Harley Davidson has been at the center of American motorcycle culture since its foundation in 1903. They have a century of history and have become a modern-day icon. Check out these interesting facts that you may not know about their iconic motorcycles continuing to inspire young Americans today.
The First Harley
The first Harley was made by William Harley and Arthur Davidson in a little factory in Milwaukee, WI. It was made for racing and was a little more than a single-cylinder engine and a gas can strapped onto a bicycle. Clearly, they had a long way to go!
The Engine: You know when you hear a Harley over another motorcycle. The deep roar that demands attention from anyone who can hear it. Most Harley’s are equipped with this V-twin engine that delivers a sound like no other motorcycle, keeping riders loyal and in the saddle.
World War Contracts: Many would think that motorcycles are too much of a toy for “real” military use. However, the US military was all for purchasing Harley motorcycles for their lower fuel consumption and higher maneuverability. It’s estimated that 75,000 Harley’s were used in both World Wars.
Rivalries: Harley was always on top of the American motorcycle market almost since its introduction. Even being able to outsell its main rival Indian Motorcycles, forcing them to shut down in 1977 and only starting to make a come back in the early 2010s. However, Harley began to suffer in the 1980s with increasing market share being lost to the big 4 Japanese bike brands, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. With their faster, more sportier bikes, Harley’s started to be seen as old-fashioned.
The Future: Going Green: Coming in 2019, the first all-electric bike for Harley Davidson is set to be released. This is a shock coming from a company most known for its loud exhausts. However, with increasing emissions controls all bike and car manufacturers are being forced to innovate. With Harley having an older customer base who are generally not favorable to this unproven new tech, we shall see if this will be a success drawing in new rebellious riders as it did in the 1960s and 1970s.