Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Vroom, Vroom! Harley-Davidson Factory Tour

Even if you're not into motorcycles, taking a factory tour of the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Factory in York, PA is fascinating. If you're into motorcycles, and especially if you're into Harley-Davidsons, then even better. This is also a great tour for your teen-aged children. I've always enjoyed factory tours, which demystify the world around us.

 
Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson.


I was struck by several things. The floor was clean enough to eat off of it, my nana would say. The organization and sheer efficiency of the operations was mind-boggling.

 
Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson.


Two tours are offered: a free, 1-hour tour that brings a view of Harley-Davidson’s assembly line and fabrication areas and the Steel Toe Tour, which lasts 2 hours, and allows you to learn Harley-Davidson history and get up-close and personal with the Touring, Trike and CVO™ model families. The Steel Toe Tour route has been expanded for smaller groups to provide a more personalized tour experience. The Steel Toe Tour takes you through the manufacturing of fuel tanks, frames, and fenders, as well as many ‘employee only’ areas in paint and polish.



Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson.
The Steel Toe Tour goes behind-the-scenes through areas previously unseen by the public. You are required to wear a safety vest, safety glasses, and steel toe protection, all of which are provided.


Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson.


Your factory tour begins with an introductory video and continues on the factory floor where you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the people, processes and products of Vehicle Operations. You'll be guided through the manufacturing of key components and the assembly of Touring, CVO and Trike motorcycles. Then it's on to the end of the line, where every motorcycle is roll-tested prior to shipping.


Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson.
Established as an assembly facility in 1973, Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations in York, PA assembles the Softail®, Touring, CVO™ and Trike models. They also perform a variety of manufacturing operations – making parts like frames, fuel tanks, and fenders. Now just over one thousand employees work at the factory. In 2019, with the closing of the Kansas City, MO plant, the factory will expand to manufacture additional models and increase its employees to about 1500.





Know before you go: For the free tours, tickets are limited, distributed on a first come, first served basis for each day’s available tours, and are free for walk-in groups of 9 people or less. It is recommended that you arrive early in the day. Tours are not offered on weekends, major holidays, or during production changes and year-end maintenance except where noted. Tour schedule and route are subject to change.





Getting there: 1425 Eden Road, York, PA 17402

Hours: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday – Friday; closed major holidays.

Website: https://www.harley-davidson.com


Models of the motorcycles made at the factory are in the display
room, along with detailed explanations of the manufacturing process.





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