At the start of the 20th century, William S. Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson planned to fit a small engine on a regular pedal-bicycle in order to develop a unique motorcycle. It took them a couple of years to complete their project, but they ultimately found out that their machine was not powerful enough to climb the hills without the use of pedals. As a result, their experiment did not work out the way they would have liked.
While the experiment might have been a failure, it gave birth to the giant American motorcycle manufacturing company Harley-Davidson. The company faced some difficult times throughout the years, as they had to weather the Great Depression, which preceded World War II and lasted more than a decade. Moreover, there was competition from the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, so things were not easy at all. Despite that, Harley-Davidson survived and kept on developing some great machines for the users.
The vintage Harleys were all about class, and even the latest motorcycles are designed based on the classic models. Here is a list of some our favorite vintage Harleys, many which you might not have ever seen before.
Before the year 1909, Harley-Davidson did not produce any V-Twin engine bikes. They continued focusing on the conventional machines in order to achieve perfection. However, model 5D was the one that really revolutionized things for the company. It was not successful by any means, as there were quite a few technical flaws in it, yet it was the first motorbike with twins, so one has to put it into this list. The idea behind this bike was what made Harley-Davidson the company it is today. An improved version of this V-twin motorcycle was launched in 1911, which went onto become a success.
8-Valve Racer (1921)
This Harley model was never designed to be sold in public. It had a price of $1500, which was far too much during the 1920s. However, this model was specifically manufactured for racing purposes. It used four valves per cylinder and had all of the latest technology available back then. It became the first ever bike to win a race at over 100 miles per hour, which was considered as a great achievement in the early 20th century.
Scooped-Tank V-Twin (1925)
After the success of the flat-track racing bikes, Harley-Davidson launched the Scooped-Tank V-Twin in 1925. It was not manufactured for racing, but had quite a few similarities to the racing bikes. This model had a scooped fuel tank, which made it look quite dashing.
The JDH was definitely a trend setter and became really famous among the motorbike lovers back in the late 1920s. With a powerful 1200cc, 74-cubic-inch engine, it could go up to 100 miles per hour comfortably, which made people go crazy about it. Before the launch of this machine, people really did not care about speed. Design wise, it looked pretty similar to the scooped version, but had completely different features and it also set the trend for wire spoke rims.
EL Twin (1936)
This bike is often regarded as the first ever modern designed Harley, as it consisted of quite a few features, which made things easy for the riders and are still used in the modern machines. The model EL had both front and rear brakes, foot-clutch and suspension built in the seat. The paint used for this model was also double-tone, which was not seen in any of the previous Harley models.
WLA ‘Liberator’ (1941-1945)
It was difficult to run any business during the World War II, as the globe was hit by a terrible economic recession. Some companies failed to survive these tough times, but Harley-Davidson continued developing bikes throughout this period. When they saw the opportunity, they start remodeling their machines for the U.S army. The Liberator was almost similar to the civilian models of that time, but a few changes were made to its design in order to make things easy for the soldiers.
Elvis Presley’s KH (1956)
The Harley-Davidson KH model certainly became famous because of the late great pop artist, Elvis Presley, who really loved riding the two-wheelers. He bought the KH model right before the launch of his song, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. Later on, Presley went onto purchase some more Harleys, but none was as famous as the KH.
Early Sportster (1959)
After passing the difficult times, Harley-Davidson finally had the opportunity to focus more on the sports bikes. Therefore, the American manufacturers launched the Early Sportster, which was light weight, fast and had a shorter wheelbase compared to the previous models, which made handling easier for the riders. The model went onto become so much successful that it was never discontinued and its line is still a strong seller.
Electra Glide (1969)
This Harley was the first model to feature an electric start. It had the standard kick-start option as well, but the power of the engine and the design attracted so many people over the years that its production as still not stopped. Interestingly, the designing has also remained pretty much the same, but the love for this model has continued to increase. Different riders from all parts of the world own these bikes and ride them safely, wearing safety products from Riderwear.net.
XLCR Cafe Racer (1977)
With a unique design and all-black color, the Café Racer was really a stylish machine. It was inspired by the custom café bikes built during the 1960s. The main highlights of the design were the coffin-like fuel tank and the joined exhaust pipes.
Agree? Disagree? Did we leave out any bikes that should have made the list? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Pabst Blue Ribbon Custom Motorcycle To Be Auctioned Off For Charity
How’d you like to get your hands on a custom built motorcycle, while doing something good for the families of U.S. military veterans? Well here’s your chance!
Pabst Blue Ribbon is auctioning off a big twin motorcycle custom built by Brandon Holstein. Teaming up with eBay for Charity, the custom bike, along with limited edition PBR x Loser Machine apparel & accessories, will be auctioned off to benefit Operation Homefront, a national non-profit that supports military families through difficult periods by providing a variety of programs designed to ensure that short-term needs don’t turn into long-term struggles.
“When PBR came to me with the idea of building a custom motorcycle that would benefit military families, I was honored and excited,” said Holstein. “I have friends and family who have served, or are serving, in the military, so I wanted to build something that represented their strength and fortitude. The end result is what you see here, a full custom, bare bones, little hot rod. It’s a one of a kind motorcycle that will put a smile on the face of whoever wins it.”
The Pabst Blue Ribbon x The Speed Merchant Memorial Day Motorcycle specs include an HD 80″ Evolution Motor, a custom handmade steel exhaust system with a Burn’s Stainless ultra light race muffler, a Chopper Guys retro style frame, Speed Merchant Speed bars, a ribbed Mustang style gas tank, and a hand tooled leather seat by Azteka Customs. It also comes with a PBR logo on the tank and an “Original 1884” badge referring to the year the iconic beer brand was founded.
