In order to become the biggest and most popular motorcycling manufacturer in the USA you have to have decades of experience, success, and innovation. That exactly describes the motorcycle company Harley Davidson. Ever since starting in 1903, Harley Davidson has grown rapidly and has been able to stay on top of the American motorcycle scene with its loyal following that continues to this day. Despite over a century of success, Harley has started faltering with the rise of imports from Japan and Europe, an aging demographic, and the great recession.
In 1901, William Harley had plans for a small engine that’s purpose was made to be attached to a bicycle frame for a new product called the motor bicycle. He worked with his friend Arthur Davidson and his brother Walter Davidson and finished it in 1903. While more of a prototype than anything it was a good base to quickly refine on. Limited sales continued until a factory was built in 1906 and Harley Davidson became incorporated in 1907. Many liked Harley’s for its reliable and powerful V-twin engine that beat every other engine on the market. From there production would only increase to where they built over 16,000 machines in 1914. And with USA’s inclement in WWI contracts for Harley Davidson motorcycles came in from Uncle Sam and Harley Davidson was more than happy to oblige, selling over 20,000 motorcycles for the war effort.
The Golden Era & Great Depression (1920-1965)
By 1920, Harley Davidson produced the most motorcycles out of any company in the world with almost 30,000 machines produced for sale in 67 countries. Everything was going well until the Great Depression devastated the US economy. While sales were cut by almost 75% Harley managed to survive by manufacturing power plants and simple motorcycle designs. In 1936, the legendary Knucklehead engine was introduced with overhead valves and a dry sump oil systems, both revolutions at the time. Harley Davidson and Indian were the only two motorcycle companies to survive the Great Depression. With the rise of WWII orders from the government came rolling in again and Harley Davidson ended up producing around 30,000 motorcycles. Once they started producing more civilian motorcycles they started growing again with young adults coming home from war wanting to purchase something that offered fun and freedom. And that’s exactly what the Harley Davidson motorcycle resembled. In fact, in 1953 Indian motorcycles closed its doors giving Harley a monopoly on domestic produced motorcycles. And Harley Davidson even took its company public in 1965.
Once Japan’s and Great Britain’s economies got back on track after WWII, they started challenging the all-American brand for motorcycling supremacy. Harley was able to push through until the mid 1960s where it saw lower profits and decided to merge with American Machine and Foundry (AMF) in 1969. Once the gas crisis hit in the early 1970s, people started to buy these expensive toys less and instead had their attention drawn by the small and economical cars from Japan and Germany. In fact, in 1981 things were going so badly that Harley executives bought the company back from AMF.
Harley today continues to struggle with attracting young drivers as young people are more drawn to Japanese and European sport bikes rather than the ancient and rattly Harley Davidson cruisers. Just surviving the great recession and with a growing demographic Harley has started introducing more cafe racer style bikes. Along with this they have just released an all electric bike called the Livewire. Only time will tell if the motorcycle manufacture can capture that freedom that caused so many to buy them before, or if motorcycles are a dying machine in the age of growing safety and more technological based vehicles.
You may have read one of our previous articles on vinyl wrapping your motorcycle over that of a traditional paint job. While we strongly agree with the perks and benefits, not to mention creativity that can be found with vinyl wrapping your bike, we are also quite big fans of paint protection film! What exactly is paint protection film? Basically it is a clear coat or rather film that is applied to the surface of your motorcycle that bonds to the paint to add gloss, shine and a protective barrier against environmental elements, contaminants, UV rays, rain and dirt. Not quite sure if you should have some type of paint protection film or PPF applied to your cycle? Check out our list of things you need to know before having paint protection film installed on your bike.
What You Need To Know About Paint Protection Films
Quality- Quality is always important with any investment or purchase you make. Paint protection film is no different. Experts with #201wrap say that the quality of PPF you choose to have installed on your bike makes ALL the difference. The higher the quality of protection film you use the better the protection and the longer it will last. While better quality may be a bit pricier than the cheaper options available on the market in the long run the better product will pay off.
Installation- A lot of people turn to the do it yourself kits because of the money that can be saved and because in general installing the film yourself is not that difficult and can be done. What you need to be aware of especially with motorcycles is that motorcycles have a lot smaller parts that need to be wrapped with a lot more contours and shaping that needs to be taken into consideration. Professional installers have a lot more tools that can be used in making the installation process a lot simpler and blemish free.
