Saturday, December 15, 2007

Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Type Public company
Founded 1903
Founder William S. Harley
Arthur Davidson
Walter Davidson
Headquarters Flag of the United States Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Key people James L. Ziemer, (ceo)
Thomas E. Bergmann, (cfo)
James A. McCaslin, (div. president & div. coo)
Sy Naqvi, (President, Harley-Davidson Financial Services)
Industry recreational vehicles
Products Motorcycles
Revenue US-$ 5,015 million (2004)
Employees 9,700 (2006)[1]
Subsidiaries Buell

Harley-Davidson Motor Company (NYSE: HOG) is an American manufacturer of motorcycles based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The company emphasizes heavyweight (over 750 cc) bikes designed for cruising on the highway and known for their distinctive exhaust note.

Harley-Davidson motorcycles (popularly known as "Harleys") are distinctive in design and sound, attracting a loyal following (in marketing terms, the owners form a brand community).[2]

The Motor Company supplies many American police forces with their motorcycle fleets.[3] Harleys are especially noted for the tradition of heavy customization that gave rise to the chopper-style of motorcycle. Licensing of the Harley-Davidson logo accounts for almost 5% of the company's net revenue ($41 million in 2004).[4]

The Buell Motorcycle Company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harley-Davidson in 2003, [5] the same year that the Motor Company celebrated its 100th birthday.



[edit] History

[edit] The beginning

The company considers 1903 to be its year of founding, though the Harley-Davidson enterprise could be considered to have started in 1901 when William S. Harley, age 21, drew up plans for a small engine that displaced 7.07 cubic inches (116 cc) and had four-inch flywheels. The engine was designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame.

Over the next two years Harley and his boyhood friend Arthur Davidson labored on their motor-bicycle using the northside machine shop of their friend Henry Melk. It was finished in 1903 with the help of Arthur's brother, Walter Davidson. Upon completion the boys found their power-cycle unable to conquer Milwaukee's modest hills without pedal assistance. Will Harley and the Davidsons quickly wrote off their first motor-bicycle as a valuable learning experiment.

Work was immediately begun on a new and improved machine. This first "real" Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a bigger engine of 24.74 cubic inches (405 cc) with 9-3/4 inch flywheels weighing 28 pounds. The machine's advanced loop-frame was similar to the 1903 Milwaukee Merkel motorcycle. They also got help with their new engine from outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude. Elder brother William A. Davidson also lent a hand.

The prototype of the new improved loop-frame model was assembled in a 10 by 15-foot (3 by 5 meter) shed in the Davidson family backyard. The machine was functional by 8 September 1904 when it was entered in a Milwaukee motorcycle race, the first known appearance of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

In January 1905 small advertisements were placed in the "Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal" that offered bare Harley-Davidson engines to the do-it-yourself trade. By April, complete motorcycles were in production on a very limited basis. In 1905 no more than a dozen machines were built in the backyard shed. (Some years later the original shed was taken to the Juneau Avenue factory where it would stand for many decades as a tribute to the Motor Company's humble origins. Unfortunately, the first shed was accidentally destroyed by contractors in the early 1970s during a clean-up of the factory yard.)

In 1906 Harley and the Davidsons built their first factory on Chestnut Street (later Juneau Avenue). This location remains the Motor Company's corporate headquarters today. The first Juneau Avenue plant was a modest 40 by 60-foot single-story wooden structure. That year around 50 motorcycles were produced.

1907 model.
1907 model.

In 1907 William S. Harley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in mechanical engineering. That year additional factory expansion came with a second floor and later with facings and additions of Milwaukee pale yellow ("cream") brick. With the new facilities production increased to 150 motorcycles in 1907. That September a milestone was reached when the fledgling company was officially incorporated. They also began selling their motorcycles to police departments around this time, a tradition that continues today.

Production in 1905 and 1906 were all single-cylinder models with 26.84 cubic inch (440 cc) engines but as early as February of 1907 a prototype model with a 45-degree V-Twin engine was displayed at the Chicago Automobile Show. Although shown and advertised, very few dual cylinder V-Twin models were built between 1907 and 1910. These first V-Twins displaced 53.68 cubic inches (880 cc) and produced about 7 horsepower (5 kW). This gave about double the hill-climbing power of the first singles. Top speed was about 60 mph (97 km/h). Production jumped from 450 motorcycles in 1908 to 1,149 machines in 1909.

