Today, when you think of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle - chrome, a growling engine, sleek lines and comfort comes to mind. The first Harley-Davidson was a basic bicycle with an engine on it. It took years for Harley to acquire its reputation, perfection and celebrity status. Harley-Davidson was founded in 1903 by William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson and William A. Davidson who were dedicated to making their business a success.
We asked the Harley-Davidson Museum which motorcycles are the most popular throughout the century and what's ahead for the future.
Click ahead to find the most glorious Harley-Davidsons.
Estimated Units: N/A
Speed: 100 mph
The 2010 Wide Glide is a Dyna Big Twin cycle with old-school chopper style. It has a low, stretched-out custom frame with drag bars and forward foot controls that gives the rider a real fists-in-the-wind profile. The LED stop/turn/tail light combo and side-mounted license plate keep the chopped rear fender clean.
Estimated Units: 3,500
Speed: 110 mph
The Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide is a limited-production version of the popular Harley-Davidson hot-rod bagger. Powered by the largest-displacement V-Twin engine offered by Harley, this potent touring bike is loaded with sparkling chrome, electrifying paint and fresh custom-styling.
The CVO Street Glide is known for its innovative Touring chassis introduced by Harley-Davidson in 2009, which was developed to withstand the demands of long-haul touring riders and today's more-powerful engines.
Estimated Units: Not available
Speed: @100 mph
Here's a cycle designed to boost adrenalin levels on roads and highways around the world. Influenced by the design of the successful Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycles, the XR 1200 features top street performance and handling. It has the 1200 cc Evolution V Twin Engine.
Estimated Units: 11,000
Engine: 115 Horsepower
The 2002 V-Rod is the most award-winning motorcycle in Harley history. This hot rod was the first in the company’s new “performance custom line” and features the first ever water-cooled Revolution engine. This all-American cycle was inspired by Harley-Davidson’s drag racing heritage.
Estimated value: $150,000
Estimated units: Undocumented
Previously used only in racing applications by Harley-Davidson, the 1928 JH offered dual cams, greatly increasing the power of the mainstay “F-head” engine. The bike was only manufactured for only two model years, keeping the production numbers low. Today, an available Two-Cam rouses plenty of attention.
Estimated Value: $400,000
Estimated Units: 27
In 1909, Harley-Davidson, debuted th Model 5-D Twin motorcycle - the company's first cycle to feature a twin-cylinder engine model. Engineers early attempts had failed, but the founders were undeterred and went back to the drawing board. Ever since, the 45-degree V-twin is identified with Harley-Davidson. This 5-D at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee is the sole surviving example.
Estimated Value: $200,000
Estimated Units: 25
Hillclimbing as a form of motorcycle competition has become something of a footnote to history. With bikes typically home-built, hillclimber cycles made in the factory were a rare event. This 1932, Harley DAH Hillclimber combines a rare 45 cubic inch, overhead valve arrangement, never used on street models.
It is believed about 25 examples, in various configurations, were eventually built. The cycle shown here is one of only two surviving examples that feature the frame and suspension configuration that Joe Petrali used to win the National Championship in 1932.
Estimated Value: Undisclosed
Estimated Units: 1
This bike was the third Harley owned by Elvis, and was bought in the same year that “Heartbreak Hotel” launched him into superstardom. Elvis and his friend Fleming Horne were known to ride in the middle of the night for privacy. The bike was sold to Harley-Davidson by Horne in 1995 for an undisclosed amount, complete with documentation.
Estimated Value: $25,000
Estimated Units: 4,700
In the early 1970s, funding dollars were tight, so Willie G. Davidson and his design team married the chassis of a larger touring bike with the lighter, manageable front end of the Sportster. The “Sparkling America” cycle features red, white and blue paint and a unique “boattail” rear fender --- all trademarks that say the “70s”.
Original 1971 FXs are hard to find. Why? Original owners didn’t like the “boattail” and replaced it with a more traditional bobbed rear fender. This bike started various lines of FX-designated cycles that live on into the present day.
Estimated Value: $30,000
Estimated Units: 6,900
Speed: 60–70 mph
This motorcycle simply carries forward from the earlier “Duo Glide” model, but now with electric start, hence the name. The Electra Glide lives into the present day and is now the gold standard for motorcycle touring in America.
Estimated Value: $100,000
Estimated Units: 1,600
This bike is the father of the modern American Harley. Not only did the engine influence all of the air-cooled twins that Harley-Davidson built after, but the styling cues have remained strong, such as the shape of the “teardrop” gas tank. More surprisingly, the first production year saw low numbers, partly because of trepidation on the part of Company founders. Their concern was misplaced, and the original “Knucklehead” is now considered a jewel.
Estimated Value: $1,000,000
Estimated Units: 20
It’s believed that only about 20 “8-valves” racing cycles were built from roughly 1916 to 1923. There are thought to be only two authentic bikes left in existence, one of which is at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.
Estimated Value: $300,000 to $1,000,000+
Estimated Units: 5,000
Speed: 40 mph
In the first decade of Harley-Davidson’s existence, production never topped more than a few hundred motorcycles in a year. Even by 1908, annual Harley production was still under 500 bikes a year. Finding one available today is very rare, and finding an unrestored model is even more difficult.