Preparation- This aspect is just as important if not more so than the quality of the PPF. The way your bike is prepped will determine how well the protection film adheres to your bike, how good it looks and how long it will last. Whether you are doing it yourself or having the film installed professionally make sure that the prep is done right!
After Care- When all is said and done the after care you instill on your bike will also determine how well and how long your paint protection film lasts. While the film is strong and meant to withstand road debris and harsh elements it still needs to be cared for correctly in order for it to maintain it’s best condition
Shop Around- The experts at #201wrap also suggest that you shop around in your area should you be choosing to go with a professional installation and purchase. Knowing the competitive prices and the products that different shops use can help you to find the best deal and best quality materials. Same goes for if you choose to go with a DIY kit. Do your research on what the best kits available are and that are easiest to use.
If you are unsure whether a paint protection film is right for your bike we suggest along with #201wrap experts that you schedule a consultation with a professional vinyl wrap company near you. An experienced vinyl wrap technician can answer your questions as well as provide you with price quotes for your bike.
The truth is no one actually HAS to ride a motorcycle, the millions of people, both men and women who do, do it for different reasons. Most commonly for the sheer thrill of the ride, to feel that wind in your hair and to live on the edge maybe just a little. For those of you who either are looking to find a good reason to take up motorcycle riding or to justify the purchase of that sweet new bike, look no further. We have 7 reasons why you SHOULD definitely ride a motorcycle.
7 Reasons You Should Ride
Just For The Thrill…. Of course this is number one on our list because like we mentioned above the thrill is what captures most people. I mean think about it cruising down a long stretch of highway, you and your bike are one. You are in complete control of this 2 wheeled machine and the danger that is tied in to motorcycle riding adds some spontaneity to that thrill making it that much bigger.
Savings At The Pump…. Let’s be honest in today’s world with gas prices at an all time high, global warming and all of the concern about pollution in general who doesn’t want to drive or shall we say ride something that is incredibly fuel efficient! We are talking major savings at the pump, which means less is taken from our pocketbooks all while contributing less air pollution to our dwindling environment.
Part Of a Group…. Ok if we are motorcycle riders are honest feeling connected and a part of a group, a cool group at that, feels pretty amazing. What are we talking about exactly? There is an unspoken connection among motorcycle riders that makes you feel like you joined the cool kids club. Add that to the group of riders you actually ride with and you pretty much feel like a small team.
The Freedom….this kind of goes with the thrill aspect but really it’s just that, riding a motorcycle makes you feel free. The act of getting on your bike with the outside world swirling around you, hitting the open rode and all that fresh air….man there is just no other feeling that comes close to that invincible sense of freedom you feel! AMAZING
Traffic & Parking Ease…..Whether you are commuting amongst a ton of traffice or trying to find parking in an overcrowded parking lot, riding on a motorcycle or parking one for that matter is sooo much easier than that of a regular vehicle. With dedicated lanes for motorcyclists and the ability to weave among traffic(carefully and law abiding of course!) coupled with the extra easily accessible parking spaces dedicated to motorcycles your commute just got A LOT easier and quicker.
Your Own Style…. While riding a bike does make you feel part of a group, let’s face it you get to express yourself as well. From the bike you choose to the biking attire you wear it’s all about your own individual style and no one is there to judge! In fact even the suit wearing corporate leaders who get on their bike on the weekends feel a sense of being able to completely be themselves! I guess this part adds to the freedom of motorcycle riding too!
They Are Just Cool….. Ok we admit it, motorcycles are just down right cool! From the sex appeal that they are presumed to exude, to the fact that the hot movie hunk usually rides a motorcycle (at least in James Dean Days) to the swagger that bike riders have and the air of mystery they carry, motorcycle riding is just plain COOL!
While we feel that these are definitely good reasons to either ride or finally buy that bike you have been eyeing the fact is you don’t really need a reason. If a motorcycle is calling to you or you simply just love riding any reason is pretty much a good reason to buy or ride a motorcycle.
