Is It Possible To Make A Ural Reliable?

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by nicholastanguma, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma Supporter

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    Hypothetically, so is it possible to make a Ural reliable? Please, no tired jokes about, "Yes, of course, it's called a Triumph Scrambler."

    Really, if one were to purchase a later year carbed Ural and take it to Raceway Services or Holopaw or someone else equally revered within the community for pre-emptive fixes of all the known problems, and throw a wad of cash at it, could it be done?
    #1
  2. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®℗

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    Context, you should try it some time.

    And while we're at it, define "a wad of cash". For some folks of a KLR persuasion, that'll be like what, twenty bucks ?



    .
    #2
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  3. Heyload

    Heyload Bent but not broken Supporter

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    Twenty bucks? What did you do, rob a bank?
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  4. MotoJ

    MotoJ Mobtown Hacker

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    [​IMG]

    Is this a hypothetical question or trolling? You know the answer, right?

    Anyway, why would you spend money on something that ain't broke yet?
    You've heard the old cliche, yeah?

    Plus, if you're going to buy a rig and then take it to Raceway or Holopaw
    (who are on opposite diagonal ends of the country, BTW) and drop a wad of cash to preemptively fix everything, why not just buy a used rig from one of them in the first place?
    #4
  5. MartyL

    MartyL Been here awhile

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    Go to Sovietsteeds.com and look around. If your looking to throw money at a motorcycle in a quest for a low maintenance motorcycle, IMHO I'd look at some kind of Japanese bike and put a hack on it. Urals are allot of fun and yes I drank the kool-aid with them, but Urals require regular routine maintenance. There are several mods that can be done to them but for the most part it's a tinkering rig. The thing is Urals are very simple. IMHO for your first Ural, look at a Ural from 2007 - 2013. Unless you want EFI, get a 2014. As far as used, 2007 seemed to be the most trouble free. I have had two Urals now. a 2005 Patrol and a 2010 Gear Up. Been riding for almost forty years and I can honestly say that the Ural is the most fun I've ever had on a rig. Do I wrench on it? Absolutely. But most of it I can do myself in my garage.
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  6. mysticbus

    mysticbus Mysticbus Supporter

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    If I were you, I would buy a Ural and ride the crap out of it, and then fix it if or when it breaks. You are just going to replace working russian parts, with working russian parts. I am not sure you are buying any time, just spares.
    #6
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  7. Mr.Efficiency

    Mr.Efficiency Adventure Wuss

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    My 2012 has way outperformed expectations. As others have stated, context. The Ural is what it is and what it is is a motorcycle designed to be maintained by someone with a slight amount of mechanical curiosity. This is how motorcycles, all motorcycles, used to be.

    With Routine maintenance, I already have 10,000 miles on my new Ural without a single issue, other than a misstep in dealer assembly that led to a new sidecar wheel hub.

    If you think a motorcycle is not reliable in the first place, don't buy it. All machines are a function of how much money you want to spend. If you want to spend $30,000 on a rig, do a conversion. If you don't, buy one form the only people that make them. Pretty simple. I think a good Japanese or German bike, with new gears and a leading link and a sidecar would be ideal... And very expensive... And the custom conversions will break...

    You get the picture. At the. End of the day I think both of my Urals have been easy to fix, which is a lot better than it being perfect. because no bike is perfect. myR1200GS has yet to malfunction in 50,000 miles, but when it does, it will cost me lots of money. Six one way half dozen the other.

    No matter what you read on the Internet, no machine is perfectly reliable, nor patently unreliable. URAL only makes about 2000 bikes a year now. With that kind of attention, they are getting more reliable, and expensive, by the day.
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  8. jaydmc

    jaydmc Long timer

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    Sorry, I can not resist, Yes, you can make a Ural 100% reliable. Change its usage, flower pot perhaps?
    All kidding a side, If you maintain it, get a newer one and use it as it was intended which is not flying down the freeway then they are reasonably reliable. Early one I often have said make AMF era Harleys look reliable. My first one I purchased broken, it had 12 kilometers on it but it was a very early US import.
    I like to think of them as fun toys never to be confused with transportation.
    Kind of like my MGTD
    If you intend it to be a highway bike then your original idea of the triumph scrambler is right on the mark, perhaps this why we build so many sidecars for scramblers and GS type bikes.
    Jay G
    DMC sidecars
    www.dmcsidecars.com
    866-638-1793
    #8
  9. Tarka

    Tarka Strangely strange. Oddly normal.

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    All Urals need is mechanical empathy on the part of the owner combined with regular checks and scheduled maintenance.
    You can't treat them like a commodity,like a Jap bike,where you'll use it or not use it as and when,with barely any attention.

    Part of the joy of ownership for me is making those regular checks,nipping up the odd loose fastener,adjusting a cable that's got a bit too much slack, putting a few drops of oil on all the pivots,etc.

    As for reliable,until my Vespa addiction hit me,I used my yr 2000 650 Ural every day for eight years of commuting and social whizzing about plus rallies.
    And my 2004 750 did several years worth of holidays.

