As an American, it is almost sacrilegious to have a serious conversation about motorcycles and not mention Harley Davidson. While I am not into classic cruisers, I have an immense respect for what Harley Davidson has done for the culture of bike-riding in American and abroad.
It's hard to believe that Harley Davidson has more than 100 years of service under its belt, and while the current economy has been grueling for the manufacturing, it is hard to envision the biking landscape without this historical company playing an integral role in it. With all of the reported turmoil between Harley Davidson employees in America and the current administration, it seems like a great time to lighten things up a bit.
So instead of talking about layoffs and moving operations overseas, let's talk about an integral period in the development of the Harley Davidson legacy. Following is my list of the top 5 Harley Davidson-manufactured motorcycles of the 1950s. Please note that this was not an easy task, but I did my best.
5. AJS Model 18
This particular model was not introduced in the 1950s, but it experienced its most prominent position in the line during the 1950s. The Bike was initially introduced in 1945 and was in production until 1966. In addition to its model name, the bake was also referred to as “The Statesman. Being powered by nearly 500ccs, the AJS was quite a force to be reckoned with during the 1950s.
In 2018, a 500cc engine is decent, but it does not measure up to the engine that is consistently putting out more than 1,000ccs. However, during the 1950s, a 500cc engine was a handful, especially with the road conditions and the handling of bikes back then. Another thing that made this bike stand out was the fact that its design was ahead of its time as far as aesthetics were concerned.
4. BSA Golden Flash
If there is one thing that Harley Davidson has done over the year, it is designed bike that ministered the internal yearning to ride something beautiful. This design, like so many before and after it, stood out on the road because of its aesthetic appeal moved out ahead of it. The bike had a 646cc engine and somewhat of a low profile. The bike was more commonly referred to by the shorter monicker, Gold Flash. This air-cooled was available in black and chrome; however, the most coveted color scheme was black and gold, which is where it got its name. The production of this bike began in 1950 and continued through 1963. Not only did the bike have a visual appeal but it was a high performer in the area of speed.
3. Harley Davidson Hummer
While this is not the image that is conjured today when you hear the word hummer mention during a conversation about vehicles, it is absolutely what came to the minds of avid bike riders during the 1950s. When you look at the hummer, you will see it as the predecessor to the low-profile cruisers of today. The bike was only in production for four years, from 1955 to 1959. While bike riders like the visual impact of the bike it only had a 125cc engine which makes it kind of sluggish on the road. However, if you were the type of person who loved cruising the strip in your hometown, this bike was more than sufficient to turn head and the attention of women who loved bikers. When you are under 25, you can’t ask for much more.
2. Harley Davidson KR
The KR was another low-profile cruiser that was designed to get attention. The difference between the KR and the Hummer was the fact that the KR had considerable muscle, boasting a 750cc engine with a top speed of 125 miles per hour top speed. Keep in mind that we are talking about the 1950s. Can you imagine that much muscle during that time. This bike was in production from 1952 to 1969, which is a testimony to its popularity. This is a bike that was dominant in the bike racing industry for years. It did not just look good, it performed well.
1. The Harley Davidson Sportster
The Sportster went into production in the early 1950s and it carved out a niche in the industry. This is the bike that replaced the K models that represented Harley Davidson’s efforts to present a bike that appealed to the more sporty taste of bike riders. There is no doubt that Harley Davidson makes some of the most beastly cruiser models, but the ability to merge sport and classic styles have proven challenging. The Sportster was the first indication that Harley Davidson had found their groove in this area.
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Written by Rick Wallace
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