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Friday, November 21 2014 @ 11:05 AM EST

Harley Davidson in Panama - Get Your Motor Runnin'

Motorcycles Greg Schneider said it best - "As the Summer of Love evolves into the Autumn of Viagra, baby-boomer males are buying all the cool toys they couldn't afford as kids." And what could be cooler than selling off the empty nest, moving to Panama and spending your retirement playing golf, sport fishing in the Bay of Panama, and day-tripping around Panama on a brand-new Harley Davidson. Ivan Perez is the owner and operator or Harley Davidson Lifestyle, American Bikes S.A. and is the only authorized distributor of Harley Davidson in Panama. "There are about 200 Harley's in Panama right now and there are more coming down all the time." There are two Harley riders clubs in Panama City, and Ivan is the founder of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) Panama. They meet every Tuesday evening at his Harley Davidson shop in Marbella and head out for a ride.
Classic American Metal in Panama

Not For Pizza Deliveries: If you've spent any time at all in Panama you've probably gotten accustomed to the little 125cc delivery scooters with a box on the back, zipping through traffic as you watch your SUV guzzle gas at an idle. Well, according to Ivan, he gets around traffic just fine in Panama City on his custom softail. Experienced riders don't have any problem in city traffic, "but the best riding is in the interior" says Ivan. He says that many Harley owners in Panama ride on the weekends for recreation and there are some great places to explore. "Every now and then we put together a big group and ride up to the beach or something. Just the look, feel and sound of about thirty bikes is enough to turn heads. We sure have a lot of fun, and we're hard to miss."


The Brand New 2007 Softail

Getting Ready to Move: Ivan opened his "Harley Boutique" just off of Balboa Avenue next to Cafe Cafe in December of 2004 but it looks like he will soon be forced to move due to the construction boom in Panama and the increasing value of land. "It looks like we've got about six more months in this location, but sooner or later they're going to tear down this building and put up a huge tower so we're looking for a new place," said Ivan. "We've been here for almost two years, and it's a great location because we get a lot of foot traffic from Balboa Avenue and Americans that just find us by chance. But, real Harley enthusiasts will find us no matter where we end up."


Harley Davidson Motorcycles in the Panamanian Jungle

Harley History in Panama: The first Harley Davidson's came to the Isthmus of Panama with the American GI's who were stationed in the former Canal Zone and at the military bases around the country during World War II. The numbers of bikes in the country dwindled to a low point shortly after the US bases closed and the Panama Canal was handed back to Panamanian hands. Several people have made long-distance road trip through Panama on Harley Davidson motorcycles, and now there's a resurgence of interest.


VRSCDX Night Rod Special

In Stock, or Special Order "We can get anything," says Ivan. All of the dealers in Latin America pull bikes from the centralized Harley Davidson warehouse and can have them under your Levi's in about three weeks. If you want a specially ordered model in a special color, they can do that too but it takes longer. "That's exactly how they do it in the United States as well. Local dealers have a few bikes on hand and then order from a regional warehouse. Anything special has to be ordered from the factory."


1990 Heritage Classic

The Old, The New: "A lot of guys are bringing their bikes with them when they come to Panama," says Ivan. "They have rides they've been on for years and I can respect that." But he wants people to know that they have the only trained and authorized Harley Davidson mechanic in town. "We just invested in state-of-the-art 'Digital Technician' technology which is required now that all of the new bikes are fuel injected." Their mechanics are trained in the United States by Harley Davidson and certified to work on bikes under warranty, and they have the experience and training to work on older bikes as well.


Welcome to Panama -- sir...

Accessories and "Stuff" Ivan also sells all of the shirts, hats, jackets, patches, and other Harley Davidson "stuff" in his store. "We have people that come to Panama as tourists and make a special trip to find us just to get the official "Harley Davidson Panama" logo. Our shop is the only place in the world where you can get it, and it's a collector's item," says Ivan. There are people all over the world who are real "HOG Enthusiasts," and they just love Harley Davidson motorcycles, no matter where they are.


Richard, Valle Rico, Las Tablas


Heading Out for a Weekend Cruise

A Part of American Culture: As more and more Americans move to Panama as a retirement destination some will choose to listen to that little voice in the back of their head that's been begging for a Harley for years. "Riding motorcycles in Panama is not for everyone," says Ivan. But he also knows a certain percentage of the new arrivals really, really want one. "People are moving all over the place, Boquete, up by the beaches, in the mountains, over on the Atlantic side and to the city. Panama has some of the best riding in the world, but a lot of it is undiscovered." Well, now you know where to go when you decide it's time to pay attention to that little voice...

Contact Information for Ivan Perez and Harley Davidson in Panama:


  • Email: ivanadolfo@hotmail.com or harleydavidsonpa@cableonda.net

  • Telephone in Panama: +011 (507) 263-7080
  • Cell in Panama: +011 (507) 6612-4698

  • Store Location: Calle Anastasio Ruiz and Balboa Avenue, Local #1. Right next to Cafe Cafe, just off of Balboa Avenue.




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