The Beginning of the Harley-Davidson MotorCompany
Harley-Davidson is a well-respected company. They symbolize the American dream and strive to deliver the best that they can. It’s because they started a company to be the best and many would say that they far surpass. It all started with an idea. William S.
Harley sketched a design for a gasoline engine-powered bicycle that had a cubic displacement of 7.07 inches. He and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson planned to build their prototype. They started finding and scavenging parts. Their dream was to be able to zip up and down 9th street (Davidson’s home) and Clybourn (Harley’s home). They loved to fish and needed a quick and portable solution to transport them down about 30 miles to the lakes in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
Arthur’s father and 2 brothers helped supply parts from their job, manufacturing trains. The friends saw how unpredictable their rival’s products were, always breaking down and not very powerful. There were very few motorcycle companies, only Merkel and Indian were the main ones. The Davidson-Harley Company (The name soon changed to Harley-Davidson) wanted to be better! William and Arthur soon realized that they needed a mechanic to help them build their machines so Walter Davidson was added to the company. To paint there new name, “Harley-Davidson” (It had a better ring to it) they had Janet Davidson join the company. With lack of manufacturing space, the Group needed a “factory” so William C.
Davidson built them there first shop. This shed was 12×15 with a couple windows, and a heated stove. The whole Davidson family put a lot of time and effort to create the Harley-Davidson brand. To help build the company name, Walter entered their motorcycle in the “Catskill Mountain Endurance and Reliability 365 mile Race.” An amazing thing happened that day for the company, Walter won! He even helped other riders throughout the race! Harley-Davidson was not done yet.
It was 1909 and they needed to come out with something revolutionary! William Harley began to sketch up the perfect motorcycle engine; The V twin. It was a perfect design that fit into the motorcycle frame, gave twice the power and because each side of the engine was placed at a 45 degree angle, it would counteract the unstable vibrations. This new bike had a cubic displacement of 49.5 which put out 7 horsepower! This was an amazing feat which made Indian aware of Harley-Davidson’s rapid progression. Like anybody who wants to see whose motorcycle engine is better and is fastest, you race.
The most popular racing in 1910, was the Motordromes: A boarded track at a very steep angle where riders must be going at least 70 miles per hour to bank the turn. This may not be very dangerous today, however back then they only wore leather caps as head protection! This led to many deaths and Harley-Davidson announced that they would no longer race in the Motordromes. The nickname of, “Murderdrome” spread around very quickly but many companies still participated because people liked to watch them. Harley-Davidson is respected for not participating in it. Harley-Davidson went back to flat track races and endurance races and let everyone know who they were and what they stood for as a company.
As if motorcycles couldn’t get any cooler, Harley-Davidson introduced the first side cars in 1914 making passengers ride in class and comfortability. By now, the police were using Harley-Davidson Motorcycles making Harley-Davidson Extremely popular. For the first time they included a 2 speed transmission designed by William Harley. This meant traction in the lowest gear and superior speed and handling in the second gear. The new motorcycle could out preform Indian in speed and handling.
By 1925 Harley-Davidson introduced the “teardrop gas tank” design. For many, this marked the end of the beginning of Harley Davidson. This new look completely revolutionized the motorcycle industry transforming these machines into works of art. The new Harley-Davidson no longer looked like a bicycle but truly gave a motorcycle a style. In conclusion, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company created the motorcycle.
They may not have been 1st but they branded the bike and created a company fueled on the love of motorcycles. They have created a long term following and popularity. There are riding reunions, clubs, foundations, etc. Harley-Davidson didn’t just revolutionize the motorcycle, they rode it to victory. Citation: Davidson, Jean, and Jon Davidson. Oeflein.
Harley-Davidson Family Memories. Austin Tx: Octane, 2013 Print. “Harley Davidson Timeline: 1900s ” Harley-Davidson Museum. N.P., N.
D. Web. 10 Oct. 2016 By April, complete motorcycle were in production on a very limited basis. That Year, the first Harley-Davidson dealer, Carch, lang of Chicago, sold 3 bikes from the s built in the Davidson backyard shed in 1906 a few factory measure 28×26 Harley-Davidson: first motorcycle ” first versions: np.
, ND.web. 10 Oct 2016