Why you should NOT buy a Ural motorcycle

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

  1. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

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    Yep, I hear you. She is just learning to ride this year at the tender age of 59 and to be honest, I would feel she is safer on the Spyder. They are an amazing machine in terms of modern technology, safety and comfort.

    And I am not afraid to admit that I might drift in that direction but for now, I will stick with old Russian iron.
  2. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    I fix
  3. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    RD,
    I just as soon wait as I'd prefer not to have that experience on my Ural.
  4. Audaciter

    Audaciter Long timer

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    I know I am very late to this thread, but...

    I want a rig of some sort, and there will be one in my relatively near future (as I get settled in a new area, and new job). I want a hack to go camping, take my dog, and eventually do a long adventure (My dream is to get absolutely lost on the TAT).

    I do not have a ton of money, but I do ok.

    My options are a new Ural, a used Ural, or a used non-Ural rig. I can not afford, nor do I have the time, to do a fully custom dual sport rig. I'd love a great DS rig, but how often do used ones come up for sale?

    I decided to torture myself with the thread, and I will admit, for the first several pages, I was seriously upste because I sort of have my heart set on a Ural.

    However, as I read and read and read (I haven't finished the thread, I don't have THAT much time on my hands), I started to get more confident. I've had problems on my previous bikes. Some are known issues that have been known issues for the entire life cycle of the model! Why should Ural problems be any worse? I am a member of a forum dedicated to one of my other bikes, and it also has a "Wrenching" section that would make you think they explode spontaneously if you look at them funny.

    So, thank you Bokad, for convincing me...that I absolutely want a Ural.
  5. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    Patience and let people know you're looking. It will come over time if you have enough of it.

    :D Good to see you doing the research. Read MrCobs stuff and leave him a message, he could know of one available. No harm in asking.
  6. Audaciter

    Audaciter Long timer

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    I appreciate it!

    I'm still a ways off (several months at least) from any purchase, but I am keeping my on eye both the Flea market here, and the hack sub forum flea market thread.

    My heart is leaning Ural. I just need to be careful to not let it over ride good research.

    :D
  7. tattoogunman

    tattoogunman Been here awhile

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    Yeah, just keep an eye out for one. I spent years reading up on them and was finally able to get mine a few months ago. I was lucky to have a Ural expert in the neighborhood a week ago and he helped me get mine road worthy again. Everyone always told me to pick up a well sorted used one versus new - you'll save a ton of money. I don't think mine was as sorted out as I had hoped, but it's all good - it's good now. :D
  8. Audaciter

    Audaciter Long timer

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    It's definitely fun (and a bit torturous) having a look around.

    The only reason I'd lean towards a new one is the warranty. Two years of having any and all issues sorted out for free sounds pretty good. But I am by no means opposed to a used one, or a non-Ural.
  9. capuett

    capuett Scrambunctious Adventurer

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  10. capuett

    capuett Scrambunctious Adventurer

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  11. jamraqui

    jamraqui Adventurer

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    Bokad-
    I wanted to thank you for taking the time to assemble that email "way back when" about Urals and their issues. I'm a 25-year veteran of motorcycle mechanics (professionally trained, registered tech with several brands, etc) and had accidentally fallen in love with the Ural idea... I even put my Harley up for sale to buy one. The thought of being able to go anywhere while carrying everything I needed was priceless.
    But your post saved me from "a fate worse than death", per-se. I still love the Ural idea and am searching for a suitable 2WD sidecar substitute. I even considered buying a Ural Gear-Up and replacing all the things that tend to fail... but nobody make better, stronger, more durable parts for Urals yet to any noteworthy degree. I'd just be replacing a host of parts every 3k-20k miles or so with the same parts that would fail in another 3k-20k or so... ad infitinum. And when you're talking transmissions and driveline components (at least) every 20k miles, that's just too much. :twitch

    I'm rambling... in short:
    1. Thank you. Your efforts are appreciated, especially all the supporting links. I read almost all of them one Saturday.
    2. Still seeking a 2WD off-road capable bike/sidecar rig. Any ideas?
    3. Keep up the good work and don't let those without overwhelming counter-evidence try to dissuade you from your work. Nothing carrys weight quite like "evidence".
    4. For the Ural-lovers out there, I TRULY want to be one of you and I can obviously handle "maintenance and repairs"... but Ural is going to have to become a better starting product before I buy one. And that is in spite of the fact that I REALLY, REALLY want to buy one.

    Thanks again, bokad-
    jamraqui
  12. RidingDonkeys

    RidingDonkeys Purveyor of Awesome

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    Just buy an old Ural and do a BMW engine swap. Richard in Highlands, NC has been doing them for decades, and has even sold a couple of his rigs over the years.


    Sent from the voices in my head and transcribed by their drinking buddy...
  13. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

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    I have over 22k on my 06 and haven't replaced any mechanical parts other than re jetting the carb and putting a Modtop air box on.

    Just tires, brake pads, filter and fluids.

