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Thread: Harley Davidson

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    Harley Davidson

    Who wants an interesting story about Harley Davidson? I was at a get together over the weekend and a man named Bill told me a story his family and the beginnings of Harley Davidson. There were three friends, Harley, Davidson and Schultz, who worked in a railroad maintenance shop around 1905 or 1908. Well like others they put a motor on a bicycle and Harley and Davidson decided to leave the railroad job and make a go of it in the motorcycle business. They could not persuade their third friend Schultz to quit and join them. So could it have been called the Harley Davidson Schultz. Bill was a direct relative of Mr. Schultz. Someone may find this interesting.

  2. #2
    Themason 42906's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novicebmwlover View Post
    Who wants an interesting story about Harley Davidson? I was at a get together over the weekend and a man named Bill told me a story his family and the beginnings of Harley Davidson. There were three friends, Harley, Davidson and Schultz, who worked in a railroad maintenance shop around 1905 or 1908. Well like others they put a motor on a bicycle and Harley and Davidson decided to leave the railroad job and make a go of it in the motorcycle business. They could not persuade their third friend Schultz to quit and join them. So could it have been called the Harley Davidson Schultz. Bill was a direct relative of Mr. Schultz. Someone may find this interesting.
    Are you saying you bumped into Bill Davidson, the grandson of one of the founders? If so, depending on what was said (which might depend on the quantity of malted hops and barley consumed) the conversation could be very interesting indeed. I get the impression from a few snippets in the motorcycle press that he is not necessarily the cruiser guy his dad is. One can only hope. Reportedly the XR-1200 is his doing.

    As an on again, off again Harley owner (two Street Rods in the garage now, but no Harleys for more than 25 years since the previous one) I like to joke that since there hasn't been a Harley family member in the business since co-founder William S. Harley died in 1943, the bikes sold today should all be called "Davidsons". you might even say they haven't had much in engineering going on since he died, but I will leave that discussion to the cynics here.

    Care to add any more to the story?
    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

  3. #3
    Hangered... but aimed out flyhi2cfar's Avatar
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    I often refer to my FLTR as a "Davidson - Harley"; as Willy G himself was
    responsible for keeping it alive (the tour glide series) during the late 80's!
    Now the "bagger" craze is in its glory.... still needs the balanced motor
    package IMO. Yet, a fine & proven line of touring motorcycles. No matter
    where you are, if you can call it a road.... a Davidson-Harley will come by!
    The "family" Davidson are doing well.

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    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    If you want a lot of personal history of the families and how the company evolved, Jean Davidson wrote a great book titled "Growing Up Harley-Davidson". I thoroughly enjoyed it and the insights it provided in how the company evolved.

    It is available at most dealerships.

    Amazon has it here:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aws/cart/ad...ubmit.add.y=16
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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    FUKENGRUVEN SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    When I was in the Army I worked for a Lieutenant General who claimed he dated a Davidson girl of the HD Davidsons when he was a teenager in the late 50s. He said the young lady's father admonished him not to put his daughter on the back of his motorcycle.
    Kevin Huddy
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    Themason 42906's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyhi2cfar View Post
    I often refer to my FLTR as a "Davidson - Harley"; as Willy G himself was
    responsible for keeping it alive (the tour glide series) during the late 80's!
    Now the "bagger" craze is in its glory.... still needs the balanced motor
    package IMO. Yet, a fine & proven line of touring motorcycles. No matter
    where you are, if you can call it a road.... a Davidson-Harley will come by!
    The "family" Davidson are doing well.
    I remember when the Tour Glide came out in 1980 with a four speed tranny and the old Shovelhead engine. I still have a brochure from that era. Eric Buell had a lot of input into that bike, including the frame, the interesting and very effective air anti-dive that used the handlebars as a reservoir, the unusual steering geometry with reverse offset triple clamps, and of course the rubber mounting system used first on that model. Study the steering geometry of the Harley touring models, it is actually very innovative.

    One side of me wants very much to like the current Road Glide. Harley lavishes obvious pride in that bike as the materials and finish are all quite beautiful. But what a disappointment to ride. It is achingly slow, like an old VW Combi, and you sit so low on it with that big fairing waaaay out there somewhere in front of you and your feet up in front of you, that cornering the big beast just doesn't feel right. There is very little connection from the grips to the front tire, and I'm more accustomed to feeling the bike pivot under me rather than roll in front of me as the Road Glide does. Besides, the seating position is awful. In a half hour my back is screaming in pain, where I can ride my K-100RS or Street Rod all day and not suffer any back discomfort. The bikes have a peculiar weave in higher speed corners that requires an aftermarket linkage from True-Track to cure since HD doesn't bother to put a linkage at the rear of their rubber mounted engines as Buell does. The unsprung weight on the front is apparent on sharp bumps.

