Monday, May 17, 2010

Harley-Davidson Tour

In the north part of Kansas City, near the airport, is a Harley-Davidson Assembly Plant and they give tours to the public.  Why not go and see what they have?  So, this morning we popped Annie into the car and off we went.  The plant is located on N. Congress Street and wasn't difficult to locate.

There are no cameras allowed in the motorcycle assembly area, but they have lockers available to stow your camera and take the key with you.  All we did was sign in at the Visitor Center desk and we were on our way with about 10 other people for this guided tour.  Since the plant is noisy, they give you a hand-held receiver with earpiece so you can hear the tour guide easily as he describes what is going on.

This is the Vehicle and Powertrain Operations Plant that was opened in 1998.  They produce the Sportster, Dyna, and VRSC families of motorcycles here.  After a short video we were on our way to the factory floor.

The tour guide escorted us through the various stages of manufacturing and assembly and he gave detailed information along the way.  We saw the process from fabrication and finishing through final assembly.  We saw welding and laser cutting, polishing and assembly of fenders and fuel tanks.  The motorcycle frames are made from steel tubing and we saw the robot-like machines that would bend them into the required shapes.  One thing the guide told us was that the speedometers for bikes being shipped into Canada or to Australia have to be in Kilometers per hour and not Miles per hour.  Bikes being sent to some countries in Europe and Japan had to have different wattage for the bulbs in the headlamps and turn signal lights.  Interesting.

Once the tour was over we were free to take photos in the gift shop area.  They had all sorts of Harley stuff for sale and had some beautiful motorcycles on display....Don't Touch!!  

The tour was free.  I'm not sure that motorized scooters would be permitted, but I saw several wheel chairs in the Visitor Center that folks could use to be pushed around during the tours.  No children under 12 are permitted on tours.  Although we do not ride motorcycles, this tour was still interesting.  Who isn't interested in seeing things being made?  Harley-Davidson Company has been around since about 1903 and they are a bit of Americana we find pretty cool.  

Hope you enjoyed the brief tour of Harley with us.
Until next long for now!


Judy and Emma said...

I enjoy factory tours. They're always interesting to me. Thanks for telling us about the Harley tour. :)

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

What an interesting tour, we toured the Harley plant in York PA many years ago, did they ride the bike on the rollers like it was moving. Sam rode a Harley on the police force so we bought one in 1980 and kept it for almost 20 years.It was a dresser and he took many trips from St Louis to PA on it. To bad they didn't allow camera's. Be safe out there, Sam & Donna

Bdubba said...

Very cool. DH and I ride. I will have to put this factory on my bucket list...although if I take the Mister with me, we may leave with another "toy". :)

Kenny And Angela's Adventure said...

We live about 10 min.south of the plant off I-29.

You need to see parkville,Mo it's a 1800 town on the Missouri river or Weston,Mo they both have a lot of history.

Then there is Fort Leavenworth, KS.I could go on forever.

Have fun and safe trip.

Happytrails said...

Very interesting! Mike and I walked through a dealer one afternoon just for fun (not interested in buying)and I was so shocked at the prices!! I don't know what I thought they would cost BUT I was surprised.

Thanks for the tour.

Mike & Gerri

Rick and Paulette said...

I'd really like to see that plant although I don't ride a motorcycle. Too bad they don't allow pictures though.


I always find those kinds of tours interesting. Like to see how things are made & assembled. Being a bike owner myself (Honda) I would have really enjoyed that Harley tour for sure.

Sue and Doug said...

thanks for sharing your day at the Harley Motorcycle Plant...even though we don't have motorcycles either..nothing like a shiny Harley..!!

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

I am gonna makr that place on my Interesting Places To See map!

Steveio would just love that, even though we don't have our Harley any more. Now we have a small Honda Helix scooter, so it's our Mini-Harley! LOL

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

JODI said...

I think I'll suggest to my hubby that he and I hop on his Harley for a tour of the plant and then hop over to the BBQ spot. Besides, I bought a new Harley jacket at the Black Canyon Harley dealer that deserves a little mileage.

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