Why you should NOT buy a Ural motorcycle

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

  1. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Gracias! My Triumph Bonneville is the opposite of my Ural. I wasn't so hot on it at first but the more I ride it the more I appreciate it. It handles stably and well in every condition I've encountered. The transmission is super smooth. And the engine has a wide enough power band that you could be in any of 3 gears at a given speed. Fits like a glove or something like that. I hope to have a Bonneville or Scrambler done with a Watsonian or Ural-ish sidecar depending on future adventures planned.
    Hondas are great for their reliability but I love the triumph styling.

    #41
  2. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Hubert is a great adventurer (among the best and going for decades) and a little different from you and me.
    He has near infinite time available.
    He gets free replacement parts from Ural.
    He has exceptionally experienced mechanical knowledge.

    To be honest I don't think accidental that more people don't use a Ural for RTW travel. Hubert could probably manage on a motorized bicycle or clown car.

    I used to think the same thing about "no other bikes are made for sidecar" but the more research I do and the more hackers I meet the more I realize it's pretty normal and workable to put a sidecar on many bikes.

    Glad you are enjoying your Ural. And good luck in the future.

    #42
  3. GeezerStank

    GeezerStank Been here awhile

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    Well Bokad, you paid the price of admission twice, so you have a right to bitch. I don't know if you researched Urals before you took the plunge on two, I did, and for the price of two I would have found out exactly what I was getting into for that price!! :D I had two failures when new on my 2010 Gear Up, rocker arm broke and the final drive had a couple teeth come off. Both were covered under warranty, both parts shipped overnight to me, I installed them and rode on. I knew that these problems could happen to my year model, so I wasn't surprised or pissed, I had done my research. I was treated excellent by Ural America and my dealer, end of issue. Since then 11k kilos and all is well........Thing is I knew what I bought and what could happen, so nothing can surprise me or piss me off.

    I bought a new 2000 VMax, it had a high speed wobble(common) that I couldn't get rid of. Yamaha told me too bad. Then it had a known flaw with the ignition pick up module, just out of warranty it failed and stranded me 2500 miles from home. Yami told me too bad, so I bought the $225 part and put it in myself. Sold that bike, was sick of the crap.

    Bought a new Suzuki VStrom 1000 in 2005, right off the dealer floor it ran like crap, coughing and spitting at the 3k rpm range. Common well known problem, so I bought a $300 Power Commander and fixed that issue. Later Suzuki came out with a fix, too late for me. The suspension on that bike was horrible, so after awhile instead of dumping a bunch of money into it, I sold it.

    Bought a 2007 HD Electraglide Classic, the fuel injection runs so lean on them I'm surprised the engine doesn't melt in the first week, heheh. Put a FI tuner on it and now it's fine.

    My Beemer friends, they had the dreaded surging issues, final drive failures, driveline slop, ABS issues and then problems with the LT series. There's already recalls on the new 1600s. Oh well......:cry

    So for me it's just try to be informed as much as possible before you put the money down, even then if things don't go right for you, sell whatever POS it is that's driving you nuts and move on. I think for you maybe one Ural for fun, and one Japanese bike to fill in the rest of the time and give you some peace of mind.:D

    Although they are super easy to work on, having two Urals is a tall order for maintenance and such. For me, one is enough, and I really like my crude Russian motorcycle, I know what I bought and I'm fine with that.

    I''m sure you knew this thread would generate some flames, enjoy.....
    #43
  4. Berger

    Berger Been here awhile

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    Great thread! :rofl

    I own a 2007 Patrol and it is the most enjoyable vehicle I have ever owned...and I recently bought a Pinzgauer. I have ridden it down the Trans Labrador...and back, into the States many times, through the Dragon, and recently to San Fransisco (I am from Ottawa, Canada), up the PCH, through Oregon, Washington State, Idaho, Montana, up into Alberta and back home through Canada. Just under 12000KM. I had one bike related issue, a bearing that went on me, but I had it replaced in Santa Clara. I had about 4 flats, but that was due to my neglect of a spoke. I still grin when I think about that trip.

    Are there quality issues? Yup. Have I bitched about certain things on the bike? Yup, but IMWA is also the most responsive manufacturer, of any kind, I have ever dealt with. I own a 2010 Chevy Silverado and I am on my third head gasket, 3 spark plug fowlings and a few other things. Does GM acknowledge I have a bad head? Nope...just fixing the symptoms.

    I am a huge participant in online forums, especially for the Ural. I even "own" one. In my 'Ural travels,' I have come across many, many, many Ural owners who do not participate in any online community, and they have not had any issues with their bikes. Imagine that. Like in life, the minority always speaks louder than the majority.

    I am sure you will find a buyer for your bike(s), but I hope you point them to this thread before they make such an uninformed decision.....of course you won't.
    #44
  5. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Which faults were extremes? I mean specifically. I'm willing to compromise and revise.

