Friday, April 12, 2013

Uraling to Alaska - Day 7: A Visit to URAL HQ in Redmond, WA

Yesterday, I had the opportunity and pleasure to take a ride down to Redmond, WA to visit with the folks at URAL headquarters in the city of Redmond, WA.

I had just parked Valencia at the front of the building when a guy stopped his pickup truck behind me and called out to me: "Hey, I know that sidecar!".  I walked up to him, and he introduced himself as Dave.  He told me to go ahead and pull the rig around back to the loading dock and he'd go get Madina Merzhoeva, head of sales, who was expecting me.

I was warmly greeted by Madina and she led me inside through the large warehouse area where I could see a couple of URAL rigs, that I later found out are used for experiments with new gear and such.  Madina took me around the small number of admin offices, introducing me around, everyone was very friendly.

Ilya, the boss man, was out of the country on business so I didn't get to meet him.  I found it a bit flattering that Madina had "put out the word" that "Dom is coming today", as if I was someone of note.  Madina and I have exchanged emails/calls over the years since I first became a URAL rider with Natasha, my '96 Ural Sportsman which I got in 2008.  Today, we finally met in person and it was a great conversation we had about URAL and its history.

 Located in the office lobby:
The URAL from the Siberian Speed Team

Over 117 mph!
More details on the link above, the above rig's engine was a 650cc.

 Parts sit ready for the usual speedy shipment to awaiting dealers

 Valencia at URAL HQ

Left to Right: Dave, the parts manager
Madina who's in charge of sales and many other duties
and Sergey, URAL's mechanical guru.

At Madina's request, Sergey took time from his busy schedule to do a quick check of Valencia's ignition and carburetor sync.  He made a slight tweak to the sync of the carbs and pronounced things good.  Thanks Sergey for the check out!

I didn't stay there long, these folks were busy making sure things run smoothly for their customers.  My thanks as well to Jon Bekefy who's in charge of URAL's marketing/advertising efforts for his introduction of me to the folks at URAL.

It was reinforced again to me how seriously the folks at URAL are trying to deliver a great product and the subsequent customer service that brings folks back again and again.  Great strides have been made, trust me I know.  The differences between my '96 Sportsman and my 2011 Patrol are like night and day, and more improvements are on the way!

Previously: Uraling to Alaska - Day 6: Visiting Friends in the North-Wet

14 comments:

RichardM said...

Pretty cool opportunity. How large is the staff?

bob skoot said...

Dom:

"Dom is coming today"

You got the VIP treatment. Enjoy your elevated status. You are more of a legend than you think

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Charlie6 said...

RichardM,

A rather small staff that I could see....I met their accountant, a visiting engineer, and the folks in the pictures. It's a small, tightly run, operation.....someday perhaps I'll meet their counterparts/colleagues at the factory in Irbitz, Russia

Charlie6 said...

Bobskoot, dunno about that....still it was quite the welcoming treatment. I am sure they treat other rider/owners with the same enthusiasm.

RichardM said...

Any comment from Sergey on the aftermarket ignition system or the other upgrades from the folks in Salem?

Gary France said...

It was good of them to arrange the visit and to greet you on your trip. It is always good to put a face to a name. I hope they read your post and maybe some others during your journey to Alaska.

BeemerGirl said...

Dom, I'm finally catching up on your adventures. Wow! I'm thrilled that you are having a great time, and meeting so many adventurers. It seems like the issue coming up with the rig aren't keeping you down, and the perfect people are nearby to help. I'm hooked and eagerly awaiting more travels. Safe journeys!

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, Sergey pronounced things OK with the aftermarket ignition. Warranty language is being re-worked apparently though, so consulting one's dealer before buying the Power Arc is best.

Charlie6 said...

Hi Gary, I hope your birthday was great! Did you, by any chance, get a gift-wrapped present that was in the shape of a motorcycle? ;)

URAL is planning to, publish a link to the posting along with the one where I detailed the great service by Raceway Services, on their Facebook page.

Charlie6 said...

Hi BeemerGirl, thanks for the well wishes....it's amazing how helpful folks have been, how great to renew friendships, see folks again and meet new ones; and I haven't left the states yet! :)

Charlie6 said...

One more thing BeemerGirl. No one ever is astounded or even mildly surprised when one says: "Yeah, I drove my car to Alaska, it was great". So, issues come up, one deals with them....with help and some special tools, even I could have done the repair work, after I'd received the replacement parts....that's where delays come in. I sure wasn't packing a replacement rear main seal and clutch plates. ;)

Spat said...

Dom you are a person of notoriety.
I hear tales in the wind but have finally caught up on your blog. It all sounds fun to me. As far as the rear main, you just can't take it all ;)

BeemerGirl said...

Hey Dom, that is exactly what I am finding. Seems that fate is always in on it and people are there when you need them. Adventure forth, friend!! :)

Charlie6 said...

Spat, thanks for the comments....even carrying the seal wouldn't have helped....removing the flywheel would have been a bugger by myself.