The success of Harley-Davidson (along with Indian's success) had attracted many imitators. By 1911 some 150 makes of motorcycles had already been built in the United States -- although just a handful would survive the 1910s.

In 1911 an improved V-Twin model with mechanically operated intake valves was introduced. (Earlier V-Twins had used "automatic" intake valves that opened by engine vacuum). Displacing 49.48 cubic inches (810 cc), the 1911 V-Twin was actually smaller than earlier twins, but gave better performance. After 1913 the majority of bikes produced by Harley-Davidson would be V-Twin models.

By 1913 the yellow brick factory had been demolished and on the site a new 5-story structure of reinforced concrete and red brick had been built. Begun in 1910, the red brick factory with its many additions would take up two blocks along Juneau Avenue and around the corner on 38th Street. Despite the competition, Harley-Davidson was already pulling ahead of Indian and would dominate motorcycle racing after 1914. Production that year swelled to 16,284 machines.

Ralph Hepburn on his Harley racing bike in this 1919 photo.
Ralph Hepburn on his Harley racing bike in this 1919 photo.

[edit] World War I

In 1917, the United States entered World War I and the military demanded motorcycles for the war effort. Harleys had already been used by the military in border skirmishes with Pancho Villa but World War I was the first time the motorcycle had been adopted for combat service. Harley-Davidson provided over 20,000 machines to the military forces during World War I.

[edit] The 1920s

By 1920, Harley-Davidson was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Their motorcycles were sold by dealers in 67 countries. Production was 28,189 machines.

In 1921, a milestone was reached in motorcycle racing. A Harley-Davidson machine was the very first to win a race at an average speed of over 100 mph (160 km/h).

During the 1920s, several improvements were put in place, such as a new 74 cubic inch (1.2 L) V-Twin, introduced in 1922, and the gas tank still seen today, called a "Teardrop" tank, in 1925. A front brake was added in 1928.

In the late summer of 1929, Harley-Davidson introduced its 45 cubic inch flathead V-Twin model to compete with the Indian 101 Scout and the Excelsior Super X.[6]

[edit] The Depression

Harley-Davidson WL
Harley-Davidson WL

The Great Depression began a few months after the introduction of their 45 cubic inch model. Harley-Davidson's sales plummeted from 21,000 in 1929 to less than 4,000 in 1933. In order to survive, the company manufactured industrial powerplants based on their motorcycle engines. They also designed and built a three-wheeled delivery vehicle called the Servi-Car, which remained in production until 1973.[6]

An 80 cubic inch flathead engine was added to the line in 1935, by which time the single cylinder motorcycles had been discontinued.[7]

By 1937, all the flathead engines were equipped with the dry-sump oil recirculation system that had been introduced with the 61E and 61EL "Knucklehead" OHV models. This caused the 74 cubic inch V and VL models to be renamed U and UL, the 80 cubic inch VH and VLH to be renamed UL and ULH, and the 45 cubic inch RL to be renamed WL.[8]

In 1941, the 74 cubic inch "Knucklehead" was introduced as the F and the FL, replacing the 80 cubic inch flathead UH and ULH models.

[edit] World War II

Harley copied the BMW R71 to produce its XA model.
Harley copied the BMW R71 to produce its XA model.

One of only two American cycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression, Harley-Davidson again produced large numbers of motorcycles for the US Army in World War II and resumed civilian production afterwards, producing a range of large V-twin motorcycles that were successful both on racetracks and for private buyers.

Harley Davidson, on the eve World War II, was already supplying the Army with a military-specific version of its 45" WLD line, called the WLA. (The A in this case stood for "Army".) Upon the outbreak of war, the company, along with other manufacturing enterprises, shifted to war work. Over 90,000 military motorcycles, mostly WLAs and WLCs (the Canadian version) would be produced, many to be provided to allies.[9]


Shipments to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program numbered at least 30,000. The WLAs produced during all years of war production would, unusually, have 1942 serial numbers. Production of the WLA stopped at the end of the war, though it would resume production from 1949 to 1952 due to the Korean War.

