Who? Harley-Davidson Inc – Is an American motorcycle manufacturer known to some as H-D or Harley for short.
Where? Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
What’s the story? Roots date back to 1903 but key history moments were in 1917 when Harley-Davidson provided around 15,000 bikes for the forces in World War 1, this was the first time that the motorcycle had been used for any combat services. The 1920s saw them become the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with 28,189 motorcycle’s produced and the mid 30’s saw them surviving ‘The Great Depression’ as they still managed to unveil a new line up, which included an Art Deco styled Flathead. With the shutdown of The Indian Motorcycle Company in 1953 Harley-Davidson became the ‘king of the road’ as the sole American motorcycle manufacturer and in 1957 they produced the bike to really boost them in to stardom – The Sportster!
The entry-level Sportsters are lighter and sportier than most Harleys and are often known as the “starter” or “entry level” bike. The Softail – is a general-purpose bike, one of the best-known models in this line is the “Fat Boy” (made famous in the film “Terminator 2”). The VRSC is currently the only production Harley-Davidson motorcycle using the Revolution engine. The 2006 VRSCA V-Rod has been more than a jaw dropping experience for all HOG’s out there, now was it the silver-leafed aluminum or the sound of its high-performance Revolution V-Twin that caused this?
Anyone I know ride ‘em? Peter Fonda is one of the most famous male Harley-Davidson riders after staring in the film Easy Rider in 1969. Several other famous Harley riders include Don Johnson, Jackson Browne, Mickey Rourke and Tina Turner and not to mention Elvis Presley who owned the 1957 Black Harley-Davidson FLH model, this bike was the basis for Bruce Rossmeyer’s, (CEO of 11 Harley-Davidson), ‘Bike Signature Collection’ to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Elvis’s death.
Coolest customs? It takes a lot of bike love but it’s all worth it to see your unique beast emerge – Paul Humphreys did just this when his custom Harley made it into the 2013 Carole Nash BGBT Calendar making the top 12 with his Harley 8 Ball 1971.
We can’t have the words ‘Harley-Davidson’ and ‘Custom’ in the same sentence without mentioning one of the best-known builders in the world of custom motorcycles – Arlen Ness, he became a trendsetter after customising his own 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead in the late 1960s – his designs have been copied throughout the world and have joined the works of Matisse, Dali and Van Gogh being exhibited at the Barbican Centre, as well as gracing the Carole Nash stands throughout the years at some of our bigger shows!
And what about Insurance? If you’ve customised your Harley-Davidson aka ‘Great Freedom Machine’ or would just like a bike quote, don’t forget you can talk to one of our motorcycle specialists on 1800 818 751 about your insurance needs, who will help you find the right insurance package.