Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 (RA1250) Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals

This is the maintenance schedule and service intervals for the Harley-Davidson Pan America, model code RA1250, released in 2021.

The Pan America (which Harley-Davidson calls the Pan America™, in case someone else tries to steal the name) Harley-Davidson’s explore-it-all machine. The schedule is also the same for the Pan America Special (RA1250S).

It’s a rugged, all-purpose machine backed by an all-new engine, riding position, and aesthetic for Harley-Davidson, with some high-tech add-ons.

The Pan America is powered by Harley-Davidson’s new Revolution Max 1250 engine, which also powers the new 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S (though in a different state of tune).

In the Pan America, the Revolution Max 1250 is a DOHC liquid-cooled V-twin engine with a 13.0:1 compression ratio. It has a chain-driven valvetrain and hydraulic self-adjusting lifters that mean there’s no valve service required on the Pan America. The engine produces an impressive 112 kW (150 hp) @ 9000 rpm, with peak torque of 127 Nm (94 lb-ft) at 6750 rpm.

Updated Oct 2023 with chain and spoke tensioning guidelines.

Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 RHS in desert

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Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Service Intervals

Overall, the Pan America 1250 has 5000 mile / 8000 km or annual service intervals. At every service, change the oil and filter, and do a once-over of the bike.

The good news is that with hydraulic valve lash adjusters, the Pan America has no valve service intervals! So you never have to crack the cylinder heads. Eat your heart out, nearly every other motorcycle out there…

The Pan America 1250 does however have a chain final drive, so be sure to service that regularly (cleaning it and lubricating it).

Finally, if you have spoked rims, make sure you keep the spokes tensioned at every service.

What you need to service the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

Below are some of the parts and consumables you’d need to do a basic service on your Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250.

Maintenance parts for the Pan America 1250

PartH-D spec
OilHarley-Davidson Genuine SYN-BLEND, or Shell Rotella T4 15W-40.
Oil filterYou need part 62700280 for the oil filter for the Pan America 1250.
Spark plugYou need 4 spark plugs as it’s a twin-spark V-twin. Part number for the spark plug is 31600190 for Revolution Max engines.
Air filterAir filter part number is 29400390 for the Pan America
Maintenance parts for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

More notes on oils for the Pan America 1250

There are many oils recommended. This is from the manual below.

Harley-Davidson Genuine SYN-BLEND Motorcycle LubricantSAE 15W50Above -1 °C (30.2 °F)Excellent
Screamin’ Eagle SYN3 Full Synthetic Motorcycle LubricantSAE 20W50Above -1 °C (30.2 °F)Excellent
Genuine Harley-Davidson H-D 360 Motorcycle OilSAE 20W50Above 4 °C (39.2 °F)Good
Best engine oils for Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

If you can’t get one of the above oils, Harley-Davidson recommends:

  • If necessary and SYN-BLEND, SYN3,or HD 360 is not available, add oil certified for diesel engines. Acceptable designations include: CH-4, CI-4 and CJ-4.
  • The preferred viscosities, in descending order are: 20W50, 15W40 and 10W40.
  • At the first opportunity change back to 100 percent Harley-Davidson oil.

A well-regarded option that meets the spec above is Shell Rotella T4 15W-40.

Maintenance schedule for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

Below is the service schedule for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250. This comes from the manual, but has been clarified for legibility. The schedule in the manual is repetitive and in a weird order (why changing the oil isn’t always the first item beats me).


  • Keep following the service schedule in the pattern shown, every 5000 mi / 8000 km or year.
  • Follow the earlier of time-based or distance-based service intervals. E.g. change the engine oil every 5000 miles / 8000 km or year.
  • Harley-Davidson recommends you get a dealer to do most items of basic service that relate to safety, like suspension, braking, and general lubrication, “unless you have the proper tools, service data and are mechanically inclined.” They even recommend dealers do chain cleaning / maintenance…
  • Some items (noted below) should be inspected more often when the Pan America is ridden in “severe conditions”, this means: extreme temperatures, dusty environments, mountainous conditions, after long storage, short runs, heavy stop/go traffic, or riding with poor fuel quality.
mi x 10001510152025Every
km x 10001.6816243240
Inspection checklist (see below) — Inspect all itemsYear
(Not all items need annual checking)
Engine oil — ReplaceYear, or more often if riding in severe conditions
Oil filter — Replace
Spark plugs — replace2 years
Steering head bearings — Adjust / LubricateLLubricate every 25k miles / 40k km
Coolant — Replace
Brake fluid — Replace (Castrol DOT 4)2 years, or sooner as needed
Clutch lever handlebar clamp screw — Tighten (see torque specs)Year
Master cylinder handlebar clamp screw — Tighten (see torque specs)Year
Spoked wheels — Check spoke tightness15000 miles
Front forks — Rebuild (Disassemble, inspect, rebuild, replace fork oil)50000 miles / 80000 km
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Maintenance Schedule

Inspection Checklist

Below is the inspection checklist for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250.

