Harley Davidson talk
Im a Harley-Davidson, Inc. (H-D), or Harley, is an American motorcycle manufacturer, founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903. In the year 1901, my creater 20-year-old William S. Harley drew up plans for a small engine with a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches (116 cc) and four-inch (102 mm) flywheels.My first engine was designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame. Over the next two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson worked on their motor-bicycle using the northside Milwaukee machine shop at the home of their friend, Henry Melk. It was finished in 1903 with the help of Arthur’s brother, Walter Davidson. Upon testing their power-cycle, Harley and the Davidson brothers found it unable to climb the hills around Milwaukee without pedal assistance. They quickly wrote off their first motor-bicycle as a valuable learning experiment.
Work immediately began on a new and improved second-generation machine. This first “real” Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a bigger engine of 24.74 cubic inches (405 cc) with 9.75 inches (25 cm) flywheels weighing 28 lb (13 kg). The machine’s advanced loop-frame pattern was similar to the 1903 Milwaukee Merkel motorcycle (designed by Joseph Merkel, later of Flying Merkel fame). The bigger engine and loop-frame design took it out of the motorized bicycle category and marked the path to future motorcycle designs. The boys also received help with their bigger engine from outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude, who was then building gas engines of his own design for automotive use on Milwaukee’s Lake Street.
In January 1905, small advertisements were placed in the Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal offering bare Harley-Davidson engines to the do-it-yourself trade. By April, complete motorcycles were in production on a very limited basis. That year, the first Harley-Davidson dealer, Carl H. Lang of Chicago, sold three bikes from the five built in the Davidson backyard shed. 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 until it was accidentally destroyed by contractors cleaning the factory yard in the early 1970s.
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 the Pancho Villa Expedition but World War I was the first time the motorcycle had been adopted for military issue, first with the British Model H, produced by British Triumph Motorcycles Ltd in 1915.After the U.S. entry into the war, the U.S. military purchased over 20,000 motorcycles from Harley-Davidson.
Harley-Davidson traditionally marketed heavyweight, air-cooled cruiser motorcycles with engine displacements greater than 700 cm³ and has broadened its offerings to include its more contemporary VRSC (2002) and middle-weight Street (2015) platforms.
Harley-Davidson manufactures its motorcycles at factories in York, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri (closing); Manaus, Brazil; and Bawal, India. Construction of a new plant in Thailand is scheduled to begin in late 2018. The company markets its products worldwide.
In 1998 the first Harley-Davidson factory outside the US opened in Manaus, Brazil, taking advantage of the free economic zone there. The location was positioned to sell motorcycles in the southern hemisphere market.