    Key blanks... I contacted Ural directly, they didn't respond. I contact my Ural dealership, they didn't have any and didn't know where they could be had. I contacted a few other dealerships, same response. I searched for answers in the forums. Hit or miss, none of those worked for me. I went to several custom locksmiths, no dice.
    Please let me know, where do you get your Ural key blanks?

    Roadside assistance. No, I don't expect that for myself. What I'm pointing out to potential owners is that when they do brake down, even though they have a warranty, there will expense to them.

    Kick start.... devil is in the details dude! You gotta read closely before you complain. I said the kick start doesn't work on my M70 Retro Solo. You ever had one of those? Little bit different from your standard Ural. Not even the dealer could get it to kick start and if the dealer can't get it to work then that's what I call broken!

    #45
  6. Wallybob

    Wallybob History Geek

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    Bokad, I'm sorry you have had bad experiences with your Urals.

    I love mine. They are super easy to work on, parts are readily available from some well-known Ural dealers (Holopaw, Crawfords, etc).

    Yes it does require more maintenance. Yes, The first 6 months of each I ride with blue loc-tite to snug down bolts and fasteners that have rattled loose.

    I'm good with that.

    Have a nice time with whatever you ride.
    #46
  7. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    You're much more forgiving than me. Rocker arm and final drive shouldn't be breaking on a new bike. That's their fault and you spent your time fixing it. Replacing a rocker arm is something I would have no clue how to do and it's not like Ural is saying "you should be a mechanic to own this bike".

    Yep, I expected the personal attacks. No worries. It's not about me or those who already own a Ural. It's about those on the fence about getting one. Those new to sidecars. Hopefully they'll look at the thread and come away with more info and a clearer idea of what they want.

    #47
  8. Oldmanriding

    Oldmanriding Adventurer

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    So how much do you want for your POS M-70?
    #48
  9. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    It seems you got a great bike. Lucky you. Lots of people don't.
    Just as you say the silent majority are happy with their bikes, I know lots of silent people that have replaced their Ural with a more reliable rig.

    But hey, don't take my word for it guys. Go read any Ural forum. Look in to the maintenance and fixing section. See what the average Ural owner is up to.

    #49
  10. ivel_86

    ivel_86 Oops

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    Man you guys think Urals are bad... Don't buy a "middle" Indian. HAHA Anyways I think the guy has the right to post about his trouble granted I don't personally agree with them being I have had one "issue" with my Ural. I just wish more people took the time to talk about them (ups and downs) before making the plunge than you wouldn't have people that spent the money TWICE writing a long essay about stuff you can find using the search function on here. Either way I really hope the best of luck to you and keep us posted. I love the looks of a bonnie! And I wasn't joking don't buy an Indian if you don't like wrenching on your bike. Take care.
    #50
  11. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Contact me in a few months when I'm back in the USA and we'll work out a price. Because you're serious, right?

    #51
  12. Oldmanriding

    Oldmanriding Adventurer

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    If the price is right. Yes I'd be interested.
    #52
  13. 4PawsHacienda

    4PawsHacienda Been here awhile

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    Reminds me of a Chrysler I had once. Haven't bought another - my personal choice. Took a $ beating when I unloaded it after one year.
    Having better luck with my Ural, so far.Very glad of the support network of Ural riders, invaluable resource.
    Best of luck to you and thanks for the detailed list, I'll check out a few things and hopefully avoid some of your problems.
    #53
  14. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    Well I have been very happy with my Ural, it has been my only transportation for over 4 years and close to 70,000 km. It has not been perfect, but I have never owned a perfect vehicle, what issues I have had were easy and inexpensive to take care of. It preformed well and has proven to be a good value for me.

    They are hand made, old school technology, and can't be fairly compared to the latest, greatest bikes on the market. they are like if Jeep still made the CJ, or Volkswagen the original Beetle. If you want a modern rig, build a modern rig , don't buy a Ural.

    Hard and confusing to work on? I just don't get that statement, I have found it to be the simplest vehicle I have ever worked on. Definitely not a bike for gas-n-go folks, but hard to work on, thats just funny.

    Sometimes Ural threads are like Harley threads, their "shortcomings" get amplified when they don't live up to expectations that were not realistic to begin with, If a bike becomes more about what it doesn't do then clearly it was the wrong choice for that particular persons desires.
    This thread does show there are obviously some personalities than won't mesh well with a Ural, and are closed to the fact everyone's experiences are unique.

    I like Urals, I like what they do and how they do it, and have found mine to be very pleasant to own, In fact I have enjoyed it far more than any other bike I have owned, and I have no desire to downgrade to something more modern and complicated.
    #54
  15. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Some clarification.

    Yes, I'm in Indonesia with one of the Urals.
    No, the roads here aren't extremely terrible or hard on the bike, just the driver.

    Yes, I've driven both of the Urals in the USA and had problems with them there.

    There are frequent problems with these bikes that are simply not acceptable with a new purchase.
    How hard is it to make an accurate speedometer and odometer?
    Why do so many of them seem to come new from the factory with defects?

