The Harley-Davidson has always attracted celebrities. Marlon Brando has one; so does Arnold Schwarzenegger. Peter Fonda rides one - remember Easy Rider with Denis Hopper? Even Elvis Presley had a red-and-white KH model. In Hong Kong a number of prominent people ride Harleys, including Ian Skeggs, boss of Inchcape Motors, Holger Gossmann who is more at home selling Rolls-Royce and Bentley luxury models, and legislator David Chu Yu-lin. Harley-Davidson was established in 1903 when brothers Walter, William and Arthur Davidson, and their friend William S Harley, all from Milwaukee, produced their first motorcycle, a single cylinder, three horsepower, belt-drive machine. It was built in the Davidsons' garden shed, while Janet Davidson, their aunt, painted on the legendary black-and-red logo. The following year, the fledgling company produced just three machines, with the austere grey paint-work and a silencer for the engine - something of a rarity in those days - earning the bike the epithet: 'Silent Grey Fellow'. Two years on and a Davidson uncle, James McLay, financed the construction of a new manufacturing facility and increased production to a staggering total - in those days - of 50 a year. As production increased year by year, Bill Harley designed several innovations for the company, including a fully floating seat, kick-start and an internal expanding rear brake. By 1919, output totalled 22,000 machines a year, but by 1921 this had dropped dramatically to just 10,000, following a period of almost entirely military production during the Great War. After the war the company prospered; but after World War II competition from the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers more than once threatened to put Harley-Davidson out of business. In recent years, the American bike-builders have enjoyed something of a resurgence and now Harley-Davidson is a popular touring bike. Harleys are available with a choice of three engines. The larger one, and inevitably most popular, at 1,340 cc, is one of the biggest production units available on any motorcycle. There is a 1,200 cc engine for the larger Sportster bikes, while for the timid biker, Sportsters are also available with the classic 883 cc V-twin. A total of 19 different models are now available from sports bikes, touring machines and curvy roadsters to racing monsters. They all have that distinctive Harley thump - you can hear them coming a mile away - and feature lots of chrome, exciting new colours, dramatic styling and, most of all, the lay-back driving position. If we did not have Harley-Davidsons, we would have to invent them. One of the nicest things about Harleys is the curious terminology adopted. In describing the exhaust system, the brochure lists it as 'staggered shorty duals' - whatever that means. Meanwhile, the catalogue offers so-called 'lean angles'; does any Harley owner ever get that far over with a bike which weighs in at anything between 220 and 340 kilograms? Riding a Harley-Davidson is not about out-and-out power, nor top speed; this is about driveability and its amazing torque makes this one of the easiest and most rider-responsive machines in the world. Even the 883 cc version chucks out a healthy 61 Nm at just 2,500 rpm, while the 1,340 machine gives upwards of 95 Nm at 3,000 rpm. This impressive torque figure has led one of Florida's 911 emergency teams to use Harleys to carry substantial rescue equipment and combat heavy traffic. Although Harley-Davidson produces racing bikes - there is a top fuel dragster which produces an awesome 750 bhp - it is principally involved in manufacturing touring bikes and in the confined spaces of Hong Kong, they are a luxury, to be pampered and fussed over and only driven on weekends by wealthy enthusiasts. There is an active Harley Owners Group in the territory which organises regular ride-outs on Sundays. Look out for them - but you will hear them coming, long before you see them.