Why you should NOT buy a Ural motorcycle

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by bokad, May 28, 2012.

  1. AlanCT

    AlanCT The Byronic Man

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    Well, there's no accounting for taste.

    I went in with my eyes wide open. I read/researched about them for many months - mostly regarding mechanical issues (not by reading mods and accessory threads). I fully expected my Ural to be less reliable and require more dirty hands and owner involvement than a conventional, modern bike and that was a large part of why I wanted one.

    I have been surprised, actually, that my '05 has required less wrenching than I had anticipated - and I don't particularly baby it.


    It sounds like the OP was expecting a Honda-like experience. If that is the case, no wonder he was disappointed.
    #21
  2. janner

    janner Been here awhile

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    Sounds like your frustrated and angry at yourself for not doing your own homework before you purchased your first Ural and then doubled the problem when you brought your second.

    Guess I would be pissed about that to. I have a Ural thats had its issues but its never been back to a dealer. They were simple enough that I could work it out myself.

    I wouldn't buy a second one, ones enough :loll
    #22
  3. MotoJ

    MotoJ Mobtown Hacker

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    I think the OP's basic point is that compared to bikes of similar price, the value to money isn't quite there. Back when the 650s were first being sold and you could buy a whole sidecar rig ready to go for a 3rd of what it might cost to build one, they were pretty intriguing. If it then turned out to really be a POC, you weren't out a huge amount of dough.

    The quirkiness and breakdowns can be construed as "character" when you're not breaking the bank to buy the rig. At $12-16K things like leaking trunks, wonky speedos, and broken final drives should be unacceptable.
    #23
  4. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    Yep, total pieces of shit. I've owned about 40 bikes over 30 years. Just came back from a cross country ride on a 2010 Ural while my FJR1300 and GL1800 sat in my garage. I documented ALL the problems in my ADVRider ride report. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=781149

    By the way, I have AAA RVplus to cover all towing needs including bikes and sidecars. Something like $100 per year but I've never used it.

    edit- don't bother with looking at the ride report. 6,000 absolutely trouble free miles, plus another 1,000 since then.
    I do have two things that I'd recommend to Ural though. The intake should be redesigned for less drone and the odometer should be in miles in the US. Other than that I see no issues. Both of my other road bikes have had one or two government mandated recalls. None for the Ural.
    #24
  5. SprintSix

    SprintSix Been here awhile

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    Things I would buy both reliable and Russian.

    Mosin-Nagant rifle.

    AK-47

    Winter clothing.

    Vodka.
    #25
  6. Marvin and towser

    Marvin and towser Plain Mr. Botany (B)

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    The original poster has taken his bike on quite a journey, he doesn't seem in any way like a pussy, just some one who wanted to ride. Ural is making bikes in small volumes (not one off) and with the best will in the world probably have to concentrate quite hard on getting sales to pay the work force. Some dealers may be in the dark ages but the good ones could probably help get the standards up (probably have been doing). Its easy to get something made right and to a good quality when your order quantities are 10,000 parts and up. When Ural are selling a few hundred bikes they are in an unfortunate valley between mass production and easy engineering changes to one off bikes. They are also popular because the design hasn't changed much which puts another layer of complexity into the decision to change any part. I know people objected when the drum break went from the front meaning you lost the complete interchangeability of all wheels, some people prefer the old 650 engine. It must be a nightmare for Ural figuring out how to update the design and not lose the magic.
    Sidecars are a niche market and urals are a niche within that, I really doubt many off these bikes are bought with a spock like logical mind (he would probably buy a second hand low mileage corrola). People pay a lot of money for these machines I can see why there would be a tendency to be a brand ambassador. Its pretty brave to come out in public and say I wasted a load of money because I didn't do enough research and the bikes not for me, you open yourself up to ridicule which has all ready started but you might save others a lot of hassle. I think its a pretty useful thread people will read it along with others ride reports and can now get both parts of the story. From his ride report it sounds like he has encountered most problems in high humidity countries at slow speeds with a lot of slogging through heavy traffic / bad roads. I think a $10K should be able to handle this but I doubt the factory gets much chance to test in these conditions.
    He has had two of these bikes he seems to have ridden them quite a bit and wanted to ride them more but can't due to break downs he isn't just knocking them with no experience.
    #26
  7. Sailing Rider

    Sailing Rider n00b

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    Its a Ural, they do that :deal
    #27
  8. Wannabee

    Wannabee Survivor of Reality

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    Ural does sell solo bikes.
    Most people that buy them are never gonna take a cross continent trip , or even leave their county with it . The fringe that does either loves the challenge or hates it , probably the same as any other bike .
    It would suck being stranded somewhere , especially since the ural support system is great . Even here in the states , the dealerships are scattered about , but the ones that love these rigs don't count on them . I guess it's what you want , if I was going to travel in far of lands , I doubt I would own one .
    Your right , that m70 is a sexy beast .
    #28
  9. Cat Daddy

    Cat Daddy Cob Artist

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    Ha !

    I'm a Royal Enfield owner and hopefully future Ural owner. We Royal Enfield guys look up to you Russian bike owners like you're the gods of reliability. If I can ever get my bike up to the level of a typical Ural for reliability I shall be a contented (and broke) man.

    It's just like marrying a big titted redhead. You have to know up front she's gonna cause you heartache. Only you can decide if the thrill is worth the pain.
    #29
  10. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Complex things (like taking out the transmission) are probably easier (and more frequent) than doing so on an ex. Honda. But regular day to day simple things like getting at the battery are much more complicated on the Ural.

