Kilt Tartan: Harley-Davidson Shows Scottish Pride

Somehow the wearing of a kilt hardly seems to fit the image of a guy who rides a "Hog." Guys who ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles are supposed to be scruffy and hairy and . . . wait . . . that sounds like a lot ofHarley Davidson TartanHarley Davidson Tartan Scotsmen too. The truth is there is some basis for there to be a Harley-Davidson tartan.

Davidson is an old Scottish Highland clan with ancestral lands in Glen Ness, just a nice Harley ride from Loch Ness. Descendants of the clan have spread all over the world, including a few who helped found the Harley-Davidson company.

A tartan has been created for Harley-Davidson so that riders can show their Scottish pride and their love of their Hogs at the same time. It looks nothing like the traditional Davidson kilt of green and blue. Instead the plaid incorporates the traditional colors of the Harley-Davidson brand.

Harley Davidson TartanHarley Davidson TartanWhile kilts are fine (and something that some women find incredibly sexy) men who wear them in the traditional way -- without undies -- are generally hoping that the wind doesn't come up. Add that to the fact that riding a motorcycle is a fairly breezy proposition, wearing a kilt to ride seems like it might create a rather, um, revealing situation. Perhaps a nice tartan scarf instead -- especially for cold days.

Differences in the tartan are not uncommon. Tartans have clan variations such as dress and hunting. Specific tartans being associated with specific clans is a relatively recent occurrence. It was begun in the Black Watch Kilt (Public Domain Image)Black Watch Kilt (Public Domain Image)19th Century. Prior to that tartans were more regional, based on local tastes and availability of dyes. As the Victorians began to codify the tartans they also began to commercialize them and corporate tartans began to appear, usually in association with a special promotion.

The Harley-Davidson tartan is not widely available commercially. It must be specially ordered from a weaver and you must make the arrangements for transforming it into a kilt. You could also just wear it as a belted plaid, but that's a different creature.

Sources: Scottish Register of Tartans, Scotweb, Wikipedia

Note: Laurie Kay Olson is a descendant of the Davidson Clan.