Are you a Harley-Davidson biker, curious about the relationship between Harley-Davidson and the digit “1”? If so, then this is definitely the right place for you.
What does 1 mean for Harley-Davidson is a common question for bikers, as this digit is commonly associated with the brand. Essentially, “1” can have multiple meanings, including the bike, logo, or engine upgrades. For instance, the first Harley-Davidson bike released was known as Harley-Davidson Model No. 1. Another way “1” is associated with Harley-Davidson is in terms of the logo.
The company moved away from the Bar and Shield logo as the “#1 logo” was created for celebrating the 1969 Grand National Championship season title. Later, it got modified to include stripes and stars. In 1971, Willie G got it incorporated into the dashboard of the 1971 FX Super Glide.
In this article, you’ll get to know all about the connection between “1” and Harley-Davidson, what does the 1 mean for Harley-Davidson, the “#1” logo, and more. Stick around to get all the answers that you are looking for.
What Does The 1 Mean For Harley-Davidson Bikers?
As a biker, you’ll be curious to know what “1” means for a Harley-Davidson biker. This number has multiple different interpretations – the first Harley-Davidson production bike, a logo during the 70s, the stage of the engine upgrade, and more.
For many Harley-Davidson bikers, the term “1” is used to denote the Harley-Davidson Model Number 1, the first bike in production at Harley-Davidson. This bike is still displayed as a historic artifact in the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Another interpretation of #1 for Harley-Davidson bikers is its use as a logo during the 70s. This number began to be used during the aftermath of the success in the Grand National Championship as the company moved away from the Bar & Shield logo temporarily.
Another way Harley bikers use this term is when referring to the Harley-Davidson Stage 1 upgrade. While Harley-Davidson bikes are powerful by default, you can add further power by upgrading its engine.
What is Harley-Davidson Model Number 1?
Very few motorcycle brands are able to command the same name and recognition as Harley-Davidson. The iconic American brand was established in the early 1900s, and it has developed a massive fan following and still remains one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the industry.
Childhood friends William Harley and Arthur Davidson are credited with the creation of this iconic brand. Both of them had an early fascination with bicycles, and they worked with a prototype to create a motorcycle in their spare time. This ultimately led to the creation of the brand’s first motorcycle in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The first production bike was manufactured in 1905, and it would go on to be known as Harley-Davidson Model Number 1. Further, it resulted in an upward trajectory, which got them through a wide range of changes and struggles through the decades gone by.
The two co-founders, William Harley and Arthur Davidson, worked together on the prototype for the first motorcycle in a 10-by-15-foot shed. It got completed in 1903, but they immediately started work on newer and more modern motorcycles.
A new prototype featuring a comparatively bigger engine got finished in 1904. This mode took part in motorcycle racing at State Fair Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The first production bike was called the Harley-Davidson Model Number 1. It was released in 1905, and it was similar to the first two motorcycles produced.
The revolutionary company was producing complete motorcycles on a limited basis. Carl H. Lang of Chicago was the first Harley-Davidson dealer. He was famed for selling 3 of the 5 bikes that were built in the backyard shed.
The first Harley-Davidson factory was set up in 1906 on Chestnut Street in Milwaukee. In the same year, the company manufactured 50 bikes in that factory. The following year, the company was officially incorporated. By this time, Walter and William Davidson had also joined the initiative.
In 1917, almost 50% of Harley-Davidson’s sales went to the United States armed forces for use in WWI. The first service school by Harley-Davidson was opened in Milwaukee for training Army mechanics. The company set up its facility on Juneau Avenue in 1920. The facility was seven stories high and still exists until now for use as the corporate office center.
Between 1941 and 1945, Harley-Davidson had to inform dealers that due to their commitments to the Army, the dealers were guaranteed one new motorcycle per model year for the duration of WWII. An estimated 88,000 bikes were built for the military during this time, alongside a huge supply of repair parts.
The production increased through the years, with the company thriving through a range of historical events. Through the years, the motorcycle brand has only added to its amazing models and become one of the most trusted motorcycle brands.
History of the #1 logo for Harley-Davidson
Harley-Davidson is popularly known as one of the two American motorcycle brands to survive the Great Depression in the United States. Despite its early struggles, the brand is still going strong. One of the reasons for that is its incredible branding and logo, which have played important roles. Even though the Harley-Davidson logo has changed multiple times throughout the company’s history, the symbolism of the logo has still remained the same.