    Maybe you don't care now that it is failure prone because it's under warranty, but how are you going to feel about that busted final drive in 2 years when the warranty is gone and you have to shell out $800?

    I've owned 6 new bikes and ridden others (Harley, Suzuki, Honda) across Thailand, Vietnam, England, Syria, the USA. None of them has been as problematic as these two Urals.

    But again. If you're a potential owner, don't take my word for it. Get online. Check out the forums. See what problems people are having with their bikes that are near new.

    Plenty of ride reports from people who took long Ural trip and had few problem. Plenty more from others who took similar trips and had big issues. Know if you buy a Ural that you might be one of those people.
    #55
  16. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Still curious about this:

    Will any Ural owners here claim that there is another mass produced motorcycle brand being sold in the USA that on AVERAGE is less reliable than Ural?

    I might be able to concede for Royal Enfield but don't have any personal experience.
    #56
  17. GeezerStank

    GeezerStank Been here awhile

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    I've never had a motorcycle yet with an accurate speedo, they are always 5 to 8% off, I put a Speedo Healer on my VStrom when I changed the front sprocket, that was over $100 bucks, but it did the trick. First accurate speedo I ever had.

    I can kick start my Ural in bare feet with a cold engine, my bike is tuned properly and like any bike you move the engine with the kick starter until on the compression then kick it over, very easy. On my old Harleys the kick arm ratchet would slip and over extend my knee, god that was painful!!

    Broken crash bar, shipping damage?? Did the dealer replace it, if so no biggie.........When I put a K&N filter on my new VMax I found some extra bolts on top of the engine, never did find where they were supposed to go. I did a bolt check on my Strom when I brought it home, lots of finger tight stuff, that was probably shitty dealer prep.......From my experience from any manufacturer, the Dealer's uncrating and final assembly and pre-sale check of the bikes is horrible, a lot of things could be caught then and remedied before the customer gets on and stuff starts falling off......

    Water gets in the carbs? That's weird, do you have a vent hose off? I ride my Ural in pouring rain for hours on end and never had that issue, even after hosing the heck out of it to get the mud off I've had no issues. Something isn't right, you need to inspect all the connections and see if something is off. Each carb has a vent hose that goes up into a T.

    One thing that is funny is the gas tank rubber knee guards on the Ural. When I got my bike and saw the mold webbing left on those we got a good laugh, how hard would it be to have a guy at the factory trim that crap off with a razor blade before it gets installed! My friend's wanted to take them off and trim them, I said no, they stay just like that, it kinda tells a story, ha!
    #57
  18. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    I cant believe you bought two without realizing they have some issues. :lol3

    Never ever heard anyone claim they are perfect, but for a lot of people they appear to be fine.
    #58
  19. Future ten

    Future ten Been here awhile

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    Maybe an old MIG 15 ?
    #59
  20. GeezerStank

    GeezerStank Been here awhile

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    Rocker arm was a know issue on 2010 models, unlike Yamaha that told me to get lost on a known ignition module failure, Ural said I could take the bike to any m/c repair shop or nearest Ural Dealer to be repaired, or they could overnight me the part and I could install it myself. I opted to install it myself, I'm a wrench, took 15 minutes max and I was done. The final drive unfortunately are the last gears on a Ural that are not Herzog and of Russian sourcing. They really need to get those switched over, that's really the last weak spot as far as drive train. When I had that failure they once again offered me the options for repair, they overnighted me the new FD, I installed it in about an hour, done. I live up in the mountains so it was easier and cheaper for me to do the easy installs. If you can fix a lawn mower you can fix a Ural.

    How will I feel if my FD goes out in two years? The same as the Beemer guys that had to replace theirs when they had that bad batch of FD bearings. Or the same as when I had to buy FI tuners to correct the the crappy running Suzuki, Harley or the rejetting I had to do on my DRZ400S to get rid of the lean surge it had. Or the cam chain tensioner that was bad from the factory on certain year DRZs(mine) and if they failed at high rpm it would grenade the motor. How about the Doohicky that needs to be put on KLRs to date at owners expense........I'm not sticking up for Ural, just giving real world comparisons of the purported flawless other manufacturers out there.

    "it's not like Ural is saying "you should be a mechanic to own this bike". Actually it still should be on the Ural site, it does have a paragraph in their somewhere that told you that there was more maintenance and tinkering on a Ural, if it's still on the site, they view it as a bonus for some reason, and some of us do like to tinker more than others.

    This is a good thread though, it will be illuminating for some thinking about buying a Ural, if you don't know which end of a wrench is which, a Ural may not be a bike for you. Or a Beemer or Guzzi either, you have to be able to do valve adjustments, head re-torquing and carb syncing. Simple stuff for most but not for all.

    From what I've read you need to sell your Urals and move on, it ain't your cup of tea. Nothing wrong with that.......
    #60