In early 1901, William S. Harley, who was only 21 years old, has developed a project for a small engine capacity of 7.07 cubic inches. The following two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson labored on their bike with an engine using a garage in the house of their friend, Henry Melk. The work was completed by 1903.
This was followed immediately began work on a new, more modern motorcycle. This first "real" Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a bigger engine is 24.74 cubic inches (405 cm ³) with 9-3/4 inch flywheels weighing 28 pounds crankshaft. In the development of a new engine guys helped engineer Ole Evinrude, one of the pioneers of american motors.
The prototype was completed September 8, 1904 and on the same day took part in motorcycle racing at the State Fair Park. Rider was Edward Hildebrand, he finished the race in fourth place. This race was the first documented appearance of Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
In 1906, Harley and Davidson built their first factory on Chestnut Street (the street was later renamed Juneau Avenue). Today, at this location is the headquarters of the company.
All motorcycles, manufactured in 1905 and 1906, there were a single-cylinder engine capacity of 440 cm³. In February 1907 at the Chicago show car was first shown a motorcycle with an engine V-twin. Production of motorcycles increased from 450 in 1908 to 1149 to 1909.
By 1911, America had more than 150 motorcycle manufacturers, but only a few have survived to the end of the decade. In 1911 was released the upgraded model engine V-twin.
By 1914, Harley-Davidson has become a leading producer of motorcycles in the U.S., ahead of its main rival - the Indian company. In 1914, production of motorcycles reached the level of 16,284 vehicles.
After the outbreak of the First World War firm Harley-Davidson received the first official military order - 500 motorcycles were booked for the British Army. In 1917, the United States entered the First World War and motorcycles began ordering and the U.S. Army. During the war it was ordered more than 20,000 motorcycles Harley-Davidson company to equip the troops.
In 1920, Harley-Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Their motorcycle dealers sold in 67 countries. Production was already 28189 machines. In 1921, Harley-Davidson, driven by a racer Otto Walker, won the first race, going the distance with an average speed of over 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour).
Typically, the buyer motorcycle Harley-Davidson carries out his dream of a beautiful machine that feeds the fantasies of life biker, a car is highly reliable even infrequent driving and not enough good maintenance. When the company flourished, it was due to the fact that it makes the machine more reliable (in particular, eliminate the oil leaks), and are increasingly focused on appearance.
These are powerful and beautiful cars for many symbolizes the freedom of the open road and the introduction to the brotherhood of motorcyclists.