Husqvarna was founded near the town of Huskvarna in Sweden in 1689, producing weapons, sewing machines, kitchen appliances, and bicycles in the late 19th century. However, in 1903, they decided to switch to motorcycle manufacturing. Husqvarna still produces dirt bikes, and in 2015, added street bikes to their lineups.
First sold in 1903, Harley Davidson has been a staple of American heritage and tradition. Most widely known for their V-twin engine, by its 50th anniversary, the 50 Years “V” logo is created. Now, Harley is still a top competitor in motorcycle industries, both foreign and domestic.
Greeves Motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer founded by Bert Greeves. Greeves was a motorcycle enthusiast and believed there was a market opportunity for a line of good, lightweight motorcycles. In the early nineteen fifties, he began to design the machines and introduced his first two units to the motorcycling public in 1954. However, by the end of the 70’s Greeves motorcycles met the same fate at their British competitors- they were all driven out of market share by a tide of competition from Japan.
In 1926 the Ducati family and other Bolognese investors founded the Società Radio Brevetti Ducati in Bologna. In 1967 Ducati decided to revolutionize its engines, introducing the Desmodromic system which, until then, had only been used on racing bikes. Two new engine displacements sizes, 350 and 450cc, were thus introduced and went on to be widely used also during the first half of the ’70s. Now, Ducati still remains a strong brand, expanding to even more international markets.
The abbreviation ‘CZ’ stands for Česká zbrojovka, a motorcycle brand that originated in the former Czechoslovakia. In 1948, CZ merged with Jawa, a competing Czechoslovakian motorcycle manufacturer. This allowed CZ to become a top-selling brand, becoming well known for its powerful two-stroke off-road motorcycle. By the 1970s, with the advent of inexpensive Japanese motorcycles, ČZ lost an increasing share of the motorcycle market. In 1993, Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Cagiva, acquired CZ, but by 1997, the CZ brand went out of production due to Cagiva’s financial difficulties.
Founded in 1942, Bombardier Recreational Products, more commonly referred to as ‘BRP’, began producing and selling enduro bikes under the brand Can-Am. The last Can-Am motorcycle was produced in 1987, however, the Can-Am brand is still popular today, being found in the Can-Am Spyder, ATV’s and side-by-sides.
Bultaco was a Spanish manufacturer of two-stroke motorcycles from 1958 to 1983. “Bultaco” comes from combining the first four letters of Sr. Bultó’s surname with the last three of his nickname “Paco”.
In 1998, rights to the Bultaco name were purchased by Marc Tessier, who used it to help launch a range of purpose-built trials motorcycles from his company Sherco Moto S.A.R.L. The bikes were initially named Bultaco Shercos. In 2000, the bikes became ‘Sherco by Bultaco’, and in 2001 the Bultaco name was dropped altogether. The US trademark is now owned by HDW Enterprises, the parent company of a parts and repair specialist for vintage Bultacos.
As of 2017, Bultaco produces electric motorbikes in Barcelona, Spain, also the site of the original 1958 factory.
British motorcycle manufacturer, Ariel Motorcycles produced motorcycles out of Bournbrook, Birmingham from 1902 to 1951, until it was sold to BSA. BSA continued to create motorcycles under the Ariel name until 1970.
Based in Wolverhampton, England, A. J. Stevens & Co. Ltd sold motorcycles from 1909 to 1931. However, even after the firm was sold, the name AJS continued to be used by Matchless, Associated Motorcycles and Norton-Villiers on four-stroke motorcycles till 1969, and since the name’s resale in 1974, on lightweight, two-stroke scramblers and today on small-capacity roadsters and cruisers.