The U.S. Army also asked Harley-Davidson to produce a new motorcycle with many of the features of BMW's side-valve and shaft-driven R71. Harley largely copied the BMW engine and drive train and produced the shaft-driven 750 cc 1942 Harley-Davidson XA. Due to the superior cooling of an opposed twin, Harley's XA cylinder heads ran 100 °F (55 °C) cooler than its V-twins.[10] The XA never entered full production: the motorcycle by that time had been eclipsed by the Jeep as the Army's general purpose vehicle, and the WLA—already in production—was sufficient for its limited police, escort, and courier roles. Only 1,000 were made and the XA never went into full production. It remains the only shaft-driven Harley Davidson ever made.

[edit] Small Harleys - Hummers and Aermacchis

Aermacchi-built AMF H-D single-cylinder bike
Aermacchi-built AMF H-D single-cylinder bike
See also: Harley-Davidson Hummer
See also: Harley-Davidson Topper

As part of war reparations, Harley-Davidson acquired the design of a small German motorcycle, the DKW RT125 which they adapted, manufactured, and sold from 1947 to 1966. Various models were made, including the Hummer from 1955 to 1959, but they are all colloquially referred to as "Hummers" at present. BSA in the United Kingdom took the same design as the foundation of their BSA Bantam.

In 1960, Harley-Davidson consolidated the Model 165 and Hummer lines into the Super-10, introduced the Topper scooter, and bought fifty percent of Aeronautica Macchi's motorcycle division.[11] Importation of Aermacchi's 250 cc horizontal single began the following year. The bike bore Harley-Davidson badges and was marketed as the Harley-Davidson Sprint.[12][13]

After the Pacer and Scat models were discontinued at the end of 1965, the Bobcat became the last of Harley-Davidson's American-made two-stroke motorcycles. The Bobcat was manufactured only in the 1966 model year.[14]

Harley-Davidson's entry in the lightweight two-stroke market for 1967 was the M-65, built by Aermacchi and offered in base form with a normal tank and as the M-65S with a smaller peanut tank.

The company re-entered the 125 cc two-stroke market in 1968 with the introduction of the Aermacchi-built Rapido, a 125 cc bike to replace the American-made 2-stroke bikes.[15]

The engine of the Sprint was increased to 350 cc in 1969 and would remain that size until 1974, when it was replaced by the 250 cc two-stroke SX.[16]

Harley-Davidson purchased full control of Aermacchi's motorcycle production in 1974 and continued making two-stroke motorcycles there until 1978, when they sold the facility to Cagiva.[11]

[edit] Tarnished reputation

AMF H-D Electra Glide
AMF H-D Electra Glide

In 1952, following their application to the US Tariff Commission for a 40% tax on imported motorcycles, Harley-Davidson was charged with restrictive practices.[17] Hollywood also damaged Harley's image with the many outlaw biker gang films produced from the 1950s through the 1970s, following the 1947 Hollister, CA biker riot on July 4th. "Harley-Davidson" for a long time was synonymous with "Hells Angels" and troublemakers in general who "beat up old ladies with chains".

In 1969, American Machinery and Foundry (AMF) bought the company, streamlined production, and slashed the workforce. This tactic resulted in a labor strike and a lower quality of bikes. The bikes were expensive and inferior in performance, handling, and quality to Japanese motorcycles. Sales declined, quality plummeted, and the company almost went bankrupt. The venerable name of "Harley-Davidson" was mocked as "Hardly Ableson", and the nickname "Hog" became pejorative.

[edit] Leadership regained

1998 Harley-Davidson FXSTC
1998 Harley-Davidson FXSTC

In 1981, AMF sold the company to a group of thirteen investors led by Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson for $80 million.[18] Inventory was strictly controlled using the Just In Time system.

In the early eighties, Harley Davidson claimed the Japanese manufacturers were dumping motorcycles on the US market. After Harley Davidson rejected aid from Japanese manufactures, the US International Trade Commission imposed in 1983 a 45% tariff on imported bikes and bikes over 700cc engine capacities specifically to protect Harley Davidson. [19][20]

Rather than trying to match the Japanese, the new management deliberately exploited the "retro" appeal of the machines, building motorcycles that deliberately adopted the look and feel of their earlier machines and the subsequent customizations of owners of that era. Many components such as brakes, forks, shocks, carburetors, electrics and wheels were outsourced from foreign manufacturers and quality increased, technical improvements were made, and buyers slowly returned. To remain profitable Harley continues to increase the amount of overseas made parts it uses, while being careful not to harm its valuable "American Made" image.