    Taken as a package, my 28 year old K-RS with Paralever, Works shock and a big brake upgrade is still superior in nearly every way to the Road Glide.
    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

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    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBeemer View Post
    When I was in the Army I worked for a Lieutenant General who claimed he dated a Davidson girl of the HD Davidsons when he was a teenager in the late 50s. He said the young lady's father admonished him not to put his daughter on the back of his motorcycle.
    The lady's father was probably worried about more than the motorcycle ...
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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    Quote Originally Posted by 42906 View Post
    I remember when the Tour Glide came out in 1980 with a four speed tranny and the old Shovelhead engine. I still have a brochure from that era. Eric Buell had a lot of input into that bike, including the frame, the interesting and very effective air anti-dive that used the handlebars as a reservoir, the unusual steering geometry with reverse offset triple clamps, and of course the rubber mounting system used first on that model. Study the steering geometry of the Harley tourinGlide.
    Interesting...he must have been consulting for them before he went to work at Harley...or the ramp-up time for that '80 model was really short. Reportedly Eric wasn't employed by Harley till later in '79...he was still a college student.
    MOA #46783

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    Quote Originally Posted by 42906 View Post
    Are you saying you bumped into Bill Davidson, the grandson of one of the founders? ?



    Quote Originally Posted by Novicebmwlover View Post
    I was at a get together over the weekend and a man named Bill told me a story his family .... Bill was a direct relative of Mr. Schultz. .

  10. #10
    Themason 42906's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motodan View Post
    Interesting...he must have been consulting for them before he went to work at Harley...or the ramp-up time for that '80 model was really short. Reportedly Eric wasn't employed by Harley till later in '79...he was still a college student.
    Buell is usually given credit for aspects of the FLT frame, fork geometry, the FXR frame, and has patents for the Uniplanar engine mounting system. Keep in mind he had already constructed his own frame for his RW-750 race bike and had been racing for a number of years. He was also involved in the Nova V-4 program that was cancelled in 1983. By 1984 he had already left Harley Davidson to start Buell Motorcycle Company. He may not have started with Harley until 1979 but he had a major impact during his time there. He's a prodigy.
    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 42906 View Post
    ......... The bikes have a peculiar weave in higher speed corners that requires an aftermarket linkage from True-Track to cure since HD doesn't bother to put a linkage at the rear of their rubber mounted engines as Buell does.
    The "weave" went away with the new frame. At least this is the case on my 09.

    I bought an 1800 Gold Wing 12 years ago because Harley tourers had three problems which were unacceptable to me. They didn't handle well, the brakes were weak, and they were simply under powered for 2-up riding. They now have Brembo brakes, new frame since 09, and the 96" and 103" engines give them enough power. I find it *much* more comfortable than the Gold Wing.
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R, 15 FJ-09, 15 Road King, 07 Moto Guzzi Griso No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

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    I met a guy at the local 7-11 who was admiring my RT...he had just bought a Custom Road Glide to the tune of 34,000. Invited him over to my house for a beer. A pretty thing, to be sure, and the Road Glide is the one with the frame-mounted fairing. Still, it's tiny, compared to my old CLC, and he flipped when I told him how much the CLC cost (16500) with the first 6 months payments handled by BMW. Still, it's all in what the customer wants. A lot of folks don't want to go tip-toeing around on RT's, they want something they can just back walk down the drive (there's a gutter at the edge of the driveway) and into the street (I certainly could not do that with my RT) and take off down the road in a relaxed manner.
    Virginia Beach
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    past: 14 R1200RT 11 R1200RT 10 R1200RT 03 R1200CLC

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    Quote Originally Posted by brewmeister View Post
    here is my problem with harleys,cost
    Not really fair to compare paying $23,000 for a 2012 RG to a 31 year old BMW for $10,000. Comparing the cost of ownership, I'll argue Harley's are generally less expensive than BMW's. And as far as comparing the bikes themselves it's simply apples and oranges. They're both good motorcycles, but they're designed to different standards and to a different market.
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R, 15 FJ-09, 15 Road King, 07 Moto Guzzi Griso No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

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    I'm certainly no Harley fan but I agree with milo, not a fair comparison. Your bikes are still '81 and '96. You probably could have gotten Harleys in those years for a similar price. And, IMO, you can't compare a 1981 anything to a 2012 anything.

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    Registered User 39520's Avatar
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    Slightly aside, I visited the HD factory in downtown Milwaukee around 1967. The engine department was a bunch of old-ish guys sitting around wooden tables putting engines together. As the bikes went down a sort of low tech assembly line, the workers looked at a paper order form and bolted on the right stuff. When the bikes were finished, there were a group of riders who took each bike for a ride around the block - without a seat, because HD did not put the seat on the bike for crated shipping.

    I visited the York factory around 1990. They have a nice museum of vintage bikes, and I have to say I generally am interested in older HDs - I think they had an XRTT on display, a bike I had only heard of, never seen - a one or two off IoM bike. Worth stopping by if you have a chance, and yes, we were on BMWs, and no we were not hassled by anyone.

    BTW it was ironic how many boxes of parts on the floor in 1990 were marked Made in Japan - I assume now they are marked Made in China. Wheels, electrics, controls, accessories, all manners of stuff. They also had people doing mindless jobs that could have been automated in the 1930s.

    Full disclosure: I briefly owned a Sportster. Other than having decent fuel injection, it was like riding a brand new vintage bike.





    Last edited by 39520; 06-20-2012 at 07:40 PM.
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