Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Short History

Harley-Davidson is the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer. Founded out of a small shed in 1903 by William S. Harley and brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Motor Company produces traditional cruiser motorcycles utilizing air-cooled V-Twin engines.

When Harley and Davidson produced and sold their first motorcycle in 1903, they were one of many small motorcycle marques springing up across the country. Flash forward more than a century and the Harley-Davidson brand is so rooted in American culture that the history of the company intertwines with the history of America itself.

Harley-Davidson incorporated in 1907, with William Davidson officially joining forces with his two brothers and Harley. Setting down roots in Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson began hiring employees and by the end of the decade were producing bikes using its signature 45-degree air-cooled V-Twin.

During the next decade H-D continued to expand. Many sales were generated by Uncle Sam, with the American military sourcing Harley motorcycles during the First World War.Image result for harley davidson 90s history

Harley-Davidson has also been working hard to improve the riding quality of its touring bikes. In 2009, it did away with the stamped and welded single-piece frame that anchored Harley touring motorcycles for the last 30 years and replaced it with a cast, single-spar, rigid-backbone frame. It also went with a wider, longer swingarm. H-D also introduced a new three-wheel motorcycle called the Tri Glide that has the classic styling and popular touring features of its best-selling Ultra Classic Electra Glide.

The Bar and Shield continued to grow and by the early ‘30s, its only surviving domestic rival was Indian. Again H-D expanded in peacetime and found itself producing high quantities of bikes for the American military during World War II. Harley-Davidson press material cites its wartime motorcycle production at 90,000 units.

The ‘80s and ‘90s saw the introduction of model families that continue to this day, like the Softail, FLT and Road King lines, joining classic models like the Electra Glide. In the ‘90s Harley-Davidson also solidified its hold over Buell motorcycles, taking a controlling stake in the American sportbike/street bike manufacturer and selling Buell motorcycles at many H-D dealers.

Harley-Davidson has also been working hard to improve the riding quality of its touring bikes. In 2009, it did away with the stamped and welded single-piece frame that anchored Harley touring motorcycles for the last 30 years and replaced it with a cast, single-spar, rigid-backbone frame. It also went with a wider, longer swingarm. H-D also introduced a new three-wheel motorcycle called the Tri Glide that has the classic styling and popular touring features of its best-selling Ultra Classic Electra Glide.

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