Harley Davidson: A Brief History | Youngblood Powersports & Marine

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Harley Davidson: A Brief History

The Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company began its life as a very small builder of motorcycles out of a small shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903. More than 100 years later, the brand is one of the most recognized in the world and synonymous with big bikes that dominate the cruiser class in motorcycling.

Bigger and More Reliable Motorcycles

As Harley-Davidson became more established prior to World War II, it grew into one of the biggest motorcycle brands in the United States. The legendary competition between the Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycle companies produced some of the most beloved motorcycles of all time. Many used models are worth significantly more than their original selling price – even after factoring the cost of inflation.

Post-War Years Solidified the Brand

Harley-Davidson produced many 750cc motorcycles that entered into military service during World War II. Those motorcycles had the classic V-twin configuration that most Harleys continue to use today. And with the military surplus market dumping former military Harleys onto the used market at a fraction of their new cost, Harley-Davidson became a highly sought used bike among riders who had tight budgets.

Harley Overcomes the AMF Years

By the end of the 1960s, the Harley-Davidson brand had become highly recognized around the globe. With big stars like Elvis Presley riding and gifting them to friends, the Harley brand reached its zenith. Like many strong brands, it attracted strong interest from investors and eventually was bought by American Machine and Foundry. Better known as AMF, the Harley-Davidson AMF models of the 1970s were generally less desirable and greatly diminished the brand's popularity and value.

Resurgence Years Saved the Brand

A consortium of investors led by Willie G. Davidson in the early 1980s bought Harley with the goal or restoring its brand image by building better bikes. Many of the most popular models today, like the Road King, were perfected during the 1980s with the famed Evo motor powering them along

Many Great Used Models Are Available

A used Harley Davidson for sale could be an excellent bargain for a smart shopper who knows what they want in a motorcycle. In fact, 19% of motorcycle owners in 2018 were women. Many people who buy Harleys wind up letting them sit more than they ride them. And if they have factory service contracts, those bikes are maintained very well. A Harley-Davidson that has low miles on the odometer and is in pristine condition holds its value very well and usually runs great.


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