Nov 15, 2010

Beginning and nowadays of Harley Davidson motorcycle

Beginning and nowadays of Harley Davidson motorcycle

While working at a Milwaukee engineering firm William S Harley and Arthur Davidson built their first model engine a 400cc (25ci) in 1902. In 1903 Walter Harley and William A Harley also joined the team together they fitted the engine into a bicycle frame and the first Harley Davidson had been born.

Believing in their product Harley Davidson improved their first model throughout the following years and by 1907 the product was up to 150 per year. By this time the home factory was too small and Harley Davidson moved to their new factory location in Milwaukee, Juneau Avenue. By this time Harley Davidson had become a corporation with 17 employees.

In 1909 Harley introduced the famous V twin engine in the model 5D. However the first V twin engine had faults and it was not until 1911 that a reintroduction of the engine became a success. The V-twin became one of the typical trademarks of the Harley Davidson company.

Harley Davidson was never too eager to get into racing but in 1914 started racing with what was called the Wrecking Team on the factory floor. It was competitive times and the biggest rivals were Indian, Merkel and Excelsior. And not to forget the Model T ford. The introduction of cars was bad news to motorcycle manufacturers and it also put Harley Davidson under serious financial stress.

In 1928 Harley Davidson was working with a smaller engine size (45ci) and integrated it into the W series in 1937. The W was produced during the depression and all the way to the Second World War - with 80,000 being shipped over for action.

With so many W models around and being converted after the war for daily use Harley Davidson became a well known brand on the street. The factory started producing different W series bikes. The most recognizable aspect of the W was the foot clutch and hand gear lever.

Harley Davidson did have the engineering advantage and took a big risk introducing a modern, stylish, well designed 61E model right in the middle of the depression. However the Knucklehead (as it was known) was such an interesting bike that it still became a huge success. The Knucklehead is the big grand-daddy of modern day Harleys.

The Sportster was introduced in 1957, being the ultimate American sports bikes on the road in the early 1960s. The sportster XLCH was fast and a direct competitor to the English sports bikes at the time. Today the sportster is the smallest of cruiser models and doesn't reflect its sporting background. It's hardly a match for the modern day super sport bikes. Over the years Harley upgraded the engine to a 1000cc and later a 1200cc and added a 883cc lighter model to the line in 1986.

Harley tried to produce a café racer to match the other popular bike models and developed the XLCR café racer in 1977. It had a Sportster engine and technology from the XR750 race bike. But the XLCR never managed to convince as a street racer or a road bike. It turned out to be a production mistake.

Harley Davidson had been under control of the AMF parent company in the 1970s which had not been for the best. The sales were slowing down and the quality was under pressure. So the management at the time went out and raised money to buy out Harley and continue back on its own power. A lot of models got a huge quality boost after this buy-out.

Over the years the Hydra Glide (1949) had been developed followed by the Duo Glide (1958) leading to the Electra Glide in 1965. The Electra Glide was a heavy bike at 350kg. And brakes, suspension and engine vibration didn't make the bike any easier to ride. Despite all this the Electra Glide became one of the most popular Harley models. It was a strong symbol of an all American bike. After the management buy-out the Electra glide was one of the models to benefit most from the quality improvements.

In 1984 Harley Davidson introduced the softtail and was the foundation for many bikes for the coming years. Its classic look and new evolution engine with back suspension made it a smooth ride while still keeping all the old characteristics.

Harley Davidson was known to keep its design classic and with a strong customizable feel. However the 2001 introduced VRSCA V-rod was a shock to many Harley Davidson lovers. The V-rod with a new revolution engine, designed together with Porsche, was a modern cruiser with an old fashion street racer style. Brought out in silver with closed wheels, long frame and steel tubes.

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