Whether your a motorcycle enthusiast who loves to join in big rides or you simply like taking your bike out for a solo ride on a great stretch of highway, you might be interested to know some of the best and most freeing motorcycle rides throughout the U.S. While it’s always encouraged to do big rides with a partner for safety reasons, enjoying these rides and the open road can make you feel as if you are riding solo into the sunset with nothing but adventure and freedom blowing through the wind behind you.
Top Motorcycle Rides Throughout the U.S.
Colorado-Peak to Peak Highway: 60 miles of great scenery, twists, turns and plenty of elk and moose to be seen. Stay at safe speeds to avoid hitting one of these large animals and enjoy your ride through Rocky Mountain National Park. Trust us the air and scenery alone will leave you feel full of energy and revitalization.
North Carolina/Virginia- Blue Ridge Parkway:From Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina this is definitely a ride to be taken by all types of motorcycle enthusiasts. Passing through Civil War battle grounds, The Great Smoky Mountains and traveling along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway full of twists and turns you will surely love this beautiful ride.
Utah-Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Ride:124 miles of road that will take you through Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park and Petrified Forest State Park you will have a first hand view of the beautiful canyons and colors that can be seen all along this ride. With spectacular sunsets and sunrise.
California–Pacific Coast Highway: This highway has a lot f rode to offer being that it stretches from California to Oregon. No matter what part of the highway you pick you are in for a great ride with a lot of scenery to look at from crashing surf to beautiful mountains. Make sure to map out your ride and take into consideration different events that happen throughout the long weekends to ensure you stay clear of holiday traffic etc.
There are so many great highways to get out and ride on, however these are just some of our favorite. Most serious motorcyclists will agree that finding an open rode with a lot of great scenery and some fresh air is just what you need to enjoy your bike and that indescribable peace that you feel.
Well, it looks like the world record for the longest motorcycle jump has been improved upon by Ryan Capes! If you read our previous post on fun & interesting facts on motorcycles you will have seen that Robbie Maddison of Melbourne, Australia held the record for the longest motorcycle jump at 346ft. However, Ryan Capes just beat that record by recording his jump at 390ft 4in!! AMAZING!
We usually like to write posts about useful motorcycle tips, safety guidelines, maintenance and the like, however, we thought we would have a little fun with our readers and share some fun and interesting motorcycle facts! Little tidbits of interesting info that all you motorcycle enthusiasts may not have known but now you know!
Fun & Interesting Motorcycle Facts
The world’s biggest motorcycle was built in 2015 in India,by Bharat Sinh Parmar and measured 86ft and 3in long! Now that’s a BIG bike
In 2006 a North Carolina Man buried his motorcycle on his property and claimed it was stolen. His loan was paid off and he was also compensated for the stolen bike. In 2012 the new owner of the property found it while doingwork on his new land!
Yamaha one of the top selling motorcycle brands started by producing pianos and other musical instruments. To this day they still manufacture instruments but now also make motorcycles, golf carts, boats and a list of other well sought after items.
In the movie The Great Escape, Steve Mcqueen’s 65 ft motorcycle jump was really done by his stunt double Bud Ekins. What’s really crasy is that Bud did the jump in just ONE try!
Motorcyclist in Indiana only have to treat a red stop light like a stop sign. If They pause at the light for the required 120 seconds they can proceed through with caution and NO ticket!
Like Yamaha, Kawasaki not only manufactures motorcycles but also watercraft too such a jet ski
Motorcycle theft has been found to be the highest in July, August & September
In 2011 it was found that in the state of California the most commonly stolen motorcycle was made by Honda. Aren’t cars made by Honda an easy steal too???
346 ft is the longest motorcycle jump ever recorded throughout history. The record was set by Robbie Maddison who is from Melbourne, Australia
Harley Davidson is the leading motorcycle manufacturer in the U.S. I think we all might have known this fact!
While there are so many cool and interesting facts to find about motorcycles and all things that pertain to them these are some of our favorite facts. We hope you enjoyed them too!
