Why you should NOT buy a Ural motorcycle

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

  1. Heyload

    Heyload Remastered Classic

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,882
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Only thirty years, tsk-tsk. Absolutely shameful! I'd write them a nasty letter, I would....
  2. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,070
    Location:
    Northern Vermont
    This has been a very interesting thread with a touch of snobbery on both ends. One of the things I really enjoy about the world of sidecars is that hack are perhaps the most personalized vehicles on the planet. It is so very rare to see one just like another, and I find that delightful. We experiment more, we share a stronger kinship than do those in the 2-wheeled world, and at least among those sidecarists I've met in person we ride our own ride. If I see a Ural or an old hacked airhead I don't think "What a piece of crap!" but rather try to figure out the other driver's style of travel.

    I love my rig. It's perfect for me and my dogs. I assume others feel the same way about their rigs.

    What are we arguing about?
  3. oppozit

    oppozit Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    341
    Just be thankfull it wasn't a Ural. Sportsman, no spare parts, Ural 650, 720, 825 no spare parts. All less than ten years. Screw the buyers, we don't make parts!
  4. Heyload

    Heyload Remastered Classic

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,882
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Gosh, you're right! Guess I'd better completely forget about ever getting anything that nobody makes spare parts for.
  5. immulmen

    immulmen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    37
    What is a Ural 720 and 825?

    I had the same problem with a Polaris Star Light snowmobile, less then 10 years old and no one on the planet made a track to fit it.
  6. planzman

    planzman commie bike rider

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    Middle Ga
    Hey is the Galaxy still in production? And how many years ago was that? And it was the lowest bidder!:evil
  7. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    396
    Location:
    Wherever it is warm.
    You called it in the second post and you were right!
  8. DavePave

    DavePave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    322
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Flatistan
    Does anyone have data on exactly how many failures the differing manufacturers have? I should think that recall data along with trends in Implied Warranty claims, etc, would help determine if a particular model is reliable, average, or crap.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I often read this and other sites. I see a few of the same people posting quite often - which is fine. My issue is that I don't see every Ural owner posting here to give their opinion - I am left wondering if this blog (and others) have an overall small percentage of owners that are very vocal, or if this really is a cross section of opinion. Personally, I think not, though I cannot say that for sure.
    <o:p></o:p>
    I tend to believe (without empirical evidence) that we have some hard core hack lovers on this site that have some strong opinions, but that still doesn&#8217;t make it a good cross-section to determine overall model specific reliability.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    When researching the purchase of a Suzuki DR 650, I found many a website saying it was crap. General comments were that the bottom cylinder gasket was crap and that it would fail causing the engine to &#8220;grenade.&#8221; One website went into great detail how all single cylinder engines of that size were crap because the transmission output shafts in all of them would come apart cracking the case at some point. Making a long story short, the info on those sites was old and not reflective of a product that has enjoyed a very long production run, with Suzuki improving it each and every model year.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I&#8217;ve had that bike now for 5 years and have enjoyed for what it is immensely. It is not a BMW, nor a Harley. Not a single mechanical issue either.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I&#8217;d be willing to bet that since the Ural was designed in the 30&#8217;s (or 40&#8217;s) that BMW (and other Mfr&#8217;s) has spent many millions improving their models and products over the years. I do not believe that the communist gov&#8217;t of Russia spent a commensurate amount on research, development, test and evaluation. However, I also believe that Ural appears to have done a bang up job in the last 7 years or so, making the change to embrace the capitalist market. As opposed to making mass quantities, they appear focused on quality.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The people on this site that have driven both old and new Urals seem to take note of the vast improvements between the model years. So, it appears at least to me that they are improving. I&#8217;ve only driven a newer model for a test drive, so have no comparison to make.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Still I&#8217;d like to see some cold hard failure numbers, before I was to purchase.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    If they&#8217;ve sold many a thousand here in the states in the last 5 years, and only 1% seems to be blogging about issues, that&#8217;s a fairly insignificant number. But what are the real numbers. Opinion is fine, but I prefer to deal in facts.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Is failure or defect data available? Just wondering.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Still it is an old design and anyone expecting BMW quality at Ural prices is fooling themselves. I&#8217;d still like to get one someday, but wonder the real odds of getting a lemon. With all of the strong opinions, it hard to read it all and garner real facts as opposed to emotion.<o:p></o:p>
  9. Heyload

    Heyload Remastered Classic

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,882
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Nope, last ones rolled off the line in the late 80's...but it is being upgraded with new avionics and better engines and different improved systems. Google "C-5M SuperGalaxy".

    Not bad for an outdated, obsolete design. Hell, Urals probably surpass it in some areas of technology. :evil
  10. FR700

    FR700 Banned

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,512
    I run a late harley and an early K' bm' , you should see how easy the owners of those are to bait when you point out faults/short comings :lol3
    Bm' owners are the best return for effort :lol3. The bm' runs VW badges ... you should see them go off . Well worth the twenty minutes spent on the mill :freaky.

    [​IMG]


    The one thing often overlooked in any comparison is ... the owner . I have one mate that given a crowbar with a licence plate would break it .
    I would buy a Ural but the OTD price here ( Australia ) is over $18,000 for a one wheel drive . Not gonna happen .


    .
  11. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,084
    Location:
    Kent, Washington State
    All manufacturers keep percentages of warranty claims as inaccessible as they possibly can, even highly regarded independent sources like Consumer Reports have been shown to be fairly subjective.

    I'm a city P&D freight driver, and I deliver replacement, engines, transmissions, and parts of all descriptions by the pallet load to car dealers ranging from Mercedes to Kia, they all break, thats why there are warranties. it's all about odds, not guarantees that something will, or will not happen.

