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Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG, formerly HDI), often abbreviated H-D or Harley, is an American motorcycle manufacturer. Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the first decade of the 20th century, it was one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. Harley-Davidson also survived a period of poor quality control and competition from Japanese manufacturers.
The company sells heavyweight (over 750 cc) motorcycles designed for cruising on the highway. Harley-Davidson motorcycles (popularly known as "Harleys") have a distinctive design and exhaust note. They are especially noted for the tradition of heavy customization that gave rise to the chopper style of motorcycle. Except for the modern VRSC model family, current Harley-Davidson motorcycles reflect the styles of classic Harley designs. Harley-Davidson’s attempts to establish itself in the light motorcycle market have met with limited success and have largely been abandoned since the 1978 sale of its Italian Aermacchi subsidiary.
Harley-Davidson sustains a loyal brand community which keeps active through clubs, events, and a museum. Licensing of the Harley-Davidson logo accounts for almost 5% of the company’s net revenue.
The Harley-Davidson VRSC (V-Twin Racing Street Custom) family of cruiser motorcycles was introduced in 2001 in a single model called the V-Rod. The V-Rod was developed by Harley-Davidson to compete against Japanese and American muscle bikes. The "V-Rod" made use of the Revolution engine, developed jointly with Porsche that, for the first time in Harley history, incorporates fuel injection, overhead cams, and liquid cooling. The V-Rod is visually distinct from other Harley-Davidson motorcycles. It can be easily identified by the 60-degree V-twin engine, the radiator and the hydroformed frame members that support the round-topped air cleaner cover. A distinct difference between the V-Rod and all other Harley production motorcycles, is the location of the fuel tank. The fuel tank on the V-Rod is located underneath the seat, placing the driver on top of it, rather than the usual frontal placement, the "tank" in this place is simple dressing, hiding the frame. Loosely based on the VR-1000 superbike, it continues to be a platform around which Harley-Davidson builds drag-racing competition machines. All VRSC models are produced at Harley-Davidson’s Vehicle and Powertrain Operations facility in Blue Springs- Kansas City, Missouri.