For items marked #, you should check these annually. However, the other items

Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Inspection Checklist
Inspect air cleaner filter
More often if riding in dust or rain
Inspect electrical equipment and switches
# Check front tire pressure and tread
Inspect front brake fluid level (DOT 4)
Note: fluid level drops as pads wear.
Inspect rear brake fluid level (DOT 4)
Note: fluid level drops as pads wear.
# Check front brake fluid moisture content
# Check rear brake fluid moisture content
# Clean radiators and oil cooler
# Inspect brake system
# Inspect fuel lines and fittings
Lubricate jiffy stand and center stand (if equipped) as needed.
More often if riding in severe conditions
Adjust clutch system / free play
Lubricate brake and clutch controls
More often if riding in severe conditions
Inspect brake pads and discs. Replace as needed.
# Inspect drive chain, sprockets and chain guide
Inspect more often if riding in harsh conditions
# Inspect exhaust system, fasteners and shields
Inspect more often if riding in harsh conditions
Inspect rear sprocket compensator
Inspect more often if riding in harsh conditions
Check 12 volt battery — terminal torque, connection cleanness, lubricate terminals with contact lubricant
Check component and system functions (Road test)
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Maintenance Checklist

Maintaining spoked wheels on the Pan America 1250

If you have spoked wheels fitted, Harley-Davidson says you should check the spoke tension of the wheels at the break-in service and the first 5000 mile service, then every 15000 miles / 24000 km.

Check spoke tension more often if you are riding the bike in severe conditions.

You need

  • A small torque wrench set to 35 inch-lbs
  • 8 mm socket
  • 4mm wrench to hold the spoke’s flat part
  • A screwdriver
  • Tape

With the front or rear wheel elevated, tap each spoke with the screwdriver. If one of them feels dull, mark it with tape, then come back and torque it.

There’s a good guide to spoke maintenance by a fellow named Mike here on YouTube.

Maintaining Your Chain on the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

Harley-Davidson suggests you inspect your chain every 600 mi / 1000 km (or more often when riding in severe conditions) and clean and lubricate it, and adjust the tension, even though they suggest you get a dealer to adjust the chain tension.

It’s important to maintain your chain on the Pan America, as on any chain-driven motorcycle, but particularly on an adventure bike. Use a good-quality chain lubricant like Motul chain paste, or a Motul chain care kit which comes with a couple of handy tools to maintain the chain.

To check the slack / tension on the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250, put it in neutral, onto its kickstand, and on a level surface.

Check the slack on the lower part of the chain, midway between the sprockets, and check it in multiple places (move the motorcycle forwards and backwards) as chains wear unevenly.

Slack on the Pan America is defined as the free vertical movement of the chain.

Target chain slack for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 (on side stand): 46 – 56 mm (1.81 – 2.20 in)

Target chain slack for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 (on center stand): 50- 60 mm (1.97 – 2.36 in)

If the chain slack is out of spec, you need to adjust it.

Adjusting chain slack

To adjust the chain slack on the Pan America, follow the steps below. It’s the same general process as on most motorcycles.

  1. Loosen the rear axle nut with a breaker bar and 36mm hex socket.
  2. Turn the adjuster nuts on both sides of the bike to tighten (or loosen) the chain. Keep checking the chain tension to see if it has come within spec.
  3. Keep an eye on the adjuster alignment marks on either side of the axle. Make sure that the adjustment is to the same point.
  4. When you’re done, tighten the axle to 129-142 Nm / 95-105 lb-ft.
  5. Re-check the chain slack again when it’s all tightened up to make sure it’s still within spec.

There’s a good video guide here if you want to watch it on YouTube.

Tires sizes and pressures for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

The following is for both the Pan America and the Pan America Special. They ship with Michelin Scorcher Adventure tires.

Note: Inspect the rear sprocket compensator at every tire change.

WheelTyre sizePressure (psi)Pressure (kPa)
Front120/70R19 60V36 psi248 kPa
Rear170/60R17 72V42 psi290 kPa
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 tyre sizes and pressures

About the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

Harley-Davidson Pan America RHS on desert hilltop

It’s hard to write a succinct description of the Harley-Davidson Pan America. It’s so different for Harley-Davidson in that it addresses a new segment (for the company), introduces a new engine, and has a whole bunch of new rider tech that has rarely been seen on any motorcycle, Harley-Davidson or otherwise.