The "Sturgis" model, boasting a dual belt-drive, was introduced. By 1990, with the introduction of the "Fat Boy", Harley once again became the sales leader in the heavyweight (over 750 cc) market. The Fat Boy model was allegedly inspired by the names of the bombs (Fat Man and Little Boy) that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima respectively; however, the Urban Legend Reference Pages lists this as an urban legend. [21] [22]

Ford F-150 crew cab Harley Davidson edition
Ford F-150 crew cab
Harley Davidson edition

1994 saw the replacement of the FXR frame with the Dyna, though it was revived briefly in 1999 and 2000 for special limited editions.

In 1999, Ford Motor Company added a Harley-Davidson edition to the Ford F-Series F-150 line, complete with the Harley-Davidson logo. This truck was an extended-cab for model year 1999. In 2000, Ford changed the truck to a crew cab and in 2002 added a super-charged engine (5.4L) which continued until 2003. In 2004, the Ford/Harley was changed to a Super-Duty, which continues through 2006. Ford again produced a Harley-Davidson Edition F-150 for their 2006 model-year, as well.

Building started on $75 million 130,000 square-foot (12,000 m²) Harley-Davidson Museum in the Menomonee River Valley on June 1, 2006. It is expected to open in 2008 and will house the company's vast collection of historic motorcycles and corporate archives, along with a restaurant, café and meeting space.[23]

[edit] Claims of stock price manipulation

During its period of peak demand, during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Harley-Davidson embarked on a program of expanding the number of dealerships throughout the country. At the same time, its current dealers typically had waiting lists that extended up to a year for some of the most popular models. Harley-Davidson, like the auto manufacturers, records a sale not when a consumer buys their product, but rather when it is delivered to a dealer. Therefore, it is possible for the manufacturer to inflate sales numbers by requiring dealers to accept more inventory than desired in a practice called channel stuffing. When demand softened following the unique 2003 model year, this news lead to a dramatic decline in the stock price. In April 2004 alone, the price of HOG shares dropped from over $60 to under $40. Immediately prior to this decline, retiring CEO Jeffrey Bleustein profited $42 million on the exercise of employee stock options.[24] Harley-Davidson was named as a defendant in numerous class action suits filed by investors who claimed they were intentionally defrauded by Harley-Davidson's management and directors.[25] By January 2007, the price of Harley-Davidson shares reached $70.

[edit] 2007 workers' strike

On February 2, 2007, upon the expiration of their union contract, about 2,700 employees at Harley-Davidson Inc.'s largest manufacturing plant in York, PA went on strike after failing to agree on wages and health benefits.[26][27] During the pendency of the strike, the company refused to pay for any portion of the striking employees' health care.[28]

The day before the strike, after the union voted against the proposed contract and to authorize the strike, the company shut down all production at the plant. The York facility employs more than 3,200 workers, both union and non-union.[29]

Harley-Davidson announced on February 16, 2007, that it had reached a labor agreement with union workers at its largest manufacturing plant, a breakthrough in the two-week-old strike.[30] The strike disrupted Harley-Davidson’s national production and had ripple effects as far away as Wisconsin, where 440 employees were laid off, and many Harley suppliers also laid off workers because of the strike.[31]

[edit] Agreement in India

In a landmark agreement reached during discussions between the U.S. Trade Representative, Susan Schwab, and the Minister for Commerce and Industry of India, Kamal Nath, on April 12, 2007 at New Delhi, Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be allowed access to the Indian market in exchange for the export of Indian mangoes. India had not specified emission standards for motorcycles over 500cc displacement, effectively prohibiting the import of Harley Davidson motorcycles, along with most models of other manufacturers, such as Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. and Suzuki Motor Corporation.[32] However, Harley Davidson is shelving plans to export their motorcycles to India for now; import duties of 60%, along with taxes of 30%, would effectively double the cost of the motorcycles for the Indian consumer.[33]

[edit] Harley-Davidson engines

V-twin in a HD Road King
V-twin in a HD Road King

The classic Harley-Davidson engines are two-cylinder, V-twin engines with the pistons mounted in a 45° "V". The crankshaft has a single pin, and both pistons are connected to this pin through their connecting rods.

