By: Lisa Harper
The name Harley Davidson transcends motoring enthusiasts and is recognised worldwide as a symbol of stalwart Americanism. So how did Harley Davidson manage such a feat?
The Harley Davidson motorbike has become permanently entwined in American culture and enjoys a long history which stretches back to the early 1900s. Started by William Harley and brothers Arthur, Walter and William Davidson who joined forces to produce an automotive bicycle. In 1906 the first proper factory was set up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the headquarters are still based.
The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 sparked a surge in demand for Harley Davidson bikes, as they proved popular as an agile means of travelling over uneven terrain to carry messages between divisions. By 1918 almost half the bikes the company sold went to the US military. This demand helped ensure that by 1920 Harley Davidson was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with over 2,000 dealerships across 67 countries.
Harley Davidson bikes also quickly became popular with American police departments. The Detroit Police Department were the first to receive a Harley Davidson motorbike in 1908, and by the 1920s more than 3,000 police departments in the US had Harley Davidson bikes.
In 1957 Harley Davidson revolutionised the motorbike industry when they introduced the Sportster, which quickly became known as the first ‘superbike’. Variations of the Sportster have been continuously produced since, making it the oldest production model in the Harley Davidson bike line-up.
To date Harley Davidson enthusiasts are still amongst the most devoted. There are around one million members in the Harley Owners Group worldwide and around fourteen thousand members in the UK alone. Harley Davidson bikes are popular amongst celebrities too! Sylvester Stallone, George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and Pink are just a few of Harley Davidson celebrity fans.
Harley Davidson Bikes For Sale
Take a look at some popular Harley Davidson bikes for sale in closer detail:
View Softail Low Rider
The latest Softail Low Rider brings the 70s style chopper bike bang up to date. Styling wise the Low Rider stays true to the cruiser heritage with classic old school design, like the high pulled-back handlebars. Whilst contemporary touches come from the chrome headlights as well as the machined alloy wheels.
Having undergone a refreshing makeover the Softail Low Rider is able to offer Harley style and performance to a larger audience. It provides a docile ride that’s great for day to day commuter life, whilst the improved suspension deals more capably with undulations and inconsistencies within the road.
The Softail Low Rider features the new Mailwaukee-eight 107 engine, a smooth running V-Twin engine. The 22-litre fuel capacity enables you to carry enough fuel to cruise along without worrying about range.
Improvements to vibration make riding the low rider more comfortable than ever before. The engine features a dual counterbalance which helps to reduce primary vibration. This means the engine can be rigid mounted which in turn increases chassis stiffness and helps to improve handling.
The Softail Low Rider is suitable for a wide range of people including both novice and experienced riders. With a range of personalisation options available it’s possible to stylise it to your taste without losing its inherent Harley Davidson spirit.
View Road Glide Ultra
If you’re looking for a great touring bike the Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra offers it all. It features a new twin-cooled Milwaukee-8 107 engine which delivers a consistent and flawless power. But that’s not all, the engine has a claimed 114ft/lbs of torque at 3250rpm, so you’ll enjoy effortless acceleration. The bike can even help you become a better rider, as the electronically linked Brembo brakes provide the right amount of braking to each tyre. Plus for a bike of this size you’ll find it’s incredibly nimble and offers a confidence boosting lean into corners.
The Road Glide Ultra looks as impressive as it sounds. The shark nose front end dominates the appearance of the bike and ensures it cuts through the wind to provide an experience that’s like no other in the world. The 13.5” custom windscreen also helps to protect you from wind and rain as well as the insect population.
On board technology has been fully considered with a 6.5” full colour touchscreen display with voice activation for hands free navigation. This allows you to use your mobile phone, media and sat-nav whilst on the go. The impressive surround sound speakers produce a crisp and dynamic full range audio that is sure to keep you entertained on long journeys.
With a fantastically comfortable rider and pillion seat long rides spent eating up the miles will become a pleasure rather than a pain. There is plenty of on board storage with a host of cubby holes and storage boxes which allow you to carry all your essentials when travelling further afield. The Road Glide Ultra is the perfect bike for weekend getaways or continental touring if you’re feeling more adventurous.
View Tri Glide Ultra
Everything you love about a Harley Davidson just on three wheels. Harley Davidson have more experience with three-wheeled vehicles than any other mainstream motorcycle producer, and that shows with the top of the range Harley Davidson Tri Glide Ultra.
With the same Milwaukee-eight V-Twin engine as its two wheel counterparts it offers a powerful, smooth-running engine with a crisp throttle. This powerful engine ensures keeping up with your compatriots on two wheelers is no problem and you’ll find overtaking other traffic a breeze.
Many trikes can feel unbalanced through corners however the Tri Glide Ultra manages to provide a confidence inspiring ride. It handles remarkably well with intuitive turn delivered through the handlebars and does not rely on excessive lean to balance the trike out.
Perfect for long haul travel the plush wide and accommodating seats will make longer journeys more comfortable for both you and your passenger. Plus when travelling the distance you need to be able to carry all your necessary equipment and this definitely won’t be a problem with the Tri Glide Ultra. There are multiple storage areas including fully waterproof luggage carriers which will keep your luggage safe and dry.