    #30
  11. ruckuschick

    ruckuschick Adventurer

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    I am in the process of buying my first new to me Ural. I did much research and talked to lots of folks about it. I was informed about the maintenance shedule needing to be more aggressive than other bikes, I've read all the horror stories and the good stories too and yet I'm still taking the plunge. Why, for the adventure and experience of it. Do I wish the Ural was really a Honda in diguise? Yes, because I love Hondas and how trouble free all of mine have been. But did I learn a lot from any of my Hondas? Probably not as much as I will learn from my Ural. But we'll see. It's all about the experiene for me.

    I don't blame this guy for writing a write-up dissing Urals. He's had a bad time with them. I might do the same if I expected so much and was sorely dissapointed. But I also read the write-ups of people taking adventures with their Urals and being more than happy with them and loving the extra tinkering they may have to do if it comes up. To each his own. I think his write-up is worth the read so people can go into buyig a Ural with their eyes open. But you must look at the larger picture and read the other stuff too and then make an adult, informed decision.

    To the originator of this post, I say good luck and I hope you either come to terms with your bikes or sell them for a decent price and buy something you like better. If you buy something else, I'd love to see what you put together for a rig. Like a Honda and ????. THere s a naked wing and seat right here on Advrider I'd love to have myself!
    #31
  12. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

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    Funny thread.... I am following Hubert' 10 years around the world, now on a Ural (after a BMW) and in his last report he compared his Ural with previous bikes he used... And still rides a Ural!!
    The easiness he just changes his gearbox, broke it again and replaced everything again is amazing in this world of modern marvels un-fixable by the side of the road!!
    I am guilty of having bought one last year, mainly to do dirt/fire roads and camping during weekends... I could not see myself/wife/dogs on a KLR and other NEW options were a lot more expensive!!! Add to this,IMHO, that Urals are the only new bikes made from the start for a sidecar and the choice get even smaller (I am not crazy about the idea of non natural "mariage" with new subframes/fork change etc).
    The fact that Ural are so cool is a, big, added bonus!!
    #32
  13. roscoau

    roscoau Been here awhile

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    More than that, I think he expected a Honda CAR experience. Had he stuck to realistic faults without going to extremes to find fault I could sympathize - no-one is going to say Urals don't have faults.

    Key blanks? Readily available.
    Roadside assistance? Really? I guess you want it in Indonesia too?
    Leaky boot/trunk? Well yes, but a fault? It was never designed not to leak.
    Kick start doesn't work for him? It appears to have worked fine for others for the last 60 years or so.

    I can't recall anyone on any forum claim a buyer can expect a Honda-like experience - just the opposite in fact. Anyone thinking of a Ural can easily find out their faults and a reasonable person would go into ownership with their eyes open.
    #33
  14. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    The wording on that is a bit tricky. I can see how you might misunderstand it. What I am saying is that the Ural is the MOST UNRELIABLE mass produced bike being sold in the USA today and that I don't think it is more reliable than any other bike.

    So you don't own a Ural but you think they're great? Vote with your dollars then.
    Uh, they do. What's your point?
    What I want is a bike that doesn't brake down on the side of the road. None of my other bikes have road side assistance either but then again I don't need it because they don't break!
    And you're a poop head that can't separate polite discussion from pointless personal attacks.
    #34
  15. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Congrats! I'm glad that you got one of the good ones. There are far too many people who didn't.

    I wasn't expecting Honda (good lord they are fantastic). I was expecting old design with modern quality control. Rugged, rough, old tech but reliable. It seems to me that is how Ural markets the bikes. But they're quality control from paint to plastic is crap. Unexcusable mistakes being made at the factory, never checked, and passed on to customers.

    #35
  16. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    There is a bit of that of that self anger frustration blah blah blah but not so much. I've learned my lesson and will move. Type 2 experience. Funny in retrospect. Just trying to give some honest info to those who are on the fence about weather to take the plunge or not.

    #36
  17. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Exactly. When they were a cheap novelty you got what you paid for. Now you are paying new western bike prices and they are being marketed as equivalent when they are nowhere near.

    #37
  18. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Can't argue about the arms as they are not to my taste. Have you bought any Russian winter clothing? Own any at all? Seen it?
    Many russians prefer to fly to Turkey to buy their winter fur coats since they are cheaper and better made there.
    Russian vodka you may buy because it sounds cool but I gotta tell you it's pretty low quality. Again, Russians prefer the imported stuff and can't imagine why a westerner with $'s would be drinking Stoli.

    Anyway, not relevant to the Ural but just for giggles.

    #38
  19. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Thanks. To clarify, I've ridden the Patrol in the USA and Indonesia. The M70 Solo has only been ridden in the US.
    The roads in Indonesia are bad not for the quality of the road surface (not great but not terrible) but for the traffic on them. Nothing overly strenuous to a motorcycle. The problems I'm kvetching about are not just from this trip but just poor quality control in general, no matter what country you ride them in.

    Why does a brand new $10k solo bike arrive with a broken crash bar, a near useless speedometer, a kick start that doesn't work, and some other problem that causes water to get in the carb?

    #39
  20. RidingDonkeys

    RidingDonkeys Purveyor of Awesome

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    The best explanation yet. I love my redheads, and I love her Ural.


    Sent from my Droid 2 Global using Typotalk 2
    #40