Sunday, January 11, 2015

new bike: ural

I bought a new bike yesterday. This is the newest motorcycle that I have ever owned. If you are a long time reader of this blog, you probably know that I have always owned old motorcycles that usually come to my garage in crates. That's all I can ever afford and then I have to nurse them into something semi usable. Or I happen to get lucky like I did with the wite R75/5. Regardless I don't believe I've owned anything newer than a '88 Honda and that was my first motorcycle that I bought when I was fifteen. To have a motorcycle that's less than forty years old is something special. Now you may look at the bike above and say that it doesn't look very new and you would be correct. The Ural sidecar rig is a Russian made motorcycle that has been made in one form or another since 1941. The design was a complete copy of the BMW R71 made by Germany in the 1930's. Russian engineers "acquired" two BMW's and copied the design and reverse engineered the tooling necessary to produce these durable motorcycles for Stalin, with production starting in 1941. 

So I guess you might say that I bought a new old motorcycle. My Ural is a 2003 and even by today's "Ural standards" the 2003 model's fit, finish, and features are not as advanced as the 20015 models. Last year the Ural received fuel injection and three hydraulic disc brakes. I have been fond of the Ural's utilitarian design for quite some time. They have a "tractor" like design quality and this is even more the case when you ride/drive one. 

Ural has a small dealer network in the States and some dealers do a better job setting up their Urals than others. The break in period is crucial in the longevity of a Ural and they are notorious for having a "teething" process by which the bugs get worked out; at least on the late 90's to early 2007 models. I did a lot of homework before picking this bike up and I was able to even track down which dealer this Ural came from in Indiana. I was also able to track down the original buyer in Sussex, WI. When I looked at the paperwork that would come with the bike, it was obvious that this bike's history had been well documented. The original owner documented every service session with the milage and he had made a binder that all of the modifications and improvements that he had made to the bike documented. To say that he was meticulous with maintaining the bike is an understatement. 

Last night Noah and I removed the windshield that the Ural came with and today I took off the light bar that was mounted under the headlight. These two things, although functional, just didn't look the part to me. I may change my mind as I ride the Ural back and forth to work, but for now I'll see what it's like. The bike is going to need a little paint chip touch up before it sees major winter action, but other than that it's ready to ride. 

Noah, Maya and I took the Ural out on the road today. We weren't even a block from the house and we had multiple people giving us a thumbs up. I can already tell that this is going to be a fun winter bike. It handles our snowy street, just fine and I think it should do better when my new tires come in. I'll be ordering some new Duro 307's that should have a little bite in the snow. Jill should be getting her replacement car this week and then we'll both have our winter rides. Good to be on two wheels... I mean three wheels... again.


dorkpunch said...

Congrats! 2 wheel drive? I've been trying to figure out a sidecar for a while now. Probably going to have to just build my own though- the last one that was even remotely close to me was a Ural with a snapped crankshaft and it still went for a fortune at auction.

Frankie Flood said...

Thanks! Not 2WD unfortunately, but this was in my price range and it was close by. I have been chasing one for a while. The 2WD models that pop up around me always are so expensive. I had begun to think one of these was unobtainable; even the 1WD. I finally sold some extra tools and was able to afford it.

raster said...

I look forward to seeing it parked at KSE. That's the easiest way to know if you're around. :)

Frankie Flood said...

you'll see it for certain!

Shop Teacher Bob said...

Nice outfit! I built myself a sidecar rig quite a few years back. Mine wasn't radioactive, though.

Have fun and be careful out there.

Frankie Flood said...

Thanks! Yeah the radioactive sticker is a hold over from the previous owner. I'd love to see pics of the sidecar you built. I'm sure it was great if you built it.

Have Blue said...

So... Jealous!!!

There are few bikes that really match you as a person, and this is one of them!

Frankie Flood said...

ha, ha! Thanks. They are strange industrial machines that's for sure.

I'm still trying to get used to "herding" it around corners and it sounds like it's going to rattle itself to death with all of the clanks and clacks. Think of as an Army Surplus container that's been used hard, put away wet, and that you ride around on.

It functions, is dependable, but does it with the slightest amount of precision and grace, if any at all.

Wait a second, it's an SKS rifle!!! That's SKS is the PERFECT comparison! I feel like I need to take it completely apart and get all of the cosmoline off of it and while I'm at it, it needs a little fit and finish....