Harley Davidson have built a reputation for quality and this is reflected in every aspect of the trike just as it would be on one of their bikes. All the fixtures and fittings are the exceptional hardwearing quality you’d expect from a Harley Davidson. What’s more there is a fantastic on-board infotainment system and audio experience which will provide unrivalled entertainment on your journey. The Boom Box infotainment system has two speakers up front as well as a speaker either side of the passenger seat. Whilst integrated USB ports ensure you get great connectivity and make listening to your favourite tracks on the go far easier.
Three-wheeled bikes have often been marginalised as the bike to turn to when getting on your two-wheeler becomes less manageable. However the Tri Glide Ultra bucks this trend offering a fantastic relaxed easy going ride that all riders will appreciate.
View Forty Eight
A fun to ride bike the Forty Eight looks to its predecessors for its aggressive and distinctive design. The fat 16” front MT90 tyre dominates the bike and harks back to vintage military motorbike styling. The fat front wheel doesn’t just look great though, it also helps to ensure a smooth ride with solid handling. However to ensure that the massive wheel doesn’t make steering too heavy Harley Davidson have utilised lightweight cast aluminium wheels.
Improvements have been made to front and rear suspension to make ride quality smoother. The front fork features dampening technology whereas the rear suspension features an emulsion rear shock with screw adjustor. Both front and rear suspension are tuned to absorb some of the undulations you’ll face.
Hit the open road and you’ll find that cornering is fun but stable. The Forty Eight has an adequate amount of lean that allows you to enjoy cruising through corners whilst ensuring you stay firmly on two wheels.
The Forty Eight utilises the reliable, tried and tested 1200cc air-cooled evolution engine, which was first used on a Harley Davidson way back in 1986. With various tweaks Harley have ensured it now meets current regulations and customer demands.
The only trade off on the Forty Eight is the fuel tank. In the iconic peanut shape the fuel tank adds statement style, however at just 7.9-litres you’ll find you’ll only get around 80 miles from a full tank. This means if you plan on using the bike daily you will need to be prepared to fill up regularly.
The Forty Eight isn’t about going fast or great performance it’s about looking and feeling good. A wonderfully cool, characterful and fun companion that will soon become your favourite bike.
View Street Rod
The Street Rod was developed by Harley to offer a first step into Harley Davidson ownership. With enough Harley flair and style to look the part, it retains a seating position that is more conventional than other Harley Davidson bikes. So what you get is an accommodating and comfortable ride that has Harley Davidson performance and attitude, all for a great price.
With punchy power released from the moment the throttle is opened, the bike offers a dynamic ride experience. The more relaxed seating position allows you to be commanding and aggressive with your input. Plus with predictable and stable handling the Street Rod is forgiving and will take care of you when you make small steering errors. For added practicality the bike has a small manageable turning circle which makes light work of tight turns, so is great when you’re riding in an urban environment.
The sleek refined look of the Street Rod is created by the lightweight front fender, drag-style bars with bar-end mirrors and two-up seat performance tail section. Whilst the liberal use of black paint and lack of chrome give the Street Rod a moody dominating appearance.
Like all Harley Davidson bikes the finish and quality of components is excellent and given the fantastic mid-range price tag you definitely get plenty of bike for your brass.
For many the Street Rod will be an introduction to the Harley Davidson brand, and once bitten by the bug will want to move onto bigger and more bolshie bikes. However for others the Street Rod will become a firm friend that is so versatile it will be used as often for the daily commute as it is for weekend excursions.
View CVO Limited
The CVO Limited is the pinnacle of touring comfort and style. For the rider who wants it all the CVO Limited delivers - with power, custom features and style in abundance.
The CVO Limited contains the most powerful engine to come from the Harley Davidson factory, the Milwaukee-Eight Twin cooled 117 engine, meaning exceptional power is unleashed at the turn of the throttle. The engine also features a unique rocker box that has stylish accent paint in the iconic Harley Davidson orange.
Improvements have been made to the suspension for a smoother ride quality. The CVO Limited features dual bending valve front suspension and emulsion rear suspension. The rear suspension has a hand adjustable pre-load dial allowing you to select the best suspension settings for your journey.
The bike is fitted with attention grabbing and efficient LED lighting surround and turn signals to improve visibility when riding at night, ensuring you can see and be seen.
For a more convenient experience there is a next generation power locking fob. This allows you to unlock and lock your bike completely hands-free, with auto arm and disarm functions activating as you approach or walk away from your vehicle. There are a multitude of additional features that if chosen will only serve to enhance the CVO Limited, like wireless headsets, premium heated hammock seats or tyre pressure monitoring feature.
Whilst every Harley Davidson bike is finished to an exceptional standard, the quality of the CVO Limited is at a whole new level. From the limited edition finishes to the luxurious super-premium paint scheme the bike conveys desirability. Each and every surface, fastener and aspect has been fully considered to ensure the best possible finish is achieved.
A cream of the crop bike, the CVO Limited is perfect for anyone wanting to cover serious mileage and enjoy every moment of tour-riding.
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