Ural: 2019 Updates

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Tall Man, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    That's what I'm holding out for, along with that lower first gear!
    #21
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  2. MojaveSidecar

    MojaveSidecar Been here awhile

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    I'm with TurTal ... if the early reports on the 2019 come back positive, I will buy one for my birthday in June.

    I plan to keep my 06 for errands around town, not sure what I will do with my 11 Gobi... maybe make it a hard core off road desert riding machine.... but a 2019 GearUp will be my "see the USA" rig... (at a retired person's pace)
    #22
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  3. Sneeze Juice

    Sneeze Juice Been here awhile

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    Kudos to Ural!

    That’s a lot of change, for the very small price increase.
    #23
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  4. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a lower first gear, or major increase in displacement, but I think the FD issue has been addressed since they upgraded the internals mid 2017. Me and a few other locals have been running them since 2013, and all are still going strong.
    #24
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  5. Sidecarjohn

    Sidecarjohn SidecarJohn

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    History of motorcycle technology highlights that improvements, or innovations on a spec sheet don't always correlate to actual performance. For any mechanical device the proof is in the operation.
    On a related Ural note, how might US/Russian relations ultimately influence ownership ?
    #25
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  6. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    That's exactly what I did, last year, when I bought my 2018 Gear Up.

    And as it concerns my purchase decision, I cared not one whit about international relations. :D
    #26
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  7. BMWBUD

    BMWBUD I couldn't hack it. Back on two wheels.

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    You have to be a little bit of a contrarian to own a sidecar so I don't think international relations will make any difference. :augie
    #27
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  8. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    For those who actually care about such things, IMWA, aka Ural is actually a US corporation with their headquarters in Redmond Washington. The factory in Irbit Russia is a subsidiarie of IMWA.

    Edited for clarity.
    #28
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  9. Sidecarjohn

    Sidecarjohn SidecarJohn

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    I didn't appreciate that Ural manufacturing had moved from Irbit, but in these current times, nothing surprises anymore.
    #29
  10. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    Ural sidecar motorcycles continue to be manufactured in Irbit.
    #30
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  11. MojaveSidecar

    MojaveSidecar Been here awhile

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    Hey Windmill. Can you elaborate on this a bit. Can this these new FD and/or FD internals be retrofitted to earlier years, in particular 06 and 11 GearUps?

    TIA

    Randy from Wrightwood
    #31
  12. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    They upgraded the gears and hardware, and are direct replacements.
    #32
  13. Sneeze Juice

    Sneeze Juice Been here awhile

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    I’m wondering if I ended up with one of these....

    My original would puke fluid no matter what. Correct level, under fill it. Didn’t matter. I would have to check and add constantly.


    It was replaced under warranty, and it never pukes a drop now.
    #33
  14. MojaveSidecar

    MojaveSidecar Been here awhile

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    Wow that's great news.... is replacing these FD gears and hardware something that should be done proactively?
    #34
  15. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    I wouldn't bother, the hardware which was the real weak link was upgraded back around 2013 when they relocated th breather. The gears failing was fairly uncommon.
    #35
  16. carlaking

    carlaking MissAdventuring

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    Writing here about Ural history and I hope that's appropriate. There's so much confusion about the brand, how the bike came to be and its entree into the American market. And something that bugs me about every history I read, not in this thread but elsewhere such as in the new article on Revzilla How Ural survived its own apocalypse, which sums up the entry of Ural motorcycles in the US in one sentence: "The previous U.S. distributor sold Urals as nostalgic "time machines" with BMW-esque pinstriping, and reveled in the many ways it was out of date." There is so much more to it. I want to dive deeper and give credit where credit is due. Let me explain.

    In 1994 I took a job as test rider for Ural America, a company formed by an entrepreneur and bike collector named Bob Gerend in Bellevue, Washington. During a 1993 visit to Russia to investigate a potato-dehydration venture he saw Urals trucking through the snow and wondered if they would be popular as a novelty bike in the American market. He got 10 other biker-execs to invest $250,000 to help finance the startup of Ural America Inc., got 500 orders for the 649-cc Ural IMZ (for $5995) and started importing them. Each bike arrived disassembled in crates padded with straw, and his team assembled, improved (Mikuni carbs, etc.) and tested them.

    At one point Harley-Davidson even agreed to assist with manufacturing expertise, and Gerend applied for a $20 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to overhaul the newly-privatized factory in Irbit. Lots of enthusiasm and passion was behind this new company!

    In 1994 a friend of my dad's showed us an article about Gerend's Ural America and I wrote to him about a project I was planning. He called me as soon as he got the letter. (No email then.)

