Motorcycle Information

Explore the systems and components of motorcycles and see how they’re built. Learn about motorcycles at HowStuffWorks.

Topics to Explore


Learn More

Hog Wild: Harley-Davidson Logos Through the Years

Whether they’re roaring down the California coast or converging on Daytona Beach, hogs have generated some serious fans throughout their colorful history. See how the famous bike has changed its image over the years.

2002 Harley-Davidson FXDWG3

Though the 2002 Harley-Davidson FXDWG3 is certainly not Harley-Davidson's first "factory custom" it just may be the most radical. From headlights to handlebars check out the radical custom features of the 2002 Harley-Davidson FXDWG3 motorcycle.

2002 Harley-Davidson FXSTB Night Train

The 2002 Harley-Davidson FXSTB Night Train does not look much different from the model introduced in 1999. The original Night Train was a study in basic black. Learn how the 2002 FXSTB Night Train motorcycle remains true to its sinister origins.

2002 Harley-Davidson XL-883R Sportster

Harley-Davidson has expanded the Sportster line to include models like the 2002 Harley-Davidson XL-883R Sportster inspired by looking back to the company's racing past. Read about the high-performing Harley-Davidson XL-883R Sportster motorcycle.

2002 Harley-Davidson XL-1200C Sportster

The 2002 Harley-Davidson XL-1200C Sportster has not changed much since its 1996 debut. Custom versions of the Sportster arrived as a way of adding big-Harley styling like two-tone paint to the middleweight line. Learn about the XL-1200c Sportster.

2002 Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod

The 2002 Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod is high-tech yet grounded in Harley tradition. Even those familiar with the rumors were stunned by the design sophistication of Harley's first "performance custom." Read about this exhilarating Harley motorcycle.

1999 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic

The 1999 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic is one of Harley-Davidson's most popular motorcycles. Introduced in 1994 the Road King adopted a Classic version for 1998 and the new Twin Cam 88 motor for 1999. Read about the 1999 Road King Classic.

2000 Harley-Davidson FXSTD Deuce

From the day the 2000 Harley-Davidson FXSTD Deuce was introduced Harley-Davidson has had trouble keeping up with demand. The combination of custom appearance and contemporary features has made it a hot seller. Read about the popular FXSTD Deuce.

2002 Harley-Davidson FLSTF Fat Boy

When Harley-Davidson made the 2002 FLSTF Fat Boy it knew enough not to mess with success. The motorcycle carried on much as before with only a few styling and design changes. Learn about the 2002 FLSTF Fat Boy one of Harley's most popular models.

1905 Harley-Davidson

The 1905 Harley-Davidson appeared two years after the first Harley-Davidson made its appearance. Only 16 of the 1905 model were ever built. To start the motor, riders would pedal the motorcycle up to speed like a bike. Read about this rare cycle.

1909 Harley-Davidson V-Twin

The 1909 Harley-Davidson V-twin was Harley's first production V-twin. It was withdrawn from the market for a year and when it returned for 1911 it had mechanical intake valves and a belt-tensioning device. Learn about this classic Harley-Davidson.

1918 Harley-Davidson 18-J

The 1918 Harley-Davidson 18-J was Harley's most powerful motorcycle for the year. The matching sidecar gave its occupants far more luxury and weather protection than the motorcycle's rider enjoyed. Read about this 1918 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

1920 Harley-Davidson 20-J

The 1920 Harley-Davidson 20-J sported the olive paint that first came in 1917. Styling changes were few during those years. The most notable came in 1920 when the headlight and horn switched places. V-twins still displaced the same 61 cubic inches.

1931 Harley-Davidson Model D

The 1931 Harley-Davidson Model D switched from F-head to flathead (side valve) V-twins. First was a new 45ci model to compete with the Indian Scout. The next year the 61ci and 74ci Big Twins were changed to a flathead design. Read about the Model D.

1947 Harley-Davidson Servi-Car

The 1947 Harley-Davidson Servi-Car was made for auto repair shops making house calls. The mechanic could also hitch the rear bumper of the car with a tow bar and take it back to the garage. Learn about this versatile workaday Harley-Davidson model.

1951 Harley-Davidson Police Special

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.

1952 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide

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.

1955 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide

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.

1959 Harley-Davidson Police Special

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.

1959 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster

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.

1963 Harley-Davidson FL Duo-Glide

Aside from a new tank badge and paint scheme the 1963 Harley-Davidson FL Duo-Glide didn't offer many changes. Most came with saddlebags and two-passenger Buddy Seat in addition to the windshield. Learn about this well-dressed touring motorcycle.

1967 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster

The 1967 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster was Harley's luxury model for the Sportster line. Harley-Davidson ads in 1967 boasted of the Sportster's record-setting runs at Bonneville. Check out this super-fast stock motorcycle from Harley-Davidson.

1971 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster

The 1971 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster wasn't a particularly innovative or successful offering. Sportster engines still displaced 883cc in 1971 but would later be boosted to 1000cc in response to Japanese competition. Read about the XLH Sportster.

1973 Harley-Davidson FL Electra-Glide

The 1973 Harley-Davidson FL Electra-Glide is one of the few Harley models to sport "AMF" alongside the Harley-Davidson name on its logo. Learn why in the 1970s many owners removed the AMF badges after purchase and repainted their entire motorcyles.

1978 Harley-Davidson FLHS Electra-Glide

The 1978 Harley-Davidson FLHS Electra-Glide debuted with a lean look. The FLH tradition typically invokes the image of a full-tilt luggage-laden touring bike; learn how adding the "S" suffix in 1978 meant a stripped bike resembling the FLs of old.