While Honda has multiple manufacturing facilities around the world to cover all its different product segments, the Kumamoto factory in Japan is an essential part of its mid-to-large displacement motorcycle production. The plant first opened in 1976, and is said to produce 292,000 motorcycles and ATVs every single year.
Among the models produced at Kumamoto is one of Honda’s most popular models of all time, the Africa Twin. In this video, we get a glimpse at the production line for the Africa Twin that’s a couple of years old. While some details may change over time, the overall process should remain fairly similar until and unless radical model changes come to fruition.
First, of course, we see the engine coming together. It is, after all, the beating heart of any bike—so it’s important to get every piece in exactly the right place. Gaskets must be fitted, thread sealant and lubrication must be applied where appropriate, and everything must be torqued down to spec before each mill passes from one workstation to the next.
To keep things nice and simple, workers on this line have the power tools they use for each of these tasks that they repeat hundreds of times per day handily suspended in mid-air over the line. They’re neatly tethered over the workspace, ready to grab and use as needed.
That way, there’s no time wasted in searching your workbench for the right tool to perform the next step in your task. The tools are easily reached, yet out of the immediate space where workers are standing along the line. Hopefully, this means very few accidental head whacks into power tools if a worker suddenly has to turn around for any reason.
Once the engine assembly is complete, it’s time to put the engine in the frame and add the wheels, one at a time—rear wheel first. Finally, it’s time for the body panels. Unsurprisingly, those are the last things to go on before each bike rolls off to quality assurance testing, where technicians check that the lights and horn are working before testing the engine and controls on a dyno. After the bike passes all its tests, it’s finally ready to roll off the line and go on to its next destination.