Ural-a-ling the USA, Mr. Cob goes on tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Mr. Cob, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. gumshoe4

    gumshoe4 Long timer

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    Greetings. I just discovered this thread two days ago and have read it from beginning to end. Fascinating...particularly your observations about some of the places I've been in Colorado, the Tetons, Yellowstone, Cody, etc.

    Thank you for the great story...I've been spellbound reading it for the past several days...you really took us all for a great ride...making a transcontinental trip on a motorcycle is something I've always wanted to do and it looks like I need to, particularly after this.

    I am interested in hack rigs and have been for some time. I became aware of Urals about two years ago and actually got a chance to see and sit on a Patrol at the San Mateo International Motorcycle Show last year (I think the dealer from Santa Clara was there). I also checked out a Ural at Central Valley Ural in Modesto, CA last year but have learned that they are no longer in business.

    I'm very impressed with the performance of your rig. I've thought about getting a Ural, but, frankly, I'm not much of a wrench and the nearest dealer is the one in Santa Clara...about 100 or more miles away. If I could be assured that normal maintenance (valve adjustments, etc) would be something I could do, I'd be willing to try, but it's tough learning on your own without some expert guidance.

    Also, it's difficult in many places around here to get from Point A to Point B without hitting the interstate. Your report shows that it can be done on a Ural, but I wonder if the prevailing speed of traffic was greatly in excess of the Ural's capability (apart from drafting semis-which is something I, personally, wouldn't try). I think it could potentially be quite dangerous to be running along at 65 or so with cars zooming past you at 80+...and I speak from experience here, as we just drove from Sacramento to Greeley, Colorado to deliver my daughter to college about two months ago...the semis, in particular, and cars as well, seem to be rolling in excess of 75 as a matter of routine. I'd be concerned that I was impeding traffic in an environment like that, so the key, I guess, would be to find alternate non-Interstate routes.

    Long-winded commentary...yes, your story has motivated me to check out the Urals once again, but I still have a lot of questions about reliability, ease of maintenance and performance...and I don't have the luxury of having 3 or 4 different bikes, so the Ural would be it.

    In closing, I want to simply thank you and your buddies for your service to our country and for your support of our troops in harm's way now. I am not a combat vet...just a vet...but was in just after Vietnam and have many friends who served there, including my first CO, who was an A-4 pilot shot down over North Vietnam and ended up a POW for 5 or 6 years. I think you stated it most eloquently when you told the story of your friend who was killed in action there and nothing needs to be added.

    Bob
  2. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Bob, Ski @ TriQuest in Santa Clara is top notch. HE will show how to do any thing on a rig and is willing to help in a trouble spot. I have been more than happy with him and his service and the Gear Up has been no problems.
  3. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy gumshoe4,

    Thanks for your kind words regarding this ride report. :D

    Do not be afraid of the routine maintenance required to keep a Ural running in top shape, it is very easy to do.

    Ski at Triquest the dealer in the Santa Clara area is one of the best and will treat you right. I would suggest that you check out the "Soviet Steeds" web site, there you will find all the information you would ever want to know about all things Ural related. As I have said before if you end up buying a Ural and my ramblings have influenced you to do so please send me a PM or an email stating this. Thanks.
  4. cpres

    cpres Been here awhile

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    I am in So. California and own a Retro. Shi at Triquest has been great for parts and advice. I do ride on the slab and I stay to the right. I have owned the rig for less then a year but I have put over 3000 miles on it (weekend toy) and it has only got better. I would say to try it you will like it if you are willing to ride at a Ural pace. I have done 400 mile day trips on it also, good times.
  5. baldwithglasses

    baldwithglasses Godspeed, Robert

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    Bravo!

    Now I see why this thread's so darned popular- there's tons of great stuff here.

