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Thread: Ural -- anyone have experience with this Russian bike?

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    Registered User 75450's Avatar
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    Ural -- anyone have experience with this Russian bike?

    I see Urals for sale occasionally on craigslist. I've never seen one. Anyone familiar with them? I know they were originally made (with permission I think) from a pre-WWII BMW design. 1930s maybe? They claim to be very rugged, still made mostly of metals with very little plastic, with some of the sidecar models boasting 2WD. Opinions?
    2000 K1200RS, 2004 R1100S
    2005 K1200S, 2016 F800GT
    2018 R9T, 2018 C650GT

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    Quote Originally Posted by 75450 View Post
    I see Urals for sale occasionally on craigslist. I've never seen one. Anyone familiar with them? I know they were originally made (with permission I think) from a pre-WWII BMW design. 1930s maybe? They claim to be very rugged, still made mostly of metals with very little plastic, with some of the sidecar models boasting 2WD. Opinions?
    My buddy bought a new one about ten or twelve years ago, I think it was. Fun bike/rig to tool around in, especially in the snow. He bought it mainly to play with his grandkids. But it had mechanical and electrical problems and left him stranded on the side of the road several times. The engine--a 750cc boxer as I recall--finally seized up and ate itself internally. Since there was no dealer anywhere nearby (I think he bought it somewhere in Illinois maybe) he was stuck with near constantly tinkering with it himself, and he is not a qualified tech. Bottom line: he shipped the engine off somewhere for a "factory rebuild" (don't know precisely what that meant on a Ural) and when he got it running again he sold it online. Cheap. Maybe on craigslist? Maybe one of the ones you are currently looking at? Beware.

    Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

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    Registered User 75450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by royce View Post
    My buddy bought a new one about ten or twelve years ago, I think it was. Fun bike/rig to tool around in, especially in the snow. He bought it mainly to play with his grandkids. But it had mechanical and electrical problems and left him stranded on the side of the road several times. The engine--a 750cc boxer as I recall--finally seized up and ate itself internally. Since there was no dealer anywhere nearby (I think he bought it somewhere in Illinois maybe) he was stuck with near constantly tinkering with it himself, and he is not a qualified tech. Bottom line: he shipped the engine off somewhere for a "factory rebuild" (don't know precisely what that meant on a Ural) and when he got it running again he sold it online. Cheap. Maybe on craigslist? Maybe one of the ones you are currently looking at? Beware.

    Good luck.
    Thanks. I really have no interest in buying one, new or used. I was just curious about them. I think the Chinese took the Russian design (purchased it maybe?) and built their own version.

    The closest dealer to me is a 2.5 hour drive.
    2000 K1200RS, 2004 R1100S
    2005 K1200S, 2016 F800GT
    2018 R9T, 2018 C650GT

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    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Some past discussions of the Ural here:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...ing-for-a-Ural

    There was a tongue-in-cheek look at testing of the Ural here:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...esting-Sort-of
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    Registered User 75450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Some past discussions of the Ural here:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...ing-for-a-Ural

    There was a tongue-in-cheek look at testing of the Ural here:

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...esting-Sort-of
    Thanks.
    2000 K1200RS, 2004 R1100S
    2005 K1200S, 2016 F800GT
    2018 R9T, 2018 C650GT

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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    The newer ones (late 2010's) seem to be much improved (EFI, disc brakes, quality control) over the previous versions.

    It's much better when he talks about it in person, but Paul Pelland (Long Haul Paul) used a Ural for the Iron Butt Rally and wrote about his experience. I don't think there are many other riders who could have endured this much punishment and continued on.

    The first time that I can remember encountering a Ural with a tub, was about ~7 years ago at the Slimey Crud run. The guy had both heads off the bike in the parking lot, I didn't investigate to see what exactly was wrong, but someone told me he wasn't too far away from home

    I think a lot of people throw in a used BMW airhead engine to improve reliability.

    Neither of these experiences have stopped me from drooling over one
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
    MOA Member #:150400, IBA#: 37558

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    Registered User gloucesterman's Avatar
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    Howdy,
    Cycle World did an article just before they went coffee table with their print edition about running non-stop up/down the west coast with a support vehicle on a Ural rig. They did mention keeping the whole thing pointed straight was a struggle, but no real drama until during a rider passenger swap at speed the piss can in the side car tipped over!!!!
    Later,
    Norm
    You'll never see America from 30,000 feet or an interstate.

  8. #8
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    For model year 2014 Ural made some significant upgrades. EFI, redesigned heads and exhaust to accomodate temp and O2 sensors for the EFI, Brembo brakes, disk brakes on all three wheels, steering damper, spin-on oil filter, larger air filter, redesigned cams, upgraded fly-wheel, many outsourced components including transmission parts and fasteners, and many other changes. I would avoid a pre-2014 Ural.
    Last edited by akbeemer; 03-05-2019 at 02:00 AM.
    Kevin
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana
    Team Pterodactyl
    2018 Ural Gear Up, 2017 R1200GSA

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    I would avoid a pre-2104 Ural.
    Mis-type....or....the best advice....??
    JWMcDonald
    2016 R1200RS (current)
    2003 R1150RS (prior) / 1978 R80/7 (prior) / 1966 R69S (prior) / 1972 R75/5 (prior)
    Windsor, California

  10. #10
    In the IBR Paul Pelland had one engine completely replaced and then on the second engine he actually fabricated a push rod from a drill bit in the back room of a hardware store where he bought the drill bit. They had a bench grinder he could use. I am sure that 99% of us, me included, would have tossed the towel and DNF'd that run of luck but he didn't. It is truly an inspiring story.

    The only close competitor was Dennis Kessler with a toothless chain sprocket on his wheel in Saskatchewan farm country. They found a sprocket from a conveyor that would fit the chain, and with a few holes drilled to mount it to the wheel he was back on the road.

    I on the other hand, in finishing two IBRs, had to change a headlight bulb while waiting for the waitress to bring me my order in Duluth, MN.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 03-05-2019 at 01:52 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    I have a 2018 cT (one wheel drive) but I haven't put very many miles on it due to back issues. It's fun and a real conversation starter - even had a guy get out of a vehicle at a stop light and come talk. Really different than riding a 2 wheeler and not really up to a lot of highway miles. Check out SovietSteeds.com/forums for all kinds of info on them. Reported reliability seems to be improving each year.

  12. #12
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWMcDonald View Post
    Mis-type....or....the best advice....??
    Oops! Typo, corrected. Thanks.
    Kevin
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana
    Team Pterodactyl
    2018 Ural Gear Up, 2017 R1200GSA

  13. #13
    Old and Tired Gillie Dog's Avatar
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    The electric Ural looks like fun. 1.5 times the horse power or so. Of course range is low like all electrics but might be OK for this rig.

    Have to see if it makes to production.

    Had a HD side car on a Electra Glide for a while. Wife said it had "no shock absorbers", translation, it did not ride like a Cadillac Fleetwood so it went bye bye.

    GD
    (New to me) 2010 R1200RT after HD Electra Glides for 35 years

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