Why you should NOT buy a Ural motorcycle

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

  1. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    No one will claim it, because they are not, but they are not as bad as you are trying to imply. Your experiences and opinions are not an undenialable universal truth.

    Also I can say in time even the most reliable technology wounders will need work
    , and at todays shop and parts prices that initial "reliability" will come home to roost. Pay now, pay later, there is no free ride.
    #61
  2. Berger

    Berger Been here awhile

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    I spent plenty of time in the same forum for the KLR.
    #62
  3. Berger

    Berger Been here awhile

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    I cannot make such a claim because I haven't really owned many bikes. I did find it funny that I had to make such a critical repair to my KLR650 (the Doo). I guess a large, reputable company like Kawi, which makes such quality products, still hasn't addressed the problem because they 'counted the beans' and figured they could deal with the complaints and potential lawsuits versus recalling the bike. IMWA, on the other hand, actually addresses issues with their products.

    I have personally advised many new buyers that if they are useless with a wrench, don't buy a Ural. Some haven't heeded that advice....and did just fine.

    I am still curious if you will provide a link to this write-up to any potential buyer of your bike(s)?
    #63
  4. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    I don't know what you've been riding but on my Honda and Triumph the speedo and odo are pretty accurate. More importantly the needles don't bounces all over the place.

    The problem with kick starting the M70 solo isn't the engine but perhaps the way the lever was installed and the amount of travel. Not enough of it. If the dealer can't kick start it then there is a problem.

    #64
  5. Berger

    Berger Been here awhile

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    :thumb
    #65
  6. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    Well, if it wasn't for that one broken spoke I found at 11,000KMs, I would have to say that my 2010 Gear Up HAS been perfect.
    #66
  7. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Kinda pointless to claim what I would or wouldn't do. Would you believe me anyway? I guess we'll find out what actually happens with time. Anything else is just posturing

    #67
  8. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Does your M70 Solo kick start? The travel on the arm is very short on mine and not even the dealer can kick start it. Maybe it's installed wrong.

    #68
  9. North"wet"

    North"wet" Born To Meander

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    Hello, I'm Michael and I'm an Ural owner.

    So what's wrong with mine? The innertubes don't leak, it steers straight, is a great daily commuter, has required only routine maintenance and feeds my vanity with more attention than the neighbors' custom Harleys. My wife loves it.

    Maintenance? I suggest buying something Italian if you want maintenance, and expensive maintenance at that. After 16 years of commuting on BMWs I decided that I wanted to go back to the basics that my first BMW airhead had and I wanted a sidecar rig. I enjoy doing the wrenching for routine maintenance and spent 15 years looking at and reading about Urals and hacks before I decided to buy a 2011 Patrol.

    Hope you find a combination that works for you.

    North"wet"
    Fresno, CA

    #69
  10. Biebs

    Biebs BMW Airhead

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    WOW!!! this thread is active:D

    So I will chime in here


    Ural's are expensive$$$ The quailty is getting better up to the early 50's maybe but the US dollar does not go a long way to buy a Ural!!!

    $12,000 for a new Patrol if you got the money burn it!!! Finance it!!!!!


    Way to much $$$ for the unit!!!!!!


    If the Ural's were $6,000 US dollars it would be a good deal!!!!!!!!:rofl
    #70
  11. Billtr96sn

    Billtr96sn Flange Furtler

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    I chimed in earlier in support of the OP and I am still agreeing with him.

    At present I ride a 1984 Honda XL600LMF that has not had a easy life. It had been ridden across Europe to North Africa and back twice. It has been ridden very, very hard and now has a chair attached and is still giving sterling performance.

    Major issues?- None
    Minor Issues?- None.

    What has it needed, regular servicing as per 'the book', thats it. The engine has never been apart, the carbs have been off once due to crappy fuel. What more to add? Now, compare that to the average Ural?
    #71
  12. GeezerStank

    GeezerStank Been here awhile

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    That's kinda weird about the kick starter lever, it should come down and engage level with the ground, it does have a short stroke as compared to most kick starters, but if you get it on the compression, a tuned Ural starts extremely easy. Have you jetted your carbs from the factory lean jetting?? Does the kick lever actually turn the motor over? I just measured mine, from when the kick arm engages until it hits the rubber bumper on the frame is about 6 inches, pretty short stroke, but it works great on mine. Hey, you do know that you have an electric starter right, haha, just jokin with you. :lol3

    Even with lean factory stock jetting, chokes out and the throttle turned a tiny bit that thing should fire up easily. Is this the bike that gets the water in the carb? You may have a line off that's making it run even leaner than stock and start hard. Running lean is death to a air cooled motor! Check the carb boots from the a/c and the rubber fittings from the carbs to the head, if one of those is partially off, not good.....

