The Harley Davidson motorcycle was and always will be an American icon. Although other American motorcycle companies have flourished, none has had the staying power of Harley. Over a hundred years after its inception, the Harley Davidson motorcycle company is stronger and better received by the American public than ever before. Its line of motorcycles is diverse enough that it appeals to both men and women and priced for those on a wide range of budgets. The bikes themselves are only the start. The clothing, accessories, and memorabilia are an extension of the motorcycle and the entire concept of the Harley lifestyle reaches outward to interest just about anyone with a fascination of two-wheeled transportation.
Harley Davidson began its illustrious history in Milwaukee, Wisconsin back in 1903. The pioneers were Bill Harley and Arthur Walter Davidson and the entire operation was located inside of a wooden barn built by Mr Davidson’s father. They woudl remain in the barn manufacturing their motorcycles until 1912 when they would relocate into a multi-level building, reportedly six stories high. The Harley Davidson motorcycle company was started with the design of a one cylinder engine which developed specifically for racing and grew from there. In 1905 they had produced eleven motorcycles and by 1908 the number had grown to one hundred fifty four. By 1912 they had begun to export their motorcycles with the first motorized bike being sold overseas in Japan. The quest for world peace also fueled the sales of Harley motorcycles in the coming years. Harley was the largest supplier of motorcycles for the United States military. Their patriotism and reliable motorcycles helped the war effort and added to the company’s ever-growing group of enthusiasts. Two wheeled transportation was proving to be a viable means of moving about versus traveling by automobile. Over the next few decades, the company continued its growth and presence on the roads of the United States and around the world. Motorcycling, however, was about to get something it never had before… a bad reputation.
During the fifties, Americans viewed the release of movies depicting motorcyclists as less than honorable citizens. The term biker gang was introduced to the world and there was no going back from here. Rebellious bikers had come to be associated with Harley Davidson motorcycles thanks to a bit of Hollywood make-believe and the imaginations of the movie goers. The success of these biker flicks fueled even more bad-boy biker films especially during the sixties and seventies. Movie goers would have a better chance of finding a needle in a haystack than finding movies with honorable and honest bikers. The whole concept of the Harley motorcycle would never be the same from this point forward. The attitude, the attire, the tattoos, and the owner loyalty would go well beyond that of any other brand of motorcycle. To this day, regardless of innovations in imported motorcycles, Harley remains as good motorcycle as any in the world. Harley owners rarely defect to different brands. The motorcycle’s simplicity and timeless design help promote the brand loyalty. To many owners, very simply the concept of riding a symbol of American ingenuity through the city streets or country roads of America is enough. Harley sounds like no other bike, looks like no other bike, and feels like no other bike. Most Harley owners would agree that it’s the only motorcycle for them. Biker rallies and get-togethers draw more and more motorcycle enthusiasts every year. Whether you consider the motorcycle a means of transportation, or a means of relaxation, depends on your overall opinion of two-wheeled travel. Harley Davidson, however, is guaranteed to remain at the forefront of the industry for decades to come based purely on owner loyalty and genuine love for the ultimate American motorcycle.
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