How important is 2 wheel drive

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by CBRider, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. CBRider

    CBRider Adventurer

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    I've never ridden a bike with a sidecar, but have a growing interest in getting one soon. Been riding motorcycles since the early 1970s. I'm thinking about a Ural, primarily because they have a reverse gear. I don't want to start another debate over the reliability or maintenance requirements of a Ural, there are plenty of threads here on that subject. I can handle working on my own bike.

    What I am not sure of is how important 2 wheel drive is. I'll be riding a lot of small county roads, many will be dirt/gravel, but not real steep or rocky. Also I will occasionally head out to the Big Bend area. I think a reverse gear is important, but how about 2 wheel drive? Will I regret getting a hack with single drive?

    Any input is appreciated...
    #1
  2. Bucho

    Bucho Long timer

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    I'm fairly new to having my own sidecar, but do have experience as a monkey on an offroad MX type sidecar.

    Its probably really not that important if aren't doing anything harder then rough dirtroads.
    However, if you are going to buy a Ural anyway. Why not get one w/ the 2-wheel drive? In my opinion that would be the only reason to go for the Ural. (Though the "modern vintage" thing is kinda cool)

    I've also never driven a 2wd rig, so take that for what its worth.
    #2
  3. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    How important is 4X4, or AWD for a car or truck?

    Put aside the sales pitch for it, and the chest thumping against it, and simply answer this question, are you going to ride in times and places where traction is going to be a real issue?

    Under most circumstances 2wd isnt going to make a huge difference in where you can ride, its mostly about making difficult conditions much easier to deal with.
    #3
  4. DaFoole

    DaFoole Erudite inchoate...

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    Or getting stuck farther in because you have 2WD and decide you CAN make it!!! .....don't ask....:lol3
    #4
  5. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    You say the Big Bend area? How likely are you to encounter sand, especially deep sand? Seems like if you read some of the hack ride reports especially from Australia, the 2WD is pretty useful for those conditions.
    #5
  6. crampfan

    crampfan Banned

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    The only time I have had mine in TWD is in mud, snow, and wet rocks. I will always go in without the side car engaged because it easer to steer. and engage when I get stuck. It works and it beats the heck out of pushing, and makes it easer to push when you have to :clap
    #6
  7. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

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    We have built about 500 dual sport sidecars so far, none with 2wd and few with reverse, 2wd is seldom if ever an issue if you start with a bike with eough power that also has a bit wider tires then bikes like the Ural. Pushing a sidecar bike backwards is much easier then a 2 wheel motorcycle as it does not fall over.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    www.dmcsidecars.com
    866-638-1793
    #7
  8. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    I have gone on many more rutted muddy seasonal roads with my 2WD Gear Up than I could of with my previous 1WD Ural. I often ride with my brother on his TW200. The old rig couldn't do that.
    #8
  9. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    I'm hoping for some snow to get some good out of twd, otherwise could have done without it other than a couple of spots.

    I have to agree with Bucho; the only Ural's I considered were Patrol's and Gear Up's.
    Jim
    #9
  10. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    I agree pretty much with Jay's post. 2WD is not a necessity nor needed in most conditions. Most who have it seldom use it it seems.
    Steep slower speed up hill runs on loose or rocky surfaces are where it shines.
    We have considered building a 2wd setup for the 1200 GS powered outfits.
    #10
  11. dbigkahunna

    dbigkahunna Whopeee

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    If you do not have 2X then you will always be limited to where you really can go. If you do not have it, then I guess you will not miss it. I have used mine some here in the sand of Gaines County. Not serious stuff like around Kermit. The key to sand is speed. And having the rig in 2X before you need it. It also would make it easier to re-sell
    It is like my Ford F 250 4X4. It has been in 4X4 rarely. But every time it has I NEEDED it. DId I waste my $$ on the 4X4?
    No!
    It has kept me from some long walks.
    .
    #11
  12. DirtDabber

    DirtDabber cultural illiterate

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    I had a hard time getting the KLR rig out of a jobsite the other day due to the steepness of the driveway and loose gravel. However, it is a light rig with a skinny tire. Basically, if I have trouble backing a 2WD pickup up a hill I have the same trouble with the KLR going forward unless I am able to carry momentum. :evil

    I think I would like 2WD in a rig for the same reasons I like 4WD in my trucks. It is there when you need it..... But I am not sold on URAL's
    #12
  13. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    I agree. We turned around many times with our 1WD. Not anymore. Ara and Spirit also seem to be enjoying having it now.
    #13
  14. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy CBRider,

    This issue comes up every other week it seems and the same answers are given. Those who have a vested interest in one wheel drive rigs will constantly say its not needed, some who have it will tell you its indispensable, so the decision on who to believe is up to YOU.