    If your dealer can't start it, I sure hope he's in the process of fixing it? If not he should be. This is a simple issue that shouldn't be a big deal..........Yeah on older Guzzis and new Urals the speedo needles do tend to wag their tail a bit, nature of the beast I guess, I don't think much of it.....I've owned a lot of bikes, each has it's own list of irritants, I either learn to live with them, spend a bunch of money to re-engineer, or sell them before I push them off a cliff....
    #72
  13. ML WYDELL

    ML WYDELL NED

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    I've been considering buying a Ural so I'm finding this thread interesting. Are there any years to stay away from?
    #73
  14. GeezerStank

    GeezerStank Been here awhile

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    They used to say 2005 and up, then due to improvements they say 2008 and up. I waited until the 2010 improvements and bought a new one. Buy the newest one you can afford. I don't want to piss off the Ural 650 guys, but I wouldn't buy one of them. :eek1
    #74
  15. cdscoot

    cdscoot Adventurer

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    I think it has been talked to death on the Soviet steeds forum that if you are not mechanically inclined or do not enjoy fiddling with your bike then The Ural is not right for you. The corralary to that though is that you are not fit for ANY bike. These are not appliances like cars that are forever forgiving. One mecanical failure on any bike can be life threatening. Every manufacturer that builds bikes has these problems. Many would like you to believe the have none, but the sad fact is they do. Ask any honest dealer out of earshot of his shop. If you want a blender then you should be looking for something else. I don't personally think the ideal machine is made for you Bokad !
    #75
  16. crampfan

    crampfan Banned

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    The only time my '06 has been towed was due to a "up graded" ign.system. My Ural is no more unreliable than any of the 1950-1970 European bikes I have owned (ride em' hard on the week end, stand in line at the dealer on Monday) I have to believe that if all the bikes Ural made were "Russian junk" the company would not still be in business. My Gear Up has done everything I have asked it to. Example.. I know it's not a freeway bike, so I don't ask it to do that. Do you really use your hand to put it in reverse?...hmmm....:D



    "Ural, a special motorcycle made for special folks"
    #76
  17. Dachary

    Dachary Been here awhile

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    So since one of the threads in the original post about a Ural failure was mine, I suppose I should chime in.

    I recently bought a new Ural (bought new instead of used for the warranty, and for some of the improvements they've made in the past few years) and it failed on the way home from the dealer. Had to have it towed back to the dealer just 2.5 miles from making it home!

    The dealer claims that the problem was a bad part - a part that Ural themselves outsourced and have had some quality control issues with. So I can't really blame that one on Ural. After replacing that part, the thing has run like a dream. Did a 300 mile day on it the day after bringing it home, which is a lot on a new engine that's still breaking in, and it just keeps getting better and better.

    Am I expecting to have problems with it down the road? Maybe. I've been reading seriously about these bikes since January, when I went to look at them at the dealer the first time, and it seems that some people ride these things forever with zero problems and some people have significant problems that turn them off the bike. Since I've just got 500km on mine, it's far too early to tell whether my ownership will be relatively trouble-free.

    That being said, yes, the service intervals are a bit irksome. It requires much more frequent service than our Beemers. But in the end, we kinda feel that the ease of service makes up for it a bit.

    Reliability? I feel that with any bike you get, reliability is going to be a crap-shoot. We took our BMW F650GSes on a trip through the Americas and had some issues. Spent around $2,000 on maintenance and repairs during a 4-month trip, and another $2,000 when we brought them home to fix some issues from the trip. So yeah, that's a lot. And these are bikes that are lauded for their reliability. (And to be fair, in spite of the problems we had, we were pretty pleased with the way they performed on the road.)

    I kinda think of problems with bikes as inevitable. It isn't "if" they're going to break down, but "when" and how you'll deal with it when it happens. So I don't see the Urals as any more difficult than any other bike, because they all have problems. (On our F650s, we've had gasket problems, fork seals have gone, radiator fan died, rear shock died - and we haven't yet encountered the "known" issue of the water pump going, although we do have a couple of spares in our spare kit. We also had some electrical problems that were *very* costly. So I'm liking the idea of a "low-tech" bike on which we can do most of the work ourselves.)

