Harley Davidson Increases Production

Travels with Harley

Last week Travels with Harley left you with the Harley Davidson entrepreneurs moving into the new workshop, which they had built themselves.

Travels with Harley

After moving into the new Harley Davidson factory/workshop on Juneau Ave. in Milwaukee, WI in 1906, Harley and the brothers Davidson produced 50 Harley Davidson motorcycles in the first year in the new factory. In 1907, Harley Davidson became a corporation and by the year 1909, had hired 35 staff members, and increased the size of the factory by two. That same year, they produced about 1,000 Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Travels with Harley

William S. Harley was obsessed with improving his Harley Davidson invention and started working on a two-cylinder engine design. After an unfortunate false start, Harley Davidson perfected the two-cylinder engine in 1909 and called it the, “V-Twin.” The V-Twin could reach top speeds of 60 mph and became a huge success. Because of the V-Twin, Harley Davidson became known as the company that built fast and reliable motorcycles. In 1910, Harley Davidson produced 3,200 motorcycles.

Travels with Harley

True entrepreneurs Harley Davidson was constantly looking at ways to market the company and promote sales. “The Wrecking Crew,” was a motorcycle racing team sponsored by Harley Davidson and was known for a, “By the seat of your pants,” racing style. Thanks to the fame that was generated by, “The Wrecking Crew,” Harley Davidson remained in the news while stimulating sales at the same time. Not one to rest on its laurels much of the Harley Davidson profits went straight back into product enhancements and engineering.

Travels with Harley

In 1912, Harley Davidson had another engineering breakthrough with a chain that would replace the leather drive belt. Just four years later, the step starter replaced the pedals finally removing themselves from the humble bicycle image. However, many people still depended on bicycles as an inexpensive way to get around, including the United States government.

Travels with Harley

Always looking for inventive ways to market Harley Davidson motorcycles, Arthur Davidson became determined to convince government agencies, including the United States Postal service that Harley Davidson was the new replacement for the bicycle.

Arthur Davidson’s strategy worked, and in 1914, the USPS owned 4,800 Harley Davidson delivering mail, with the military become attracted to the fast and rugged Harley Davidson motorcycles as well.

Travels with Harley

Growing in leaps and bounds, Harley Davidson production had reached 28,189 motorcycles annually becoming the largest motorcycle manufacturer on the planet. However, problems were about to occur when America suffered a mild depression back in the early 1920’s, causing Harley Davidson sales to slip, not to mention the release of Henry Ford’s cheaper and more practical Model T.

Next week comes the trials and tribulations of the greatest motorcycle story ever told in Travels with Harley.

The Harley Davidson Entrepreneurs

Travels with Harley

Harley Davidson is the most well known motorcycle in the world as well as the oldest. Harley Davidson truly is an American Icon and is the symbol of pure inventiveness, pioneering spirit and individualism. However, the world’s most recognized bike, the Harley Davidson, was actually invented out of laziness.

Travels with Harley

Back in the late 1800’s, the bicycle enabled people to get where they wanted to go faster and farther with millions of people all over the United States exploring every corner of America using the humble two-wheeled bicycle. Nevertheless, that wasn’t quite enough for William S. Harley, a draftsman at the tender age of 21 and pattern maker Arthur Davidson who had just turned 20.

Travels with Harley

In 1901, both of these young men, who had been friends for years, embarked on a mission to, “Take the work out of bicycling.” Their dream, which is still going strong today, was to build a bicycle with a motor that would allow folks to travel fast and reliably without using pedal power.

After sitting in the garage one night, William and Arthur realized that their dream could not be achieved without a mechanic, so they asked Arthur’s brother Walter to lend them a hand. Arthur was a railroad machinist who quit his job after the boys promised him a ride on their motorcycle.

Travels with Harley

Once Walter arrived in Milwaukee, he quickly discovered that he would have to help the two build the motorcycle before he could actually take it for a ride, but regardless, he stayed anyway. William, the oldest of the Davidson brothers who was a foreman in the tool room at the Milwaukee railroad shop also decided to step up and pitch in.

Travels with Harley

Work began in a 10 by 15 foot wooden shed with the name, “The Harley Davidson Motor Company,” painted on the door. The shed sat in the back of the Davidson home. Harley had top billing because, after all, it was his idea to build the motorcycle in the first place.

 

Travels with HarleyThe first three Harley Davidson motorcycles were produced by the four men in 1903 and, like early motorbikes at the time, had a single-cylinder engine, a bicycle crank, a leather drive belt, and of course, pedals. To start the bike, all you had to do was pedal, until the compression had built up, and ride away.

