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“A must if your have the time”

Harley Davidson Factory Tour
Ranked #7 of 13 Tours in Kansas City
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The 358,000-square-foot Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations in Kansas City, Mo. was built in 1998 and provides free tours or extended Steel Toe Tours. Kansas City employees produce the Sportster®, Dyna®, StreetTM and V-Rod® families of motorcycles, along with select Softail® models, from fabrication and finishing through final assembly to include the liquid-cooled Revolution® and Revolution XTM powertrains for the V-Rod and Street families. The tour center features a series of displays that guide you through the various manufacturing and assembly processes. You'll also have the chance to sit on current production motorcycles and visit the gift shop, which features tour-related souvenirs. Your tour experience begins with an introductory video. Then it's on to the factory floor where you'll witness a wide range of operations from welding, laser-cutting and frame-bending, to polishing and assembly. You'll see fenders and fuel tanks being formed, newly painted frames hanging on the line, and sophisticated robotic welding technology. You'll also see the Revolution® powertrain assembled from crankcase to cylinder heads.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children
Reading UK
Level Contributor
54 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A must if your have the time”
Reviewed April 20, 2013

I am not a lover of organised tours but this one was fantastic. A real insight into how these famous motor bikes are assembled, their history and future. We had a great tour guide who was fun and knowledgable. I would highly recommend a visit if you have the time.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank cadra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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165 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Omaha NE
Level Contributor
133 reviews
91 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“Vrooom Vrooom at the Harley-Davidson Plant”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

Imagine taking a HOG off the assembly line and taking a ride on the back roads - wind blowing in your face as you take the bike from 0 miles to a "few" mph over the speed limit.

Well, that is just one of the many jobs handled by employees at the Kansas City Harley-Davidson plant. The plant takes a Harley from the order sheet to loading a brand new bike on a truck bound for its new owner.

We took a tour of the plant during a recent trip. It was well worth it! Watching a motorcycle created step-by-step was cool. We first started with a view of the fuel tank of a Dyna or Sportster. They take a flat piece of metal , and robots then set up the piece with a fuel tank mold ready to go to work. I believe 250,000 lbs of pressure are exerted into molding the fuel tank.

Afterward, the tank is forwarded to another set of robots that sand and buff it. Then, a set of human employees inspect the fuel tanks. They check for smoothness and then leaks by submerging the tanks in water, looking for bubbles.

A neat thing about Harley is that for everything a robot does, a human inspects the work. The goal of Harley-Davidson is to turn out the perfect motorcycle every time one is created.

After walking the factory floor and viewing several pieces of operation, we took a look at the painting area. You cannot touch anything on the factory floor for safety and cleanliness reasons. Thousands of fuel tanks were lined up painted and polished. They are inspected by several people. Each employee carries a set of yellow sticky arrows that they can put on any piece of a bike for further work.

We checked out the Dynas and Sportsters on the assembly line. It was neat seeing almost a mile worth of motorcycles being made. Each bike spends about three minutes at each assembly point. The team working on a specific task has that much time to do its work and move on to the next bike.

Harley has employees rotate tasks every two hours. That way, employees do not get bored doing the same thing over and over. Also, it helps to identify if problems can be traced to equipment or employees.

A third motorcycle - the V-Rod - has been produced at the Kansas City facility since 2001.

Once a motorcycle is completed on the assembly line, it goes to a pseudo road test. The bike is put in a room on a treadmill-like device. It's then revved to several thousand RPMs.

The final test is the fun one. The Quality team picks a variety of motorcycles off the finished area. They inspect them for quality. Then, the actual test ride takes place off property, along Kansas City back roads, streets and interstates. The evaluator takes it for about a 30-mile ride. He or she then inspects the motorcycle again. If it passes, it is cleaned and put on the shipment list. However, if the bike fails inspection, it is placed in the employee lunch room with the names of the team members who worked on it. There it sits for a day, so the employees can see the mistakes made in an effort to ensure those mistakes don't happen again.

After the tour, guests can browse the gift shop for some nice souvenirs.

Whether or not you're a bike enthusiast, the tour of the Harley plant is an interesting way to spend about an hour.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Mustangdad1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Smyrna, Georgia
Level Contributor
118 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Interesting and a Very Easy Tour”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

I did this tour last summer. If you're a Harley fan you will find this very interesting. If not, maybe a little boring to you. I was part of a group of about 6 and it was a good size to ask questions. There are 3 types made here, Sportster and Dyna are 2, can't remember the 3rd. Everyone very nice, free tour and souvenirs available. I great tour to see what an assembly line works like or how it works.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Nicole C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City
Level Contributor
201 reviews
73 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“The 'Steel Toe' tour gets you up close to amazing robots help build top quality motorcycles”
Reviewed January 26, 2013

Very impressive robots take flat steel plates and bend them into parts such as fuel tanks or fenders. Other robots bend and assemble metal tubes into frames. Before bending begins, every frame tube is spun to ensure that each seam is in the correct position. Harley engines are also assembled in this plant. Even more robots weld parts together, sandblast and buff, then paint them. Workers inspect and test everything after every robot and correct any problems before the parts are allowed to go to the next robot. Workers on the assembly line put all the parts together on moving jigs that hold the motorcycles while they are being created, raising. lowering, or spinning the cycles until they are in the best position for the work being done.. As a final step, all of the cycles are hooked up to fuel lines and run up to 60 mph on rollers before they are allowed to go to shipping. Some of the ready to ship motorcycles are turned over to a final inspection group that takes them out for 25 mile test drives and reinspects every part before they are cleared to leave the factory.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank PTBitte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tyler, Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Second Time Just as Good as First”
Reviewed December 4, 2012

Knowledgable tour guides. Loved the information and the pace of the tour. So neat to "Walk the Line" instead of high above from an observation deck.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank RealReview67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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