Harley-Davidson has been an iconic part of America’s culture since it was founded by two friends in Milwaukee in 1903. Since then it has grown to be one of the most recognized motorbike makes the world over. The Harley-Davidson Factory in Kansas City, officially known as Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Powertrain Operations — Kansas City, is not just about the bikes though. The factory itself provides insight into the workings of modern factories and the robots that perform much of the work.
Join one of the free tours that run on weekdays. The tour takes you through the majority of the locations within the factory and gives you a sense of the scale of the operation. You’ll have the chance to see robots in action as they go through the metal fabrication process and the construction of the chassis and engine for a range of Harley-Davidson models.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth factory tour, the Steel Toe Tour that runs Monday through Thursday is a great option. There is an admission cost, but it is definitely worth it if you are a Harley-Davidson or motorcycle enthusiast. With this tour you’ll have access to areas generally off limits to non-employees and you’ll see some of the finer details of the assembly process.
The free tours are offered on a first come, first served basis and spots fill up quickly. Be sure to arrive early so you don’t miss out. For the Steel Toe tours, make a booking before your arrival to secure your spot. While you’re waiting for your tour to commence, wander around the entrance to the factory where you’ll find Harley-Davidson motorbikes and memorabilia. You can sit on many of the bikes and have your picture taken.
The Harley-Davidson Factory is about a 25-minute drive north of Kansas City, off I-29. The factory is open weekdays. Production is occasionally stopped on Fridays so it is highly recommended you take a tour on one of the other days if possible.