The iconic motor company has created a plethora of logos to celebrate significant milestones, including major anniversaries. The 1953 logo celebrated 50 years of the company, and it was quite an elaborate logo for the time. The “V” got included to honor the type of engine commonly used in the company’s bikes, the V-Twin.
Further, a medallion version of this logo appeared on the front fenders of the 1954 model bikes. You will notice that the ever-present bar & shield logo was still there. Coming forward to the 100th century, anything that has lasted for 100 years deserves profound respect, and Harley-Davidson certainly pulled off a winner when it commissioned the century logo. This logo included the Bar & Shield design between the two important dates – 1903 and 2003.
Things got more interesting two years later as wings were incorporated, representing strength, freedom, and power. The wings were here to stay as the company opted for an up-wing design for the 105th celebration. For the 110th year, the brand returned to a logo that was reminiscent of the 100th wing.
Not having a logo at the start
The company started manufacturing bikes in 1903, but it didn’t actually have a company logo until 1910. The original bar and shield logo first got introduced here. It also became the basis on which all future logos of the brand were based. The design featured three colors – black, white, and orange.
They made the brand’s logo distinctive and different from other motorcycle companies in the motorcycle industry. The logo simply had the words “Harley-Davidson” in capital letters on the bar. Behind the bar, there is a shield with the word “Cycles” below the shield in capitalized letters.
The company logo remained the same for several years until Harley started introducing new designs to commemorate specific events or use it for different purposes. The first serious change for Harley-Davidson came in 1953 when the company celebrated its 50th anniversary and commemorated this with a new logo.
A classy silver version of the logo was created, with the bar and shield encased in a circle that also incorporated a protruding “V” symbol. The letter “V” was used for symbolizing the type of engine used in Harley-Davidson bikes. The company also created a medallion version of this logo, and it appeared on the front fenders of the models that they started producing in 1954.
In 1965, the company chose to revert to its original design, as this was the classic logo associated with its brand. However, it simplified the design by removing the orange and producing a logo in black and white. The stark white on the black version of the classic logo, arguably the most iconic logo of the brand, first came in 1965. Through the years that followed, there were many colorful versions of the Bar & Shield have appeared. By this time, many dealerships started incorporating the Bar & Shield in their dealership logo.
The introduction of the #1 logo
One of the most popular logos used by Harley-Davidson was the #1 logo. Willie G. Davidson introduced this logo onto its bikes in 1971 for the FX Super Glide motorcycle. Before that, this version of the Harley logo was associated with the motorcycle racing days of the company, especially the Harley-Davidson dirt track racing. It then started to be used on various memorabilia and products manufactured by the brand.
The #1 logo was a move away from the iconic Bar & Shield logo. This logo was created for celebrating the 1969 AMA Grand National Championship season title. The logo was later modified for including stars and stripes. In 1971, Willie G. Davidson incorporated this logo into the dashboard of bikes. Within the decades that followed, the #1 logo began appearing on other motorcycles, clothing, bags, and other accessories. Another version of this logo was the American branding, and that being American is a good thing.
If there was one person who could be singled as having a profound impact on the company, then it was definitely Willie G. Davidson. He was the grandson of co-founder William Davidson. Popularly known as Willie G., in 1969 he got promoted to Vice President of Styling, where he truly shined. He also developed graphics and approved motorcycle designs. He developed his most popular graphic for the 2000 Daytona Bike Week. This was the skull that had the eerie Harley-Davidson Motorcycle font that surrounded a skull. Almost overnight, this logo became one of the favorites among Harley-Davidson enthusiasts all over the world.
Logos after the success of #1
Another important logo after the success of the #1 logo was the Screamin’ Eagle logo. Harley-Davidson is known for its incredible performance, and the Screamin’ Eagle was developed as the branding effort for the company’s performance parts manufacturing and sales unit. It is the namesake of the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) called the Screaming Eagles. In 1999, Harley-Davidson introduced the Custom Vehicle Operation (CVO) program for making unique, customized, and highly individual bikes. Out of this came the Screamin’ Eagle Performance parts and a distinctive logo.
The next significant change to the Harley-Davidson logo came in 2003 when the company celebrated its 100th anniversary. Harley retained the bar and shield symbol but nestled it between a pair of silver wings that had the dates 1903 and 2003 on either side and a large “100” below the shield. The wings represented freedom, power, and speed, which are some of the words associated with riding a bike. In addition to their bikes, this logo also appeared on several products that the brand manufactured.
