1950s Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

The 1950s Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Channel features classic Harleys and their stories. Check out vintage Harley-Davidsons at HowStuffWorks.


The 1951 Harley-Davidson Police Special motorcycle came with a variety of police equipment and was often available in colors not offered to civilians, but many eschewed chrome trim. Read about the 1951 Harley Police Special.

The 1952 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide replaced the old hand-shift/foot-clutch setup with a modern foot shift and hand clutch. The old setup was still an option and would remain so until the 1970s. Read about this major step for Harley's bikes.

The 1955 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide introduced new features like revised cast tank and fender badges. By this time chrome trim had become a popular way of dressing up and personalizing one's bike. Read about the 1955 Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide.

The 1959 Harley-Davidson Police Special shows how the Big Twins have been popular with law enforcement agencies. Though a hand-clutch/foot-shift setup had been standard since 1952, many police chose the hand shifter. Learn about the Police Special.

The 1959 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster was a hotter version of the traditional Harley Sportster. See how it differs from its milder XLH sibling with magneto ignition, high-mounted exhaust peanut fuel tank, bobbed rear fender and semi-knobby tires.

The 1957 Harley-Davidson XL Sportster motorcycle featured an overhead-valve engine. The Sportster looked similar to the final KH models -- because it was. Learn more about the 1957 Harley-Davidson XL Sportster.

The 1958 Harley-Davidson FL Duo-Glide motorcycle had a genuine rear suspension, finally giving Harley riders a smoother ride -- perfect for touring. The engine gave 50-60 horsepower from 1200 ccs/74 cubic inches. Read more about the smooth Duo-Glide.

The Harley-Davidson company celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special edition Anniversary Yellow 1954 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide motorcycle that featured a special medallion on its front fender. Learn more about the FL Hydra-Glide.

The 1956 Harley-Davidson KHK model was the final flathead motorcycle that Harley would ever produce. The KHK featured lower handlebars, less chrome trim, and more-performance oriented camshafts. Learn more about the 1956 Harley-Davidson KHK.