The Adventure Touring sector worldwide is massive and growing. As the sport bike boom has bust – condemning the fastest of the fast to track days that are arguably better suited to the phenomenal power on tap – mainstream riders have made a beeline for retro lookalikes of the bikes they grew up on, or the motorcycling equivalent of a Range Rover, and are as likely to spend as much time on the dirt as your average Chelsea Tractor.
Buell spotted that with the very capable Ulysses – and the XT version which sacrificed most of its off-road potential but none of its styling – and frankly it was about time that Harley did the same. There are a significant number of Harley owners with a BMW GS in the shed, and in a brand conscious world, Harley-Davidson have got every chance of making serious in-roads into the market sector when the Pan America is launched in 2020.
Of course they have got to get the engineering right, but they are very bullish about it: they are aiming to offer the best experience in class and are not coming in to make up the numbers.