Travels with Harley

The next few years were all about development with the partners building three more motorcycles in 1904 and another seven in 1905. Thanks to the growth of the company, the partners had to move to a factory that they built in Milwaukee on Juneau Ave in 1907.

So, what happens next? We will share more about the Harley Davidson partnership in next weeks, “Travels with Harley blog.”

Harley Davidson Events this Weekend

Travels with Harley

Jim and I enjoy Harley Davidson road trips all year round, but like most other riders are partial to planned Harley Davidson events where we can catch up with people we have met in the past and meet new folks that enjoy riding as much as we do.

If you happen to be in the Chattanooga Tennessee area this coming Friday the 18th, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, head over to Thunder Creek Harley Davidson on Lee Highway for the Trail of Tears Remembrance ride Kick-Off Party. This family friendly event offers Harley Davidson enthusiast’s food, fun, live music, and vendors where you can buy licensed Harley Davidson merchandise.

Travels with Harley

Fresno, California is the place to be this Saturday the 19th when Mathews Harley Davidson, located on Abby St., will be holding its Bike Show and BBQ. Vote for your favorite bike and enjoy great food, good company and a whole lot of fun.

Travels with Harley

If you happen to live in or around Aurora Colorado, head over to Mile High Harley Davidson for the Free Pancake Breakfast. Starting at 9:30 am on E.33rd St. you best be quick as it is first come first served.

Travels with Harley

There are all kinds of Harley Davidson events happening this Saturday all over the United States and if you are planning a road trip this coming weekend, there are plenty of Harley Davidson events to choose from like the annual Lombardi Leather and Legends Dinner at the House of Harley Davidson on West Layton Ave in Greenfield, WI. Catering to riders and non-riders, your ticket includes dinner, drinks, live music, a raffle, an auction and a special program with new friends, and of course, “Legends.”

Travels with Harley

It really is tailgating season, even when it comes to Harley Davidson events. Hot Metal Harley, located on Lebanon Road in West Mifflin, PA is having a family friendly open house where you can enjoy free beer, food, and giveaways with really cool prizes. With live music and a bike show, it is one of the best ways to kick off fall.

Sunday September 20 promises to be a great Harley Davidson events day with amazing Harley Davidson events happening everywhere like the ride with Motor City Harley Davidson Owners Group to see REO Speed Wagon at the Freedom Hall Amphitheater.

Travels with Harley

If you would rather ride this coming Sunday, and live in the New York area, you will not want to miss the NNY Harley Davidson Owners Group Fall Foliage Ride. Head over to Goodnough St. in Adams Center NY where you will ride from the RXCHD over to the Thendera Train Station to hop on the Fall Foliage Train. After the tour, you will jump back on your bike and ride to Lowville to enjoy an early dinner. Be sure to meet at the F.X Caprara Harley Davidson Dealership at 10:00 am as kick stands go up at 10:30 am.

For more information regarding Harley Davidson events this weekend, check out the Harley Davidson official website events page.

The New Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited Edition

Travels with Harley

2016 is just around the corner, and that means the Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition has just rolled out and it promises to be better than ever.

Harley Davidson calls the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition the most powerful engine available in a motorcycle cruiser, and Jim and I most certainly agree.

Travels with Harley

The Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition features a new gloss black air-cooled Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110B™ engine along with sexy black lower forks, handlebar, axle nut covers and riser. The black hydraulic clutch assembly and the brake lever is also blacked out, as is the over/under exhaust with its slash cut mufflers. If you like black, this is something to consider when it comes to the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition.

Travels with Harley

You will definitely get the looks in the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition. The horseshoe oil tank makes you think of an old Panhead chopper straight out of the 1970’s.

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Never to step back when it comes to technology, the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition comes with a state of the art factory installed security system that is literally hands free. The hands free fob will automatically disarm and arm the Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition security functions as you walk away or approach your new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition. All you have to do is place the hands-free fob on your ignition Harley Davidson key ring and it does the work for you.

Travels with Harley

They don’t call it the Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition for nothing, and with the new Fat Dunlop® tires, you are sure to get a much smoother ride whether you are cruising through the city streets or headed out to the country for a long weekend Harley Davidson road trip. These tires will give you amazing traction when you brake as well.

Unlike the Harley Davidson’s of old, the 1 ¼” handlebars offer a clean and bold look while being ergonomically designed for comfort, confidence and positioning.

Travels with Harley

To go with the dark look of the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition Harley Davidson has also added a slimmer seat that is ergonomically correct giving a more comfortable and solid connection to the road.

Jim and I love our Road King, but have to admit that the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition is certainly worth a test drive, don’t you think?