    Yeah,there was the odd problem,but can you truly say no other machine would provide the same service with nothing ever going wrong?
    #9
  10. MotoJ

    MotoJ Mobtown Hacker

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    Huh? There's a world of options out there, lots on the south side of $30K- in fact most, I'd say.
    Not to mention there's a whole thread here on ADV, and several other sites with forums dedicated to stories about broken Urals.
    #10
  11. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    If you mean never have to do anything? Then no. No you're not going take a Ural and a wad of cash to the dealer and get back a GoldWing. If servicing a motorcycle is too much grief for you, stick with a Honda.
    The key to Url reliability is break it in correctly from day one. Keep up on the required servicing and run/use the bike within it's design parameters. Remember these were designed in the pre-interstate hwy days back when even a paved road was an oddity. They are not Interstate freeway fliers nor are they rock crawler Jeeps. Yeah they've gotten more modern road friendly over the years and with improved metallurgy but it's still a very old design. Start with a good one, maintain it and use it as it was intended and you'll be fine for reliability. Urals aren't for everyone. You got to learn to live at a slower place as in forget 70mph interstate speeds and high speed canyon carving and you got to do the required servicing. All easy simple stuff but it's mandatory not optional. Regardless of how much money have or how lazy you are A Ural is what it is... nothing more, nothing less.
    #11
  12. Pastaman

    Pastaman Been here awhile

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    Everything has been said.
    As a former uralist (without a single issue in 4 years), I would also say that you have to be curious and interested by this type of mechanic, old school design, doing the frequent maintenance and having greazy hands etc. That also implies that you have some free time in your hands to do those things (which was not my case anymore). Otherwise get a modern bike to hack.
    If you wanted to make your Ural fully reliable, you would have to redesign/updgrade most of the engine, drive shaft, gear box parts etc but it wouldn't be a Ural anymore !
    If Ural were reliable, they wouldn't be so attractive and famous ! :D
    I think that a lot of the reliability issues are consequences of bikes that have been abused either mechanically (no oil change, poor maintenace/setup etc) or on the road/off road (highway, high rpm, flooged), but that is a different debate.
    #12
  13. Qwik

    Qwik Adrenaline Addict

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    That thread has probably sold more Urals then any other thread anywhere.
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  14. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

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    I would be more concerned with learning to pilot the rig safely then I would about "pre-emptive" fixing.

    Sounds like you are convinced it is going to fail you before even starting, so in that case, buy something else.
    #14
  15. Mr.Efficiency

    Mr.Efficiency Adventure Wuss

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    Not at all. I've had a lot of those options. The weak part of most sidecar rigs is the lack of a leading link and appropriate gearing. The cheap conversions have weak suspensions and poor hack pulling gears, etc. meaning, they are not nearly as good as my often broken Ural and my very reliable new one.

    I hate the velorex tub with a passion, thus making most cheap options really poor for me. I've owned a velorex chair and hated it. It was mounted to the best motorcycle ever made.... An r75/6... But the lack of a leading link and the crappy sidecar made it much less desirable than my first ural, which broke a lot but was easy to fix.

    The rigs Ive seen, that I want more than a Ural, are all very expensive.

    I am no fanboy, I know Ural's weak spots, but overall they are a great purpose built rig, far better than an inexpensive conversion, even on a great motorcycle.
    #15
  16. BWeber

    BWeber Been here awhile

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    I have spent a lot of money trying to maintain my 2006 patrol. It has 32km on it and I'm still digging a deeper hole in my pocket trying to get it fairly reliable. It is a ton of fun but has let me down several times.
    #16
  17. CCjon

    CCjon Gypsy Rider Supporter

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    Everything possible has already been written about Urals and reliability, EXCEPT for one rock-solid, you-can-take-it-to-the-bank reliability aspect of Urals... and that is their warranty. From personal experience I can tell you that if and when you have a warranty claim, IMZ-Ural is the most personal, supportive motorcycle manufacturer out there. Dealer after dealer has raved to me about how easy it is to work with the Ural home office on claims. How responsive they are and supportive they are with their dealer network.

    Those same multi-brand dealers talk of other major manufacturers that for warrant claims they have to leave messages with an answering service while an upset customer is in their face wanting to know when can they get their bike fixed. They tell me, when they call Ural headquarters, a live person answers the phone and they get a fast response. That is not just one or two dealers talking, but dealer after dealer after dealer.

    That is reliability you can count on when you need it most.

    So buy a newer Ural with warranty, extend it for a third year and ride. Yes, do your maintenance and ride it like it was intended, all the while knowing that IMZ-Ural has your back.

    Ride safe
    CCjon
    #17
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  18. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma Supporter

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    Thanks for all the insightful responses. And, of course, I knew it already; we all did.

    A flower pot, Jay? Well, now, admittedly, that would be one good looking expensive flower pot. But it's better than what Urals usually make: good looking expensive paper weights.

    Yes, a hacked Scramb is light years ahead of the Ural. But it's also got EFI--I like vintage motos, so EFI is not attractive to me. The Ural has loads of ground clearance and reverse gear, the Scramb has not much of one and zero of the other.

    I wish I didn't like the Ural's pretty face so much. My emotional life would be so much more stable if I liked modern, plastic, soulless motorbikes. Hashtag firstworldproblems.
    #18
  19. Pastaman

    Pastaman Been here awhile

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    Well Ural have now EFI...
    #19
  20. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    "If you wanted to make your Ural fully reliable, you would have to redesign/updgrade most of the engine, drive shaft, gear box parts etc....."

    Reminds me of the old formula of how to hot rod a Pontiac engine:

    Begin by discarding the block, the crank, and the heads :rofl
    #20