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Examining the Motorcycle Industry Today

Examining the Motorcycle Industry Today

For the last century, motorcycles have been a major influence to international culture. Back in 1885 Gottlieb Daimler created the first gas-powered motorcycle, with the mindset of function over form. It was nothing but a wooden bicycle frame, with a simple four stroke engine attached (Solomn R. Guggenheim Museum). At that point motorcycles were very experimental. While in the beginning they weren’t much to look at, they truly proved their usefulness in both World Wars. For instance, Harley Davidson created motorcycles for the United States in World War I and World War II, BMW for the Axis in World War II and Honda for Japan in World War II (Solomn R. Guggenheim Museum). After playing their parts in the major wars, one at a time each major motorcycle company gradually moved towards racing (that is with the exception of Honda which was originally created with racing in mind) (Solomn R. Guggenheim Museum). They each took their part in different racing categories and were all quite successful. In present day the motorcycle industry is a broad one. Motorcycles satisfy everyone, from people who like to tour, to off-roaders, to those who like to race. They even play a big part in law enforcement.

The motorcycle industry can easily be split into two main categories: domestics and imports. The domestic market tends to lean more towards big body style bikes or “hogs”, with a lot of power and size. However, non-US countries lead the biggest portion of the industry. Imports encompass all other styles of bikes but are usually stereotyped by “café racers”; bikes with high power to weight ratios.

The domestic market is a small yet powerful portion of the world market for motorcycles. The only well known player in the domestic market is Harley Davidson. The domestic market of motorcycles has become a major part of American culture. It has created a large and very cult-like following with a “ride or die” mentality.



Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson was started in 1901 by a couple of entrepreneurs named William Harley and Arthur Davidson, who wanted to “take the work out of bicycling.” They started out slow but by 1909 the company produced what later became their trademark engine: a 45degree V-Twin (Bacon 14). This new motorcycle was nearly 800cc, produced 7hp and could reach a...

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