There's few other brands that embody the spirit of the American open road quite like Harley-Davidson does. For over a century now, these iconic bikes have captured the hearts of riders, enthusiasts, and rebels alike. From its beginnings in a small workshop to becoming a symbol of American freedom and individualism, the history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles is a journey worth exploring.
In the early 1900s, William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson, two young engineers from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, teamed up to create a reliable and powerful motorized bicycle. In 1903, they built their first Harley-Davidson motorcycle in their small workshop. It had a 3-horsepower engine (a lot of power for 1903) and an innovative loop frame that set it apart from its competitors.
The Great Depression, however, had a significant impact on the motorcycle industry, leading to the closure of many competitors. Harley-Davidson, on the other hand, survived by adapting and continuing to innovate. In 1936, they introduced the "Knucklehead," the first overhead-valve V-twin engine, which was a significant step forward in motorcycle engineering.
Harley-Davidson played a vital role in World War II by providing motorcycles to the armed forces. Their military models, such as the WLA, were dependable and robust, earning the respect of soldiers all over the world. After the war, the returning GIs developed a passion for riding, which helped Harley-Davidson cement its place in American culture.
In 1983, the Harley Owners Group (HOG) was founded, bringing together Harley enthusiasts from all over the world. This organization provided a sense of community for riders and further cemented the Harley-Davidson brand in popular culture.In Kansas City, the Kansas City Northland Chapter H.O.G.® (Harley® Owners Group) was formed under the sponsorship of Worth Harley-Davidson® of Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City Northland Chapter H.O.G.®'s regularly scheduled monthly activities include at least two Chapter Rides and a Business Meeting, which is held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. For more information, please visit our H.O.G. page.
Harley-Davidson has faced a number of challenges over the years, including competition from foreign manufacturers and economic downturns. However, they have continued to evolve and expand their product line, from classic cruisers to adventure and electric motorcycles.