Very interesting thread!
Just blitzed through the whole thread. Talk about a thread exploding overnight! Obviously Urals are bikes that bring out a lot of emotions, love or hate. IMO we live in a bit of a Golden Age when it comes to mechanical things, and vehicles in particular - engineering, electronics, metallurgy, machining (CNC !)... really, manufacturing on the whole, has advanced to the point we've come to expect (previously unthinkable) reliability. The Ural (just like the India produced Royal Enfield) is a different animal, and despite advancements I don't think it's fair or realistic to compare a Ural to more modern designs. As much as the Ural has character in spades, I'd build myself a BMW air or oilhead hack if I wanted a boxer. Instead I have a Goldwing & KLR650 rig - the Goldwing to satisfy the high tech highway cruiser mission, and KLR for back country cruising. The Ural is really a neat older design, and occasionally when I see a nice used one come up for sale I think, just for a second, it'd be neat to have one. The practical side of me however thinks otherwise.