'09 Ural - How Reliable?

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by effceecee, May 19, 2009.

  1. effceecee

    effceecee n00b

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7
    Howdy, folks. I'm looking into purchasing my 1st Ural (an '09 Patrol model) and my main concern regards their reliability. I don't know a single thing about wrenching -- though I'm eager and anxious to learn -- and I'm wondering if I'm taking on too much responsibility in the maintenance department.

    I've been thinking that my wife and I might do some out-of-state summer traveling. We're major dawdlers, slow 'n' easy is our style, and we'd be taking the scenic route all the way. Is this a realistic expectation?

    Also, neither of us are small people. So, by the time we load up our gear, might we expect top traveling speeds of 45-50 mph? Even less, perhaps?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated, as I'm ready to purchase any day now. So thanks for your input! :D
    #1
  2. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    Several of the better Ural dealers will walk you through servicing the rig. My dealer, Ural Northwest spent a whole day walking me through everything including hack alignment.

    A new rig comes with, a service manual, instructional CD and all tools needed except a feeler gauge, and carb balancing gauge. Its not any harder to work on than a riding mower, if You want to learn, its the perfect machine.

    Reliability isn't a major issue on the new Ural's, Its not a Honda, but much better than a 70's Harley, or 80's Ducati. My 07 Patrol has over 24000km on it, and it hasn't failed me yet, I wouldn't hesitate to take it on a cross country trip tomorrow.

    Two up, and loaded down, (2 people + gear @500 lbs) 60 to 65 mph isn't a problem, 50 to 55 mph on the steeper hills.
    #2
  3. effceecee

    effceecee n00b

    Joined:
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    Thanks, Windmill, you just put a HUGE smile on my face! The wife and I have been fantasizing about this in a major fashion, so I've been hoping that I don't end up having to ditch our plans.

    Having said all that, if anyone else has words of caution, please, fire away. Optimism is great, but I always appreciate a healthy dose of well founded skepticism, too.

    Again, thanks in advance, friends.
    #3
  4. Dr Jim

    Dr Jim Been here awhile

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    Jan 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    500
    How reliable?

    Pretty damn, IMHO - here's a link to a recent ride we took with three sidecar rigs across Washington state:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462388

    Bozola's Gear-up is an '07 (I think), he rides it HARD, commutes daily, and with no special preparation it covered 600+ tough miles without a peep.

    Yes, in stiff headwinds, going uphill, at altitude - he did drop speed - but (vile rumors to the contrary) at no point did he have to get off and push.

    Think of the Ural's performance envelope as similar to the original VW Bug - although it's actually slightly better. While they can run the slab, they are far happier (and you will be too) on a decent secondary road.

    Ironically, while the freeway 'system' has badly decayed in the last 15 years, and become a viciously crowded nightmare to drive, the network of smaller roads which are far more interesting, seem lees crowded, and in better condition, than ever before. The Ural can be your ticket to some wonderful rides.

    Cheers

    Jim
    #4
  5. IsAnOzzie

    IsAnOzzie Been here awhile

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    i have an 08 gear up and find it fantastic, frequent service intervals but very easy to do yourself, Mine was jetted to comply with Australian Regulations which was a simple "fix"
    As long as you are not expecting some secret Soviet powerhouse machine you will not be dissapointed.
    I was feeling a little Indian about a Ural purchase, that is to say I had reservations, but all is well and I am a happy Ural owner.
    #5
  6. Blue Ridge Wheeltor

    Blue Ridge Wheeltor Been here awhile

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    Even if you do your own wrenching, which dealer you buy it from can be important. A good dealer can give you phone support, back your warranty claims, and starting out with a properly set up bike makes all the difference. And the "best" shop is not always the "closest".
    Most dealers are ok, there are a few who are legendary, and a few who are crap.
    #6
  7. Threewheelbonnie

    Threewheelbonnie Long timer

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    I had an '99 that was total **** and so in 2006 hacked a 2004 Bonneville. A Ural dealer a zillion percent better than the clowns that sold me the '99 did the chair for me. Looking at 2008-9 Urals I have three issues:

    1. The dealer is still important. Good ones find any manufacturing issues because they know where to look, bad ones might let you down.

    2. Service intervals: A modern bike goes 6000 miles between oil changes, I can do that in a month when I really try and usually hit the 2-3000 stages well away from home.

    3. Price: A one owner second hand bike and a chair costs less than a new Ural in the UK. I wouldn't trust a Ural off E-bay unless I knew the owner, nearly new at the dealers are so rare to be impossible.

    #1 you can sort by a visit or two. #3 is OK, you already think the Ural is value for money and as you are new to this won't want the hassle of sourcing two or more parts. #2 as someone said is as simple as a lawnmower you'll pick it up in days. That only leaves doing 6000 miles in one go, which I guess you can plan round and won't worry you at first.

    IMHO, look at other alternatives as well, but the Ural really does have a lot going for it and will make a great first outfit.

    Andy
    #7
  8. Captain Hobo

    Captain Hobo Complete Bastard

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    Waitsburg, Seattle and Biscuit Ridge
    One of the classic complaints about the Ural is the air filter. The other is water in the spark plug caps. The current design of the air filter is a pain in the arse to get at. It's crammed in, and frankly I'm of the opinion that there's not enough surface area of the K&N.

    You will read stories about the Ural dying in rain because of these two issues. I've only encountered one of these problems in the 16,000+km of brutal riding. That was perfectly legitimate, and really my own fault. I managed to fill most of my K&N air filter with Oregon dust while on the Black Dog rally. This is an expected challenge for that particular rally, so I was carrying a spare. I've never had problems otherwise with anything else.