    Good thing I don't have any professional training or I might have not bought one.

    Thanks again Bokad and Jamrquil, you have given me much amusement as I continue to enjoy my Ural.
    :rofl
  14. GeezerStank

    GeezerStank Been here awhile

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    What's really wrong with the Ural is it's hit and miss on quality. Some guys buy them and they have no issues, then there's the other side of that, it's luck of the draw and you could end up with an expensive RPOC like I did. Ural is striving to source good parts and make things better, great company and really dedicated to making a better product. They aren't there yet but trying hard! But when you spend $13,000 plus and add in farkles, that's a fair amount of money and you would hope that the bike would run out good and last. You can buy a used BMW GS hack rig for the same money, but no reverse or 2WD. If I could have seen into the future I would have done the Beemer thing instead, but I'm glad I tried a Ural, I love the damn things, but I got a lemon of epic proportions and the experience was bad and expensive with a couple grand loss at the end when I offloaded it.

    Mine was a 2010, in 7200 miles, snapped rocker arm(not in recall vin list), new crank(slinger came loose), new trans, blown diff, two rim replacements(warped hubs), electrical problem that left me stranded in the middle of nowhere. And on top of that the last dealer visit, it was in the shop for 6 months when it should have been there for maybe a month at most. I got it back and had just had enough, sold it. It really hurt to get rid of it, Urals are just such a fun bike to ride, but mine lost my trust. I would bet that the guy that bought mine, since everything mechanical was new again will probably enjoy years of trouble free riding, or as is the case with Urals, the replacement parts could be no better than the stuff that broke, heheh.

    This is the first I have said about this, I'm not a bokad that wants to sh#t all over the brand or it's owners. I know many many people even with older rigs that have had many miles of trouble free service. Me, in the luck of the draw got a pile of junk. After it was fixed several times and maybe made right, by then I had lost interest and felt my money could be spent better elsewhere. I still think I will get another Ural, but I will buy used and at 1/3 the cost of a new one, and if that one breaks it won't be such a big deal, my investment will be small and the bike categorized as a toy instead of a serious machine.

    I still go out almost everyday and look at Urals for sale, a 2007 or 2008 that's sorted with some miles on it would fill the bill, but I'll wait a few more years until the prices come down on that year range. Once you own a Ural it's in your blood, they are such a cool rig to ride!! I am truly very sad that I got a bad one, I wanted to be buried with that bike, heheh......
  15. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Talking about how great the bike is can only be credible after it's done something noteworthy. I've seen a few reports of actual high mileage Urals, but 22,000 km is under 14,000 miles. Two stroke Chinese scooters are capable of the same top speed and longevity.

    Many modern Jap bikes wouldn't have had their first valve adjustment yet. At that mileage, my '07 GS was barely broke in and had had the oil changed and valves adjusted twice, and still had the original brakes.

    Simple matter of fact, as noted by "GeezerStank", is that the quality IS hit and miss :deal
    I also love the ride, but 1 of the 3 rigs owned by my friends has had serious issues (a '12 GU). That ain't great odds.

    All 3 had fewer than 10k kms, and both '07s were sold before being what I would call "run in" after 4-5 years...and THAT's the problem with the "I like it" testimonials.
    There aren't that many of the rigs out there to begin with, and the guys that rack up the miles (the guy who just did FL to AK comes to mind) are few and far between. 22,000 kms in 7 years is about 2k miles a year. That's light recreational use and, unfortunately, with most of the "I like it" talk comes from those sources it actually detracts from the credibility.
  16. GeezerStank

    GeezerStank Been here awhile

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    My post, which I've taken some time to think about posting is not meant to start a new flame war or to fling sh@t on Ural. It's just a sad story of one unlucky guy that waited years to finally pull the trigger on a Ural when I thought they were sorted enough to spend CASH of around $14k plus for a new one plus farkles. I didn't work out for me, damn shame, but most others are getting good bikes or so it seems. I'm not young and have owned over 40 bikes, I like trying every bike I can, it's been a hobby of mine. So this experience has not been life changing or ruined my motorcycle life, it was just something else I tried that didn't work for me. But yeah it sucked big time, only because it was such a bitchin machine.

    If you follow Ural and the story of the new owners in Russia and the American division, IMWA?, I will absolutely not disrespect them or their efforts. They are trying very hard, invested with all they have to make a good product. As I said I am very sad that I got the bike I did, but the customer service is like no other brand, and there is absolutely no other rig factory made like a Ural. I wish them the best, and in the future I would buy another new one if significant quality control measures/parts are implemented.

    Like I said earlier, I would buy an earlier one as a toy, but I know that Ural in a couple years will be up to par for the American market. That doesn't mean turn a blind eye to things, they really have to come up to a acceptable level, and they are partially there, that's why some guys get a great bike and some don't. For the money they should all be good, end of story.

