A Bunch Of Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Harley Davidson

motoplex | February 20, 2020 | 0 | Harley Davidson , History , Riding

But knowing you, you probably did.


If you ride a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, you know many things that a non-rider does not. You know the pride of ownership. The pleasure of the ride. The camaraderie with fellow riders. Someone just don’t know the magic of Harley Davidson until they experience it.


Harley Davidson has more than 100 years of history in its dust trail. It’s survived obscure bike trends, economic roller coasters and attempts to overtake its popularity by other big-bike manufactures. Harley Davidson has stayed on top. You know this because you’re part of the reason it’s excelled.


But there are some things about Harley Davidson you might not know. Harley-Davidson was first established in 1903, 5 years after Indian Motorcycle. But in less that 20 years was the largest bike manufacturer in the world. It’s a far run from their first bike built in a shed and rumored to have used a tomato can as a carburetor.



Around the time they took the number one spot, they went to war. In 1917 the military ordered 15,000 bikes for use in World War I. They took a page out of the British Military’s book. England had already been using the Triumph Model H in their war efforts. Both bikes can boast that they helped win a war.


Harley Davidson was growing in popularity, and in products. During the same time they went to war, they began production of a bicycle aimed at pre-teen males. It was painted in olive-drab to bring out the feeling of owning military gear. The idea was great, the sales were not. Shortly after launch, Harley Davidson stop production.


Harley Davidson was also one of two motorcycle manufacturers who managed to survive the Great Depression. Though production was slashed by 70%, Harley Davidson managed to persevere.


Otto Walker Harley Davidson


It’s good that they stuck with motorcycle production, also perfecting it. After the war Harley Davidson began producing motorcycles that, during races, could maintain speeds over 100 miles an hour. No other bike had been able to do this before. This was done by their sponsored rider Otto Walker. In 1921 he won a 300 mile race in Venice, California.  It was determined that his average speed had been over 100 miles per hour for the entire run.


ww2 harley davidson


When America went back to battle in World War II, Harley Davidson went back too. They did this by building over 90,000 military-grade motorcycles for the war effort. These bikes were the Harley Davidson WLA but labeled ‘The Liberator’ due to their prominent role with the troops. Harley Davidson also received 2 Army-Navy ‘E’ awards for their “excellence in production”.


harley davidson hog


Let’s talk about the term ‘hog’ often used to describe a Harley Davidson. There are those who will suggest it comes from the H.O.G. to stand for Harley Owners Group, a name Harley Davidson came up with themselves. Harley will be the first to tell you that they borrow this from a group of farm boys who used to race their bikes. After racing each other’s Harley Davidson, they would ride their pig mascot and take him for victory rides after winning a race. It was obscure, but stuck. We can only imagine that hog gave a lot of rides.

That takes us up to the 1950s. From there, the history continues. Check back from part two of A Bunch Of Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Harley Davidson


1950s Harley Davidson Ad


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