At first blush, the Harley-Davidson Pan America is a very, very late entrant into the adventure touring segment that blew up under the stewardship of Honda (with their old, old Africa Twin, the one most people don’t remember), BMW and their R – GS series, and KTM’s adventure bikes. Among others including the V-Strom, the Versys… and many others. Don’t be offended if I missed one.

But the Pan America isn’t just a regular Harley air-cooled twin in a different chassis — far from it.

Here are a few things that make the Harley-Davidson Pan America special.

  1. The engine is all new — the Revolution Max 1250 motor is a 1252cc liquid-cooled engine with a whopping 112 kW (150 hp) of power from an engine that actually revs. This is a huge amount of top-end for a Harley, and is competitive with other big engines like those from Ducati and KTM, known for producing high end sporty adventure touring sport bike adventurers (which is what I call the category)
  2. The engine has variable valve timing — something Ducati and BMW only just introduced a few years ago.
  3. The engine still has some old and welcome bits, like self-adjusting valves that means the Pan America never needs a valve service. Never!
  4. The engine is smooth and predictable, and doesn’t vibe you off your seat (and all the bolts/nuts off the chassis)

OK, enough about the engine. Here’s more about the Harley Davidson Pan America 1250:

  1. It has a wet weight of 245 kg, which is fine in the class of big adventure bikes, and again, is very un-Harley Davidson.
  2. There’s a lot of tech (some of it optional or part of packages)— ride modes, cornering ABS, adaptive ride height (automatically lowering when you come to a stop), and a TFT display.
  3. Suspension is high tech (in the Special) — electronically adjustable with semi-active damping. The front has a 47mm USD Showa fork and the rear has a Showa shock
  4. Braking is also capable — twin 320mm discs and radial 4-piston Brembo calipers.

Basically there’s two ways of looking at the bike: a) it’s either finally, a normal high-end bike for the high-end price that Harley-Davidson charges, or b) it’s totally new for Harley-Davidson.

Reviews of the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 basically range from “it’s a good adventure bike, but it’s not necessarily better than the BMW R 1250 GS”, all the way through to “BMW has some catching up to do”.

It’s high praise to be even compared to the premium GS from BMW, so that’s a start. One must also acknowledge that few reviewers may pick anything above the R 1250 GS as an all-out better bike.

But much like the Ducati, Honda, or KTM ascenders to the throne, buyers are likely to choose the Harley-Davidson Pan America for other, emotional reasons. And that’s fine — motorcycles are an emotional purchase, after all. Some of these might be

  • Harley dealer support. There’s no question that there are many, many Harley-Davidson dealers in the US, and worldwide. They each are welcoming of travellers and provide well-needed breaks, great service, and attentivity.
  • Brand recognition and value. Harley-Davidson is as recognisable as a brand as Coca Cola, even to people who don’t ride. The bikes tend to preserve their value.
  • Brand affinity. Sometimes Harley riders just know they’re Harley riders. Just as there are Ducatisti, KTM junkies, and so on.

There are probably other reasons, too.

But what needs to be mentioned is that objectively, the Pan America is a high-spec, high-end bike, with a lot of features to die for.

And since this is a maintenance site, don’t forget… you never have to do a valve service. Even the Ducati Multistrada V4 needs some attention every 60000 km.

Harley-Davidson Pan America down hill

What is also interesting about the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 is its price. It’s not ridiculously high priced — especially since HD is known for charging quite a lot for traditionally much lower-tech bikes.

Here are the MSRPs of a few adventure bikes in the US (base models, not Adventure, Sport, etc.)

Adventure motorcycle model2021 MSRP (USA)
Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT$14,799
Harley-Davidson Pan America$17,319
Honda Africa Twin CRF1100$17,999
KTM 1290 Adventure S$19,499
Ducati Multistrada V4$19,995
BMW R 1250 GS$20,920
Adventure Sports motorcycles MSRPs – 2021

Of course, things start getting complicated when you think about what each model includes or doesn’t, but as a starting point, it’s interesting to note that Harley-Davidson is not just offering a ground-breaking motorcycle; it’s affordable. Well, for a new motorcycle in the category.

Alternatives to the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 — Big Bore Adventure Motorcycles

The Pan America 1250 is a late entrant into a competitive market for big-bore adventure sports motorcycles. Here are the other (latest) big-bore adventure motorcycles with which it competes.

Reference: Manual for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

The above maintenance schedule came from the manual for the Pan America 1250, and also consulting

You can find it online here.

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