It’s that time of year again! Although fall is just around the corner, there is one event that many riders in Kansas City eagerly anticipate, and that is the Harley-Davidson Vehicle and Power Train Operations Open House event. This year's open house will be held on Friday September 9 and Saturday, September 10. What makes this such an anticipated event, you may ask? This demand is largely around the availability of the Motor Company’s large demo fleet. It’s also an opportunity to take a tour through the assembly plant and witness first hand the assembly of Sportsters, Dyna Glides and V-Rods.
At least one bike from each of the new models will be available to ride and over 40 bikes in total, with NO CHARGE! It’s not that often that you can experience anything associated with Harley-Davidson without parting with some dollars! So, if you want to take one of these beauties out for a ride, all that is required is a valid motorcycle license and a DOT approved helmet. You’ll follow a designated tour path that gives you access to both back roads with some hills and curves and a brief run at highway speeds.
The demo fleet includes new 2006 bikes and at least one of every model available. This year’s lineup includes new bikes like: a custom FL model called the Street Glide, a custom Dyna, whose roots go back to post WWII, called the Street Bob, the 35th Anniversary edition of the original factory custom Super Glide, complete with its white paint and red and blue striping, and a new line of 200 series fat tire Softails. There’s also the ever popular Screamin’ Eagles which include an Ultra Classic and Fat Boy.
Having participated in this event the previous three years, I see it as an opportunity to get my annual adrenaline rush aboard the bike that’s the fastest machine the company has ever built, the VSRC V-Rod! Because of the demand to test ride the V-Rod, scheduled tours are set up. Riders wishing to hop on the V-Rod will take their demo as a group, with lead and trail riders who will give you an enough of an opportunity to understand what these screamers are all about! Riding the V-Rod is an unforgettable experience that I encourage all speed enthusiasts to try, at least once.
Self-guided facility tours will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The plant will be in full production on Friday, which provides a very interesting look inside of plant operations. The fabrication side demonstrates sheet metal cutting, pressing, preparation and assembly, as well as robotic welding of frames. On the production side, all Sportsters, Dynas and V-Rods are assembled and rolled off the line. To participate in the tour, be sure and bring a photo ID, closed toed shoes and leave behind your knapsacks, cameras, phones and pocket knifes. You will be required to pass through a metal detector and you must be 12 and over.
In addition to the tours and demo rides, local dealers will be present. Food vendors and related products will also be available. Saturday afternoon and evening, Platte City, in conjunction with the open house, will be holding their End of the Trail Festival, which includes a rally, parade, dice run, and a street dance featuring The Bob Harvey Band, as well as a town carnival from 4 p.m. until midnight. Make your plans now and test ride that new Harley you’ve only dreamed about before!