Dee's Biker Corner

 Happy Birthday
100 Years Harley Davidson

In 1791 Comte de Sicrac, built the first hobby horse bike - a hobby horse with two wheels instead of a rocker. By 1890 with a better design the bicycle was a practical investment for the working man as transportation, and gave him a much greater flexibility for leisure. Women would also start riding bicycles in much larger numbers.

But it was Arthur Davidson, 20, and William Harley, 21, of Michigan who in 1901 began experimenting with the idea of "taking the work out of bicycling." At that time there was already a new invention called the horseless carriage so it was only logical to come up with the idea to fit a smaller combustion engine to a bicycle. Soon after, the duo were joined by Arthur's two brothers Walter and William.

The founders of Haley Davidson

The Indian was the first motorcycle, born of an agreement between George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom, inscribed on a single sheet of paper in January, 1901. The Davidson's and Harley turned out three motorcycle by 1903, the Mitschell, Merkel and Yale. These new bikes were reliable, beautiful cycles and people wanted them. In 1905 they had built 11 motorcycles and by the following year Harley-Davidson erected their first building at the current Juneau Avenue site and they incorporated in 1907. The Motor Company's first dealer was a Chicago businessman named Carl Herman Lang, who began to retail Harley-Davidsons in 1905. Also in 1907 production turned out 150 motorcycles. Now with 20 employees and a new building Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Co. was born. For most dedicated Harley enthusiast you already know how HD came to be, I wanted to bring more to the table on this subject and to show the many ways Harley-Davidson changed the world of transportation and made their place in history.

The first motorcycles were not only used for transportation but soon after opening the factory doors, the Police forces began buying the Harley-Davidson motorcycles not only for their speed but for the freedom they needed to apprehend criminals . By 1914 they tried their hand at motorcycle racing, and soon dominated the sport becoming known as the "Wrecking Crew". Also that same year the side-car was added to the motorcycles and by 1917 one-third of all HD were sent over seas to the U.S. Military taking their place in history while aiding in the war effort. When it was all said and done their were over 20,000 motorcycles used in the war most of them Harley-Davidson.

The 1920's brought changes to the appearance of the motorcycle, one being the teardrop shape gas tank, single-cylinder engines were once again available, after being discontinued in 1918. Also the first twin-cam engine and front wheel brakes were now available on the HD bikes, now the motorcycle could reach speeds in excess of 85 mph.

1930's brought the three-wheel Servi-Car that would become a familiar commercial and police vehicle. Along with appearance changes such as the "eagle" design, that was painted on all Harley-Davidson gas tanks, changes were also made to the engine.

The 40's brought another war and the call for more motorcycles to be sent over seas, mostly bringing a halt to the civilian production of bikes as the company turned out motorcycles for the war. As a result of their commitment and excellence, Harley-Davidson received the Army-Navy "E" award. The 1940's also introduced hydraulic front brakes on the Hydra-Glide models.
Over the many years to follow Harley-Davison would see many changes, ups and downs, and find their selves on the silver screen. Who would have thought that one small idea would turn into an American dream and world phenomenon.

Employees: 9,100 world wide
Dealers: 1,300
Companies Worth: Well over a billion dollars
H.O.G. Member: Over 300.000
Companies Plan for 2003: to make at least 200,000 to 300,000 motorcycles a year.
For more information on Harley Davidson visit there site at :




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