    I wouldn't say a Ural is for everyone, because no bike is for everyone. Everyone has their own needs and desires when they buy a bike, and there's always the intangible "smile factor" that can't be calculated. But being more than passing familiar with the types of problems these bikes *can* experience (I maintain that things like "wrenching and modifications" sections of bike-specific forums aren't representative of ownership in general, because people *only* post in those sections when they're having problems) - we're intending to take our Ural on a RTW trip in the next year or two. We're fully prepared to deal with whatever problems crop up while on the road. After doing the research, we intentionally chose a Ural over hacking a sidecar to some other bike for a variety of reasons. It *is* the bike for us.

    I'm sorry that you've had problems, but I don't think that is necessarily representative of the average ownership experience for these bikes. And I feel like throwing out the "It Didn't Break Thread" was a bit misleading, because that thread wasn't started "for self affirmation because with a Ural, that's something to celebrate." It was started as a joke, because a newb who had been reading the "hammering and wrenching" forum commented on all the problems these bikes seemed to have, and the point was that plenty of people never have problems with these bikes.

    I'm sure that info about your bikes' failures will be helpful to some people who are considering buying. But I feel that your post here is slanted toward the negative while minimizing the positive. It's not objective. And as a result, it's not as helpful as it could be otherwise. It has sort of a "sour grapes" vibe that is clearly polarizing readers.

    As far as your statistics for stating that Urals are unreliable compared to other bikes - I'd love to hear your stats. What numbers did you crunch to determine this? Where have you found the data that supports the "higher number of failures versus other bikes" assertion? If you're basing it on more than anecdotal evidence from reading a wrenching forum, I'd love to hear how the statistics break out.
    #77
  18. Oldmanriding

    Oldmanriding Adventurer

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    What was the Upgrade, what problem was there and how did you fix it if I may ask? Thank you.
    #78
  19. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Just blitzed through the whole thread. Talk about a thread exploding overnight! Obviously Urals are bikes that bring out a lot of emotions, love or hate. IMO we live in a bit of a Golden Age when it comes to mechanical things, and vehicles in particular - engineering, electronics, metallurgy, machining (CNC !)... really, manufacturing on the whole, has advanced to the point we've come to expect (previously unthinkable) reliability. The Ural (just like the India produced Royal Enfield) is a different animal, and despite advancements I don't think it's fair or realistic to compare a Ural to more modern designs. As much as the Ural has character in spades, I'd build myself a BMW air or oilhead hack if I wanted a boxer. Instead I have a Goldwing & KLR650 rig - the Goldwing to satisfy the high tech highway cruiser mission, and KLR for back country cruising. The Ural is really a neat older design, and occasionally when I see a nice used one come up for sale I think, just for a second, it'd be neat to have one. The practical side of me however thinks otherwise.
    #79
  20. JerseyBlues

    JerseyBlues Adventurer

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    You know, the more bokad posts replies, the more inconsistencies appear with his comments. The more generalizations and dissing of all things Russian...no wonder IMWA no longer responds to him. BTW- Russian Standard vodka is quite good, even to Russians.

    I'm certainly no mechanical genius, but he references one of my threads where I have to remove the sidecar driveshaft, rear shocks, swingarm, rear brake lever, final drive, neutral switch, air box and starter motor to replace a broken clutch acuator rod that cost me $15. Most of my friends were absolutely amazed that I was able to do that repair on my own with only the tools that came with my 2004 Patrol! Heck, I have trouble fixin' the push mower when it won't start!

    I've seen Ural owners replace cylinders in a campground on the ground covered in pine needles while drinking Baltika #9s (another great Russian product) and then go riding offroad the next couple of days and ride it home afterwards with no further issues (QBall).

    The more you post, bokad, the more it is apparent that you are certainly not capable of wrenching, let alone adventuring anywhere that doesn't have maid service and your special kind of bar soap in the hotel rooms you would have to stay in. You talk like you are a well-versed world traveller, you had me fooled. Most people that fit in that category just book the trip with a tour guide and ride in the bus...

    When I go on rides out past where Jesus lost his sandals and something breaks, I can fix it and get home. Many, many of my Honda/Suzuki/KTM/Kawi riding buddies break down out there and guess what? Yep- I tow them out with my Ural so they can take it to the dealer to have it fixed in a week or two.

    I've got 32,000kms on my '04 with LOTS of long distance travels (not as much as Berger, or windmill, or Mr Cob, or garylongstitcher or whatever his name was, or even Hints from Heloise!) but I know what the rig can do and what it can't do.

    Here's a quote from windmill that says an aweful lot:

    The beauty of a Ural isn't about the common things it can't do, it's about the uncommon things it can do. -windmill
    #80