Multi-billion dollar companies and motorcycle manufacturing giants like Harley-Davidson, Triumph Motorcycles, Ducati have all had humble beginnings, the results of which are called vintage motorcycles now. Some of them actually began operations in a tiny wooden shed. However, limited infrastructure and limited equipment could never hold back the founders of these brands, which have sprung from sheer talent, dedication and passion overcoming challenges through decades.
It was in the year 1901 William S. Harley finished the blueprint drawing of an engine that could fit on a bicycle. Harley, along with Arthur Davidson made the very first production Harley-Davidson motorcycle available to the public in 1903. It was built to be a racer. The factory in which the Serial Number One Bike was built was a 10*15-foot wooden shed with "Harley-Davidson Motor Company" crudely written on the door.
Indian Motorcycles was set up by George M. Hendee in 1897 by the name of Hendee Manufacturing Company, which initially produced motorcycles under brand names such as Silver King, Silver Queen and American Indian, which was later shortened to just 'Indian' and went on to be the primary brand name. In its public racing debut, an Indian Motorcycle won an endurance race from Boston to New York City.
Not everyone knows that the origins of Ducati are in the heart of Bologna. The company, Società Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati (Ducati's original name), was founded on July 4th, 1926. It was in the middle of the WWII, a designer named Aldo Farinelli built an engine that could fit on a bicycle - the Cucciolo. It had a two-speed gearing that allowed full usage of the engine's power. The Cucciolo was presented at the Turin Fair in 1945 and the title of the Motociclismo magazine on July 26, 1945 read "A puppy was born in Turin".
The first ever production Triumph motorcycle was built in 1902. It was powered by a 2.2 hp Minerva engine and was simply called 'No. 1'. Triumph went on to be glorified by names like Steve McQueen and Marion Brando by 50s and 60s, along with setting and breaking of several land speed records by iconic Triumph motorcycles such as Thunderbird, Bonneville, Tiger and Trident.
Yamaha is relatively a newer brand, but while the brand's history may not be as old as the others, it did go on to stomp its authority in motorcycle racing. The first Yamaha motorcycle, the YA-1, was produced in the year 1955. It was powered by a 125cc, two-stroke- single cylinder engine. It was produced and sold in Japan. The brand went on to begin operations in the US three years later.
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