The updated Tiger 1200 and Pan America are the two latest and hottest additions to the ADV segment.
The definition of adventure is different for everyone, and so are the adventure bikes. Discovering new places, camping, off-roading, crunching big miles, or even just commuting. Regardless of your favorite activity, ADV bikes are the right choice for many different types of riders. That’s the reason why ADV bikes are wildly popular and extremely competitive. ADV riders are living the dream nowadays with so many options.
The latest addition is coming from a brand new to this segment. Harley Davidson has introduced Pan America last year, venturing outside of what they are known for. It is not easy to get out of your comfort zone. It not only shocked the Harley fans, but also ADV fans were not expecting to see an ADV Harley until it hit the market. Harley did a great job with the overall design and the looks, with an attractive front fascia without being too offensive to its fans.
On the other side, we have one of the most well-known ADV bikes the 2022 Triumph Tiger 1200. It is one of the first rivals that come to mind when we are talking about the BMW GS, which is considered the flagship of the ADV segment The biggest Tiger in Triumph’s model lineup underwent a major overhaul, including the looks, performance, and weight.
Starting with the looks, it carries a similar design language to the smaller Tiger 900. For an untrained eye, it is very hard to find a difference, but mainly the biggest indicator is the larger dimensions and the shaft drive that is only available with 1200. Like the Tiger 900, the new Tiger 1200 comes with road-focused GT and off-road-oriented Rally Pro trims with taller ride height and different wheel orientations.
Both bikes are new and they are technically direct competitors, but they are extremely different pretty much in every way. The most significant difference is the engine layout. The Tiger 1200 is one of the few motorcycles that come with a 3-cylinder 1160cc engine which puts out approximately 147 horsepower and 95 lb-ft of torque. The 3-cylinder engine has a T-plane crankshaft, offering the sound and bottom-end grunt of an inline twin, with the powerband of a 3-cylinder. The bottom-end torque below 3000 RPM is not as punchy as the GS, but it is definitely more responsive than Pan America’s V-Twin engine.
The Pan America comes with the traditional 60-degree V-twin engine. It is a totally new and modern platform. The new Revolution Max engine has no pushrod camshafts, it is a modern 1250cc 60-degree V-twin that generates 150 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the other models, it revs all the way up to 9500 rpm and it is liquid-cooled, which shows the brand’s intention that it wants to compete with modern ADVs.
The Pan America’s engine has a typical European exotic V-twin vibe, it doesn’t like to be at low RPM, but it has tons of torque starting from 4500 rpm all the way up to the redline. It revs faster and has a more playful character than the Tiger 1200. For riders that are planning to put big miles, Pan America comes with hydraulic valve lifters, which means you don’t have to adjust valve clearance at all.
Although both bikes are technically in the ADV segment, Triumph offers two distinct trims for your riding style – GT and Rally, whereas the Pan America only offers two trims, the base and Special trim for more features. Tiger 1200’s Rally model lineup is the only option that comes with tubeless and spoked wheels (21-inch front, 18-inch rear) for extra off-road capability. The Pan America only comes with 19″ front wheels, but you can get the optional spoked wheels for more off-road oriented riders. Regardless of your choice, the Pan America is not as capable as the Tiger 1200 Rally Pro when it comes to hardcore off-roading.
That said, Harley Davidson Pan America Special really shines on twisties because it is obviously the road-focused option. It is not as sharp as the other really road-oriented Sport Touring entries, but despite having 19″ wheels in the front, the bike just wants to lean all day long. It is very nimble, gives accurate feedback to the rider, is extremely stable in the mid-corner, and you have tons of power at the corner exit. It almost feels like a tall naked bike with extra wind protection, and it is a great asset for riders that takes their ADVs to the twisties.
Aside from the front wheel size, there are a few important reasons why the Pan America handles very well. It has a lower center of gravity, it is much lower, smaller, and lighter. Even the battery is located at the bottom for better weight distribution. I am not sure how safe it is for an adventure bike, as it is located right behind the front wheel. Showa electronic suspension also offers multiple settings depending on the riding mode, and it lowers the bike at low speeds for short riders.
Tiger 1200 also comes with Showa suspension, but the suspension tune is focused on off-road riding more than the pavement. Aside from the bigger 21″ front wheel, it comes with much more suspension travel so it can go over big rocks and bumps much easier. It is not as good as a lightweight dirt bike, especially on technical trails, but it is pretty impressive for a bike that weighs 250 kg on a good day.
