On a ride to Milwaukee, stop and explore the Harley-Davidson factory, also called the Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility in Menomonee Falls to discover how Harley engines are manufactured.
Did you know that the first Harley-Davidson model was, in fact, rejected in the early 1900s? This was apparently on the grounds of it being too weak to handle the roads of Milwaukee. However, this didn’t stop the company from investing in its first factory in 1906.
In 1907, the factory started to make 150 motorcycles a year, then by 1909, this had increased to more than 1,000 bikes! Today, Harley-Davidson has a hard-won reputation for being the world’s most iconic motorcycle, with over 190,000 units produced each year. It’s quite the success story!
Built to last
Many know that Harleys are built to last and have unbeatable stability. Dieter Block from Dusseldorf, Germany, who traveled around the USA on his Harley, says riding a Harley-Davidson is different in its solidity. “It’s like sitting on a sofa! You just point your bike in the right direction and it takes you there, as you sit back comfortably. Other bikes usually have you sitting forward but on a Harley, you sit back and enjoy the ride.”
Behind the scenes
But what exactly is it that actually makes Harley-Davidson more reliable motorcycles?
You can go behind the scenes and Explore the Harley-Davidson factory in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin to find out. The 912,000-square-foot facility offers visitors an inside look at the assembly of Harley-Davidson products and is a must-visit during a road trip to Milwaukee.
The heart of Harley
At the Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility, the Big Twin, Milwaukee-Eight and Sportster engines and transmissions are manufactured – the ‘heart of the Harley’.
Walking through the plant, you’ll see robots creating the engine top ends in the automation area, with engineers overlooking the process. While rigorous testing of the parts also takes place here. Then once the components are developed, it is the technician’s job to put together the engines. The completed engines are then tested to determine if they’re functioning properly.
Once these engines and transmissions are manufactured, they are then mounted in the bikes at the final assembly plants in York, Pennsylvania, and Kansas City, Missouri.
The vision comes to life
At the factory in Menomonee Falls, you’ll get to witness Harley-Davidson’s vision come to life. To design, engineer and advance the most desirable motorcycles in the world. There’s also a gift shop on-site, where you can buy Harley-Davidson memorabilia to bring home. The Harley-Davidson Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility is a true eye-opener for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts and anyone that loves engines and powertrains. Do you want to combine a visit with an iconic motorcycle ride? Check out Explorify Tours’ Route 66 Historic tour.
“Some see a machine; bikers see a heart!’ – Harley-Davidson“