Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso Parts Department

Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso Parts Department

Pictured above: Dave DeWitt (left), Rich Tumidalsky (right)

The unforgiving weather of Indiana is setting in, and now is the perfect time for riders to service their Harley-Davidson motorcycles. 

Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso is the place for riders to find a large selection of Harley-Davidson parts and accessories to fix or customize their ride. The parts department employees are experts at helping customers find what they are looking for in genuine or aftermarket parts. Those same experts can save the customers’ time by ordering what the customer wants.

“Now is the ideal time to do any type of service or work on that bike. We tell a lot of the customers that it’s a great winter project,” said Dave DeWitt. “Northwest Indiana winter can sometimes be five months long. If the project takes five months, they are not missing out on much riding.”

DeWitt has been riding trail bikes, dirt bikes, and street bikes since the 1970s. He started riding his first Harley-Davidson motorcycle in 1991. In 1996, DeWitt began working for a Harley-Davidson dealership, and in October of 2020, he relocated to the Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso. He was a parts manager at a previous dealership. 

“It’s about the satisfaction of being able to help people fulfill their dreams. They come in with a mindset, and we can take them in the direction they’re looking to achieve,” DeWitt said. “We can show them other things that they may not have known about or thought about.” 

Harley-Davidson bike owners pride themselves on customizing their bikes, and the parts department of Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso focuses on finding the correct parts for their customers. 

“They want to make it their bike whether it is new or pre-owned,” DeWitt said. “They want to give it their own touch, whether they are adding their own accessories or blacking it out. You don’t want to have a bike that looks just like your buddy’s bike, and either you want it to go faster, or you want it to look better than his bike, or sometimes both.”  

The parts department works hand-in-hand with the service department. The store stands by, “If you dream it, we can help you bring it to life.”  

Jef Kors

“They can come to our shop and find pretty much anything they want. They don’t have to go somewhere else,” said Jef Kors.  

Kors, the parts manager, has worked at the Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso Parts Department for 17 years. Before that, he worked at a Harley-Davidson dealership in Lakeland, Fla., and Crete, Ill. He’s seen about 40 years of changes with the motorcycle brand. 

“The customers and the bikes are interesting. I like doing this because I like the brand and I like motorcycles,” Kors said. “Harley-Davidson dealerships are kind of a hangout place for a lot of guys. There are some customers that we see every other day. Because we don’t have a lot of dealerships around us anymore, we get a lot of people coming in here. We have met a lot of new faces.”  

Kors has had a bike since the 1980s, and he does the bike service and maintenance and keeps his customization simple. Kors noted that the look of the bikes has changed from a classic style over the years, but they have become more reliable with better technology. 

“We have definitely gotten more into the audio part of it with customers making thumping stereos,” Kors said.  

Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso is also a Rockford Fosgate dealer.  

The shop also customizes colored lighting for the bikes, such as on the engines or the undercarriage. At times, the headlights are upgraded to LEDs to be more visible on the roadways. 

Customers typically visit the shop with an idea of what they would like. DeWitt, Kors, and Rich Tumidalsky work with the customers to tweak their ideas and ensure the custom changes will still fit their needs. A customization project can last a couple of weeks or months, depending on the extent of the project. Some parts are also on backorder due to the pandemic. 

“One of the most challenging things is when people come in with different types of models of Harley-Davidsons, and they may look the same, but they are really not all the same. When you get down into the intricate parts and look for parts specific to that model, it gets hairy sometimes,” Tumidalsky said.

He used the example that he helped someone find a part for a switch on a trip odometer. The customer feared he would have to purchase a new switch instead of the small rubber boot.

“This guy was elated that we got it,” Tumidalsky said. “He left here feeling happy that we solved his problem. You have to make sure you get them the right part.”

Tumidalsky has been riding motorcycles for more than 30 years. His first bike was a 1974 Harley-Davidson Sportster. His latest bike is a 2007 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider that he rides around town and for short trips. During the last 30 years, Tumidalsky has enjoyed customizing his bikes. He said the Sportster was tricked out when he purchased it with chrome and a custom paint job. His 2003 Ultra Classic was a 100th-anniversary special edition that he customized with parts that had the 100th-anniversary stamped on them.  

Tumidalsky worked at the Inland Steel Company parts department in the mid-'80s. He retired, but later decided he needed something to do and applied for a job at Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso. He began working at Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso in May of 2020.  

To find the right part, customers can stop by the store, or the store website allows them to fill out a short form for a parts request. Customers can always stop by or call for assistance. The request is emailed to the parts department employees who will email or call back the customer. 

For more information about Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso, visit https://www.hdvalpo.com/.