History of Harley Davidson motorcycles began in 1903, where Arthur Davidson and his brother named Walter, along with his neighbor William Harley, made the Harley-Davidson. Actual manufacture of the motor was started from a simple idea, that they want to make a motor that can pass through climbs in the area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. The first motor that they produce was to use a single cylinder, with a 60cc engine. Although these motors are made in the prime, it was sold and there was a buyer.
Two years later, they register their business with the name Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Co. When the new company started, they only produce three units of the motor. The motor is generated from a small hut, behind the Davidson family home. The small factory was originally made of plank, which was made by Davidson’s father.
In 1906, the company moved to Juneau Avenue, which occupies the room more spacious. Due to a more appropriate place, they managed to produce 150 units of motor. Most motors they produce purchased by the local police, because their motor production can be driven with high speed and agile.
After six years the company was established, in 1909 they perform an important breakthrough by introducing a two-cylinder engine, V configuration (V-twin), with an angle of 45 degrees. At that time the engine capacity of about 790 cc and capable of producing seven horsepower with top speeds of 60 miles per hour. They don’t think if this engine model will become the hallmark of their products, known as the classic American engine. Characteristic of these engines is to have a big sound, rumble and seem very manly. In that year, Harley-Davidson motorcycle was able to produce as many as 1149 units.
Apparently the success of Harley-Davidson became the inspiration for other factories. So the competition began. In 1911, at least about 150 emerging as a rival motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson. However, perhaps because of the quality, Harley-Davidson can still survive and increase the amount of production. In 1913, when the factory was expanded, the production of Harley-Davidson motorcycle almost reached 13,000 units.
During 1914, the basic form of modern motorcycles began to appear. The form includes the laying of the engine between the front and rear wheels, and used a chain to transfer power from the engine to the rear wheel motor.
Total production of motorcycles continues to increase the period 1916 to 1918, to around 20,000 units. The cause of the increase was significant because the U.S. government ordered two-wheeled vehicle, for the purposes of World War I. During World War I, motorcycles as a means of transportation proved tough for the U.S. and Europe. After the war, widespread use of motorcycles to Europe and America.
Conquer The Great Depression
In the 1920s, Harley-Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with total production of 28,189 units. To market a product, the Harley-Davidson has agents in 67 countries. In this decade, Harley-Davidson introduced a number of innovations. V engine capacity is developed to 74 cubic inches (about 1184 cc). Gas tank teardrop design was introduced in 1925. In 1928, Harley-Davidson began equipped with front brakes.
All the achievements were quite a Harley-Davidson’s capital in the face of the Great Depression, the economic recession of 1933. Although the number of production decreased to 3700 units, Harley-Davidson is able to survive. Other motor manufacturer who managed to survive is the Indian. This company later became the only competitor of Harley-Davidson until the 1950s.
When depression is finished, Harley-Davidson immediately step on the gas. They introduced the EL model with a capacity of 976 cc engine. This engine model popularly known as Knucklehead. With Knucklehead, Harley-Davidson slowly rise. In 1936, total production of Harley-Davidson reaches 9812 units.
World War II brought its own blessings, as well as a new milestone for Harley-Davidson. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, all Harley-Davidson’s production capacity is allocated to produce motors for the benefit of the Allied forces. Civilian consumer needs abandoned altogether.
During 1941-1945, approximately 90,000 units of Harley-Davidson created the WML series. For this achievement, Harley-Davidson gets a medal”E”from the United States Navy.
After the war, Harley-Davidson back to tap its civilian production. Eh, it attracted a lot of veterans who had motor performance, and want to restore the romance of riding a Harley-Davidson. Thousands of Harley-Davidson motorcycle units, good production after the war as well as older models, move to house the veterans, the precursor to Harley-Davidson fans.
Competing with Indian
In 1948, production of Harley-Davidson to be 31,163 units. That year, Harley-Davidson introduced its new innovation, the engine is equipped with 74 cubic inch hydraulic valve lifters and aluminum cylinder head. This machine is called The Panhead because the cylinder head cover resembling upside-down frying pan.
Entering the 1950s, second generation of the founding family began to become the motor of the company. While celebrating the 50th anniversary, Harley-Davidson lived alone in the American motorcycle market. Its traditional competitor, Indian, already out of business.
In 1957, Harley-Davidson introduced the Sportster, which is touted as “The Father of Superbikes, mastermind of pure big motor. A year later, Harley Davidson introduced the Duo-Glide, which uses hydraulic rear suspension to complement the front suspension that uses a model of fork.
Next, in 1963, Harley-Davidson to adopt the use of fiberglass into the motor-bike. For this purpose, they buy 60% stake in Tomahawk Boat Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of fiberglass in Wisconsin.
Year 1950-1960 was also marked by the presence of biker community, who introduced the culture of motorcycle riders. They are easily recognizable because it uses a leather jacket, covered in tattoos, and long hair. Wild Ones is the image of Marlon Brando introduced through a film titled the same.
Harley-Davidson’s official community itself was only established in 1983, with the name of the Harley Owners Group (HOG). It became the community’s largest Harley-Davidson owners who supported directly by the manufacturer. Currently, the number of members of HOG approaching one million people around the world.
Hard times due to corporate mergers
In tahun1965, Harley-Davidson went public. Four years later, the American Machine and Foundry (AMF), a merger with Harley-Davidson. However, the merger is regarded as the darkest period in the history of Harley-Davidson. The reason, in 1970 and 1980, motorcycles made in Japan that the price is very cheap to enter the market.
When Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki entered the U.S. market, Harley-Davidson’s market share has fallen dramatically. Of the original 80% in 1969, to 20% ten years later. Decline in market share is to grip a number of executive Harley-Davidson. They are also looking for ways to save the company.
To restore the Harley-Davidson to a good performance, they submitted a proposal to Citicorp. With the support fund of U.S. $ 80 million from Citicorp, they buy back shares held by the AMF (Citicorp to sell those shares to the Heller-Financial Corporation in 1986). The concept and philosophy of production and sales of Harley-Davidson was repaired.
Originally, the Harley-Davidson is a product that is affordable and easy to use and modify. That changed with the Harley-Davidson makes the product expensive and difficult to find spare parts. To replace the rear lights, for example, Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners can not just buy the cap, but must buy the whole sepatbornya.
In addition to Marlon Brando, a number of celebrities make Harley-Davidson parts of their appearance. Whether on the big screen, glass screen, as well as in everyday life. In 1956, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiast the cover of magazines.
The mid-1990s, Arnold Schwarzeneger appear with Harley-Davidson in the movie Terminator. Action Lorenzo Lamas and Harley-Davidson Softail, the Renegade series is also a favorite spectacle at the end of 1990.
Actor Keanu Reeves also had distributed 12 units of Harley-Davidson, which is worth about U.S. $ 200,000, to all the Matrix Reloaded movie stuntman. According to Reeves, this is a sign of his gratitude to the stuntman that.
For now, though relatively expensive precious, Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle with its own distinctive features and fans. That’s why Harley-Davidson still exist till today.