What is a Harley? Harley-Davidson, the 116-year-old motor company in America, is an iconic motorbike brand popular among bike enthusiasts. The brand is known for introducing some of the most powerful motorcycles with a global fanbase.
The company started in 1903 at the dawn of the ‘Motor Age’ when two friends, obsessed about cycles, got together to combine bicycles with new-fangled engines. Today, the company’s market value is nearly $6 billion and is poised to grow.
What is a Harley?
Harley-Davidson® is an American company that has manufactured motorcycles for over a century. It began from humble roots, founded by childhood friends William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. The friends built a motorized bicycle in 1901, which led to an evolution that resulted in the heart-thumping classic motorcycles we know today.
Harley-Davidson® has an interesting history, supplying motorcycles to the military in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Harley-Davidsons® were also reportedly used in “border skirmishes” with Doroteo Arango Arambula (1878-1923), better known as the infamous Pancho Villa.
Harley-Davidson early days
Harley-Davidson founders William Harley and Arthur Davidson worked together on the prototype for their company’s first motorcycle in a 10-by-15-foot shed. It was completed in 1903, but they immediately began working on a newer and more modern bike.
A new prototype featuring a bigger engine was completed in 1904. This model participated in motorcycle racing at State Fair Park in Milwaukee. The first production bike, the Harley-Davidson Model No. 1®, was released in 1905 and was very similar to the first two bikes produced.
The company was producing complete bikes on a limited basis, however. The first Harley-Davidson dealer was Carl H. Lang of Chicago, who sold three of the five bikes that had been built in the backyard shed.
The first Harley-Davidson factory was built in 1906 on Chestnut Street in Milwaukee, where the company produced 50 bikes that year. The company was officially incorporated in 1907. By this time, Arthur’s two brothers, Walter and William Davidson, had joined the initiative.
In 1917, about 50% of Harley’s sales went to the U.S. armed forces for use in World War I. The first service school was operated in Milwaukee to train Army mechanics.
Harley-Davidson completed its facility on Juneau Avenue in 1920. It was seven stories high — and still exists today for use as the corporate office center.
From 1941 to 1945, Harley-Davidson was informing dealers that, due to commitments with the Army, dealers were guaranteed one new bike per model year for the duration of World War II. An estimated 88,000 motorcycles were built for the military at this time, along with a huge supply of repair parts.
Production increased through the years with the brand thriving through a range of historical events. To this day, Harley-Davidson remains an iconic American motorcycle brand.
The oldest motorcycle company isn’t actually Harley-Davidson
In fact, Peugeot Motocycles is the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.
Founded in 1898, Peugeot presented at the Paris Motorshow the first motorcycle equipped with a Dion-Bouton motor. Today, Peugeot Motocycles offers a range of traditional and electric motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds.
Old Harley-Davidson® fans will appreciate the vintage design of the Peugeot 103 moped, while those looking for something more modern can check out the sleek Peugeot Metropolis scooter.
The oldest known Harley-Davidson motorcycle
When you ask, “what is the oldest Harley bike?”, You just have to look at how old Harley-Davidson® is as a company. They’ve been producing Harleys since the company’s inception in 1903.
So, the oldest Harley-Davidson® is the first prototype — model 0 — that they produced. It looks a lot like a cruiser bike with a motor attached. But, despite its small engine, it could reach speeds of 35 miles per hour. However, it couldn’t climb up the Milwaukee hills without the rider pedaling. They immediately began production on newer, more modern motorcycles.
The Harley-Davidson® Model 1 was the first actual motorcycle — not just a prototype — created by Harley-Davidson®. They sold the old Harley for $200 and created 38 copies. Models 2 and 3 came next, sold 1906–1907.
These old Harley-Davidsons® had a dual-spring front-end suspension. The partners were experimenting more and more with motorcycle innovations, cementing a name for themselves as forerunners in the industry. Little did they know it at the time, but they were laying down the roots for American motorcycle culture.
Harley-Davidson 100-year anniversary
In 2003, Harley-Davidson® turned 100 years old. This historic event was commemorated by biker parties across the USA, but the official anniversary party was a four-day long bash in Milwaukee.