This design causes the pistons to fire at uneven intervals, the consequence of an engineering tradeoff to create a large, powerful engine in a small space. This design choice is entirely vestigial from an engineering standpoint, but has been sustained because of the strong connection between the distinctive sound and the Harley-Davidson brand. This design, which is covered under several United States patents, gives the Harley-Davidson V-twin its unique choppy "potato-potato" sound. To simplify the engine and reduce costs, the V-twin ignition was designed to operate with a single set of points and no distributor, which is known as a dual fire ignition system, causing both spark plugs to fire regardless of which cylinder was on its compression stroke, with the other spark plug firing on its cylinder's exhaust stroke, effectively "wasting a spark." The exhaust note is basically a throaty growling sound with some popping.

The 45 degree design of the engine thus creates a plug firing sequencing as such: The first cylinder fires, the second (rear) cylinder fires 315° later, then there is a 405° gap until the first cylinder fires again, giving the engine its unique sound.

Harley Davidson has used various ignition systems throughout its history - be it the early points/condenser system, (Big Twin up to 1978 and Sportsters 1970 to 1978), magneto ignition system used on 1958 to 1969 Sportsters, early electronic with centrifugal mechanical advance weights, (all models 1978 and a half to 1979), or the late electronic with transistorized ignition control module, more familiarly known as the black box or the brain, (all models 1980 to present).

With the implementation of Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), Harley Davidson uses a single fire ignition system on the models equipped with EFI, which now includes 100% of their product line with the introduction of the 2007 models.

In 1991, Harley-Davidson began to participate in the Sound Quality Working Group, founded by Orfield Labs, Bruel and Kjaer, TEAC, Yamaha, Sennheiser, SMS and Cortex. This was the nation's first group to share research on psychological acoustics. Later that year, Harley-Davidson participated in a series of sound quality studies at Orfield Labs, based on recordings taken at the Talladega Superspeedway, with the objective to lower the sound level for EU standards while analytically capturing the "Harley Sound."[citation needed] This research resulted in the bikes that were introduced in compliance with EU standards for 1998.

On 1 February 1994, the company filed a trademark application for the distinctive sound of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine: "The mark consists of the exhaust sound of applicant's motorcycles, produced by V-twin, common crankpin motorcycle engines when the goods are in use". Nine of Harley-Davidson's competitors filed comments opposing the application, arguing that cruiser-style motorcycles of various brands use a single-crankpin V-twin engine which produce a similar sound. These objections were followed by litigation. After six years, Harley-Davidson withdrew their trademark application.

When Honda first began making a motorcycle with a 45° V-2 design, the Honda Shadow, it used a more advanced engineering approach with an offset crank design featuring dual crankpins, which allows for even firing pulses and higher horsepower because of the reduced vibrational stresses on the engine. Responding to customer demands for a more traditional V-twin, in 1995 Honda rolled out the Shadow A.C.E., a single-crankpin design, with a more traditional exhaust note and feel, but more vibration and less maximum power. [34]

Electra Glide "Ultra Classic" in Bristol
Electra Glide "Ultra Classic" in Bristol

[edit] The Big V-Twins

Evolution Sportster cruising around downtown Buenos Aires
Evolution Sportster cruising around downtown Buenos Aires

[edit] The Small V-Twins

V-Rod on the show room floor
V-Rod on the show room floor
V-Rod with rider
V-Rod with rider

[edit] The Revolution engine

The Revolution engine is based off of the VR-1000 Superbike race program, developed by Harley-Davidson's Powertrain Engineering team and Porsche Engineering in Stuttgart, Germany. It is a liquid cooled, dual overhead cam, internally counterbalanced 60 degree V-twin engine with a displacement of 69 cubic inches (1,130 cc), producing 115 horsepower at 8250rpm at the crank, with a redline of 9000rpm. [35] [36] It was introduced for the new V-Rod line in 2001 for the 2002 model year, starting with the single VRSCA (V-twin V-Twin Racing Street Custom) model. [37] [38]

[edit] Model designations

Harley model designations are a sequence of letters and numbers, combined in limited ways. The sequences can be long, as in the 2006 model designation FLHTCUSE.

The first letter may be one of the following:

E, J, K ('50s small twin), F, U, V (Big Twin), D, G, R, W (Small Twin), X (Sportster), or V (VRSC)

Letters are appended singly or in pairs, as follows:

B (Belt Drive), C (Classic or Custom), D (Dyna Glide), DG (Disk Glide), E (Electric start), F (Fat Boy (1990-present) or Foot-shift (1972 and prior)), H (High compression), L (Hydra Glide forks), LR (Low Rider), P (Police), R (Race or Rubber-mount), S (Sport, Springer, or Standard), SB (Single belt final drive), ST (Softail), T (Touring), WG (Wide Glide), I (Fuel injection), SE (Screamin’ Eagle), U (Ultra)

Custom Vehicle Operations models can also have a number (2,3,4) added.

