Turns out that for $38 (US) you can get a behind the curtain tour of the Harley Davidson factory in York, PA. Called the “Steel Toe” tour, you get a guided excursion to places in the plant (like paint and polish) that the free version does not.

I purchased the tickets online Thursday for a Friday tour (click here for the Harley Steel Toe Tour website). We showed up a bit early for the 9:30 AM tour and, it turns out, there were only three of us for the tour; Debbie, me and a guy from New Jersey.


I wish I could say that we rode the motorcycle to the tour, but it was 25 degrees when we left the house for a 2+ hour trip to the plant. Yes, call me a wimp! (I am adding heated gear to my wish list).

ijustwant2ride.comOnce we got to the “ Tour Center of the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations” and checked in we were issued 2 commemorative pins, safety vest (which we got to keep (value $10? at WalMart), safety glasses and steel toe safety “booties” which we did not get to keep. Additionally, our receipts for the tour acted as a $5 off coupon for the gift shop. So, with all said and done, I think we got the tour for about $20.

Our tour guide, JoAnn, started the tour with a short 10-minute video overview of Harley Davidson. After the video and putting on our radio headsets (the plant is very noisy) we started the tour with the stamping of tanks and fenders.

Just a short note about JoAnn.  She has been giving the tours at the plant for 17 years.  It was obvious she knows her way around the facility and the details of how the bikes are assembled. IMHO she is an asset to the factory.

Though out the tour it was as if we were watching “Dancing with the Stars” industrialijustwant2ride.com factory edition. Between the robot machines and the human workers there was an intricate play of just in time parts and assembly. We saw motorcycles being created for not only the US but Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and other places around the globe.

After an hour and half tour, I have to say I was most impressed with the how the paint is applied in a two-day process. I understand why Harley motorcycle paint jobs look so much better than most other motorcycles. Every painted part is hand inspected for flaws by a team of auditors. If they can fix it there it, they do, otherwise it is sent back for a redo.

Some of the other items we learned during the tour is that the plant is expanding to include the Sportster and Street lines and maybe the Live wire as well. This is mainly because they are closing the Kanas City factory. The expansion is expected to be completed during 2019.

The one thing I did not like was the fact that we could not take photos during the tour. Really, like Indian and others could not buy a ticket, LOL.

We really enjoyed taking this tour. It is so much more interesting then the self-guided walk though of the annual York Open House. I highly recommend this tour, even if you don’t own a Harley Davidson.



  1. DRF says:

    I’ve taken the free tour. I hope to do this one this summer.

  2. Reblogged this on Lone Star Rider and commented:

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