TECHNOLOGY | HARLEY-CONVERSION PAN X – Roots Rocker

TECHNOLOGY | HARLEY-CONVERSION PAN X – Roots Rocker

In close cooperation with Touratech, Moto Crew has put the Pan X on its wheels - a purist flat tracker based on the Pan America, which traces the almost forgotten off-road tradition of Harley-Davidson.

The Pan America was certainly the most sensational model that Harley-Davidson has launched in recent decades. Completely unexpected for many observers, the motor company broke out of its traditional territory and left the familiar tarmac for gravel roads. However, if you go back a little further in the 120-year history of the motorbike brand from Milwaukee, you quickly realise that the adventure bike is not so much out of the ordinary.

Searching for the roots of the PanAm

Two lines of tradition come together again in the Pan America. On the one hand, there is the rich heritage of adventurous journeys that were completed on machines from Milwaukee. Just think of the spectacular round-the-world trip by the two Hungarians Zoltan Sulkowsky and Gyula Bartha in 1928, the highly acclaimed Transcontinental Rides of the interwar period or the extensive tours that took the African American Bessie Stringfield across the United States and even through Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.

The second line of tradition which flows into the current Pan America is off-road sport. Even the later world-famous enduro racer and first US importer of KTM motorbikes, John Penton, travelled off-road on Milwaukee Irons at the beginning of his career. But the real domain of Harley-Davidson is flat track racing, probably the most American off-road sport of all. From the 1930s to the recent past, Harley has dominated the flat track circuit, a sport where American heroic stories have been, and continue, to be written.

The goal: a race-ready Flat Track Racer

And this is precisely where the Touratech and Moto Crew project comes in. With a handcrafted build, the customizers want to uncover the roots of the Pan America and bring the fascination of flat track racing to life in a unique vehicle. The creators were by no means interested in creating a monument, rather they wanted to bring the Pan America back to where the spirit of flat track racing originated: The dirt oval. The aim was therefore to create a fully race-ready vehicle that fully complies with flat track regulations.

For this ambitious project, Chris Scholtka, mastermind of Moto Crew, invited some friends to contribute their perspectives into the project. As the starting point for the search for ideas, the team employed a current Pan America, which has already been used in the Touratech development workshop and as a test vehicle for numerous products.


The side parts of the series tank serve as a cover for a lightweight, self-made nine-litre container.

Full throttle: New Mapping und a custom exhaust

The Evolution Max engine provides the power centre for the build. However, the plan is not to leave the V-twin in its standard configuration. The tinkerers at Don Performance set in creating a special engine mapping that provides the twin-cylinder with additional power. The programming is perfectly matched to the 3D-printed airbox, which draws its air through a high-flow K&N filter, and then to the custom-built exhaust system. Chris put a lot of effort into this exhaust. He welded the manifolds together from 82 neatly cut parts which lead into a motocross-style silencer. With the new setup, the V-twin delivers 9.9 hp more power and 12 Newton metres more torque than in series production.


Self-made exhaust system


K&N filter on 3D print airbox

Front wheel-oriented seat placement

Apart from the engine, the main frame, the swingarm and the triple clamp, the designers left very little of the Pan Am. The rear frame, for example, gave way to a crisp, quickly self-built design that fundamentally changes the seat geometry. The distance between the Renthal handlebars and the tank has been drastically reduced, allowing the rider to put a lot of weight on the front wheel. Speaking of weight, this build has shed almost 60 kilograms compared to a standard Pan America. The rider's front-wheel-orientated seating position is supported by the spartan seat supplied by Polsterwerk from Berlin.


Wheels from Haan Wheels

Bodywork from elaborate manual work

The PanAm's standard tank was far too heavy for a flat tracker. Chris made a handy aluminium tank and used the two original tank flanks as armour for the nine-litre reservoir. The rest of the bodywork consists of a race number holder, a rear mudguard of a Husqvarna FC450 and a pair of yellow Perspex side covers. As a nice detail: The transparent material reveals the reservoir of the Touratech suspension shock absorber.

High end-spring elements for maximum Traction

The suspension specialists have built an extra-short suspension strut with a separating piston design, which has hydraulic spring preload, a spring with a progressive characteristic curve and adjustment options for rebound and compression damping.

The standard fork has been radically shortened by 50 millimetres and now features a modified standard cartridge with extensive adjustment options and progressive springs. For maximum grip on ovals, the setup of the suspension elements is uncompromisingly designed for traction.

At the front and rear, the Pan X rolls on typical flat-track 19-inch wheels with Excel rims from Haan Wheels, which are fitted with special SR268 track tyres from Shinko.

Mini-Screen, maximum functionality

Motogadget from Berlin have specially adapted a Motoscope Pro for the cockpit, which is the first of its kind to be able to communicate with the Harley software. This means that all electronic functions, including the riding modes, are also available in the flat-track conversion.

The build is visually rounded off by the congenial paintwork by Pablo Custom Painting in Gelsenkirchen, which gives the Pan X an unmistakable finish thanks to the paint applied in several layers.

The first presentation of the finished build of the Pan X was met with great enthusiasm by the audience. But there is still a score to settle. Touratech and Moto Crew had set themselves the goal of building a race-ready machine. Chris will prove that the Pan X can hold its own in the dirt oval in the coming season when he competes with the build in some of the races of the Krowdrace series.

More about Moto Crew on Instagram @motocrew.caferacer

Information about the custom spring at www.touratech.de/touratech-suspension

  1. Progressive replacement springs for fork and shock absorber, for Harley Davidson 1250 Pan America from 2021
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