    WElcome back, Mr.Cob, and great job. Can't wait to hear more about the factory's assessment of the tour rig.
  6. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy All,

    I have been in contact with Ilya who has recently returned from the factory, he said that the factory is and will be testing different types of thread inserts and or threaded plugs installed in the crank case casting to secure the cylinder studs. When I receive information on the results of this testing I'll pass it along.

    Sergey the IMWA master wrench has just returned back to the USA after had a well deserved vacation with his family back in Russia, when he gets caught up on all his work the tour rig will be given a check up. I am still driving the tour rig, the test continues.
  7. dmobrien2001

    dmobrien2001 n00b

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    I did my 30,000 Kilometer service today on my 2006 Ural Tourist LX. Engine oil/filter, tranny oil, and gear oil in the final drive. Replaced the sparkplugs and cleaned and oiled the K&N air filter. This is my daily commuter (100 Km a day, 5 days a week). Not quite "gas and go" but has been dependable as a commuter since I picked it up 05/06/07. I've had to "fix" a few things along the way, but it has never NOT taken me to work. Service intervals are shorter than what one expects, but working with this new/old technology has a "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" quality about it.

    Mr. Cob has demonstrated these rigs can do cross-country touring reliably.
  8. Deedub

    Deedub n00b

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    Great adventure Mr. Cob. I’ll make sure to pm ya when I pick up the 08 Gear up. You’re an ambassador for the sport and the brand and I Thank You! :D
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  9. SteelJM1

    SteelJM1 Former Undercover KTM rider

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    Jeez oh man! What a trip!

    I just read this whole thread over the past two days, and let me say I'm impressed! I was referred BACK to here from the sv-portal, (I originally came on here last year to sell my DR650, for an SV1000... now i have the adv bug back in my butt, thought I never liked the DR all that much).

    I went to the cycleworld bike show in Phoenix last weekend, and stopped by Urals spot and was impressed! Something I haven't felt since I was a kid (Though most of you old fogeys would probably consider me a kid anyway), and that was the love for the old war bikes, ESPECIALLY with sidecars. I remember my mom telling me when she was a little kid in Poland, she remembers one of the neighbors down the street who was pressed into service by the Wehrmacht and became a combat or recon Motorräder, that he was an expert with his BMW, with flying the hair and taking kids out on rides in it all the time. I always wanted one, bit figured I'd have to wait until retirement before I had the time and money to find and restore an old beemer, and at that point the damn things would be over 100 years old! When I realized that the Ural spot was not just some dude showing off his old German war toys but was, in fact, a manufacturer of NEW Russian-but-old-german-designed war bikes I was thrilled!!

    Since last week I've been doing as much research on these bikes as one person can stand and it seems as if the old unreliablity problems have been more or less taken care of. God knows my dad (old Polish guy) will give me grief about getting a Ural when the time comes but I'll have to convince him that they're so much better than the old ones. Alas, the pricetag on these means I will have to wait a couple years and get one as a graduation present to myself. Maybe by then the last of the niggles will be ironed out.

    Couple questions for Cob and the other foilheads; It doesn't look like you did any particularily rough offroading, and I know a complaint with these is that the fisrt gear is much too tall if one must go slowly through rough terrian. Is there any talk at the headquarters about adding a shorter first gear, or even better, adding a transfer case like the old R75's iirc for very low speed high torque running? It's not a make or break deal for me, but it would be nice since I plan on spending a lot of time putzing about in the desert around here!

    Cob I have to say, your adventure certainly soothed any of my reliability concerns about buying one of these hacks, and impacted my decision to buy one... once I have the funds.
  10. cyborg

    cyborg Potius Sero Quam Numquam

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    Oh boy, are you in for it now... :lol3 :lurk
  11. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy SteelJM1,

    When it comes to "off roading" please go to the ride reports forum and do a search for "Ural-a-ling" I have started all of my ride reports that have been off road with that word, it will bring up things like "Ural-a-ling in the Black Dog" or "Ural-a-ling in Death Valley", the Dirty Face, the Dead Zone, etc. Go to "You Tube" search for videos by "Mr. Cob" there you will find a lot of videos showing some pretty good stuff. Go to the "Ural home page" go to down loads, click on and watch the video I took of the Urals in Death Valley a couple of years back, in particular watch when we go UP and OVER Mengel Pass.

