Harley Davidson Motor Company
Makers of the Biker’s Favorite Motorcycle
William Harley, at the age of 21, designed a small engine with a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches, or 116 cc (cubic centimeters), and a four inch flywheel. The cc's of a motorcycle engine has become the standard criteria used to describe the motor's size. This first engine was for use with a conventional pedal-type bicycle frame. Thus the first motorcycle designed by a member of Harley family goes back to the year 1901.
Over the next two years, Harley and a close friend, Arthur Davidson, labored on their motorbike using a small machine shop belonging to Henry Melk, a mutual friend. They finished the bike in 1903 with the help of Walter Davidson, Arthur's brother. The boys got a surprise when they took the bike out for a tryout around the Milwaukee neighborhood. The bike didn’t have enough power to climb even the small hills without using the pedals! Instead of giving up, Will and the Davidson brothers used this as a learning experience and went back to work. Their next motorbike started the legacy of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle and the loyal following of generations of motorcycle riders.
The H-D Company was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is still based there. The company started a network of dealers that can be found in any US state and many foreign countries. The company makes models of cruiser motorcycles such as the old favorites from the Dyna, Soft Tail and Touring groups. If you’re looking for muscle then one of the V-Rods would be for you. The Harley Davidson Sportster is still a favorite with a whopping seven models to choose from. These motorcycles (or "Harley's") are of a style and have the sound that is unique to the brand. The Harley is a favorite for customizing for that individual look. It was the military Harley Davidson that gave rise to this customization such as the bobbing and chopping of motorcycles. And you can now order your personally customized Harley Davidson direct from their own online company website or any dealership.
All types of people are now motorcycle fans and riders, thanks mostly to the history and tradition of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle. There are many Harley riders clubs. There are, to name but a few, national clubs right down to local chapters, including the outlaw Hell’s Angles, Mongols, Satan's Brothers and the Bandidos clubs. I know I left out a few so you other outlaws please forgive the omission. Of course there are the Christian Bikers clubs, women’s only clubs and last but not least, the famous Harley Owners Group commonly known as H.O.G. There are bars in towns of any size that cater to bikers too. And you can sometimes times find one out in the middle of nowhere. You could say that Harley riders are as diverse a group as the bikes they ride!
Harley Davidson and other bikers have runs and rallies for just the fun of getting together with like minded people as well as many charity focused events. And then there’s the biggest and the best of all runs or rallies. The world famous Sturgis Rally held in Sturgis, South Dakota, population 6,627 per the 2010 census, brings together thousands of motorcycle riders and bikers from several countries and every state in the Union. A large majority of the motorcycles at Sturgis are Harleys. The rally also attracts hundreds of representatives from all motorcycle manufacturers and related businesses. It is estimated that in 2012 more than 500,000 people attended the rally.
Not only are there the brick and mortar motorcycle related businesses a huge market, the Internet has also become a marketplace for all of the retail and wholesale biker products. You can even buy your very own Harley Davidson motorcycle (or any other motorcycle, custom bobber, or chopper) on the Internet. There are even online stores such as BikerTshirtsandTanks.com that sell biker related products such as motorcycle clothing and other biker gear and accessories!
* The above photograph is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.