Another logo was produced in 2008 for marking the brand’s 105th anniversary. This logo drew elements from previous designs. As with the former logo designs used by Harley-Davidson, this one also had the bar & shield element of the design. The company also kept the wings but chose to change them from horizontal wings to wings that curved upwards. The elements were encompassed in a circle, with the tips of the wings protruding. Between the wings and above the shield, the logo said, “105 years”. On the lower rim of the circle, there were the dates “1903” and “2008”.
The most commonly used logo of Harley-Davidson is the classic bar & shield symbol. However, each of the major dealerships in the U.S.A. has its own version of this logo. Every product manufactured by Harley-Davidson has the classic bar & shield symbol.
HOGs have a unique logo
The owners of Harley-Davidson bikes are often part of a group known as the Harley Owners Groups, also called the “HOGs”. They have their own logo, which is different from the logo used by the Harley-Davidson company. This logo has “Harley Owners Group” written on a banner having the letters “HOG” above it, with the letter “O” having spokes that look like a wheel. There is also a golden eagle sitting on top of the letter O. The logo for the group is yellow, black, and white.
Stage “1” Upgrade for Harley-Davidson Engines
It is all about the look, performance, and feel of the powerful lineup of Screamin’ Eagle Stage Upgrades. No longer will you need to experience the different trails and errors that come with your motorcycle’s engine modifications. Engineered for generating specific torque and horsepower gains, the Stage Upgrades improve every mile of the ride.
Another iteration of the term “1” for Harley-Davidson bikers is the Stage 1 Screamin’ Eagle upgrade. Spark plugs require oxygen for igniting fuel. With any combustion engine, having more oxygen will mean more power when the oxygen gets delivered efficiently. The primary focus of the Stage 1 upgrade for Harley-Davidson bikes will be to get more oxygen through the system and deliver more power to the back wheel.
Manufacturers have certain regulations that force their hand in using restricted air boxes and exhaust to keep the amount of fuel that’s entering the combustion chamber of the engine at set levels. Further, they also have certain noise levels. Even from the factory, every Harley-Davidson bike is a fierce-sounding, powerful machine, but it can be made even better.
A Stage 1 Upgrade involves modifying your Harley-Davidson bike’s exhaust system, fuel metering system, and air filter. This allows a significant increase in power and torque. When your bike is fitted with an uprated exhaust and air filter, the performance of the engine is improved greatly. Stage 1 air filters and exhaust systems are capable of delivering the sweet sound that all Harley-Davidson bikers desire and crave, in addition to a noticeable performance improvement. The Stage 1 upgrade does not involve the internal engine modification of a Harley.
A Stage 1 Upgrade will allow your bike to get more air and fuel. This kit includes an air filter, which allows the bike to take in more air, a tuner, and a less restrictive exhaust that improves the fuel that gets delivered. A Stage 1 Upgrade is capable of increasing the performance by 10% while giving your bike a deeper, throatier sound.
What does the 1 logo mean for Harley-Davidson bikers?
Harley-Davidson moved away from the iconic Bar & Shield logo and the #1 logo was created. It was primarily used for celebrating the 1969 AMA Grand National Championship season title. However, it later got modified to include stars and stripes. In 1971, Willie G. Davidson incorporated it into the dashboard of the 1971 Harley-Davidson FX Super Glide motorcycle.
How to tell if my Harley-Davidson bike has Stage 1?
A Stage 1 Upgrade generally has three things – less restrictive mufflers, less restrictive air intake, and a remap of the ECM. Firstly, you will need to look at the air cleaner. In case it looks like stock, you should have the black plastic removed from the back. The side that is facing the bike opens up the intake.
Where did the Harley-Davidson 1 come from?
The first Harley-Davidson factory was set up in 1906 on Chestnut Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the motorcycle company produced almost 50 bikes that year. All this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the Harley-Davidson Model Number 1, the first bike production bike by the company.
Does Harley-Davidson own Serial 1?
Serial 1 is an e-bike company that is owned by Harley-Davidson. It was founded in 2018, and it has quickly grown to prominence, partly down to its association with the motorcycle brand. All these motorcycles are designed and engineered at the Harley-Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee.
Are there any nicknames for Harley-Davidson?
For almost a century, Harley-Davidson bikes have been referred to as “Hogs”. Even though you might have assumed that this nickname has something to do with the sound or size of the bikes, the true origins of this nickname are rooted in racing and a pig.