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Today, Harley Davidson motorbikes are a household name, but it hasn’t always been that way. It started way back in 1901, when a young man called William S. Harley had a vision for connecting an engine to a bike.
William had a buddy called Arthur Davidson who welcomed his idea. Together, they began working limitless hours in a little wood shed, with the words “Harley Davidson” scrawled on the door. By 1903, they rolled out the first production Harley Davidson bike.
The famous “Bar and Shield” logo design became the specifying sign of Harley Davidson bikes in 1910. The logo is representative of strength and ruggedness. The style was patented in 1911 and continues to be used today.
In 1920, motorbike racing legend, Leslie “Red” Parkhurst, broke many speed records on a Harley Davidson racing bike. Each time Parkhurst won a race, he would bring a pig on a triumph lap and it was throughout this time the term “hog” ended up being related to Harley Davidson motorcycles.
During World War I nearly half of the Harley Davidson bikes produced were sold to the United States Army. Throughout the 1920s, significant modifications took place to the style. The most noteworthy was the modification in the gas tank, which was changed to the now notorious teardrop shape. In 1928, Harley Davidson introduced the very first twin-cam engine and front wheel brakes. These modifications allowed Harley Davidson motorbikes to reach speeds in excess of 85 miles per hour.
Throughout the 1930s, Harley Davidson motorcycles continued to break speed records and won numerous awards. Harley Davidson further expanded into business and police car through the introduction of the three-wheel Servi-Car.
Appearance changes were made to Harley Davidson bikes and consisted of the famous “eagle” design, which was painted on all Harley Davidson gas tanks. During this time, the hallmark 1340 cc engine was introduced and the “Knucklehead” bike was introduced.
In between the years of 1941 through 1945, Harley Davidson ceased civilian production of bikes and focused entirely on offering trustworthy bikes to the United States Armed Forces throughout World War II.
When civilian production resumed, Harley Davidson motorcycles were in high demand. The company expanded and purchased the A.O. Smith Propeller Plant to be utilized as a machine shop. Here they manufactured motorbike parts and shipped them to the factory for final assembly.
1947 saw the introduction of the “Panhead” Harley Davidson motorbike, which was deemed “THE American Motorcycle”. Two years later on, hydraulic front brakes were presented on the Hydra-Glide designs.
The 1950s were filled with obstacles and victories. Throughout this time, the British recorded almost 40 percent of the motorbike market with their ever-popular Triumph bike. If they were to stay at the top, Harley Davidson owners understood they would have to get innovative.
To take on the smaller sized, sportier bikes coming from Great British, Harley Davidson developed the side-valve K model with an integrated engine and transmission. Today, the K design is referred to as the Sportster.
1953 marked the 50th anniversary of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The organization marked this event by developing an unique logo design that included a “V”, with a bar overlaid reading “Harley Davidson” and the words “50 Years American Made”. Every motorbike made in 1954 had a medallion variation of the logo put on the front fender.
During the 60s, Harley Davidson reduced production and provided the only scooter bike ever produced. It was likewise throughout this time that the Sprint design was introduced. Other developments consisted of the electric starter and the introduction of the “Shovelhead” engines.
The 70s produced transformation of the Harley Davidson motorcycle. A brand-new Sportster racing motorbike was introduced in 1970. One year later, the FX 1200 Super Glide cruiser was presented; together with the first Harley-Davidson snowmobile.
When it was debuted to the public in Daytona Beach, 1977 brought the Harley-Davidson Low Rider to the forefront. Later in the year, the CafÃ© Racer was launched.
Last, however not least, Harley Davidson presented the FXEF Fat Bob in 1979. This bike has dual gas tanks and bobbed fenders. It was featured in Hollywood films and rapidly ended up being a favorite of the American public.
During the 80s, Harley Davidson went through substantial internal changes and more attention was concentrated on motorbike racing. One of the most significant modifications took place in 1986, when Harley Davidson ended up being noted on the American Stock Exchange.
In the 1990s, Harley Davidson broadened its U.S. operations to include a multi-million dollar paint facility, a brand-new distribution center, power train plant, and production center. Harley Davidson also opened a new assembly facility Brazil, the very first operations beyond the U.S
Considering that the beginning of 2000, Harley Davidson has taken off the market with a variety of interesting and brand-new bikes. These include the Softail Deuce; the Buell Blast, Firebolt, and Lightning; the Road King Custom; and the Street Glide.
Today, Harley Davidson owns more than 60 percent of the bike market share. Considering their history and credibility, chances are good that Harley Davidson bikes will be around for another 100 years.
By 1903, they rolled out the very first production Harley Davidson bike.
The legendary “Bar and Shield” logo became the defining sign of Harley Davidson motorcycles in 1910. Throughout World War I almost half of the Harley Davidson motorbikes produced were sold to the United States Army. When civilian production resumed, Harley Davidson bikes were in high need. Since the beginning of 2000, Harley Davidson has exploded the marketplace with a range of interesting and brand-new bikes.