Identify A Harley Davidson Motorcycle

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Created in 1908 by childhood friends William Harley and Arthur Davidson, simple beginnings have given way to worldwide success. Through World Wars, the Great Depression and company reorganization, Harley-Davidson has withstood the test of time and continues to produce, market and sell some of the highest-quality motorcycles in the industry.


1. Look for the Harley-Davidson logo, which is a shield with the words “Motor” and “Cycles” on the top and bottom of the shield, respectively. Across the front of the shield in a thin rectangular box is the name “Harley-Davidson,” written in all caps. Often accompanied by outstretched wings that originate from the middle of the shield, this logo is an unmistakable identifier that the motorcycle you see is a Harley-Davidson.

2. Listen for the engine sound. A Harley engine has two pistons connected to a crankshaft with a single pin. This engine arrangement creates a series of syncopated “pops” as the engine revolves, creating the hallmark Harley-Davidson sound. Audio of several types of Harleys’ engines can be heard on the web (see Resource).

3. Find a Harley-Davidson dealership. There are over 800 Harley-Davidson dealerships in the United States. Click the “Dealer Locator” tab at the top of the Harley-Davidson webpage and input your zip code to find the location nearest you.

4. Visit a Harley dealership. Whether you are visiting to get more information, learning to ride a motorcycle or signing on the dotted line for a new one, visitors are encouraged to spend time looking around and asking questions. Spend time talking with salespeople and other enthusiasts, as they will likely be able to offer more advice on Harley identification.