The base model has mag wheels and is more road oriented, while the Special is an adventure tourer with electronically adjustable semi-active suspension, tyre pressure monitors, centre stand, multi-position rear brake pedal, hand guards, aluminium skid plate, Daymaker headlight, heated hand grips and steering damper.
Options include tubeless spoked wheels like BMW’s GS and adaptive ride height.
Both are powered by the new Revolution Max 1250 engine which will also feature in the Bronx streetfighter which has been delayed until the end of this year.
The liquid-cooled 1250cc V-Twin is designed for low-end torque and low speed throttle control that is useful for off-road riding.
Despite this being a new bike and new territory for the company, their launch video featuring Hollywood action hero Jason Momoa points out that Harley’s roots are on dirt roads more than 100 years ago.
Yet chairman Jochen Zeitz also claims it is the first adventure touring bike designed and built in America.
He’s obviously not counting the electric Zero dual-sport motorcycles which are limited in touring capacity to less than 400km.
It will be interesting to see how the big Harley adventurer copes with Australia’s tough terrain, but on paper it stacks up pretty well against its main competition from BMW, Ducati, KTM and Triumph.
With 150hp or 112kW of power, it’s only beaten by Ducati’s Multistrada, while the torque monster BMW at 142Nm is the only with more grunt than Pan America’s 127Nm.
And while many may expect the company which previously boasted it made “heavy motorcycles” would have characteristic lard, it sits in the middle of the pack at 245kg, 23kg less than the market-leading BMW R 1250 GS.
However, in Australia, we get the Special with all its extra tech and comfort features which nudges the weight up to 253kg which is still less than the BMW and Triumph.
All the tech is controlled through the 6.8 inch TFT display with speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, ambient temp, low temp alert, side stand down alert, TIP over alert, cruise, range and tachometer indication BT capable – phone pairing to access phone calls, music, navigation through the H-D app.
Harley-Davidson dealers will offer an extensive line of accessories, including three durable luggage systems, and new technical riding gear for men and women developed in collaboration with respected European motorcycle apparel specialist, REV’IT!.