Harley-Davidson has enjoyed a positive reputation as America’s motorcycle for more than 100 years. William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson joined their design skills and worked inside their ten by fifteen-foot wood shed to make their first racing bicycle. The pair started in Wisconsin, and the legendary bikes with motor engines captivated Americans with years of races won by riders on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Of course, the early models were bicycles augmented by their innovative motors. But as the years passed, the engines evolved into more powerful motors and the bicycles became beefier.
In 1912, the six story company headquarters and factory was built in Milwaukee. That year, the Parts and Accessories Department was established, and Harley-Davidson began to sell not only items for their bikes, but eventually entire lines of branded merchandise. The company also developed side cars, new models and popularity around the world. During WWI and WWII, the cycles were used extensively. During WWII, nearly 60,000 WLA models were put into military use, and when the war ended, civilian production resumed.
The classic black leather motorcycle jacket was first sold in 1947, and this began the idea that Harley-Davidson was not only transportation, but a style. The company did not take claim for creating black leather jackets, of course, but was aware of its influence on fashion. By the time Elvis Presley sat on a 1956 model KH for the May cover of the motorcycle magazine, The Enthusiast, the company had established its racing dominance and its place in popular culture. It had also expanded its positive reputation and business around the globe.
When the FX Low rider was introduced in 1978, “low rider” became part of American slang. Adding to the popular language, H.O.G., or Harley Owners Group, became the largest motorcycle club sponsored by any factory on the planet in 1983.
Today, HOG and Harley-Davidson (HD) forums pepper the internet with information about club activities and events. The company has multiple lines of branded items of clothing, helmets, home décor, footwear, jewelry, luggage, and collectibles. Collections include Operation Personal Freedom, Renew the Ride, Black Label, FXRG, and Pink Label, which donates 3% of its proceeds to breast cancer programs. More than one million dollars has been donated resulting from this collection alone.
Harley-Davidson forums online which cater to H.O.G. members and Harley-Davidson fans asked the question “Who makes Harley’s helmets?” The forum responses were varied. Many Harley owners posted that they owned multiple helmets branded as Harley, and that these were made by helmet manufacturers KBC and HJC, and carried tags stating that they were made in Korea and Malaysia. Others listed AVG, an Italian company, as one of the front runners. Bieffe and Simpson were included as manufacturer’s tags inside HD owners’ helmets.
The top two helmets manufactured for HD are part of the FXRG collection, which has the motto “Never Compromise”. The collection offers protective garments which provide protection regardless of heat, cold, rain, wind or time of day. Included in the top five helmets listed here, is also the Pink Label helmet, which offers a stylish way to support the HD focus on its support of breast cancer issues and the HD riders who have survived cancer. The helmets are not only protective gear, but part of the strong HD riding culture.
FXRG Modular Helmet for Men – $525
This helmet has a sun shield which not only is retractable, but deploys with just a touch. It is tinted and integrated with the helmet. The shield is anti-scratch, with an insert which is resistant to fog. The helmet interior is washable, wicks moisture, is odor free, antibacterial and lightweight. It meets DOT safety requirements. It weighs 3.55 pounds, has a 1 year limited manufacturer warranty, and is manufactured by HJC for Harley Davidson.
Out of purchasers who reviewed the helmet, 94% said they would recommend it. The helmet sizes are available in sizes corresponding to hat sizes of 6 and 3/8 inches up to 8 and 7/8 inches.
FXRG Dual-Homologated Helmet for Men – $495
Harley Davidson has noted this as one of their most innovative helmets, because of its ability to convert from full to open face. This is a first for the company. The helmet is constructed of injected thermoplastic resin with an interior visor treatment for anti-fog and an exterior treatment against scratches. The sun visor has its own system which gives it quick release capacity. The chin bar and visor opens quickly, and offers nice aerodynamics regardless of whether it is worn in the open face or full face position. It is optimized for sound proofing. The sun shield is integrated. The interior padding is washable and constructed from high quality fabrics. The helmet meets ECE 22-5 and DOT requirements. It weighs 3 pounds 12 ounces, and is available in regular sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL. A helmet bag is included. This helmet is manufactured by Shark with custom graphics for Harley-Davidson.
Capstone SunShield Modular Helmet for Men – $250
This helmet model is constructed of a polycarbonate composite shell. It features a ventilation system which channels the airflow from the helmet front to the back, reducing humidity and heat. It includes an easily deployed tinted sun shield, which is integrated within the design. The face shield provides UV protection at a high 95% level, and is built with the shield replacement QuickSlide system so that no tools are necessary for installing or removing shields. The interior is lined with a removable, washable, anti-bacterial fabric which also wicks moisture. The helmet has custom graphics and comes with its own bag. The helmet weighs 3 pounds and 13 ounces. It meets DOT requirements and comes with a one year limited warranty. It is manufactured by HJC in sizes including XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL and 5XL, but not all sizes are for sale online.
Steadfast Modular Helmet with Retractable Sunshield for Women – $250
This helmet shares many of the features available in the men’s helmet line, except it is distinguished by its artistic graphics. It is constructed of polycarbonate and includes the chin strap, with its double D-ring functionality. The ventilation system channels the airflow from front to back keeping humidity and heat at a minimum. It complies with the requirements of DOT. It is lighter than the man’s version, weighing in at 3 pounds 6 ounces, and is also manufactured by HJC. It is only sold in stores, but is available in regular sizes, XS, S, M, L, XL and 2XL. It’s striking designs make it a fashionable choice.
Pink Label Ultra-Light J02 Half Helmet for Women – $230
Part of the HD Pink Label Collection, this half helmet features a gloss black exterior with flakes of pink glitter incorporated in a fiberglass shell with Spectra fiber for minimum weight coupled with maximum strength. The helmet is a very light 1 pound and 12 ounces. The helmet is available in regular sizes including 2XS, S, M, L, XL and 2XL, though some sizes are only sold in stores rather than online. The interior has a dial adjustment so every wearer can use the mechanism to achieve a comfortable fit. The liner is removable, washable, anti-microbial and wicks moisture. The chin strap is the double D-ring style. The visor is removable and there are speaker pockets which can zip off, and are compatible with the P&A headsets for helmets. The customized graphics include the Pink Label ear flap medallion. The helmet is DOT compliant and made by J-tech.