    Yes the Ural needs a lower first gear, no it can't be done with the present transmission or final drive there is not enough room in them to allow for a larger diameter gear. I seriously doubt that a Hi-Low transfer case will ever be made, the cost to design and build such a unit would never be recovered with the small number of folks who would actually be willing to pay the price of such an option.

    There is a "rumor" that IMWA is thinking about a 5 speed transmission at some point in the near future, I have been and will continue to lobby for the new transmission if it is in fact going to be built to be able to have different gear sets available, one for the guys who want to go down the Hwy at speed and one for nut-cases like me who could care less if the top speed is 45 mph so long as it will climb a 50% grade at 3 mph with the clutch fully engaged and no need for feathering it. Will it happen, darned if I know.
  12. SteelJM1

    SteelJM1 Former Undercover KTM rider

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    Indeed you did do some hard offroading.. and it looks like there was a lot of clutchwork to get over those boulders! PErhaps a 5 speed transmission with a nice low first would be the best bet. No need for a transfer case in in a bike making 40hp.

    Now what's the story of the 3 cylinder diesel that's being put into that one Ural earlier in your trip?
  13. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

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    You can take it to the bank that Mr. Cob does some serious off roading! I've been passed more than once and have photographed Dave & Spot in some knarly places.
  14. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy SteelJM1,

    As you can see the clutch takes one HELL of a beating, it was after the first Death Valley trip that I got busy and started to experiment with the clutch disks and ended up with the modified ones I and quite a few other folks use.

    As to the diesel engined rig, a guy up in Alaska did a diesel conversion about a year ago, he ended up selling the rig on E-Bay. The one being built in Florida is going to be used on a farm, I don't have any other information on it at this time. The diesel engine will put out tons of torque but is pretty low in the rpm department. It also sits very low in the frame and there is not much in the way of ground clearance, this is not a good thing for off road use. I will be contacting Gene ( the dealer who is working on the diesel rig ) from time to time and see how things are stacking up.
  15. SteelJM1

    SteelJM1 Former Undercover KTM rider

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    Hmm, perhaps I could shoehorn a Suzuki 650cc v-twin in there... or not bother and leave the regular engine in there! Chalk up another sale for IMZ due to your adventurous exploits, Herr Cob, though my sale will be slow in coming unless the lottery gods smile upon me.
  16. Krashdragon

    Krashdragon Been here awhile

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  17. Krashdragon

    Krashdragon Been here awhile

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  18. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy Mary,

    I'll ask Mrs. Cob, to give this a whirl, sounds great too me. :clap
  19. Sedro Tom

    Sedro Tom No hurry, no worry Supporter

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    Mr. Cob, I just spent all day and part of the night reading the entire report (not all of the replies). One great trip:clap. I rode in the group last sunday and was right behind you for aways. You awed me when I had a hard time keeping up. Of course my noob skills ain't up to your level. Still thats a great machine.:eek1
  20. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy Tom,

    I am glad you enjoyed reading the ride report, thanks for your kind words.

    The Ural is one heck of a machine, it often surprises folks who have never seen what they are capable of, if we had had more mud and some snow on the ground you would have seen how well they can handle such adverse conditions. Many times when riding the Ural in dual sport rallies I have passed two wheeled machines when the going gets rough with deep ruts or muddy conditions, often after a rally folks have walked up to me and told of how they couldn't believe how the Ural can handle nasty terrain.

    Yes they are slow, under-powered and ugly, but as one who owns 7 bikes of all kinds to include a DRZ400S and a R1150GS, I have the most FUN while riding the Ural. Try it, you just might like it. :wink: