About Midtown Motors

Midtown Motors is located in historic Madison, Indiana along the scenic Ohio River. With over 25 years of sales and service experience in the auto/motorcycle industry, you’ll discover that the employees at Midtown Motors know Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Harley owners will find most everything they need at Midtown Motors, including great Hog accessories and top-notch sales service.

Midtown Motors Features Pre-Owned Harleys

At Midtown Motors we enjoy locating and selling used Harleys, because of the history and nostalgia. Each model manufactured by Harley-Davidson has its own sound and unique story that we love to share with our customers.

There is no high-pressure sales tactics at Midtown Motors. You’ll only encounter smiling faces and friendly employees who are passionate about the same thing you are – Harleys. Whether you are new to Harleys or a veteran of the Harley experience, we will spend the time with you to find the motorcycle that was built just for you. If you’re a Harley enthusiast and have a specific model in mind, we will work with you to try and locate just what you’re dreaming of owning.

All of our Harleys at Midtown Motors are thoroughly inspected and tuned to peak performance by our certified Harley-Davidson technicians. We guarantee that the bike you purchase is in sound, quality condition.
Midtown Motors

Harley-Davidson History

Being a Harley-Davidson enthusiast and pre-owned Harley connoisseur, Steve and his team at Midtown Motors enjoy the history of the world-famous motorcycle.

Founded in Milwaukee, WI in the early 1900’s, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, known as Harleys or Hogs, have a distinctive design and exhaust sound. They’re also known for the heavy customization that developed the chopper-style of motorcycle.

A prototype model with a 45-degree V-Twin engine was displayed at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1907. These first V-Twins displaced 53.68 cubic inches and produced about 7 horsepower. This produced double the power of the first single engines. Top speed of the prototype was about 60 mph.

An improved V-Twin model was introduced in 1911. The new engine had mechanically operated intake valves, as opposed to the automatic intake valves used on earlier V-Twins that opened by engine vacuum. With a displacement of 49.48 cubic inches, the 1911 V-Twin was smaller than earlier twins, but gave better performance. After 1913 the majority of bikes produced by Harley-Davidson would be V-Twin models.

War and the Great Depression

In 1917 the United States entered World War I and the military demanded motorcycles for the war effort. World War I was the first time the motorcycle had been adopted for combat service.

During the 1920s, several improvements were put in place, such as a new 74 cubic inch V-Twin, and the “Teardrop” gas tank. A front brake was also added. In 1929 Harley-Davidson introduced its 45 cubic inch flathead V-Twin. This was the “D” model produced from 1929 to 1931.

The Great Depression began a few months after the introduction of their 45 cubic inch model. Despite plummeting sales, Harley-Davidson unveiled its lineup for 1934, which included a Flathead with Art Deco styling. They also designed and built a three-wheeled delivery vehicle called the Servi-Car, which remained in production until 1973.

As one of only two American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression, Harley-Davidson produced large numbers of motorcycles for the US Army in World War II. These bikes were military-specific versions of its 45 cubic inches WL line called the WLA (the “A” stood for Army). Harley resumed civilian production after the war producing a range of large V-twin motorcycles.

The U.S. Army asked Harley-Davidson to produce a new motorcycle with similar features of the British Motor Works (BMW) side-valve and shaft-driven R71. Harley copied some of the BMW engine and drive train and produced the shaft-driven 750 cc 1942 Harley-Davidson XA. This model shared no dimensions, parts or design concepts (except the side valves) with any other Harley-Davidson engine. Due to the superior cooling of the flat-twin engine with the cylinders across the frame, Harley’s XA cylinder heads ran 100 °F cooler than its V-twins. It remains the only shaft-driven Harley-Davidson ever made.

New Developments

In 1936 the 61E and 61EL models with the “Knucklehead” OHV engines was introduced. Valvetrain problems in early Knucklehead engines required a re-design halfway through its first year of production and retrofitting of the new valvetrain on earlier engines. By 1937 all Harley-Davidson’s flathead engines were equipped with dry-sump oil recirculation systems similar to the one introduced in the “Knucklehead” OHV engine. The revised 74 cubic inches V and VL models were renamed U and UL, the 80 cubic inches VH and VLH to be renamed UH and ULH, and the 45 cubic inches R to be renamed W.

In 1941 the 74 cubic inches “Knucklehead” was introduced as the F and the FL. The 80 cubic inches flathead UH and ULH models were discontinued after 1941, while the 74″ U & UL flathead models were produced up to 1948.

Harley-Davidson acquired the design of a small German motorcycle, the DKWRT 125 which they adapted, manufactured, and sold from 1947 to 1966. Various models were made, including the Hummer from 1955 to 1959.

End of the Two-Stroke Cycle

In 1960 Harley-Davidson consolidated the Model 165 and Hummer lines into the Super-10 and introduced the Topper scooter. Harley purchased 50 percent of Aeronautica Macchi’s motorcycle division and imported their 250 cc horizontal single engine. The bike was marketed as the Harley-Davidson Sprint. The engine of the Sprint was increased to 350 cc in 1969 and would remain that size until 1974 when the four-stroke Sprint was discontinued. After the Pacer and Scat models were discontinued at the end of 1965, the Bobcat became the last of Harley-Davidson’s American-made two-stroke motorcycles. The Bobcat was manufactured only in the 1966 model year.

Harley-Davidson replaced their American-made lightweight two-stroke motorcycles with the Aermacchi-built two-stroke powered M-65 (with a semi-step-through frame and tank) , M-65S (a M-65 with a larger tank that eliminated the step-through feature) , and Rapido (a larger bike with a 125 cc engine). The Aermacchi-built Harley-Davidson became entirely two-stroke powered when the 250 cc two-stroke SS-250 replaced the four-stroke 350 cc Sprint in 1974. Harley-Davidson purchased full control of Aermacchi’s motorcycle production in 1974 and continued making two-stroke motorcycles there until 1978.

Buell Sport Bikes

In the 1980s the Sturgis model, boasting a dual belt-drive, was introduced. Harley-Davidson’s association with the sport bike manufacturer Buell Motorcycle Company began in 1987 when they supplied Buell with 50 surplus XR1000 engines. Buell continued to buy engines from Harley-Davidson until 1993 when Harley-Davidson bought 49 percent of Buell. Harley-Davidson increased its share in Buell to 98 percent in 1998, and to complete ownership in 2003.

In an attempt to attract newcomers to motorcycling with Harley-Davidson, Buell developed a low-cost, low-maintenance motorcycle. The resulting single-cylinder Buell Blast was introduced in 2000, and was made through 2009.

The Dyna is Introduced

By 1990, with the introduction of the Fat Boy, Harley once again became the sales leader in the heavyweight motorcycle market. In 1993 and 1994 the FXR models were replaced with the Dyna (FXD), which became the sole rubber mount FX Big Twin frame in 1995. The FXR was revived briefly from 1999 to 2000 for special limited editions (FXR2, FXR3 & FXR4).

Information for the history of Harley-Davidson was compiled from Wikipedia and the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Harley History Photo Gallery

Photo gallery of historic Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

(Click on any image to enlarge and start the photo gallery slideshow. Once in the slideshow, click on any image to end and return to this page.)

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