    For me to get another new one, which I would like to do, the other thread with a test model with the FI and all disc brakes shows there are big things to come. The disc brake are cool, but the FI I could live without. If we make any muffler or intake changes we'll need a $300 Power Commander. I found that the CV carbs like on a lot of other bikes I owned were easy to tune and cheap to make changes on.

    My only recommendation to Ural is to get the motor reliably to 850-900cc, and a 5 speed tranny for the American market. A lower first gear and a overdrive 5th gear that the bigger motor could push. No small order for a small limited production company! But this was all done years ago in the Harley market, Harley being propped up by S&S for displacement, and Baker, Jim's and others making conversions for the trannies with better ratios/more gears which then HD copied in house and upgraded their bikes to nowadays. Hey Ural, contact the above companies for solutions you can't afford yet........

    Okay I've babbled long enough, anyone that tries use me as a springboard for sh#t flinging is sorely misguided. I totally stand behind Ural and their Herculean effort to bring the machines up to par. And they will, no doubt about it. If you've owned one, have a good one now, or get a solid one in the future, nothing else made or fabricated in the aftermarket is what these bikes are.

    Nuff said, eh..........
  17. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    :y0!

    My 07 Patrol has almost 82,000 km on it, has been my only vehicle for over 5 years, and while not perfect, it has been as good or better than many other bikes I have owned.
    Two weeks ago I rode down to Oregon, did the Blackdog enduro rally taking 2nd place for Saturday only riders, and rode home.

    Is that credible?
  18. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    I hope you don't think I used you as a springboard to rant against Ural.

    I had 2 points to my post. The first was that 14k miles in 7 years IS, as you said, "an earlier one as a toy", rather than something to brag about. Being delighted in something being used as a novelty isn't proof of reliability.

    And the other point was that, although they HAVE made a Herculean effort and quality IS fairly good now, problems are still too common (and that's a fact you don't dispute). But still, they need miles on them to actually be "Proven", and there ARE some out there.

    BTW, I started that other thread and wouldn't mind the power commander to go with the FI...IF I decided it was needed, and welcome the improvement in fuel economy.
  19. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    He11 YES
  20. coupe1942

    coupe1942 Been here awhile

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    When one discusses high vs low mileage as being credible, they generally forget the uses of the rigs compared to others the tend to compare. Most Urals are not just used as street machines, nor are they polished and cared for with the intensity that many other brand owners exhibit. They spend their lives in riding the trails, brushes, bushes, mud-bogs, rock filled roads, unbeaten paths and under conditions that most other machines don't begin to endure. All that with a sidecar attached that is like driving in the wind with a brick. Not to mention all the accompanying gear and extra passenger that other machines don't generally pack as the norm. To a degree it is like comparing apples and oranges or a vintage pickup truck to a Porsche. The low mileage Urals generally have more of a story behind them than the high mileage other brands. The were probably never meant to be punished in the way that many owners tend to do so, but they are very tolerant creatures, especially if the owner maintains them well and learns to listed to what the motor and such is telling them.

    Credible is what one makes of the term. I can certainly claim my rig is credible, based on the low maintenance and fun factor I have enjoyed for years now. It may not have near the same mileage as someone like Cob or some iron butt wonder kid, but it gets me to point A from point B and does so with the regularity of a vintage Timex watch. I could care all the less about someone needing to see X amount of mileage on the rig for me to brag about it's dependability. Life is too short to worry over such views. High mileage is really not something I have to have in order to enjoy my rig fully at any given time. I'm enjoying rebuilding my rig presently at my own pace, as I decided to do some powder coating and graphics changes on it. Once on the road again, I suspect my dogs won't really give a tinker's damn about what someone else thinks about the credibility and dependability factors of it, as we will be enjoying the rig to the fullest and will continue to believe that many others will do exactly the same.

    Just like any other brand out there, some are grand and some are lemons. Some dealers are great and some not so great. Some owners are great and some not so much, too. Those things will be givens for a long time in the motorcycle sidecar world we enjoy. I'm just glad that my rig gives me pleasure, I can do most work on it for myself and that the company still has most parts available to keep it going for some time to come. I also enjoy the fact that this company does make an effort to produce machines of good quality and provide service of the same. Can they improve? Sure. Can't we all?

    It is sort of fun to read through all the post replies here and see the variances of opinions and pros and cons argued. Reading this thread is actually a good thing to recommend to any potential buyer, as they can make up their own minds as they weigh out all those pros and cons for themselves. It will be interesting in the next few years, as many of the older riders and owners will be approaching an age where they can no longer put their Urals through the paces as they now do. This means a market change as the older uralists age. This also means the company as we know it now, may have to make changes. Not just because of government regulations in various countries, but because of the age changes involved and the tastes of the potential consumer base. The old "grandpa mobile" Urals may take on a new flavor in the future that is not even similar to what we know right now. This is happening in other brands as the youth market drives them and steers away from the baggers and such that were so popular a short while back.

    I am glad that someone with a bad experience can really adapt and make the most from it instead of looking to blame. That is great to view in this thread, too.