You have bought your dream bike, body style, engine, and all the bells and whistles you wanted, the only thing left to do is customize the finish and paint job you envision. Or perhaps you have just purchased a used bike and are ready to customize the body and paint so that it fits the ideal bike you had in mind. Whatever the case you are now left with your decision of whether to traditionally paint the bike or have it vinyl wrapped. Yep, you heard right, vinyl wrapping isn’t just for automobiles and company fleets. In fact more and more motorcycle riders are choosing to wrap their bike versus having a traditional paint job applied. Why? The benefits, cost and protection associated with a vehicle vinyl wrap are so much better than that of a regular paint job. Dan, a friend of mine, who owns Phoenix Auto Wrap, provided me with ALL of the inside info as to why vinyl wraps are a better choice, and if taken care of correctly last longer and offer more protection than an average paint job. We listened to what these experts had to say and are sold on vinyl wrapping your bike! Check out what we found out and you most likely will be too!
Benefits Of Vinyl Wrapping Your Motorcycle
What Exactly is Vinyl Wrapping- Although vinyl wrapping has been around for some time now, in recent years it’s just started to gain more popularity and exposure. Vinyl wrapping basically consist of using high quality materials to create large adhesive sheets that can be applied to your motorcycle or vehicle to change the color, appearance, and finish. They are 100% removable and do not harm or alter the original paint job that is still in tact underneath.
How Long Do Vinyl Wraps Last?-It all depends on how well you take care of your bike. This means how you store it, clean it, and drive it. The longevity also depends on the quality of materials used and if you had a certified professional install the wrap. Generally with high quality materials, good bike care, and professional installation a wrap can last anywhere between 4-5 years! Remember it doesn’t alter your bikes original paint either!
How Long Do Vinyl Wraps Take To Apply?-This adds to the benefit of a vinyl wrap vs. traditional paint job. Vinyl wraps basically cut the time in half compared to regular paint which means you are back on your bike and riding A LOT sooner. Traditional paint jobs can take up to 2 weeks, whereas a vinyl wrap takes 2-3 days.
Paint Protection-Because vinyl wraps are a film like adhesive they are actually easier to clean using just soap and water and protect the body of your bike. Nicks and scratches from riding on the open rode are inevitable because of small debris and other factors. A vinyl wrap not only protects the original paint job it also protects the body of your bike from scratches and other wear and tear, etc.
Less Of A Commitment-So you really like that chrome look on vehicles you have been seeing lately and decide to wrap your bike in red chrome. Looks great and you love it all for about a year. With a traditional paint job there is no going back to the original color once the paint job is done unless you have it repainted which lets be real, can be quite expensive especially only after a year. With a vinyl wrap if you get over the look you once desired you can simply have it removed and rock that original paint job or have it wrapped again for ⅓ of the cost of a traditional paint job.
In the end it is entirely up to the motorcycle owner which paint job route he/she wants to take. However, having done a little research ourselves on vinyl wraps we can’t really find the disadvantages to them at all. Check out a PROFESSIONAL vinyl wrap installer near you, ask questions, get a feel for their wraps and compare prices, you may just find that vinyl wrapping your bike is the next best decision you made after purchaisng it!
Whether you are purchasing your very first motorcycle or are looking to buy another bike to add to your collection, deciding to buy a new vs used bike can be quite the tough decision. In the end it is ultimately the buyer’s decision as to what meets their needs the best. We know getting to that point can be a tough choice so we thought we’d give you the pros and cons of buying new vs used!
Buying A USED Motorcycle
Price- Used bikes are relatively cheaper than their brand new alternative. You will not have to pay any hidden fees such as dealer fees, set up or delivery fees.
Insurance- Although it depends on the motorist and the style of bike used bikes generally have a lower insurance premium
Sellers/Dealers- If buying from a private seller they will have all of the general maintenance information on the bike as well as wear and tear. A dealer on the other hand will have had a certified mechanic look over the bike and fix any repairs that need to be done before putting it up for sale
History- Although private sellers will know the history, accidents and other repairs of the bike it doesn’t mean they will fully disclose it. They could have also done work on the bike with minimal mechanical knowledge. If choosing to go with a private seller it is always best to bring a certified mechanic with you to look at the bike before you decide to purchase it.
Maintenance- One thing you must take into account is that older/used bikes often require more upkeep and maintenance because their parts are older. Budget the cost of regular maintenance and suggested service before purchasing as well.