Note that these conventions for model designations are broken regularly by the company.

[edit] Current model designations

2001 883 Sportster Hugger
2001 883 Sportster Hugger

[edit] Model families

Modern Harley-branded motorcycles fall into one of five model families: Touring, Softail, Dyna, Sportster and VRSC. Model families are distinguished by the frame, engine, suspension, and other characteristics.

[edit] Touring

See also: Harley-Davidson FL

The touring family, also known as "dressers", includes three Road King models, and five Glide models offered in various trim. The Road Kings have a "retro cruiser" appearance and most models are equipped with a large clear windshield. Road Kings are reminiscent of big-twin models from the 1940s and '50s. Glides can be identified by their full front fairings. Most Glides sport a unique fairing referred to as the "Batwing" due to its unmistakable shape. The Road Glide has a different front end, referred to as the "Sharknose". The Sharknose includes a unique, dual front headlight. Touring models are distinguishable by their large luggage, rear coil-over air suspension and are the only models to offer full fairings with Radios/CBs. All touring models use the same frame, first introduced with a Shovelhead motor in 1980, and carried forward with only modest upgrades to this day. The frame is distinguished by the location of the steering head in front of the forks and was the first H-D frame to rubber mount the drivetrain to isolate the rider from the vibration of the big V-twin. Although all touring models weigh in excess of 800 lbs., they are remarkably easy to handle at low speeds and high, and give the most comfortable and relaxing ride of any Harley. The frame was modified for the 1994 model year when the oil tank went under the transmission and the battery was moved inboard from under the right saddlebag to under the seat. In 1997, the frame was again modified to allow for a larger battery under the seat and to lower seat height.

In 2006, Harley introduced the FLHX, a bike designed by Willie G. Davidson to be his personal ride, to its touring line.[39]

In 2008, Harley added anti-lock braking systems as a factory installed option on all touring models.[40]

[edit] Softail

2002 Softail Heritage Classic.
2002 Softail Heritage Classic.
2005 Dyna Super Glide Custom.
2005 Dyna Super Glide Custom.
2002 Sportster 883 Custom
2002 Sportster 883 Custom
Main article: Softail

These big-twin motorcycles capitalize on Harley's strong value on tradition. With the rear-wheel suspension invisible on the bottom of the frame, they are visibly similar to the "hardtail" choppers popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as from their own earlier history. In keeping with that tradition, Harley offers Softail models with "springer" front ends and "heritage" styling that incorporate design cues from throughout their history.

[edit] Dyna

Dyna motorcycles feature big-twin engines and traditional styling. They can be distinguished from the Softail by the traditional coil-over suspension that connects the swingarm to the frame, and from the Sportster by their larger engines. On these models, the transmission also houses the engine's oil reservoir.

In 2007, Harley-Davidson released a line-up of five Dyna models: Super Glide, Super Glide Custom, Street Bob, Low Rider, and Wide Glide.

In 2008, the "Fat Bob" was re-introduced to the Dyna line-up featuring aggressive styling, including a new 2-1-2 exhaust, twin headlamps, a 180 mm rear tire and a 130 mm front tire.

[edit] Sportster

Introduced in 1957, the Sportster is the longest-running model family in the Harley-Davidson lineup. They were conceived as racing motorcycles, and were popular on dirt and flat-track race courses through the 1960s and '70s. Smaller and lighter than the other Harley models, contemporary Sportsters make use of 883 or 1,200 cc Evolution engines and, though often modified, remain similar in appearance to their racing ancestors.

Up until the 2003 model year, the engine on the Sportster was rigidly mounted to the frame. The 2004 Sportster had a new frame accommodating a rubber-mounted engine. Although this made the bike heavier and reduced the available lean angle, it reduced the amount of vibration transmitted to the frame and the rider.[41] The rubber mounted engine provides a significantly smoother ride for rider and passenger. For a bike which isn't really thought of for long rides or trips, the smoother ride allows for this opportunity.

In the 2007 model year, Harley Davidson celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Sportster and produced a collectors' edition called the XL50 1200 Custom, of which only 2000 were made for sale world wide. Each motorcycle was individually numbered and came in one of two colours, Mirage Pearl Orange or Vivid Black. Also in 2007, electronic fuel injection was introduced to the Sportster family.

