Ural 2WD bikes

Discussion in 'Overlanding / Off-Road' started by C99c, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. C99c

    C99c Member

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    Does anyone own a Ural 2WD motorcycle? Specifically anyone that spends time offroad?

    The wife and I have been mulling around ideas for something fun for weekend trips and such. We already have a reliable 4WD daily driver that will go pretty much anywhere you point it.

    I want something on the smaller side. Something simple, street legal (no atvs or utvs) that can handle moderate offroading but still survive half day rides on pavement as needed (like for visiting our kid at college).

    I've looked at Jeep TJs, VW Bajas and Samurai's. I've looked at motorcycles.

    The Samurais interest me the most but generally will take more time and money to make reliable than I care to spend.
    TJs...meh. If I ever buy another Jeep it'll likely be another XJ and it's not what I'm looking for at the moment.
    Baja Bugs? I just don't know much about the platform other than riding in a few over the years.

    My wife isn't interested in a motorcycle; either her own or riding two up. Truthfully, I'm not at a point skill wise where I would feel comfortable with her behind me (insert joke here). If I, or another driver, do something stupid and hurt me that's one thing. Her health is a different story.

    So, the Urals look neat. And older, pre FI models aren't really that expensive. I know a couple of folks that have newer ones and they enjoy them for the short periods of time that they are actually functioning correctly. Apparently when you take a simple design that has worked for decades and try to "upgrade" it there are issues. Shocking, right?

    A Ural would give us a little storage space for a tent, etc. My wife a semi-comfortable place to ride. Allow us to explore some motorcycle only areas (size wise, not super technical single track).
    It would let us more easily pass by the parked groups of Jeeps and Toyotas clogging forest service roads in evergrowing numbers stopping ever half mile to get shots for Instagram and to launch their drones. #enoughoverlandalready.

    Are DIY anti-drone cannons a thing yet or.... sorry, wrong topic.

    So, anyone have one? Have rented one? Have any other options? Know why more companies don't offer factory sidecar setups?

    I'm looking to spend less than $10K. So that Roxor Jeep thing is out of the budget. Plus, I'm not an early adopter.
     
  2. C99c

    C99c Member

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    I was fortunate to meet a semi local guy who has three Urals. He invited me over last weekend to try them out.

    My takeaway? No thanks. I think I'm either going to focus on getting better as a rider, maybe pick up something (800 GS possibly) for a DD or just abandon the idea altogether for the time being.

    I will say that they are fun to play around with.
     
  3. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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  4. C99c

    C99c Member

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    Wanted one when I was a kid as they were always advertised in the back of Field and Stream, etc. A friend later had one. They're slow and expensive for what they are.

    I don't know if they are street legal but you wouldn't want to ride them very far even if they are.

    They are one of those vehicles that is uncommon for a reason.
     
  5. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    Does it have to be a 2wd? How about a Yamaha TTR? I know a lot of people that cut their teeth on those. My nephew had one for his wife, pretty mellow power delivery and fun on non-technical trails

    If you are set on a dual sport, the old XL250’s were capable. If you can find em in good condition. Same chassis as the time honored XR’s, but street legal. Those motors were bomb-proof if taken care of.
     
  6. C99c

    C99c Member

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    If I were looking for a small dualsport I'd just go DR or KLR. Neither meet the criteria or purpose that I stated in my OP.
     
  7. ChromeDome

    ChromeDome Member

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    I had a vintage BMW sidecar rig, once upon a time. Sold it to a close friend, as I had no time to ride both two AND three wheels. It was a standard MC with chair, and not 2wd. None-the-less, it was a blast. Imagine a three legged horse reincarnated as Jeep, and you’ll get the idea. From what I’ve read, the new (2019) Ural models are a real improvement. For what it’s worth, I plan to put a sidecare on my Hinkley Bonnie.
     
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  8. C99c

    C99c Member

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    Until I started looking at Urals I had no idea how many different sidecar rigs there were running around.

    The newest Urals are purported to be much better because of, among other things, yet another new fuel injection system (I'm told that it's at least the third one in five years,but haven't researched it). The owners I've talked to tell me that the best FI system they've seen is some third party add on that some switch to. The factory FI changes seem to add new gremlins in place of the old, instead of adding reliability.

    Another thing with Urals is that they are expensive when new, but after about two years they lose at least half their value. The late model, pre FI ones seemed to be pretty popular and retain more value.

    The guy who allowed me to ride his said that he'll likely trade or sell the two FI ones at some point for a newer model, but doesn't see ever parting with the older, carbureted model. Which is also by far the most reliable one he has.
     
  9. Bcamos

    Bcamos Member

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    I feel like the front wheel also being driven would be REALLY weird.
     
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  10. C99c

    C99c Member

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    Are you talking about the Rokon? The Ural is a sidecar setup that is available in 2WD, as in it can send power to both rear wheels.
     
  11. Bcamos

    Bcamos Member

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    Yeah that little Rokon thing lol

    The side car would be really interesting too.
     
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  12. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    The ranger model is US/CAN street legal and has a 2000 lb towing capacity
     
  13. ASH

    ASH Member

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    I know we're talking about side cars, but I remember someone (Christini) several years ago had a 2wd conversion for mx bikes. It looks like Yamaha made a few 2wd WR450s too.

    I haven't ever messed with a side car, someone offered one of my friends one about 10 years ago but we never went to get it. From what I hear they can be tricky.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  14. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    Christini makes em. They’ve ran them in some enduros. I think there was another one also.
    https://www.christini.com/bikes/christini-awd-450
     
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  15. ASH

    ASH Member

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    Yeah I looked it up and then recognized the name when I saw it.
     
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  16. C99c

    C99c Member

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    Ok, just making sure you didn't think the Urals powered the front wheel. The Rokon handles different obviously, but you're not going to drive it fast enough long enough for it to matter. It's a little tractor.

    At one point there were at least four companies offering AWD motorcycles. If I remember correctly Christini was the most reliable, lighter and more versatile than the others.

    Many years ago some friends and I were mountain biking in the NF north of Dawsonville. We were stopped to rest when about half a dozen soldiers (Camp Merrill is in the area and it's not unusual to see groups of soldiers in the NF) rode up on AWD motorcycles. We all chatted for a few minutes before they rode off. I'm not sure if they were testing the things or if they were privately owned and just out riding. They could have said one or the other but I don't remember it and just remembered them saying they were three different kinds and using the terms junk and POS a lot in reference to them.

    A friend was really interested in them after that and did a lot of calling around and asking motorcycle shops about them (this was pre internet) before deciding that he'd come out ahead just setting a pile of money on fire.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019

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