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Harley Davidson Adventure Riders

When William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson presented the world with a new motorcycle in 1903 they probably did not realize what adventure were awaiting them. The world, that is. Because Harley-Davidson went on to cross the world, literally, on some of the craziest, hardest, bone-breaking adventure rides.

Harley Davidson has been around the block, supplying the police since 1911, exporting to Japan since 1912, supplying armies during World War I (20,000 bikes) and World War II (60,000 bikes), winning races, breaking speed records, and conquering hearts the world over.

Compared with modern European and Japanese bikes the Harley might not cross your mind as the ideal adventure bike but consider what Harley-Davidson motorcycles had to endure during those two world wars – mud, sand, rutted roads, heavy loads, all kinds of weather – and suddenly any adventure looks manageable on a Harley.

Needless to mention, over the years Harley-Davidson motorcycles have become a preferred method of motion on long asphalt travels but when you head over to advrider and other adventure forums you’ll notice a number of Harleys in the ride reports, one of the most talked-about being Can a Harley make it to Magadan.

The most daunting adventure ride on a Harley-Davidson was made by the legendary Dave Barr. Starting in 1990, over the next 3-and-half years he crossed the globe, covering 83,000 miles (133 000km) on a 1972 Harley-Davidson Super Glide. A remarkable feat for a man who lost both his legs in a landmine explosion in 1981. Dave wrote about his adventure in Riding The Edge. He followed the ride up with two more amazing adventures on Harleys – on a 1996 and then a 2002 Sportster 883 – that earned him two Guinness World Records.

What would a perfect Harley-Davidson adventure bike look like? Adventure rider Wes Weber – famous for building the Weber Rally Twin bikes – discovered that even back in the 1950s a standard Harley will be up to the toughest adventure challenge. He came across some old photos of his dad and buddies taking the big bikes through some rough rides and posted the memories on “The original adventure riders.” Here’s one pic to prove the ability of a Harley in the wild:

Old Harley-Davidson trailing

1942 Harley-Davidson. Click pic to see the Ride Report.

And that Harley on the Road of Bones to Magadan? Adventure rider Doug Wothke made a video of it before he tackled the big challenge:

Was the Harley-Davidson tough enough? What a question! Read the Ride Report.

14/11/2011. Category: Wheels. Topic: , .

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