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The Harley-Davidson Journey

Updated on December 20, 2016

The Begining

Harley-Davidson, the name doesn’t need any introduction, is the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer. But as said the beginning of every big thing is small. It is founded in 1901 when 20-year-old William S. Harley drew up plans for a small engine designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame under a small shed in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over the next two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson worked on their motor-bicycle at the north side Milwaukee machine shop of their friend, Henry Melk. But it was completed in 1903 with the help of Arthur's brother, Walter Davidson.

Forefathers

The very first Harley is a simple single-cylinder motor powered bicycle that transfer power to the rear wheel through a leather belt coupled with normal pedals and chain to provide the bike appropriate speed to start. But the testing of their power-cycle leads to a result that it was unable to climb the hills around Milwaukee without pedal assistance. Their first motor-bicycle proves to be a valuable learning experiment.

The legend of today worked to improve every aspect of their powerhouse and the constant development leads to what we know today as Harley-Davidson.

Being a hundred years old, Harley Davidson has produced some impressive motorcycles for every generation with adapting the change in time. While some of these models have virtually disappeared from memory, others are unforgettable. In fact in today’s time, Harley Davidson is so much embedded in the motorcycle world that it’s referred to as the “American motorcycle”. Harley Davidson has also been recognized for its customized design that led the chopper motorcycle style in fashion.

Most importantly the company has survived a lot of hardships and is one of the two primary American motorcycle manufacturers which withstand the Great Depression, and also bear a lot of other hardships as a result it becomes the fifth biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Furthermore, it has proved to be an iconic brand widely recognized for its trustworthy following.

The Powerhouse Legacy-Engines

Harley Davidson is well known for the reliability of engines. The most important is the evolution which makes it the motorcycle giant. Here is the ninth in a row.

World War I

In 1917, the entry of United States in World War I created a huge demand for the motorcycles for use in the war effort. World War I was the first time the motorcycle had been adopted for military issue. After the U.S. entry into the war, the U.S. military purchased over 15,000 motorcycles from Harley-Davidson

The Great Depression

The motor company had introduced their 45 cubic inch (737 cm³) model when the great depression strikes. Their sales fell drastically from 21,000 in 1929 to 3,703 in 1933. But it didn't stop them; Harley-Davidson unveiled a new lineup with flathead engine and Art Dreco styling for 1934.

The company puts its hand in the manufacturing of industrial power plants based on their motorcycle engines and a three-wheeled delivery vehicle called the Servi-Car in order to counter the Depression.

The Rise of the Fallen

The reputation of Harley-Davidson for producing reliable, quality motorcycles was lost after the company was acquired by American Machine and Factory in the year 1969. The company nearly went bankrupt when they started producing inferior motorcycles which are no match to their Japanese counterparts due to reduced the production and lessen work force.

The rise of the Harley Davidson initiated in 1981 when a group of 13 investors led by Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson acquired the company from AMF for $80 million. There is a strict control over the inventory with the use of just in time system.

Harley Davidson Motorcycle Platform

Which is the best Harley Davidson motorcycle platform?

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Harley Davidson in India

This sound weird but the Harley Davidson motorcycles get access to Indian market in the exchange for the import of Indian mangoes in 2007 by the approval of U.S. Trade Representative and the Minister of commerce and Industry of India.

There are 11 models offered by the manufacturer in India from each of its six platforms – Sportster, Dyna, Softail, V-Rod, Touring and Street – in addition to a full range of parts, accessories, and general merchandise, available through 15 authorized dealerships facilities across India.

Harley-Davidson has also set up an assembly unit in Haryana and began the assembly of its Sportster line followed by the assembly of the Dyna line in 2012 and Softail line in 2013. In 2014, Harley-Davidson began manufacturing the Street 750 and 500 motorcycles jointly in U.S. and Indian plants which is also exported in Europe and Asian market from India.

Best Harleys of all time

The motorcycle giant has manufactured tons of motorcycles, so choosing the top models of all time is like subjective picking. But still, here are top Harley's of their times.

1915 11F

Year-1915

The 1915 11 F is seen as the revolution not only for the Harley and Davidson but for the whole motorcycling world. Harley had come up with a 3-speed transmission, along with a magneto, automatic oiler and large intake valves making it to boost up to 11 horsepower and also an electric lighting system encompassing a taillight that could be removed for use as a nighttime service light. It might not be practical today to roll out on this bad boy, but it’s still an important piece of Harley history. It puts the motorcycle maker in a competitive position and open up the ways for the next level development.

(click column header to sort results)
Engine Displacement  
30 ci  
Transmission
3-speed
Horsepower
11 hp

EL “Knucklehead”

Year-1936

The iconic “Knucklehead” with the overhead valve 61-cubic-inch V-twin put into running by Harley-Davidson in early 1936 is a milestone motorcycle and is called as the god father of the modern American Harley. It not only showcases the air-cooled twins that Harley-Davidson built after, but the styling with “teardrop” gas tank, has remained strong.

