History of Harley-Davidson

History of Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson started from humble beginnings in 1901, when William S. Harley began drawing up plans for a motorized bicycle. The brand has since emerged as the world’s best-known manufacturer of motorcycles, with dealers around the world. Chicago Cycles Motorsports is proud to be a part of that great Harley-Davidson legacy, offering a wide selection of quality, used Harleys in Elmhurst.

Teaming up with childhood friend Arthur Davidson, the two put their first motorized bicycle on the streets of Milwaukee in 1903. Unfortunately, the bike with its minuscule 7.07 cubic inch engine simply couldn’t climb Milwaukee’s hills without pedal assistance, so it was back to the drawing board.

Their improved version had a much larger 24.74 cubic inch engine. The bigger engine, along with the machine’s advanced loop-frame, took Harley-Davidson out of the motorized bicycle business and put them on the path to becoming one of the world’s leading manufacturers of motorcycles, with several of Davidson’s brothers joining the venture.

Gradually sales increased, and in 1906 Harley and the Davidson brothers built their first factory in Milwaukee where Harley-Davidson’s corporate headquarters now stands.

Their early cycles were single-cylinder models, but what would become the famous Harley V-twin engine made its first appearance at the Chicago Automobile Show in 1907.

The first V-twins displaced 53.68 cubic inches and produced about 7 horsepower with a top speed of 60 mph.

It’s hard to believe, but by 1911, there were 150 producers of motorcycles in the U.S., but Harley-Davidson would be one of the few to survive.

One of the things contributing to Harley’s continued growth was World War I. After the country entered the fray in 1917, Harley-Davidson produced over 20,000 motorcycles for the U.S. military.

By 1920 Harley-Davidson was the world’s leading manufacturer of motorcycles, and through the introduction of the flathead engine, along with Art Deco styling, the company managed to survive the Great Depression.

That spirit of innovation remains part of the proud Harley-Davidson heritage to this day, though Harley remains wedded to its classic V-twin that produces the choppy sound so much associated with the Harley-Davidson brand.

If you’re interested in becoming a Harley owner, we have a great selection of used Harleys in Elmhurst. Come by our store, make your selection and become a proud member of the Harley-Davidson family. Visit Chicago Cycles Motorsports today!