BIKER HISTORY PART 1
Born To Ride Southeast Magazine|August 2020
BIKER HISTORY PART 1
HOW THE MOTORCYCLE CULTURE BEGAN
Dave Nichols

Ever wonder how the whole biker lifestyle got its start? Well, it began with servicemen returning from World War II who bonded together over the love of motorcycles. You see, by 1934 out of nearly 300 American Motorcycle Companies that were created from around 1900, only two remained in business, Harley-Davidson and Indian. At the depth of the Great Depression, Harley-Davidson pulled out all the stops to stay alive. Luckily they continued to sell motorcycles to the police departments across the country.

Over at the Indian camp, the new President, Mr. du Pont was fighting to survive and doing an amazing job. In fact, each year after 1929 saw the deficit at Indian reduced by as much as half. In 1934, the AMA created a new Class C in racing for 750cc, or 45 cubic inch side valve engines. This quickly gave birth to the Indian Sport Scout and the Harley RLDR. In 1935, Harley had Joe Petrali on the Factory Team and Smokin’ Joe won all of the national titles that year.

Another major victory for Harley-Davidson loomed over the darkening horizon; the specter of World War II. Since the late Thirties, the U.S. government had been giving Indian and Harley ever-growing orders for military motorcycles. These bikes were for war preparedness at home and to supply our Allies with bikes since the British Motorcycle Industry had been all but destroyed by the German air campaign.

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August 2020