The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is a manufacturer of motorcycles based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, making it one of the two remaining American mass-producer of motorcycles (along with Victory Motorcycles). The company emphasizes heavy bikes designed for cruising and known for their distinctive exhaust noise.
Harley-Davidson motorcycles (popularly referred to as ""Harleys"") are distinctive in design and attract a loyal following, and hold their resale value very well compared to other vehicles. A well maintained vehicle might never drop in value at all, although regular maintenance is expected.
Detractors contend that Harleys are badly engineered, under-powered and under-performing, and have poor handling and suspension. This is attributed to an American pedigree that favors designs for long, low-speed cruising on flat, straight roads.
The company supplies many domestic police forces with their motorcycle fleets. Harleys are especially noted for the tradition of heavy customization that gave rise to the chopper-style of motorcycle. It also licenses its logo, which is a profitable side business ($41 million of revenue in 2004, or almost 5% of net income).
Since 1998 Harley-Davidson has also owned Buell Motorcycle Company.