    Deep mud? No problem. Snow and Ice? Give me more. Torrential downpours for 100 miles? My rain gear quit but the bike didn't.

    I've got a bunch of minor issues with the beast but I knew that going in. It's not a Honda. There's a bunch of things I'm going to "upgrade"...but for me, that's the joy of the Ural. I can work on it and use it as a testbed for all manner of wacky ideas.
    #8
  9. RedMenace

    RedMenace Adventure Sidecar

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    Actually the water problem was with the old paper filter. The gauze K&N doesn't clog with water, but it is a bear to get to. If I owned a Ural, I'd probably slot the airbox mounts so I could slide it out without completely removing the fasteners. It would still be more of a chore than it should be, but it would make it easier to do on the trail.
    #9
  10. heindlengineeringura

    heindlengineeringura svman00

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    Location:
    Eaton, OH
    Pick out a bike off the showroom floor, buy me a gas card, and I will go wherever, whenever you want me to.......well within reason of course.
    The new bikes (2007 and later) are very reliable. Most things that you might come across can be talked through on the phone......
    #10
  11. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    I solved the access problem, using 2 spring latchces for the lid, and a foam rubber spacer in place of the internal hardware. i can swap filters in about 30 seconds.

    http://www.sovietsteeds.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7315
    #11
  12. Captain Hobo

    Captain Hobo Complete Bastard

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    There be some who claimed the problem even with the K&N. Not me.

    I like ModTop's air box. Gotta get that one of these days.

    The point with the Ural is that it's good at doing a lot of strange things and making strange acquaintances. There's not a single thing that can't be done better by another rig, especially if that bike is a GS.

    I didn't get a Ural because of it's great abilities; I got it because of some perverse defect in my soul. Sometimes weird and stupid works. Just don't delude yourself that it's something other than it is.
    #12
  13. DirtyDR

    DirtyDR Dana

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    I don't think reliability is an issue any more but you still have that pesky 60mph ride speed. I regularly run two and three hundred mile trips with no qualms at all on my 2006 and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have other bikes for other things but I do love the Ural.

    Shouldn't take you 5 minutes to change the air filter on anything 2006 and newer. 1/4 inch ratchet with a 10mm socket, two bolts and two nuts and it slides right out. That is once you get rid of that vestigial top hat.

    And as for the service video that is a dealer included item, not all dealers give you the CDs with your purchase.
    #13
  14. nomadicbear

    nomadicbear Vagabond

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    Clinton, Oklahoma - USA

    Hi,:eyes Effceecee Go here and read Mr. Cob's RR : :eyes http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=354338

    and Stitchergary's RR::eyes
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=454177

    I wasn't sure about getting a URAL myself but after reading these two RR I went to the dealer 90miles from me and put down a Deposit to order me a "09" Gear-Up.:eyes There not the fastest but I'm not into fast anymore it's about what I can see and making :eyesfriends along the way.
    #14
  15. Ace_Cafe_Rat

    Ace_Cafe_Rat "Crazy Old Coot"

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    Undisclosed location in the Nuevo México Desert
    So which Ural dealers are the legendary ones? :ear
    #15
  16. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    666
    Location:
    an alternate universe, much better than yours
    Owner of a 2006 Gear Up with 12,000 on the odometer.

    Only two issues encountered so far have been some moisture in the carbs and the airbox resulting in hard starting and rough running, both fixed quickly.

    Fixed one by draining the bowls, the other by taking the filter out and drying it, neither really was big deal.

    Now I have the Modtop airbox replacement, no issues at all riding in the raidn.

    I have no mechanical skills worth mentioning but since I live several hours from a dealer, I now can change my own oil, adjust valves and other really basic stuff.

    Just before purchasing the Ural, I sold my beloved 1986 BMW K100RS and bought a Honda ST1300A.

    I love the Honda but guess which bike gets the most use?

    The modern Ural is relatively well made and with the 2 year warranty behind it, a good value.

    Lots of people have done cross continent trips (Cob, the dealer from Nova Scotia who rides to Seattle every fall) or "short" trips of a 1000 miles in Urals.

    As stated by many, it wll hit 60sih on the freeway but is happier at 55 on quieter roads, but then again, so am I.

    To repeat many of the other posters, it is not a Honda, but nothing like the reliability horror stories you will hear about the 90's models.

    Buy and enjoy.
    #16
  17. LoganAZ

    LoganAZ Been here awhile

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    This should be interesting... on the record or in our own minds???:evil
    #17
  18. Captain Hobo

    Captain Hobo Complete Bastard

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    Location:
    Waitsburg, Seattle and Biscuit Ridge
    Honest Himalaya Joe's Ural and Used Yeti Dealership of Shangri-La, Tibet.
    Sewer Croc Cycles, New York, New York.
    Bunyip's Ural Emporium, Dismal Swamp, Tasmania
    Dante's Three Circles of Hell, Purgatory, New Jersey
    #18
  19. Nemo DeNovo

    Nemo DeNovo Banned

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    You forgot Hoover Pig Powersports in Notrees, Texas :lol3
    #19
  20. Dr Jim

    Dr Jim Been here awhile

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    Not to leave out:

    "Uri's Dnieper Destroyers of Doom" in Darkest Ohio...

    'Nu - with legends like him - who needs Mythology?'

    There, that gets a leg up on the Dark Side.

    Cheers

    Jim
    #20