Harley Davidson is the only word that comes to mind when you think of a traditional, crimson-red American motorcycle. It is known for its signature bikes that successfully run worldwide, let alone in America.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company is the standard-bearer of American motorcycles. The people with an outpoured love for bikes or the general consumers, even business executives, are drawn to Harley Davidson bikes due to their style, tone, efficiency, and reliability.
Just like any other company, Harley Davidson has also witnessed its share of epic highs and lows. And if you want to know more about these bike manufacturers and motorcycle dealers and are interested in their story, keep reading. You will discover all about their wild journey and how they surfed through the roughest waves.
How Was Harley Davidson Born?
If we take a little glimpse outside or going out somewhere, we won’t fail to notice a Harley Davidson motorcycle or two speeding around. Harley Davidson is indeed the most successful motorcycle manufacturer. But have you ever thought about how it laid its ground and how it was born?
It all began in the initial years of the 1900s in a small shed in Milwaukee.
This is too commonplace — many of the world’s largest, most prosperous businesses started with nothing and nowhere. However, there may not be any company that started as modestly as Harley-Davidson. This story deserves narration. They built their first motorcycle in a ten by a fifteen-foot wooden hut with the words “Harley-Davidson” hastily scribbled on the door. The initial bike was essentially just a regular bicycle. It had a tiny motor — the challenge was to change it to run on gasoline.
Records show that Harley-Davidson had at least a working prototype of this bike by 1903, even though they did not formally produce a production variant until two years later. The bike’s 1905 iteration retained a similar utilitarian design but underwent a few modest modifications to boost sales.
The First Bike Was Not A Success
William S.Harley, Walter Davidson, Arthur Davidson, and William A. Davidson founded Harley Davidson in 1903. After they laid their foundation, they started working on the first prototype. It was an engine of about 115.8 millimeters — a small one. It was supposed to be propelled on a bicycle to transform it from mechanical functionality to motor.
However, it was not a success, and the bike could not even go past a mile and would stop. It was quite a bummer, and they could have dropped their morals low. But instead, they used it as a source to boost them up.
Instead of pinning themselves down by their first major failure, they returned stronger and emerged triumphant. The group looked down at their mistakes and the part where they needed to work. After a year, they created their own coil frame and large engine. It took a year to complete, launching it in 1904.
The turnout was off-the-charts and helped HD turn the tables. After that prototype was a success, William Harley, Arthur Davidson, William Davidson, and Walter Davidson, the company’s founders, set out to build motorized bicycles with unrivaled speed and excellent handling. The outstanding performance of these bikes in the racing world, law enforcement, and even the military prove they were successful.
The Advent Of The First V-Twin Engine
A few years ago, the ninth big twin engine, referred to as The Milwaukee Eight, found its way to the market. It is basically the first new variation to ever be designed. But if we turn the pages back and talk about how it all started, the first V-twin engine was fitted to a frame in 1909.
Although it was a subpar performer and was only produced for a year, they have been associated with Harleys ever since.
The First Motorcycle To Average Above 100 Miles Per Hour
In 1914, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company signed and began supporting a racer named Otto Walker. Despite getting hurt shortly after signing his initial contract, he returned to action and participated in the first significant race in which Harley-Davidson was interested.
This 300-mile competition was held in Venice, Los Angeles. However, Otto Walker didn’t set any records on a Harley until a few years later. His average speed for the whole race, which he won in 1921, was over 100 miles per hour.
These speeds on a bike during a long race had never been maintained before.
Harley Davidson Also Produced Bicycles For A Short Period
When Harley-Davidson studied the market, they concluded that capturing customers early would maximize long-term revenues. With that idea, they created their first bicycle in 1917, keeping pre-teen boys in mind. They also gave their products an appealing look to attract their young customers. The bicycles were painted in olive drab, which made them aesthetically pleasing.
Sadly, these bicycles never really gained traction. Only a few years after they started, they stopped making them. Why? Because investing more money in the concept than earning from it did not work out — naturally. However, due to their current rarity, collectors significantly demand these bikes still.
Avoiding The Great Depression
There were hundreds of American motorcycle manufacturers up to the late 1920s, some of which lasted twenty years and others just one or two. Unfortunately, only two manufacturers survived the Great Depression, which destroyed the motorcycle industry. Those two companies were Harley Davidson and Indian.
Like many other firms, Harley survived by producing items other than motorcycles, including industrial engines.
Despite the challenging conditions, Harley-Davidson created and produced the three-wheeled Servicar in 1932; this model remained in the Harley catalog until 1973. In 1964, the Service became the first civilian Harley-Davidson equipped with an electric starter.
Challenges of 1960
Harley Davidson sales rapidly declined by the late 1960s, and the business faced financial difficulties. If the American Machine and Foundry (AMF) hadn’t stepped in and acquired the struggling Harley Davidson company, this could have easily been the end of it.
AMF had no experience creating motorcycles, let alone building a brand and providing customer service. In the 1970s, Harley Davidson’s quality dropped like a stone, and things didn’t start to improve until a group of 13 former H-D executives intervened and repurchased the company.
However, the harm to Harley’s reputation had already been done, but they got back on track and climbed the ladder of success again. It was an arduous journey, but their persistent hard work and passion showed them the light of victory again.
What Makes Harley Davidson The Best Manufacturers?
Harley Davidson’s had their share of atrocities. In that roller coaster of a journey, they have seen all the highs and lows of running a business. Despite that, they never turned their morals down and kept thriving for the better, working harder to achieve newer milestones.
In the end, their efforts paid off, and they are currently the best motorcycle manufacturer in the world. So, if you ever want to lease a motorcycle, ensure that you are going for the right choice and opt for a Harley Davidson.
Lease a Harley Davidson, and you won’t have to compromise on quality, efficiency, or reliability.
which will give you the freedom to the roads to enjoy it with breezing wind on your face while you are now part of the elite bikers club with extreme passion and adrenaline.