[edit] VRSC

V-Rod in a gravel driveway.
V-Rod in a gravel driveway.

Introduced in 2001, the VRSC family bears little resemblance to Harley's more traditional lineup. Competing against Japanese and American muscle bikes and seeking to expand its market appeal, the "V-Rod" makes use of an engine developed jointly with Porsche that, for the first time in Harley history, incorporates fuel injection, overhead cams, and liquid cooling. The V-Rod is visually distinctive, easily identified by the 60-degree V-Twin engine, the radiator and the hydroformed frame members that support the round-topped air cleaner cover. Based on the VR-1000 racing motorcycle, it continues to be a platform around which Harley-Davidson builds drag-racing competition machines. The V-Rod has gathered an enthusiastic following in the U.S., Europe and Australia, and an annual Rally at the Kansas City production facility has been organized by Max Millender and the members of an 18,000 strong internet discussion forum Bill Davidson has presented Mr Millender with a signed airbox cover to recognize the contribution the forum has made to the VRSC platform which continues to evolve with models like the Night Rod Special, or VRSCDX.

In 2008, Harley added anti-lock braking systems as a factory installed option on all VRSC models.[40] Harley also increased the displacement of the engine from 1130cc's to 1250cc's.

[edit] Harley-Davidson culture

Replica of the "Captain America" bike from the film Easy Rider
Replica of the "Captain America" bike from the film Easy Rider

According to a recent Harley-Davidson study, in 1987 half of all Harley riders were under age 35.[42] Now, only 15% of Harley buyers are under 35,[42] and as of 2005, the median age had risen to 46.7.[43][44][45][46]

The income of the average Harley-Davidson rider has risen, as well. In 1987, the median household income of a Harley-Davidson rider was $38,000. By 1997, the median household income for those riders had more than doubled, to $83,000.[42]

Harley-Davidson motorcycles has long been associated with the sub-cultures of the:

[edit] Origin of "Hog" nickname

Beginning in 1920, a team of farm boys, including Ray Weishaar, who became known as the "hog boys," consistently won races. The group had a hog, or pig as their mascot. Following a win, they would put the pig (a real one) on the back of their Harley and take a victory lap.[47] In 1983, an organization was formed, taking advantage of the long-standing nickname by turning "hog" into the acronym H.O.G., for Harley Owners Group.[citation needed]

Many Harley-Davidson enthusiasts capitalize the word to make "Hog" and consider this term the sole property of H-D.[citation needed] Harley-Davidson attempted to trademark "hog", but lost the case in 1999 when the appellate panel ruled that "hog" had become a generic term for large motorcycles, and was therefore unprotectable as a trademark. [48]

On August 15, 2006, Harley Davidson Inc. had its NYSE ticker symbol changed from HDI to HOG. [49]

[edit] Harley-Davidson Riders Club of Great Britain

Harley-Davidson 2004 Heritage
Harley-Davidson 2004 Heritage

The Harley-Davidson Riders Club of Great Britain (est 1949) was the first British riders club (as opposed to motorcycle club) and organized national rallies and ride-outs from the outset. The 1982 rally began a popular run of events, probably due to the good fortune of having William G. Davidson attending his first rally outside the USA, in Great Britain. He is thought to have been more than curious to discover how the secret "Evolution Motor" had found its world exclusive on the cover of the spring edition of the HDRCGB magazine, the "Harleyquin", but having a forgiving nature, Willie G. returned in 1984, along with Vaughn Beals and Len Thomson to officially show off the Evolution engine by bringing a test ride fleet to the second Brighton International Super Rally run by H.D.R.C.G.B.. The demonstration rides were the first at any European Rally.

[edit] Harley Owners Group

Harley-Davidson established the Harley Owners Group (abbreviated H.O.G.) in 1983 in response to a growing desire by a new breed of Harley riders for an organized way to share their passion and show their pride. In 1991, H.O.G. went international, with the first official European H.O.G. Rally in Cheltenham, England. [50] Today, more than one million members and more than 1400 chapters worldwide make H.O.G. the largest factory-sponsored motorcycle organization in the world. [51]

H.O.G. benefits include organized group rides, exclusive products and product discounts, insurance premium discounts, and the Hog Tales newsletter. A one year full membership is included with the purchase of a new, unregistered Harley Davidson. [52]

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