Taking The Streets On A National Level
From a small shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the streets of America, Harley-Davidson has taken over the motorcycle scene. In 1905, only two years after the creation of the first H-D motorcycle, a 15-mile race in Chicago was won with an H-D motorcycle. This was the first of many wins to come. In 1922, Harley-Davidson riders took home 8 national championships. To this day Harley-Davidson riders are known for winning an average of 18 out of 24 National Championships. A small company that started with nothing has established an ever-lasting legacy.
Photo Sources: Both from harley davidson website, history section. 1st photo titled “Race ray weishaar with pig mascot” 2nd photo titled “Ralph Hepburn”
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are known as the “American motorcycle,” however, one cannot ignore the large impact they’ve had in other parts of the world. These fun touring motorcycles with amazing performance found their way to other countries as they became useful in military aid. Half of all H-D motorcycles produced in 1918 were produced for the U.S. military to aid in World War 1. At the end of the war, Corporal Royal Hertz entered Germany riding a Harley-Davidson. During World War 2, there was a slow in production of civilian motorcycles and H-D began producing motorcycles to aid in the war once again. Their production efforts did not go unnoticed and in 1942 H-D was awarded their first of four Army-Navy “E” awards.
Photo Sources: Photos from harley davidson website, history section. 1st photo titled “Army personnel with bike” 2nd photo titled “XA Model”
Pop-Culture and Influence
Aside from its amazing performance on the road as well as in competitions, Harley-Davidson motorcycles are also known for their pop-culture influence. It all began in 1933 when an art-deco eagle became a staple icon on all Harley-Davidson gas tanks. The actual build of H-D motorcycles became well recognized for their tear-drop shaped gas tanks that were developed in 1925. Rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley was a proud owner of a Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide. H-D motorcycles also made appearances on the big screen. Iconic cameos in movies such as Robocop 2 and The Rocky Horror Picture Show allowed for mass recognition of these motorcycles. Aside from these major appearances, H-D motorcycles can be seen in many other films as well. After all, H-D motorcycles have become an iconic American symbol.
Photo Sources: Photos from newsatlas.com (Elvis Presley’s Harley-Davidson Electra Glide could break world motorcycle auction record)
Building A Community
Whether it’s taking interest in the progression of the engines used in the motorcycles or simply admiring them for their history and beauty, the true reason why Harley-Davidson motorcycles are known as the “American motorcycle” is because of their ability to connect people. I think that something that most people can agree on is the fact that Harley-Davidson has been successful in creating a community for thousands of people.