Ural or GS hack?

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by GypsyWriter, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    I've been lurking a long time here on the hacks forum and reading along with a few of the sidecar adventures on Ride Reports. I think hacks are so unique in the motorcycling world, and the idea of being able to ride in all conditions PLUS take my admittedly codependent pup along with me is a very strong motivation.

    Right now I have a GS Rallye that I've set up to my specifications - new seat, ESA, a set of Micatech Pilot cases etc - and have a blast riding it. We're actually heading out today (if the Dude can get his headlight situation fixed) for a cross country fall roadtrip. We will be leaving his sister to watch the house and my pup, and while I know the former will take care of the latter, I really want to take my pup with me.

    The Dude and I are kind of at odds over which kind of rig to get. I'd love to send my GS bike up to DMC and see what Jay can do to make it pretty. :norton :lol3 On the one hand, I love the newer aesthetics of the GS rig. On the other hand, I like the retro look of the Ural. The Dude thinks I'll regret hacking my bike, and should get a Ural; I'm thinking a GS hack is reversible and I wouldn't be stuck with another bike should I hate the sidecar (HIGHLY doubt that, but still).

    Biggest issue? I've never ridden in or on a sidecar rig, and have no idea if ill even like the ride. But damn, the idea of riding one is tantalizing, and every time I see one its always such a show stopper for me. :clap

    I'm not sure what my question is, other than general curiosity whether such a rig is for me. I'd love to take classes and test ride something. I love ADV but is there any other forum good for these kinds of questions? Thanks for any and all thoughts!!
    #1
  2. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    Hacking a GS is expensive. Great outfit if you need freeway speeds. If you can go take a class to see if a sidecar is for you. If you decide it is then decide what your needs are. I thought of hacking my 05 GS but the price put me off. Glad I went Ural. Couple of plus factors on the Ural: the entire rig is tough and was designed and built to drag a chair. Ural has a reverse gear. I can't imagine physically backing up a fully hacked oilhead GS. The GS is a heavy monster by itself w/o adding another couple hundred pounds of chair and gear.
    #2
  3. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy GypsyWriter,

    Well.................if you should find that hacks are addicting as many do, you just might end up with both a Ural and a hacked GS as I and others have.

    In fact I now have two Ural's one highly modified for off road stupidity.
    [​IMG]

    And a stock one that has traveled all over and around the USA, it doubles as a Wiener Dog carrier.
    [​IMG]

    And then the Hacked GS, thanks Jay, its fast, comfortable and also does a great job of toting Wiener Dogs.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Simple answer to your dilemma, get at least one of each, ya can NEVER have to many toys. :wink: :deal
    #3
  4. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

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    Sovietsteeds.com
    Russianiron.com
    Sidecar.com

    But if you're looking at Ural, Mr. Cob is the god of Ural - if he can't answer it, I don't know who can :D
    #4
  5. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

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    This is a question that comes up often on this site. If you check old posts you will finds hours of reading on just this question.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    www.dmcsidecars.com
    866-638-1793
    #5
  6. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    Wow, I have to disagree on a couple of counts. A GS rig brings a lot more to the table than just freeway speeds, but it sure is nice to be able to fly across the Great Plains at 85mph fully loaded (including 80# of dog) with a range of 275 miles between fill ups...THEN to slow down to enjoy the scenery of some far away place. As for toughness, I think Claude, Jay and others have figured out how to make some pretty durable rigs. Lastly, I have an 07 GS two-wheeler and a 2010 GSA hack. Even fully loaded the hack is much easier to push around by hand. By putting one hip into the sidecase I'm able to easily push it back uphill without breaking a sweat.
    #6
  7. Farmer1949

    Farmer1949 Out standing in his field

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    I vote to hack the GS.....I have an 06 GS with a Hannigan Classic...can roll around easily and with a DMC subframe on the GS can take off or reinstall in less than 30 min so you can still ride the GS as a 2 wheeler.....I have left steering alone and it steers ok...alot better than the 05 HD Heritage the Hannigan was on......I really appreciate the power, suspension and linked ABS brakes on the GS.....from what I understand the GS and the Ural both get in the low 30mpg range, so why not have the power when you need it? If you want to go cheap, buy my complete ural tub for $1,800, get a $1,000 DMC subframe, add $250 for canbus wiring doo dads, make an adapter subframe for the tub to the DMC subframe, buy a couple couplers, add a bit of your time and you are now a sidecarist!
    #7
  8. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad n00balicious

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    Another vote to have DMC attach a sidecar to your GS.

    We bought a Ural just to see if we would like traveling with a sidecar rig. After a full year I sold the Ural, bought a 07 GSA, and had DMC build and set up the rig for us.

    I loved the retro feel about the Ural but with the GSA rig we go 250 to 300 miles on a whim and it not a big deal. Sunday morning at the drop of a hat I'll say "Hey lets go up to Santa Ynez and go wine tasting!". The answer is always "OK!!!!" And just like that we'll go do a 250 round trip stopping at several wineries and still be home for dinner. To do that on a Ural you would be driving real hard, why not do it while relaxed??