Engine Displacement
61 ci
Horsepower
48 hp @ 4800 rpm
Top speed
95 mph
Fuel Capacity
3.75 g

FLH Electra Glide

Year-1965

The Electra-Glide was a popular touring mount in its day and a perfect example of evolution policy of Harley Davidson but it also marked the end of an era. It can be said a next step into the future with a feature that earned it the Electra Glide name; the electric starter had made its debut which eliminated the need of kick-start the big V-twin which was not an easy task. The Electra Glide had made it into the modern day touring and is now the gold member for motorcycle touring in America.

Engine Displacement
74 ci
Horsepower
60 horsepower at 5,400 rpm
Top Speed
100 mph
Fuel Capacity
5 g

FLSTF Fatboy

Year-1990

The fat boy depicts a class of Heritage Soft-tail classic due to which it is still one of the most beloved Harleys. The every part of Fat Boy is perfectly matched from its frame to simple yet elegant silver paint scheme, with subtle yellow highlights being the only peculiarity in the monochromatic core. Fatboy got its differentiable 1950s bomber look which is different from other retro-styled Big Twins by having some tweaks like solid 16-inch wheels at both front and rear, and a slimmed-down skirted front fender and a own monogrammed air cleaner.

Engine Displacement
82 ci
Horsepower
49.00 hp @ 5000 rpm
Top Speed
92 mph
Fuel Capacity
4.23 g

VRSC V-Rod

Year-2002

VRSC V-Rod reflects the combination of motorcycles and drag racing. It can be said as the first member of a new Harley Davidson family-the performance cruiser. Harley Davidson just builds a cruiser for those who hate cruisers or even a Harley Davidson motorcycle, the V-Rod touches your senses and your soul. The past of Harley Davidson racing can be clearly seen all over this motorcycle from tightly refined power pack of pure custom attitude backed with the performance of the Revolution engine generating up to 115 horsepower which makes it possible to roll the rear wheel just like the sports bike and it can also make up to 140mph.

Engine Displacement
69 ci
Horsepower
115.00 hp @ 8250 rpm
Fuel Capacity
3.7 g

VRSCE2 Screamin' Eagle V-Rod

Year-2006

The VRSCE2 also known as Screamin' Eagle V-Rod is a style packed performance machine by the Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) team powered with the Revolution engine but with some high-performance tweaks and a series of custom made components which make this limited edition V-rod a powerful beast among the power cruiser motorcycles.

This time the motorcycle maker has done some experiment in color schemes with three different combinations-

Electric orange and black

Chrome yellow pearl and platinum pearl

Scarlet red pearl and charcoal slate

Engine Displacement
76.28 ci
Torque
116.61 Nm @ 7000 rpm
Fuel Capacity
3.7 g

FLHR Road King

Year-2012

The 2012 FLHR Road King is a 2in1 machine, like a timeless boulevard cruiser with its classic styling along with the functionality of a fully equipped, long distance tourer. Its 1690cc Twin Cam 103 engine and 6-Speed Cruise Drive transmission kills it when it comes to performance and customization with a detachable windshield and an air-adjustable touring rear suspension which makes it easy to get the kind of ride you want. It also offers electronic cruise control and an ABS braking system.

The manufacturer doesn’t want to take any chances so there is also no compromise in color coding as it includes wide range of colors like-

Vivid Black

Big Blue Pearl

Midnight Pearl

Ember-Red Sunglo/Merlot Sunglo.

Engine Displacement
103 ci
Torque
135.60 Nm @ 3250 rpm
Fuel Capacity
6 g

VRSCDX - Night Rod Special

Year-2017

The Night Rod Special is a sprinter crouched at the blocks with blacked out styling across its streamlined front end which takes the legendary V-Rod to a darker place. The raked out front end provides great straight-line stability at speed, while a postage stamp-sized “speedscreen” provides a little fairing atop the headlight, cast aluminum wheels, low rise bars and fastback tail section which gives it an all-up-front look that speaks to its lot in life as a sinister-looking street dragster. The powerhouse is the performance packed liquid-cooled Revolution V-Twin and the confidence that comes from Brembo dual disc brakes.

Engine Displacement
76 ci
Torque
7250 rpm
Fuel Capacity
5 g

We Believe in Harley Davidson-Live By It

Harley Davidson Merchandise

It’s a phase of royalty to ride a Harley Davidson but you should do it in style, the ride is a symbol of style so you also have to do it in style. Harley Davidson provides its riding gear to mark up the style quotient.

Helmet

The first and most important thing for going out on a ride. The motorcycle company provides a variety of helmets for the Harley lovers with some stylish graphics to relate it with the beast you rode.

Jackets

The Motor Company has a lots of jackets showcased to the buy for with promised improvements in warmth, dryness and function with its new rain gear, heated gear and a new FXRG jacket. The company has added two new products to its jacket line.

Harley Davidson Ridgeway waterproof riding jacket

Women’s Harley Davidson skull 3in1 leather jacket

And a lot more accessories and products.

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