Harley Davidson is an American motorbike brand. It is one of the oldest. Indeed, having seen the light of day in 1903, it is today a symbolic brand that is one of the most prized by motorcyclists. Worldwide events are even organised annually in its honour. The following is an overview of this legendary motorbike brand.
History of the Harley Davidson brand
The brand was founded in 1903 by William Harley and Arthur Davidson. In Davidson’s mother’s kitchen, the two young mechanical engineers began by building a prototype motorised bicycle. This was a failure as the petrol vapour caused an explosion. They then produced their first machine at the Milwaukee facility, and it was here that the name Harley Davidson Motor Co. was born.
The hobby became a profitable business which led to two more Davidson brothers joining the company. The brand began with the production of the iconic 1911 Vtwin engine. It was after World War I, in 1920, that Harley Davidson became the largest motorbike manufacturer in the world. The brand’s motorbikes were used in both World Wars by the US Army.
The decline of the competition
In the 1920s, competition raged in the United States. Manufacturers were swarming in every major city, and around the world, including car manufacturers. However, the brand did not let itself be intimidated and it continued to produce quality machines. Very active during the Second World War, notably by producing 80,000 motorbikes for the army, it was the only brand to survive the post-war period. Indeed, its main competitors disappeared due to bankruptcies. Mythical brands such as Excelsior-Hendersen or Indian were cited.
It never stopped producing new models that were always better than the previous ones, despite the new competition from the Japanese, European and American manufacturers. This has been the case until now and the brand’s products are considered top of the range.
The Harley Davidson spirit
Harley Davidson is more than just a motorbike brand, it is also a culture. Indeed, many events are organised worldwide in honour of the brand. These include Daytona Bike Week, European Bike Week in Faaker-See, Austria, and many others. These events bring together up to 100,000 motorbikers. The most popular brand is Harley Davidson. It is also emblematic in the world of Rock’N Roll.