In Pictures: Museum of Science and Industry's Customising, Culture and Harley-Davidson

By Ben Miller | 15 April 2011
A photo of a man crouching next to a red motorbike
Stez, of Polar Cycles, with his creation, Second Chance
Exhibition: Customising, Culture and Harley-Davidson, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, until September 11 2011

From the first Harley-Davidsons to rumble off the production line in the 1900s to US military and police versions in the war years and the 1948 Ice Road Panhead which completed an exhibition to the Artic in –53 degree winds, the roster of the classic two-wheeler beasts on display here spans a century of cool.

A photo of a man posing next to a blue motorbike
Motorcycle restorer and historian Peter Reeves with the 1956 KH which he has lent to the exhibition. The model was owned by Elvis Presley
A special section on their radically customised cousins stars the “spectacular” Bell and Ross number – which won first prize in the hotly-contested AMD Modified Harley-Davidson Championships in Dublin, no less – and a revolving range of bespoke designs courtesy of a partnership with a Sussex-based Harley-Davidson dealership.

A photo of a man crouching between two motorbikes under a sign for a diner
Chris Scott, of exhibition organisers Claridon Group, with the 1956 KH and the 1958 Duo-Glide
Other domestic models also feature alongside bikes from Germany, Japan and the States, but it’s the fans who are at the heart of the display.

Dozens of riders from across the UK will take part in a mass ride between Stockport and the museum on the opening Saturday (April 16 2011), celebrating a brand which has spawned a leather-clad culture.

  • Open 10am-5pm. Admission £2-£8 (under-5s free, family ticket £20).
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