September 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm #14745imperialdataKeymaster
I have been noticeable by my absence over the last few weeks. This is because I went away for a month’s holiday to USA, a trip that I thoroughly enjoyed. Starting off in New York City, there wasn’t much chance to get any cool bike photos as you’d have to be mad to ride anything on 2 wheels over there. Yellow taxis and sudden pulling out/swerving/swearing/chaos abound. That said, this tidy Bonny took my eye:
And the NYPD know a thing or two about cleaning chrome:
After a few days we found ourselves in Pennsylvania where we hired a motorhome (aka “RV” in the States) and began our touring holiday.
Starting off in Amish country, Lancaster, I checked what was going on in the local area to find that the Harley-Davidson York Operations plant was only a half-hour drive away. Well, somehow I managed to talk the family into going on the Harley-Davidson factory tour, so on a blisteringly hot day we headed off to the Air Conditioned luxury of the Harley-Davidson York HQ. Here’s me outside the plant:
This factory is known as “Vehicle Operations” and assembles the Touring, Softail, CVO and Trike models. You can tour the factory for free but it pays to get there in the morning as you’ll be refused entrance if it’s fully booked. It’s first-come-first-served and it’s worth noting that kids need to be 12 or over. You also need to have some enclosed shoes, not sandals. Not sure why this is because inside the factory you could really eat your meal off the painted floor, not a bit of dirt or swarf in sight in the gangways.
There were mostly Harleys in the parking lot, but there were a few tasty exceptions that rolled up during the few hours I was there. Not much Jap stuff but a few Buells, Triumphs and Ducatis rolled in.
The staff parking had (unsurprisingly) some new Harleys in there.
In the reception area, there’s a hall which shows some current models and a few stages of the assembly process. You can sit on the bikes as they’re all clamped firmly to the floor. Here’s a few pics.
Harley-Davidson are particularly proud of the paint finishes they get on their fuel tanks and fenders. The tour guides spent a long time talking about this and there were a few areas in the factory dedicated to the ‘touchy-feely’ side of visiting a motorcycle factory, eg “Feel the frame” or “Touch the pinstripe before and after the lacquer coat”.
Cameras are not allowed in the factory unfortunately. It’s a super-clean environments and there seems to be a pride in each section. There’s a large use of robots in the plant but there is a lot of manual workers there too. Nice to see them wearing the HD tee-shirts, caps and jackets that you can find in the ubiquitous gift shop at the end of the tour
They encourage you to climb aboard the latest models. My daughter got to ‘ride’ this one:
There is a limit though… I got officially warned while trying to “Off-road” the same bike:
All in all a pretty good tour and an impressive factory. If you get the chance, do it.September 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm #64128ses310Moderator
Looks like you had an amazing time ID!
Thumbs up for trying to offroad that harley hahaSeptember 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm #64129katanaParticipant
Did you get yourself the HD leather chaps and bandana combo?September 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm #64130imperialdataKeymaster
Did you get yourself the HD leather chaps and bandana combo?
I’d rather dig my eye out with a spoon.September 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm #64131RadarModerator
Blimey ID a post with pics! Great tour, even if HD are not really my thing!
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