    As you asked for opinions, here's mine. If I didn't want reverse AND two wheel drive I could have bought a nicer, faster rig for the same money as I paid for the Ural Gear-Up. In fact I have in my stable a very nice BMW-GS rig that Jay has hacked and it serves me well in a very civilized environment compared to what I usually ride the Ural in.

    What do YOU want to do with the rig, think about and answer that question; an honest answer to that question will provide you with the information you need to make and educated decision on what type of rig to spend your money on.

    In the 6 years and well over 100,000 klicks I have been beating the holy HELL out of Ural's I have probably used two wheel drive in total perhaps 2-3,000 of those klicks, HOWEVER I would NEVER have been able to cover those klicks with a one wheel drive rig. To me and the type of riding that I enjoy a one wheel drive rig with twice the horse power and a tire twice as wide could NOT go on many the trails or places I usually take my Ural. Then again a rig with twice the horse power and a tire twice as wide as the Ural would in some instances go place and at speeds my Ural wouldn't. Thats why I have more then one tool in my tool box.

    An additional note, to me REVERSE is used much more often then two wheel drive. Again you will hear that its easy to push a sidecar rig backwards, on level ground I will agree. Try doing it in mud, or snow, or deep sand, or backwards up a hill that is covered with rocks. Better yet try to turn a rig that doesn't have reverse around on a road 8-10 feet wide carved out of the side of a mountain when the road is slick for whatever reason or sloped toward a 500 foot DROP over the edge of a cliff.:wink: :evil :deal
    #14
  15. roscoau

    roscoau Been here awhile

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    For what you describe here it's not important at all.
    #15
  16. brockoli

    brockoli build of cool stuff

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    full time (differential'd) will be great when you're putting 180+hp to the ground (more if I do get that turbo). One wheel drive in the dirt with that much power will shred tires. But this topic is about a ural with 1 or 2wd and not even half that horsepower so it's more comparable to 2wd vs 4wd truck in the dirt/sand/snow. Hit it a lot of speed in 2wd or chew your ay through in 4wd. Same goes for the bike. Just my thoughts.
    -Brock
    #16
  17. CBRider

    CBRider Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the opinions. I'll probably be looking for one with the 2wd.
    #17
  18. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

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    I have a 2006 Ural Gear Up and often take it down unmaintained logging roads/closed township roads. You don't need 2wd until you need it.

    And often the deployment of 2wd takes you to a place where a winch or rope puller/and/or monkey have to push to get back out.

    You don't NEED it, but you may WANT it sometime.

    Get it if you buy a Ural, you will certainly use it, albeit not often.

    But you can live without it.

    Either way, if you plan to drive off of maintained dirt roads, you will get stuck so have a back up plan of mechanical or human help.

    Heck, I have even managed to stick a Rokon and an Argo in mud and swamp, so even 8 wheel drive won't save your *ss sometimes. But a winch will.


    #18
  19. claude

    claude Sidecar Jockey

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    Very good points made here. 100,000 miles with 2-3000 in two wheel drive. Food for thought: Most global travelers get by without two wheel drive. And as I stated before we have considered doing a two wheel drive setup for the GS bikes. I am just not sure if ther eis really a market for it.
    #19
  20. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad n00balicious

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    Mr. Cob is without a doubt one of the more "extreme" sidecar drivers around, the fact that he only uses it 3% of the time shows how little 2wd is "needed". Being that the OP will be on dirt/gravel roads that are not steep or rocky, I would say that a Ural Tourist would fit his requirements very well.
    #20