    I was looking for an interesting motorcycle to ride on a journey around America for an assignment as a blogger (not called that then) for O’Reilly & Associates’ Global Network Navigator, testing out a new thing called the Internet and the World Wide Web.

    [​IMG]

    The Ural looked to be a vehicle that would create some interest and goodwill during the trip around America’s borders, which I aimed to explore.

    Gerend wanted to start delivering the bikes but was very concerned about reliability, so my query came at exactly the right time. I’d ride it and fix it and he’d FedEx me parts whenever I needed when it broke down (he said “when”). He admitted that I might not get far between breakdowns, which was fine with me. I wanted stories and I was a good enough mechanic to deal with this simple machine. In addition to a test rider, he got promotion for the brand to all 500 of the people who were on the Internet back then. But he was thinking long-term.

    Gerend communicated my issues and those from the reassembly processes in his warehouse to the factory and suggested manufacturing or quality check improvements to prevent them, one by one. He‘d already instructed them to do the basics, like carefully set down the newly machined heads onto a shelf, instead of tossing them in a pile, so the fins wouldn’t shatter.

    I got acquainted with my Ural in Bellevue and rode it home to Santa Cruz to play around with it close to home, adjusting the valves and tuning the carbs and getting to know its idiosyncrasies (many), readying myself for the trip. In June 1995 I set off on my American Borders Motorcycle Diaries expedition, sending dispatches to the Internet while test riding this beast. (The American Borders blog is the oldest realtime travelogue on the Internet and I later self-published a book about it.)

    Gerend had contracted motojournalist David L. Hough to create the English-language version of the Ural rider and maintenance manuals and I improved upon them as I could. My 1994 Ural broke down constantly, which made for great stories, but the boxer twin engine wasn’t difficult to repair (besides the electricals) and I got a lot of help from people all around America, Canada, and the Mexican border.

    Based on the input from my repairs and his factory reassemblies, Gerend communicated with the factory to encourage them to make adjustments and increase tolerances. For example, the attachment point to the gas tank was slightly off and vibration created a crack in the tank. I solved it on the third tank that he FedExed by stacking rubber washers and zip-tying them to the tank. But eventually, the factory fixed the alignment.

    [​IMG]

    The company was growing and we were all very excited but it had a sad ending. His partner organized a hostile takeover and Gerend gave it up. IMZ-Ural purchased it.

    I feel bad that this chunk of history is so often left out of the Ural ethos. Gerend is the one who brought it to the USA and so passionately promoted and worked hard to improve the brand. Without his initial interest and efforts, the Ural may have never been imported or improved, remaining in Russia or just dying out completely.

    PS: I eventually sold my 1994 Ural to an electrician who wanted to teach his two pre-teen daughters how to ride. He replaced the Lucas electronics and has been enjoying it ever since though his daughters are long grown. I then rode a Chang Jiang in China, and a Ural from Vienna to the Sahara Desert and back. I recently purchased a 2010 Gear Up with 500 km on it that had been sitting in an ad agency showroom for years, and am setting it up for off-road explorations in Baja.
    #36
  17. FR700

    FR700 Heckler ™©®℗

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    I'll take your KTM off your hands :lol3

    Nice write up from behind the curtain, thanks.


    .
    #37
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  18. BMWBUD

    BMWBUD I couldn't hack it. Back on two wheels.

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    Carla,

    So great to read your post. I've read your book and admired your strength and tenacity. From your first solo (unintended) M/C in Europe thru your Ural adventures your story is engrossing and entertaining.

    Hopefully you have more you want to share with your readers.

    Best of luck with the new ride!

    Ride Well
    #38
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  19. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    Carla, great post and thank you for clearing the air re Ural's US history. I remember following your ride around the US and after you finished I reached out to you with some questions as I was planning an adventure of my own (my wife at the time was also a writer and you two were in touch for some reason.) You promptly answered me and gave me some advice about writing my own diary (I referred to it as a "Manual of poverty" in the sense that it was all about giving up the comforts of modern western society in favor of a more minimalist approach to life and the Ural 650 fit the bill perfectly.) Anyway, since talking to you back then I had my share of travels off the beaten path and, believe it or not, I credit Kerouac, Chatwin and YOU for the inspiration. Spasibo!
    #39
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  20. carlaking

    carlaking MissAdventuring

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    Awwww, I'm so happy to hear it! I hope you publish some version of Manual of Poverty :-) I can help with some self-pub advice too, I don't know if you've seen my online courses - it's great to see more stories getting out into the world about travel like this. So hope to see it on Amazon, soon! It makes this lifestyle less intimidating, more approachable, with a map for living it. Thanks so much for letting me know.

    #40
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