    IMO it is fair to say the odds are higher you will have a problem with a Ural than with any other major motorcycle manufacturer, so really the question is whats more important to you, what a Ural is, or what it isn't.

    Ural builds Ural's, not inexpensive BMW's
  12. gspell68

    gspell68 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,971
    Location:
    Georgia (The State, not the Country)
    The only real recalls that I can remember started with the 2003 Retro's hydraulic brakes, some improperly installed wheel bearings and the Hertzog geared gearbox about 2007.

    Don't believe the Cold War hype about the Soviets; remember who put the first man in space!!!
    And the Soviets did spend money on motorcycle research. There was a even the Serpukhov Institute in addition to Ural where they experimented with 1000cc bikes, rotary engines, water cooled Urals, etc. The thing was that most of the superior design improvements went to the Dnepr factory. The Soviets came up with a rear swingarm and leading link front end in 1951 (about five years before BMW used Earls forks); they put a full time 2WD in a swingarm frame (something BMW & Zundapp never did), the Dnepr reverse gearboxes were also autodeclutching (meaning that you really don't have to use the clutch lever except to put it in reverse!), and the Dnepr engine was a better pressure-lubed design. The problem wasn't in the design, but rather in the execution. Like I said before. It's really too bad that it was Ural that survived and not Dnepr.
  13. gspell68

    gspell68 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,971
    Location:
    Georgia (The State, not the Country)
    They weren't Urals, they were Dneprs.
    However, they weren't factory Dneprs. They were some kinda backyard modification with dangerously overbored cylinders to fit Lada car pistons or something that were too heavy and didn't compress well. Or something along those lines.

    Actually, come to think of it, Raceway offered a Ural big-bore kit, but I don't know of anyone who tried it...
  14. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    396
    Location:
    Wherever it is warm.
    If a drained battery on a well used bike with the lights left on counts as "broken" in BMW land then sign me up! I'd love to experience that kind of broken! Good thing you were there with the Ural to save it. Serious!

  15. oppozit

    oppozit Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    341
    Stop polluting the thread with your ignorance. A 720 URAL (not Dnepr) was a FACTORY bike with an 82mm piston and 68mm crankshaft with heads and barrels similar to what finally became the 750 Ural. The 825 was a similar FACTORY bike with an 82mm piston and 78mm crankshaft with heads and barrels similar to what finally became the 750 Ural.
  16. oppozit

    oppozit Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    341
    In Australia with about 180 bikes sold since 2008, the number of "catastrophic" failures (where towing is required) runs at about 10% based on published complaints and internet comments. Towing in Australia is a warrantable cost. (God help Ural Australia Pty Ltd when most people realise that!) It seems most failures have been final drive, gearbox and ignition. Some bikes may have had multiple failures which may affect the accuracy of the statistics.
  17. oppozit

    oppozit Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    341
    That's brilliant. Would you be offended if I copied it.
  18. Midnullarbor

    Midnullarbor Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    347
    10% towing-required breakdown sounds poor ~ definitely worse than the [query]4% for "VW" bikes.

    But regarding unreliability, there is one important extra point in the Ural's favor, relative to certain other European Brands ["Brands", "Marques", "Marx", whatever].
    Or perhaps I shouldn't say "other" Europeans, for the Ural is [strictly speaking] produced in Asia ~ as Irbit is east of the Ural Mountains.

    And that point is : a lot of water can be carried in the Ural's sidecar.
    Some not-quite-adventure riders might sneer at this idea, since they always ride in a posse (plus or minus a Boormanish Back-Up Truck or two) ~ and I will also excuse lone adventure riders who restrict themselves to Alaska, Canada or "waterish Burgundy".
    As yet, EPIRBs and SatellitePhones cannot be relied upon to get you a sufficiently quick rescue in truly remote & arid regions. There, in event of mechanical breakdown, death from dehydration/heatstroke can come surprisingly quickly when daytime temperatures are high.

    On a solo motorbike, it is not really possible to carry much supply of emergency/excess water.
    But in a sidecar, that 100 pounds of water is not an impossible burden . . . it is a desirable ballast!
    Enough water to sustain you for a week or more, while you . . . wait out a rescue . . . or ingeniously cobble repairs from Araldite/JBWeld and duct-tape and that length of fencing-wire which you always carry . . . or you effect (each day) that midday bonfire generating black smoke (with that spare tire so thoughtfully provided by IMZ-Ural).

    So there are unreliabilities . . . and unreliabilities. Of greater or lesser probabilities ~ but with differences of sometimes literally vital outcome.
  19. gspell68

    gspell68 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,971
    Location:
    Georgia (The State, not the Country)
    Ahh, so they were also crappy Irbit prototypes that nobody ever heard of cobbled together from leftover Trabant, Lada, and GAZ spares??? Did IMZ outsource the leftover Ukrainian parts from KMZ's crappy attempt to do the same thing 10 years prior since Ural no longer seems capable of doing anything in-house??? These odd displacement rigs must've never made it very far from the FACTORY or outside the Russian motherland; never heard of them in the USA.

    The great Ural 720's and 825's were obviously overshadowed by the stunning success of the similar displacement Dneprs since there are certainly greater quantities of the latter in the world!!!
  20. oppozit

    oppozit Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    341
    Only Moto magazine, IMZ brochures and the like. What is your problem about the relationship between Dnepr (KMZ) and Ural (IMZ)? Did you buy failed shares? When you stop trying to get your fraudulent 1951 KMZ-750 accepted as real, we will accept you. I can't help you with your stupidity!