Thousands of people came to enjoy the festivities, which included music, food, and of course, plenty of motorcycle riding. There were plenty of old Harley-Davidsons® to look at! It was a truly memorable event for all who attended.
The anniversary was commemorated with a 100-year anniversary bike. Like the other Harley-Davidson® anniversary bikes, the centennial is displayed on the engine. But this bike has a special insignia and new paint schemes, with a liquid metal effect. The Harley-Davidson® 100-year anniversary bike retails for $18,695.
If the 100-year anniversary bike is up your alley, be sure to check out the 105th year Harley-Davidson® anniversary motorcycle and similar model. Bikes like the Road King® Screamin’ Eagle® offer a unique experience.
Harley-Davidson® may be old — they have been an American icon for over 100 years — but they show no signs of slowing down.
The company has factories in different countries
There are three factories of the mega motor company in the United States of America and extends to Brazil, India and Thailand as well. These factories exclusively manufacture and assemble the Harley motorcycles, whereas their parts are also produced in factories of Germany, Japan, Italy, Taiwan and Mexico.
The parts of Harley-Davidson bikes are easy to find across the UAE as well. If you own a Harley-Davidson bike, you can easily buy used motorcycle parts in the UAE online.
The first company to average over 100 miles per hour
Otto Walker, a racer, was sponsored and signed by Harley-Davidson company in 1914 to participate in the first major 300-mile race taking place in Venice, California. A few years later, Otto Walker, still nominated by the company to race in the competition, broke all records on a Harley-Davidson bike.
In the year 1921, it was found out that the average speed of the racer had been over 100 miles per hour for the entire run. At that time, it was the first time that anyone had brought a bike to such a high speed consistently throughout a long race without running into any trouble. That year, the company made another highlight.
It’s more than an age-old motor brand
Harley-Davidson, after more than a century today, has expanded much more than being just another motorcycle company. To begin with, mega-Hollywood stars like Rihanna, Kanye West, Kid Rock, and Selena Gomez have been brought into the team to represent the brand.
It sold $292 million of non-motorcycle merchandise in 2018. Unlike freebies that brands usually send out to build loyalty, Harley-Davidson has such a strong blueprint that the glitterati still bought it eagerly.
The company’s merchandise includes leather jackets, biker boots, T-shirts, and fingerless gloves, to name a few, that proved very functional for riding always. Other products under the brand besides apparel are home décor, ornaments, accessories, toys, bike skull figures, video games, etc.
Besides, the brand enthusiasts can also opt to buy Harley-Davidson’s used motorcycle accessories in the UAE online as well as other merchandise. You can also easily buy a Harley-Davidson bike at one of the motorcycle showrooms in the UAE.
What makes Harley-Davidson unique?
The befitting term to use in place of Harley-Davidson is ‘quality.’ It is a brand that never compromises on the brilliance of the bikes, irrespective of the make or model. This is what makes Harley-Davidson unique.
All bikes produced under the company’s name have that signature Harley look, style, and design that set them apart from their counterparts. All owners are explicitly passionate about the brand itself and its products.
Now that we have discussed fascinating Harley-Davidson facts about their history to their merchandise, we can conclude that there are far-reaching reasons for their continued success. Their legacy continues to live on, having spread its boundaries from beyond the motorcycle world to becoming a household name with its retro merchandise.
Can a girl ride a Harley?
Many women who ride move their 800-pound-plus cruisers around just as well as a man could. Your choice of ride should mainly come down to what you feel comfortable handling, your personal style, and what bike gives you the most confidence, just like with anybody else. If Harley is your bag, bag yourself a Harley.
What kind of motorcycle is a Harley?
Harley-Davidson® categories are referred to as families. These include Cruiser, Grand American Touring, Trike, Sport and Adventure Touring. The categories used more generally throughout the industry include standard, cruiser, touring, sport and adventure.
What is a Harley vehicle?
Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson is an American motorcycle manufacturer that specializes in heavyweight motorcycles designed for highway cruising. Noted for distinct styling and exhaust sound, Harley-Davison has established itself as a world-renowned brand and is a major influential source of the modern chopper.
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