When it comes to iconic brands of bikes, Harley-Davidson hits it out of the ballpark. This awe-inspiring brand has been tagged as the coolest of the coolest, the most chic for bike enthusiasts. Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson has dominated the market since then. Flash forward a century, it is now the first choice for chic bikers.
Harley-Davidson is an iconic American motor brand founded in a small shed by William S. Harley and Brothers Arthur and Walter Davidson in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Even though this is the most sought after brand these days, which was not the case when they started out. Although, the fact that there weren’t many bike manufacturers at that time played into their favor.
Harley-Davidson officially joined forces with William Davidson in 1907, when he came on board with his two brothers and Harley. They began hiring employees and by the end of 1917, they were producing bikes using the signature 45-degree air-cooled V-Twin. After this, experts say that they never had to look back. They grew progressively and with much gusto. And they found even more traction when the American military started sourcing Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the First World War. And during World War II, Harley-Davidson expanded in peacetime and found itself producing up to 90,000 units of motorcycles for the American military.
After the war, they started working on a new development and introduced the Sportster in 1957, the oldest model apparent in the current lineup, as well as other iconic H-D models. In the 1960s, H-D saw a change in ownership by merging with American Machine and Foundry (AMF) in 1969. But the stakes were sold back to the current owner after AMF saw a decline in sales during the 80s. During the 90s, Harley-Davidson solidified its grip over Buell motorcycles by taking a huge chunk of stake in the American sportbike manufacturer and by selling Buell motorcycles at many H-D dealers.
Harley-Davidson has since then retained its image as a classic American icon. Although the company is reaching out to customers with the introduction of more performance-oriented models, like the V-Rod, which is known for being the first liquid-cooled production Harley. Analyzing the demographic ages, H-D also realized it must break into the younger market with edgier designs of its classic models like the Cross Bones and members of its Dark Custom line, similar to the Iron 883.
Harley-Davidson has been working relentlessly to improve the riding quality of its bikes. It replaced the stamped and welded single-piece frame that fastened Harley touring motorcycles for the last 30 years with a cast, single-spar, and rigid-backbone frame. Recently, it has introduced a wider and longer swing arm. They also up with a new three-wheel motorcycle called the Tri Glide. It has the classic features of its best-selling Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
Harley-Davidson has proved time and again why they have been able to single-handedly change the course of American automotive and it can undoubtedly be said that they will continue to do so.