Ride that bike
That bike? The Harley Davidson! A humble begin. A team dedicated to perfection.
The first bike was officially completed in 1903 by the Harley Davidson Company.
It began unofficially in 1901 with 21-year-old William S. Harley.
He drew the plans for a small engine displacing 7.07 cubic inches with 4-inch flywheels. It was designed for use on a regular pedal-bicycle frame.
He was helped by his friend Arthur Davidson and his brother Walter.
To complete their first engine-powered bike, they used the machine shop of Henry Melk, another friend . This prototype was not powerful enough to propel the motored-bike up Milwaukee’s modest hills. The rider had to resort to pedal power.
The first “real” Harley Davidson Motorcycle was completed with the help from another Davidson brother named William. The engine was bigger with 24.74 cubic inches, 9-3/4 inch flywheels and 28 pounds weight
The new bike was ready by September 08, 1904. It made its first appearance in a Milwaukee motorcycle race.
The first three motorcycles were produced in 1903, followed by 3 more in 1904. In 1905 production rose to 8 completed bikes. This allowed Walt Davidson to quit his job with the railroad. He became the company’s first full-time employee. His aunt, Janice Davidson used her artistic talent to letter and pinstripe the bikes: black with gold trim.
The legendary motorbike was born.
In 1906, the first Harley Davidson Motor Company factory was a modest wooden structure on Chestnut Street, now Juneau Avenue. This location remains the Motor Company’s corporate headquarters to this day with stores all over the world.
In 1907 William S. Harley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in mechanical engineering. The factory was expanded. And production increased from 50 to 150 motorcycles.
1907 was also the completion of a prototype, the 45-degree V-Twin engine. It displaced 53.68 cubic inches and produced about 7 horsepower, doubling the hill-climbing power of the first bikes.
In 1908 the production increased to 450 motorcycles up to 1,149 in 1909.
Success was granted. The original factory was replaced and expanded. Bikes produced by Harley Davidson began to dominate the motorcycle racing arena.
In 1914 production reached 16,284 units!
The first World War increased the demand for motorcycles in the military.
The factory provided over 20,000 units to military forces.
After the war, the company continued to improve and produce.
It was one of 2 American cycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression.
During the second World War and Korean War the company continued to provide machines to the military. The Jeep then replaced it in popularity.
The Harley Davidson Motor Company is still going strong. HOG, on the Stock Market. A good investment. Bike or share.
Did you ride THAT bike?
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