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How a Motorcycle Brand Became a Cultural Symbol

3 min read
How a Motorcycle Brand Became a Cultural Symbol

When most motorcyclists head out to enjoy an afternoon of free riding, they think of the allure of the open road. No time tables, no meetings, nothing at all – just freedom. More often than not, enthusiasts can regale you about the joy of just cruising. That is why the cruiser motorcycles are so prevalent in the market today. In this article, we’ll look at some of the history behind one of the most famous American motorcycle brands: Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson was founded just after the turn of the 20th century from the combined effort of William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. The two formed the first three production motorcycles in a 10×15 shed. Just a couple years after their inception as a company, a motorcycle store in Chicago opened and sold all three of the motorcycles. C.H. Lang sold those first motorcycles.

These motorcycles were coming out with the first cars ever built, so they were presumably incredibly investigatory. The goal was to create a sustainable engine. Their vehicle won a perfect score of 1,000 points at the 7th Annual Federation of American Motorcyclists Endurance and Reliability Contest. The name was a mouthful, but the prestige was immense. Winning the national competition from the small town bike makers helped to propel the brand into the production stage. Another significant accomplishment that helped to propel them to prominence was the setting the Federation of American Motorcyclists at 188.234 miles per gallon. The combined strength of these two awards in 1908 set the company on the way to success. The first police motorcycle was also sold that year to the Detroit police department.

Throughout the years, the company continued innovation geared towards the engine as well as the structure, composition, and suspension of the bikes. By the time the company reached their 100 year anniversary they had gained world renown as a successful brand, operating in 67 different countries with four major plants in the United States. Their brand recognition has spurred a chain of Harley-Davidson motorcycle stores that operate in a franchise manner throughout the United States. They created a special feel like a chartered organization with the camaraderie of brothers and sisters focused on those who share their enthusiasm for the road. The longest running motorcycling magazine The Enthusiast is still kept up by their company, and overall records indicate they will continue to be prominent well into the future. Their ad campaigns make sure that you understand their longstanding heritage and dedication to their loyal demographic that is comprised almost 90 percent of males. Recent changes to their portfolio include a site specifically geared for women and possible adaptations to their favorite rides to accommodate their increasing popularity.

Overall, Harley-Davidson has been an exceptionally successful company. They enjoy 42 years of sole pioneering in the motorcycling world in the United States and have proven themselves resilient and applicable in every decade since their inception. Their motorcycle stores represent the most recent push to exert their brand name influence and affluence on the seemingly rebellious set of men who purchase their goods. With public charity programs and the ability to produce a quality motorcycle, it is unlikely they will die out any time soon.

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