Compared to the road-oriented GT trim, the Rally Pro has a 20 mm higher ride height. They are electronically adjusted, and you can fine-tune both front and rear better than Pan America. However, even at the firmest suspension setting, the front end dives a lot under heavy braking. With a higher center of gravity and a bigger front wheel, you get less feedback from the handlebar. GT version would be the ideal choice for twisties and it would be still good for light-duty off-roading.
Speaking of the braking, the 2022 Tiger 1200 comes with Brembo Stylema calipers and dual 320 mm discs in the front, which is a top-of-the-line version of Brembo calipers. They offer great stopping power, but the initial bite is not impressive mainly due to the soft suspension tune. Pan America also comes with dual Brembo calipers matched with 320mm discs in the front. They are lower tier than the Tiger 1200, but for sportier riding, the brakes and suspension work together in better harmony.
Both the Tiger and Pan America offers exceptionally comfortable riding position. At the end of the day, ADVs are meant for long rides and comfort is one of the most important factors. If I have to choose one, the Tiger offers much more neutral ergonomics, a slightly more upright, more comfortable seat, a wider handlebar, and much better wind protection. You feel that it is designed for long-distance rides more than commuting. Rally Pro trim comes with a very tall seat height of 850mm at the lowest setting, which can be increased to 876mm.
On the other end of the spectrum, Pan America is still very comfortable, but it offers a little bit of sportier ergonomics. The bike feels narrower and lighter, therefore it is much more agile if you just chuck it in a corner, or tight turns, making it a better commuter while still being good at long-distance riding. It is not just the sportier choice, but it is much easier to ride the Pan America as a daily rider mainly due to lower seat height, and less curb weight. The only gripe I had is the excessive heat due to the engine and exhaust layout of a V-twin engine, which is not a deal breaker unless you are constantly riding it at low speeds.
Harley Davidson Pan America falls behind when it comes to the overall fit and finish, build quality, and button layout. The new Tiger 1200 allows you to go through the menus with just 1 button, whereas you have several more buttons with the Pan America. Also, the Tiger’s buttons give you a more tactile feeling, but it is not just that. The mirrors, handlebars, brake, and clutch levers, everything you see and touch feels more premium. It is important to remember the fact that both bikes are priced similarly around $25.000 CAD range, there is room for improvement for Pan America.
Both bikes are equipped with the latest technology you would expect for the high-end ADV category, including the six-axis IMU. Pan America comes with a 6.8″ touchscreen display with Bluetooth connectivity, and the fonts are much smaller than usual. The Tiger 1200’s screen is slightly bigger at 7.0″, and much easier to read. It also comes with Bluetooth connectivity as well as GoPro control. Both bikes have pretty similar feature lists, but for some reason, Pan America does not come with a Quickshifter even with the Special trim. It is a missed opportunity and a must-have for this price range.
Although technically both bikes are in the ADV segment, they are completely different, which also shows how versatile ADV bikes can get. They can accommodate pretty much all types of riders. It is obvious that Harley Davidson hit the nail with Pan America. It has some rough edges in certain areas especially when it comes to fit and finish, but it is one of the best first attempts in the ADV world. It is not easy to compete with heavy hitters like the Tiger 1200, especially for a brand that exclusively builds cruisers and touring machines for almost a century.
It is clear that the new Triumph Tiger 1200 is aiming to dethrone the BMW R1250GS while still competing with other entries like the Pan America. If you are planning to put big miles off-road or on a dirt road, it will be more capable than the GS with higher ground clearance, more suspension travel, and a bigger front wheel. As it also comes with traditional forks, it gives you more feedback than the GS’ Telelever front suspension. It just feels like they studied the GS carefully to come up with a more competitive product. It feels just as premium and capable, but more purpose-built.
|Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro||Harley Davidson Pan America Special|
|Engine||1160cc liquid-cooled DOHC triple engine||1252cc liquid-cooled DOHC V-twin|
|Max power||147 hp @ 9000 rpm||150 hp @ 9000 rpm|
|Max torque||96 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm||94 ft-lbs @ 6750 rpm|
|Wet Weight||549 lbs – 249 kg||559 lb. – 253 kg|
|Seat Height||875mm – 895mm||830mm – 855mm|
|Fuel Capacity||5.3 gal – 20 liters||5.6 gal – 21 liters|
|Brakes (Front – Rear)||Brembo M4.30 Stylema calipers & Dual 320mm front – 282mm rear||Brembo 4-piston calipers & Dual 320mm front – 280mm rear|
|Price (MSRP)||$25,800 CAD||$24,999 CAD|