Mileage- While its safe to say most buyers will be looking for a used bike with lower miles, you still need to take in account the mileage. How close is the bike mile wise to needing a big servicing such as replacing the chain, quality of brakes, tires, engine etc.
Value- used bikes depending on how old they are and the make and model of bike can lose a lot of their value over time. It is suggested to look up the make and model as well as year of the bike on a platform such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book before choosing to purchase.
Buying A NEW Motorcycle
History- With the bike being brand new there isn’t really too much history to worry about. You are starting with a bike that has generally a completely clean slate
Mileage- Where as high mileage can be a downfall of a used bike, new bikes have 0 to very few miles on them. There’s that clean slate again!
Warranty- Most bikes will come with some kind of warranty or you can purchase an extended one. This offers a little more protection and piece of mind should anything go wrong once you own the bike.
Technology- If you are looking for a bike with the latest bike technology and newest upgrades purchasing a new bike is the way to go
Expense- While you are getting a new bike the hidden dealer fees can increase price drastically. Also once you have ridden your new motorcycle off the lot it has already depreciated in value
Insurance- Although like we said before it does depend on the driver and the type of bike new motorcycles tend to have higher insurance premiums
Depreciation- Worth mentioning again. It is usually advised against to buy a brand new car. Example its 2018 buying a 2018 car is ill advised because of the amount it depreciates once taken off the lot. Instead waiting even 1 year so that the model is a year older will help somewhat with expense and also the bike will not depreciate as much when driven away.
In the end you must weigh out the pros and cons to both purchasing new or used. Should you still be indecisive compare values with online platforms and try to calculate a total overhead cost with fees, maintenance etc factored in.
Let’s talk about motorcycle maintenance and how important it is for the overall performance as well as safety of your bike. Just like an automobile, bike owners need to keep up with regular maintenance for their bike and its many individual parts. That being said, a lot of routine maintenance can be done by you, the bike owner. However, if you are new to the motorcycle life or just aren’t quite sure how to exactly perform these maintenance procedures it is best to seek the help of a professional mechanic. The first thing to remember when going through our list of maintenance criteria is that every make & model of bike can differ. It is a good idea to study your owners guide and follow the advice of the manufacturer.
Routine Motorcycle Maintenance
Engine Oil- Just like your car or truck, motorcycles run off their engine oil. It is usually suggested that an oil change is done every 4,000-6,000 miles but again this depends on the model of your bike. Regularly check oil levels and make sure to never put TOO MUCH oil. It is also recommended that you change your oil filter with every oil change as well to maintain optimal performance.
Valve Adjustments-These adjustments can often be a BIG task and generally require the skill & help of a professional mechanic. Jim, a motorcycle mechanic, based out of a Phoenix Auto Repair shop stresses the importance of not letting this maintenance task go, not only for your safety but for the longevity of your bike.
Tire Pressure- This should be monitored with the help of a tire pressure gauge. It is also advised to inspect tires visually for any wear and tear or other damage caused by nails & other debris that can be found on the road.
Drive System- Bikes generally come with 3 different drive systems, Chain/Sprocket, Shaft Drive, and Belt Drives. The drive system connects the ear wheel to the engine through a shaft, chain or belt drive. Debris from the road as well as lubricants can cause wear and damage on your drive system. Sfat drives generally require the least amount of maintenance but their fluids still need to be topped off and checked periodically.
Brake Fluid Line- this fluid line should be bled and changed at different intervals depending on what your bike is used for, For example, if you are performance focused the line should be bled and changed at least once a season. If you have a sports bike and are running it on the track the brake line should be bled and changed routinely!
Coolant- Some bikes have an air cooled engine while others have a radiator. It is vital to your bike that you keep your coolant levels topped off and clean! Cooler engines make for a better running engine overall. If you live in a hotter climate, think Arizona summers, it is advised that you change your coolant AT LEAST once a season!
As always it is advised that you read up on your owner’s manual and check for manufacturer suggested maintenance schedules. The more love and care you put in to your bike the better it will perform for you and the longer it will last. Motorcycles have a bit of danger surrounding them so it is always best to maintain your bike to also provide the best safety for you and your passengers. If you are able to perform your own maintenance routines that is great, however if not seek out and establish a relationship with a trusted, experienced, and professional motorcycle mechanic!