The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

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The history of Harley Davidson 1900-1909

The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

The history of Harley Davidson 1920-1929

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The history of Harley Davidson 1940-1949

The history of Harley Davidson 1950-1959

The history of Harley Davidson 1960-1969

The history of Harley Davidson 1970-1979

The history of Harley Davidson 1980-1989

 

 

The beginning of a new economy

The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the block led by the Soviet Union leaves the US, again, as the only superpower. Some analysts talk about the End of history, finally the liberal democracies triumph over the communist bloc and the ideological struggle begun in the 19th century comes to an end.

A decade characterized by multiculturalism and alternative media that continue its evolution in the next century. Movements such as grunge and hip hop are expanding among young people around the world helped by new media and new technologies, such as cable television and the internet.

La historia de Harley Davidson 1990-1999

The 90´s | The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

The economic development generated by the changes made in the previous decade and with continuity in this, generate a new economy where technology will take on a superlative importance. The creation of new companies that could be called revolutionary and a new technological market, inflated a bubble that would finally explode at the end of the decade, leading to the bankruptcy of many of those who participated in the speculative party.

Harley Davidson is one of the first manufacturers to realize the advantage of selling online. Its fans buy a huge amount of accessories and it is much easier to search and purchase the web than in thousands of paper catalogs that circulate through its distribution network.

Harley Davidson is one of the first manufacturers to realize the advantage of selling online. Its fans buy a huge amount of accessories and it is much easier to search and purchase the web than in thousands of paper catalogs that circulate through its distribution network.

 

In a new economy but, looking to the past

The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

 

Since the resurgence of the 80 the brand is very clear about the path, it is no longer necessary great technical advances, it is much easier and profitable to take advantage of the acquired heritage. Cultivating and expanding the myth are the premises of the company.

The design department starts to be very important, inventing or reinventing trends is part of the process and going back to the past is more profitable. Obviously, the old glories are willing to lend their charms for that purpose.

The Electra Glide of 1965 becomes the Road King in 1995. In 1990, the Softail Fat Boy is inspired by history in a controversial way. This name is due to a mixture of the two atomic bombs dropped in Japan in 1945, Fat Man and Little Boy, the gray color of the tank evokes that of the bombers of that time and the wheels, strangely wide, to the landing gear of the same.

La historia de Harley Davidson 1990-1999

Harley Davidson Fatboy 1990 | The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

Harley Davidson does not assume this interpretation and alleges that it is purely coincidental, but no one is stupid and it is a clear reaction to the invasion of Japanese Customs that invade the USA at that time. In fact, this provocation is no more than a reflection of the Japanese motorcycle burnings that takes place at motorcycle meetings.

The Fat Boy has a great success outside the US and is still in the catalog.

The technical advances are minimal, nobody buys a Harley for its maneuverability and technology, they are bought for its appearance, its unique sound and the aura of bad life that surrounds it. The rebel motorcycle myth is above any other consideration that is made about them.

As in the 50s, the brand is among two phenomena that it uses commercially, on the one hand it represents the darkest side of the motorcycle world, with its outsiders making noise in the streets, drinking beer and causing some other commotion and another, supporting charities with the intention of maintaining respectability.

Harley is dedicated to exploiting this mystique to the extreme, a strategy that avoids the competition that the invasion of foreign motorcycles offers them. The same technical and aesthetic immobility that was about to end the brand at the time the English invasion and later Japanese, now is more than profitable. In the decade, production tripled, from 60,000 to almost 180,000 units.

In this decade there is also the rebirth of European brands, BMW, Ducati and even Triumph come back with strength. It is the moment that Harley Davidson decides to acquire 49% of Buell, founded by one of his former engineers, is a good alternative for the tired of the customs.

In its own territory a new enemy is born, Victory, created by the industrial group Polaris, obtains considerable success. Modern, high-performance, with V twin multi-valves and 6-speed gearbox. His designs are fluid and purified. It is the first time, since the disappearance of its historic rival, Indian, that an American brand offers him a close combat.

As in the 50s, the brand is among two phenomena that it uses commercially, on the one hand it represents the darkest side of the motorcycle world, with its outsiders making noise in the streets, drinking beer and causing some other commotion and another, supporting charities with the intention of maintaining respectability.

 

Significates events of the decade:

The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

 

  • 1990: Cinquantenaire of Sturgis, 250,000 bikers from around the world. Like the FXB of 1980, the Dyna Glide Sturgis, commemorates the event by replacing the chrome with black.
  • 1991: 5 speeds and strap for the Sportster.
  • 1992: Harley enters Buell’s capital.
  • 1993: 100,000 fans of the brand come to Milwaukee for the 90th anniversary of the brand.
  • 1994: Harley returns to the circuits of the Superbike category, to face the Japanese motorcycles and the Ducati with his 1,000 VR.

 

La historia de Harley Davidson 1990-1999

Bikers meeting in Sturgis | The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999

     

  • 1995: The Electra Glide Ultra Classic adopts Magneti Marelli electronic injection. The production exceeds 100,000 units.
  • 1996: Best result of the 1,000 VR, position No. 10 in the 200 miles of Daytona. New warehouse in Wisconsin for accessories and clothing that have become crucial for the business.
  • 1997: The Heritage Softail Springer evokes the 1948 Panhead. New factory in Kansas City.
  • 1999: The Dyna and Touring use for the first time the new Twin Cam 88, with a new camshaft per cylinder. This double tree allows a higher regime, for a greater power. The range consists of 26 motorcycles, distributed in 5 families, from 2 engines and 4 displacements.

 
 

Source: “Harleymanía” of Jean Savary

Klauer & Iannuzzi | 2018 | The history of Harley Davidson 1990-1999