No history of the motorcycle would be complete without a look at the Harley Davidson® Motorcycle. Harley Davidson has become a name that is nearly synonymous with the word motorcycle through the history of the motorcycle. The history of the Harley Davidson® Motorcycle begins in 1901 with William S. Harley. It was in 1901 that he completed a blueprint of an engine designed to fit into a bicycle. This led to a partnership between William S. Harvey and Arthur Davidson which resulted in the release of the first production Harley Davidson motorcycle in 1903. The bike was created in a simple factory with the words "Harley Davidson Motor Company" scrawled on the door. However, it wasn't until 1904 that the first model was actually sold by dealer C.H. Lang of Chicago, Illinois. In 1905, the partnership was successful enough to hire their first full time employee and open a larger factory in 1906.
Walter Davidson continued to garner support for the Harley Davidson model by winning various Motorcyclists Endurance and Reliability awards and contests. A major landmark occurred in 1908 when the first motorcycle to be put into service as a police vehicle was sold to the Detroit, Michigan Police Department. The first time in the history of the motorcycle the logo was used was in 1910.
Developments continued to improve the reliability, endurance, and speed of the Harley Davidson motorcycle. Advancements included the F-head engine, sidecars, and additional accessories such as clutch and brake pedals. A separate division for Parts and Accessories was born, and in 1912 exports of motorcycles to Japan began. Two speed rear hub transmissions and improved drive train function were available by 1915. The next development was the three speed sliding gear transmission. Harley Davidson® sales were greatlt improved by sales to the United States Military, with the company providing nearly one third of all motorcycles used in the service. Eventually, almost fifty percent of all Harley Davidson motorcycles being produced were sold to the United States Military for use in World War One.
History Of The Motorcycle 1986 - Present
It wasn't until 1986 when Harley Davidson was listed for the first time on the American Stock Exchange. From there, sales continued to increase, and the brand name was firmly rooted in the minds of the American public. In the 1990s, the FLSTF Fat Boy® was released and almost instantaneously became a modern legend of motorcycle history and design, capturing the heart of many a rider. In the mid-1990's, state of the art Parts and Accessories divisions as well as production factories began to spread to many different states and locations across the nation. Popular models like the Sportster are introduced, and by 1999, the Touring and Dyna motorcycle families receive the new Twin Cam 88® engine, making them very popular with the American and overseas buyer.
2000 saw advancements in fuel injection systems for the history of the motorcycle. More racing models are introduced, and in 2004 what's been called a beach look was brought to the Harley Davidson line. The classic lines of the motorcycle were altered with a lower rear suspension and wider handlebars. 2006 sees the first authorized Harley Davidson Dealer in Mainland China, and by 2008, a Harley Davidson Museum was in the works for opening in Milwaukee where everything began.
The History Of The Motorcycle - Looking To The Future
The future of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle remains to be seen. One thing is certain, this American favorite is not going anywhere soon, and will continue to move forward with increased fuel economy, green practices, and international sales and service. The Harley Davidson motorcycle is a favorite among Americans and has gained a worldwide reputation as one of the most classic, sturdy, and powerful motorcycles to be found on roads around the globe.
The Harley Davidson Museum
The Harley Davidson Museum offers membership options through their online website at http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/Content/. There are also single visit options and tickets available through the website. The Museum is located at 400 Canal Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is open every day of the week.
Visitors can check the website for updates on shows and special performances held throughout the year at the Harley Davidson Museum. However, there are also several standing exhibits such as the one detailing Harley Davidson's involvement with the United States Military, or the True Evel Knievel. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy the motorcycle gallery, and there are many online photographs of memorabilia from the history of the motorcycle and the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company.
Additional draws to the Museum include the special exhibit on Women At The Handlebars, The Engine Room, and The Design Lab. Visitors can also purchase items in the gift shop. However, the one can't be missed feature of the Harley Davidson Museum is The Experience Gallery where you can actually sit astride various models from throughout the history of the motorcycle.
If you're someone who likes to plan ahead, you will love the virtual tour located at http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/Content. The virtual tour allows you to see tidbits of information about various aspects of the Museum and its exhibits. It sort of acts as a teaser, but might help you in planning where you want to go first to study and explore the history of the motorcycle through the eyes of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company.