The custom motorcycle, which has an MSRP of $25,000, will be up for auction from May 20th to May 30th at ebay.com/pbrcustom, with an opening bid price of $1.00. PBR will match the sale price of the bike, and all of the proceeds plus the match will be donated.
So if you’re in the market for a one-of-a-kind killer bike, dig deep and bid generously!
The Vozz RS 1.0 Motorcycle Helmet Does Away With The Chinstrap
Australian company Vozz Helmets is getting ready to introduce a revolutionary helmet design that challenges the nearly century-old pull on-pull off helmet with a chinstrap, and all I can say is that it’s about time!
Riders who wears glasses know all too well the challenges of wearing a full-faced helmet, having to take off your glasses first and then slip them back on through that little opening. The Vozz RS 1.0 helmet solves that problem by splitting vertically in two parts that pivot around a hinge at the top back of the shell. This opening offers ample space for the head to slide into the helmet and then it only takes is a little pressure to reattach the two parts via two locking mechanisms.
By eliminating the need for an opening big enough for the head to slide in, the helmet can be tailored for a closer fit. The tighter fit and more chin coverage means less air can enter from under the helmet, resulting in less aerodynamic lift to the head at high speeds, less noise and better heat insulation in the cold.
And in the event of an accident, the helmet can be separated into two parts by removing the two screws that hold the upper hinge in place, making it possible for emergency personnel to remove the helmet without moving the neck or applying any pressure to the rider’s head.
The video below shows you the Vozz RS 1.0 helmet works:
While pricing hasn’t been announced, Vozz claims that it will be offered at a competitive price. But we won’t have to wait too long to find out, as the helmet goes on sale on December 23rd at www.vozzhelmets.com.
7 Of The Best 600cc Bikes For Under $5000
If you’re planning on purchasing a 600cc bike in the near future, you could do a lot worse than having a look through the following examples. The forecourts of specialist dealers like Metropolis Motorcycles are usually well-stocked with bikes such as these and others, many of which prove a bargain, particularly when you want a reasonably-powerful machine that’s in a good condition, and crucially isn’t going to put too much of a dent in your wallet.
While you may think that a decent 600cc motorcycle will set you back a fair bit, you might be surprised.. And a short test drive on one of these bikes is all it takes to fall in love…
The SV650 is a part of the older generation, so don’t expect to get too much for it when it’s time to sell it, but you can pick one for well under the $5,000 budget, and at the higher end you can often find one in a very decent condition. Treat it right, and you should get a good few years from it.
This bike offers a nice compromise, as it’s both a safe ride for beginners (although newcomers to this engine bracket may find it a bit challenging at first and ought to take it easy until they’re confident with it) with superb handling, and one with just enough power to keep more experienced riders content. As far as downsides go, the suspension isn’t all that great, and there have been complaints about the rigidity of the saddle (although that can be swapped out easily enough). Generally, it’s an excellent value for this budget.
Suzuki V-Strom 650
A mongrel if ever there was one, the Suzuki V-Strom is part cruiser, part sport-bike, part off-roader, and you could probably add a few more definitions if you were thinking about it. A regular feature on ‘Best of’ lists, it has plenty of loyal followers worldwide and is widely regarded as one of the best value 600ccs you can find. There’s nothing particularly special about the V-Strom, but that’s kind of the point – it’s a solid performer in pretty much every category, above mid-table in performance, fuel efficiency, handling, comfort. You can pick up a decent one for well under $5k with a bit of research, and you’ll almost certainly be glad you did.
The FZ6 is extremely versatile – ideal for city commuting as well as longer road trips. Even the older models still hold up well against both time and later versions. It’s a reliable all-rounder that packs a lot of power whilst also handling incredibly well. The Yamaha FZ6 has a sporty look that suits its pverall performance, with a nice smooth acceleration from the lights, and it’s equally fun on country roads. Definitely a smart investment when you budget will only go so far.
Suzuki GSF650 Bandit
What is there to say about the Suzuki Bandit series that hasn’t already been said? The Bandit makes a great introduction to big bikes for the less-experienced rider. Plus points in its favor are that it’s easy and generally quite inexpensive to maintain. If you’re using the Bandit for city commuting or just lazily touring then it’s quite economical on fuel, but it has a tendency to be a bit thirsty if you’re thrashing it. Bandits feel like they’ve been around forever, which is a testament not only to their reliability but also to the type of ride they give – capable, nothing dramatic or flashy, but good solid fun.
To be completely fair, not all motorbikes made in China are terribly good quality. As such, the WK 650i won’t ever win any Best in Show awards, that’s clear. It’s not especially fast or attractive, and you won’t want to be riding it out in the countryside where potholes are more common. But it’s a perfectly serviceable big bike if you’re on a tight budget, and if you’re prepared to spend a little bit of money making some adjustments (like replacing the tires), it will be just fine.
The CBF600 is another bike that seems to be place-holding rather than aiming high, but what makes it worth a look is the fact that it’s a Honda, and so buyers can have some degree of confidence that it’s been put together well and the performance, if not big league, will certainly be more than adequate for most. A good option for new bikers, or those used to a smaller engine size and wanting to move up a step – the CBF600 lacks any real oomph but it comes with plenty of nifty features, and available add-ons, and it feels solid.
At 649CC, it’s slightly out of the range, but you can easily track one down for under $5,000. The ER-6 has a fantastic reputation among riders – it’s got bags of zip, with smooth gear-changing and decent brakes. This bike is comfortable for all but the tallest of riders, it’s excellent value, and you’ll have a lot of fun with this one.
So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of the good weather we’re having, and head out on the open road with the wind in your face. There’s seriously no better feeling..