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Aug 29

Harley Davidson Day

Harley Davidson
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A Harley Davidson motorcycle
photo of a 2014 Harley-Davidson® FLHRSE5 CVO™ Road King®
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"Live to ride, ride to live."

The son of a tenant blacksmith from Aberlemno, Angus, who emigrated to Wisconson, Arthur Davidson, born in 1881, would go on to found the famous motorcycle company with his childhood friend, William S. Harley. By 1920, Harley-Davidson was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with 28,189 machines produced and dealers in 67 countries. Harley-Davidson is noted for a style of customization that gave rise to the "chopper" motorcycle (a modified or "chopped" version) with the iconic "sissy bar" (a set of tubes that connect the rear fender with the frame) - signature features which emerged in the 1950s. Perhaps the best known "choppers" are the two customized Harley-Davidsons, the "Captain America" and "Billy Bike", seen in the 1969 film Easy Rider.

Harley Davidson American motorcycles, affectionately known as "hogs," celebrate this Labor Day with a huge motorcycle rally and festival in the place of the company origin,  MilwaukeeWisconsin.

In 1901, at the age of 21, William S. Harley made a blueprint drawing of an engine that could fit into a bicycle.  After two years, Harley along with his childhood friend Arthur Davidson began working to build a motorized bicycle, the "motorcycle" in 1903.

By 1906, the first fifty motorcycles were manufactured. A few years later, they followed with a line of motorcycles for police and military use. Short of a slowdown in the 1970s, Harley Davidson never stopped tweaking and improving their models. Today, Harley Davison produces millions of motorcycles for use on every corner of the world.

At the time, they used a small wooden shed in Milwaukee as their factory with “Harley-Davidson Motor Company” scrawled on its door. The same year, Arthur Davidson’s brother, Walter Davidson, also showed interest and joined in the efforts to build motor bikes.

By 1906, the first fifty motorcycles were manufactured. A few years later, they followed with a line of motorcycles for police and military use. Short of a slowdown in the 1970s, Harley Davidson never stopped tweaking and improving their models. Today, Harley Davison produces millions of motorcycles for use on every corner of the world.

The classic Harley-Davidson engines are V-twin engines, with a 45° angle between the cylinders. The crankshaft has a single pin, and both pistons are connected to this pin through their connecting rods.This 45° angle is an engineering tradeoff that allows a large, high-torque engine in a relatively small space. It causes the cylinders to fire at uneven intervals and produces the choppy "potato-potato" sound so strongly linked to the Harley-Davidson brand.

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 live hog as their mascot. Following a win, they would put the hog on their Harley and take a victory lap. In 1983, the Motor Company formed a club for owners of its product taking advantage of the long-standing nickname by turning "hog" into the acronym HOG., for Harley Owners Group. Harley-Davidson attempted to trademark "hog", but lost a case against an independent Harley-Davidson specialist, The Hog Farm of West Seneca, New York, in 1999 when the appellate panel ruled that "hog" had become a generic term for large motorcycles and was therefore unprotectable as a trademark.

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

Other distinctive nicknames for this brand are "Choppers" for the late 1950's styling for when of the angle of the motorcycle's front fork was extended allowing the handlebars to sit further back.  Perhaps the best known choppers are the two customized Harley-Davidsons, the "Captain America" and "Billy Bike", seen in the 1969 film Easy Rider.

 

Taking its colors from the iconic logo, this tartan was designed in April 2003 by Klaus Hoeller of Harley Davidson's Creative Direction Design Studios in Los Angeles. 

For more on the Scottish roots of Arthur Davidson, click the Harley!