    You already have the GS...what are you waiting for????
    #8
  9. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    I would encourage you to take a class to see if you like it first. I just took the novice class from RedMenace (This one) and am now more certian than ever that it's something I want to do...and I haven't decided on the rig.

    There are pros and cons for each of the choices you've suggested. Ural comes ready to use, but isn't really good for freeway speeds and requires more maintainance.
    Hacking the GS will cost as much as a Ural if you do the steering mods, car tire(s), and brakes on the chair. Also, IMO, your standard GS is geared too high for the added weight of the car if you load it down too much. A GSA, with the enduro gearing and larger fuel tank is the way to go if you're hacking a GS.

    What I am most likely to do is hack a used Bonneville. Unlike a GS, a change of sprockets is all that's required to change the drive ratio on a chain driven bike. I figure I can "DIY" for about $12k including the Bonnie, but that's getting very close to Ural "off the shelf" prices, and I do like the ride of a Ural, highway travel not withstanding.
    #9
  10. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    Thanks for all the answers, I appreciate the insights!

    Now I'm in a bit of a different pickle.

    Earlier today, we snapped up an immaculate '88 R100GS, the black and yellow kind that I've been wanting for a long while. Being as I'm currently in a hacking mindset, the idea of adding a sidecar to the R100 has been thrown into the mix. I'm not discounting the Ural, but I like the idea of being able to comfortably go highway speeds if/when the need arises.

    Jay, I've been doing some searching and did find a lot of threads about it. I just worry mainly whether I'll like riding a hacked vehicle. You gave me a very detailed response to my DMC email yesterday, now it's all up to me deciding which direction to go.

    Tattoogunman, thanks for the links!! I'll definitely take a look around those sites too. :thumb
    #10
  11. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Dammit!
    Now ya got me thinkin about hacking MY GS

    I'm pretty sure the car tire conversion also reduces (effective) drive ratio.
    Just need to find the threads and read up on it. It would still be better fuel range than a Ural.
    #11
  12. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad n00balicious

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    It only changes the drive ratio if you use a tire with a lower overall diameter than what you had with your bike wheel & tire. My car tire conversion from DMC did not change my drive ratio at all.
    #12
  13. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Yes. Of course, and now I see that some people are using 17" car tires on the stock rim.
    It's all so confusing.

    You got a standard GS or GSA? Maybe the extra weight is no big deal with a stock drive ratio on a standard GS?

    Edit; I see that you have an '07 GSA, and that's before the "Enduro" gearing IIRC. No problems with being geared too high?
    #13
  14. eastbloc

    eastbloc comprador bourgeois

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    I thought all GSA's had the lower first gear? The standard GS gearbox + FD is geared too high in 1st. See the final drive thread. It works, but getting moving fully laden can be hard on your clutch.
    #14
  15. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Pretty sure the lower gear was first intorduced in '08
    and getting moving with a load being hard on the clutch is exactly what I worry about in hacking my std '07 GS. I'm not a huge fan of the GSA as a solo bike, but (unlike a solo bike) that lower gear and bigger tank really are a huge advantage for a hack.
    IF I had bought a GSA ('08 or newer) it would be the bike I'd hack, with no second thoughts.
    #15
  16. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad n00balicious

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    This is my first Beemer and I have no clue as to history and what came with what bike on what year. I think that an over all gear change came in 08 for both the GS & GSA. I did buy a lower gear ratio final drive to make it a bit easier to get moving. Not that it was really that hard to begin with, but I also didn't need gearing for 125 mph either. I suppose if you were loaded for bear and had stopped on a hill in San Francisco you might flog the clutch to get moving, but normal driving, fairly loaded, no need to abuse the clutch.
    #16
  17. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    :ear I didn't realize there was a lower geared FD available for the 1200? There WAS a 3.0 FD at Max BMW, but I haven't seen it on thier site for a while. The stock ratio change in '08 was pretty insignificant (IIRC < 2%) and even the 3.0 is only 3% lower. The lower 1st gear in the GSA "enduro" trans makes the biggest difference.
    #17
  18. mauricedonini

    mauricedonini n00b

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    Go with the Ural. It's a load of fun!
    #18
  19. eastbloc

    eastbloc comprador bourgeois

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    Yes, ignore my comments; I overlooked that you were talking about 1200 GS-en and not 1150's.
    #19
  20. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

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    We have not tried it yet but BMW has a final drive for the R900 used in Europe that my dealer says can be ordered in. Not sure what the ratio is, Looked it up at one time. I have owned two R1200GS's with sidecars and built many more (we are up to just about 500 GS sidecars built so far) the only time I really wished I had a different final drive was when I towed out tent trailer to a BMW rally.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    www.dmcsidecars.com
    866-638-1793
    #20