The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

 
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The history of Harley Davidson 1900-1909

The history of  Harley Davidson 1910-1919

 

Defeats, triumphs and defeats

The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

 

The United States consolidates itself as the first indisputable world power after the Great War, an event that leaves Europe in an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis.
The country is experiencing a stage of development and modernization that makes it live an authentic golden age.

The decade in which gangsters invaded the streets of big cities, is accompanied by mass consumption, sound films, household appliances, modern advertising and women’s votes. The urban population grew vertiginously.

As a result of the revolutionary changes in the chains of production, the Ford T in the year 1927 was selling to 300 dollars, there was no place in the market for the utilitarian motorcycle with sidecar.

The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

1923 advertising | The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

The motorcycle begins to become a recreational vehicle, a vehicle to enjoy free time and give a nice drive under the sun. They already had 3 or 4 gears, but without a front brake. It is the moment where the upper middle class of society begins to use it, respected gentlemen bikers dressed in elegant golfer’s clothes, with bow ties and tweeds.

The incipient network of roads is already a fact and communication improves ostensibly. The even-numbered roads cross the east-west country and the odd north-south.

The motorcycle begins to become a recreational vehicle, a vehicle to enjoy free time and give a nice drive under the sun. They already had 3 or 4 gears, but without a front brake. It is the moment where the upper middle class of society begins to use it, respected gentlemen bikers dressed in elegant golfer’s clothes, with bow ties and tweeds.

 

Business expansion

The history of  Harley Davidson 1920-1929

 

The commercial network of Harley Davidson reaches 2,000 points of sale distributed in 67 countries. The competition with its main rival, Indian, is very strong. The production of the Indian scout far exceeds all production of Harley Davidson, evidently the company of Springfield is larger, is more advanced technologically but, its wide range of models and its investment in research and development, make its results more modest. Harley is smaller but more profitable company.

Despite the rivalry and fight for the same piece of cake, both builders have annual meetings to coordinate their pricing policies.

The Harley Davidsons are becoming famous for robust and resilient bikes, and their design begins to stand out above the others. As of 1925 they are transforming their line, to a lower one. Smaller wheels are placed, the tires are enlarged and the fuel tank adopts the shape that will endure to this day, in the shape of a tear.

On the other hand, despite the successes obtained in competition begin to identify themselves as “old motorcycles”, a problem that they will carry on their back for a long time, also as police motorcycles, are sold in those years about 3,000 vehicles to the police highway.

The directors of the brand begin to feel the need to rejuvenate it.

The Harley Davidsons are becoming famous for robust and resilient bikes, and their design begins to stand out above the others. As of 1925 they are transforming their line, to a lower one. Smaller wheels are placed, the tires are enlarged and the fuel tank adopts the shape that will endure to this day, in the shape of a tear.

The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

Harley Davidson JDH 1927 | The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

In 1927, the JDH Two Cam was launched with a maximum speed of 160 km / h and accelerations that could compete with the current motorcycles, a prodigy of engineering. With the advent of the crisis, this double headlight model disappears.

In 1929, the 45 Flathead D and DL are presented, because the crisis is approaching or because it is necessary to compete with the great success of the Indian scout, this model appears with fewer benefits than its predecessor the JD, but allows the brand to overcome the years of difficulty.

 

Significates events of the decade:

The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

 

  • 1921: Launch of the model JD a 1,200 cubic cm qualified Supersport. In California, he wins the Board Track race in Fresno, at an average of 160 km/h.
  • 1923: Presentation of the Banjo Two Cam, double overhead cam and 8 valves, reserved for the pilots of the brand.
  • 1924: Foundation of the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) that federates the American motorcycles.
  • 1925: Presentation of the Peashooter (A and B), single-cylinder utility 350 cubic cm exported to Europe and from which derive race bikes.

 

The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

Harley Davidson Flathead 45 | The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

  • 1926: Joe Petrali wins his first races with a Harley, although the queen of the circuits is Indian.
  • 1927: The JDH Two Cam is presented. It is a road version of the competition bike created by Bill Ottaway in 1919. With its 1,000 and 1,200 cubic cm twin-cylinder, small wheels and double headlight, it causes a sensation.
  • 1929: Presentation of the Flathead 45, a V-Twin 750, adopts the twirl principle of the British engineer Harry Ricardo. This fairly rustic engine was used in the war and remained present until 1972.

 

Source: “Harleymanía” of Jean Savary

Klauer & Iannuzzi | 2018 | The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929