braking part. Likewise, H-D has teamed up with Michelin to develop special co-branded tyres for these two bikes, presumably to drum a few extra bucks out of its consumer base when it’s time for new hoops. The 2021 Pan America Adventure Tourer First up, the adventure machine. The Pan America 1250 is H-D’s answer to the R1200GS, the 1290 Super Adventure, the Super Ténéré, and the rest of the colossal “big chook chasers” that make up the ADV segment. While late to the party (everyone else seems to be refocusing their efforts toward middleweight adventure tourers), the Pan America will use a 1250cc “Revolution Max” engine, with which Harley is targeting an output over 145 horses and 122 Nm of torque. The company calls this its “two-wheel multi-tool, built to endure, designed to explore, and engineered for the unknown.” It looks the part, with its beefy bash-plate, touring screen, barkbusters, massive three-box pannier system, spoked wheels, chunky off-road tires, comfy looking dual seat and an exposed subframe that looks terrific to strap a tent to. There’s no weight figure as yet, or indeed a price, but Harley has committed to getting this 2021 model into stores in late 2020. The 2021 Bronx Streetfighter Every bit as interesting is the Bronx, which takes some of the Livewire’s snub-nosed proportions and marries them with a 975cc version of the Revolution motor and a few licks of the kind of flair Erik Buell brought to the Harley stable in the late 1990s with bikes like the White Lightning. This is no Buell, though. H-D presumably still owns the patents on some of Buell’s outrageous ideas, but the Bronx has no rim-mounted disc brake, underslung exhaust, fuel-in-the-frame or oil-in-theswingarm business. Indeed it’s a fairly conservative effort at a streetfighter, especially in an era where things like the Super Duper Duke and Tuono V4 walk the Earth. Power and torque figures are targeted to be at least 115 horses at 95 Nm, respectively, which should be fun enough provided it’s not much more than the 225-odd kg it looks like it might be. Harley calls it a middleweight, but one with an “unapologetic attitude.” We feel it’d be a bit less apologetic if it had access to the full-fat 1250cc motor, but it’s a nice enough looker to sell well if it rides well, and no doubt it’ll look and sound much more Harleyworthy and thunderous once owners have bled their way through the options catalog. 70 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2019 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2019 7 1