Why you should NOT buy a Ural motorcycle

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

  1. NxtGoRnd

    NxtGoRnd This Time Around, Wearing Out Tires Supporter

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    Right tool for the right job, if ya need a silk purse you buy one. I'm sure some one would build him a 2020 R1250GSA rig with custom side car or tub of his choice in matching colors with lots a farkels probably not much over 50 Grand or so. Or staying on road maybe a 2020 Goldwing and Hannigan or other car.

    I knew for the most part what my rig was capable of and what it was not capable of and realized that many had major problems and others did not. I have 30,000 kilometers and replaced a seal on the final drive input shaft 28 bucks and a couple hrs doing a few other things at the same time. That was at 13,000k. Maybe just lucky Don't Know.

    One of the worst stories I read about was someone who ran it well over its capabilities and did a lot of complaining and griping before ever admitting what they had done. I do believe some problems are the factories fault and some are dealer set up or lack there of along with no knowledge of the product.
  2. bpw

    bpw Been here awhile

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    Its rather telling that "only" needing to replace seals and not having issues in 30,000km is considered lucky. Plenty of modern bikes aren't even at the first valve adjustment in that time.

    Urals are cool for sure, and I get why people buy them since they are the only turn-key sidecar option (and 2wd) but the prices do seem to be getting a bit silly given the build quality.
  3. NxtGoRnd

    NxtGoRnd This Time Around, Wearing Out Tires Supporter

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    d
    I did not say I was lucky just that maybe luck I did not know. Might be I keep up the maintenance and do it all myself, might be it wasn't made on Friday or Monday might be a lot of things might be I don't abuse it might be might be I understand it. I understand every body but me gets 500000 miles on one tank of gas with no problems ever. I have two BMWs and a Honda and have owned most brands at sometime in the last 50 years. If it is not what you are seeking nothing will change that. I have had many problems with many bikes through the years. I have owned two of same model one with a few problems the other not so much.

    Bottom line is it is what it is whatever it is. It might be the best one made it might not regardless of who made it. I "only" had to do a transmission on a BMW that had just a few more miles.

    I would suggest to anyone by what they are comfortable with and live with it or sell it and move on.

    Just my experience yours may vary.

    Peace
  4. ScottMastrocinque

    ScottMastrocinque Adventurer

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    Ride what you love so that you love what you ride!

    Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry...
  5. Gasket

    Gasket Wandering Samurai

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    Gord doesn't need to have someone build him a silk purse. He could do it himself and I've recommended several times that he would be better off hacking his Triumph TEX or one of his Gold Wings. He's just surprised at how crude is the Ural, even though he did a bit of homework before purchasing it. Again, the lack of power is what is most distressing, getting passed by semis as if he's standing still, seems to be the biggest issue.

    We attended the Horizon's Unlimited CANWEST event in Nakusp, BC in 2016 and spent the last evening with a Ural dealer from Saskatchewan (that's the dammed hardest word for me to spell) at our motel drinking fine Canadian rye whiskey. Gord seemed intrigued with the Ural, as was I. That's Gord on the left. He also speaks fluent Spanish and has ridden throughout Mexico and Central America.
    026 (1632 x 1224).jpg

    When we ran out of rye the dealer suggested that I take one of the Urals he brought with him to the local boozer store to replenish. He had several on a trailer and one on the ground. I wish Gord or I had done that but I had never piloted a hack and was pretty much in the bag so deferred. I think that's the first time my Canuck friend got a close up look at one and thought they were pretty cool. I think his interest in hacks was buoyed again when he met Brit couple in South America who were riding a BMW rig around the world. Cool.

    As I said, I'm hoping he'll get used his Gear Up and have some fun on it.
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  6. bpw

    bpw Been here awhile

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    Totally agree with that, motorcycles aren't practical and attempts to make them so are silly. I may not have a Ural, but I have a batch of vintage bikes that all cost piles of money and basically suck compared to anything made in the last 20 years.

    But I love them and think they are beautiful.
  7. bross

    bross Where we riding to? Supporter

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    If he doesn't have one, tell him to get a dog. I think all Ural dealers should just have a card board box full of puppies in their showroom. The hacks would fly out the door...

    [​IMG]

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="426" src=""></iframe>
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  8. ScottMastrocinque

    ScottMastrocinque Adventurer

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    AMEN!
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  9. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    This is NOT intended to create a political discussion,...

    There are only two reasons to NOT buy a Ural, Dneper or a Chang Jiang. They are #1- political, #2- mechanical ability. If you don't care about what's going on politically, it's not a problem. If you have no mechanical ability, keeping one of these going may present a problem. I've always looked at owning one of these bikes as like owning a very old bike, if you can't work on it yourself, then you should just appreciate them from a distance.
    Jim K in PA and ErictheBiking like this.
  10. TurTal

    TurTal Long timer

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    Politics has nothing to do with buying a Ural

    And not having any mechanical ability should have nothing to do with wanting to be a Ural owner....you can learn anything as you go

    The only thing that ever stopped anybody from enjoying something they wanted to do was perception

    Unfortunately for some that can be reality



    You get one chance to spin the wheel

    Make it count.....live your dreams



    Ride Ural !


    .
  11. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Ummmm...

    One should want to get elbows deep in it on a regular basis. I find the level of required maintenance on my Bonneville to be barely tolerable. I have the ability, and even the tools, but if there was someone local who would work on sidecars, I'd ride it in and let them do it. I rebuilt the forks today, because nobody else will do it. I'll re-mount the sidecar tomorrow, because nobody else will do it. I've installed most of the farkles on my BMWs, because I'm picky about these things, but I always had the shop do the routine maintenance. For a lot of Ural owners, taking it in for maintenance isn't really in the realm of possibilities. Do you WANT to work on it? There's not much chance of passing that off like I've done with new bikes.
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  12. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    Huh? How much maintenance are you doing on your Bonneville? Or do you have an original one?
  13. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    You missed my point entirely. I paid the dealer to do oil and tire changes, and valve inspections and break line bleeding on the 3 BMWs I've owned in the last 13 years. I don't do that with the '10 Bonnie, because I can't, and no other reason.
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  14. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    You missed my point too. How are normal oil changes and maintenance on a modern bike "barely tolerable"? Or do you ride 24,000 miles a year?
  15. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Don't we each get to decide what we tolerate? Don't presume to decide for my arrogant ass
  16. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    Well yes, you get to decide. I'm just saying that it's a very low tolerance, especially considering that your bike is generally reliable and very easy to maintain. What would be tolerable for you? And how is it that there's no mechanic that will work on your Triumph?
  17. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    So you DO get my point, and deny it anyway. I don't know how to be more clear. I'm lazy and arrogant. An annual oil change and tires every couple of years are more than I want to do. And I wouldn't if I could drop it off and drink coffee and eat donuts with the guys at the shop, as I've done with my other bikes.
    There is nobody local who will service any sidecar outfit, so I service this one myself. There are LOTS of people who don't do their own routine maintenance, whether they're capable or not. I'm lucky enough to have the ability, but use it as sparingly as I can get away with.

    My point was, to own a Ural, you need to want to do your own maintenance.
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  18. George Hanson

    George Hanson Been here awhile

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    Cool; I'd make a good Ural owner then.
  19. Gasket

    Gasket Wandering Samurai

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    Just to expand on my Canadian friend's reasons for disliking the Ural. He believes it to be severely under powered. He was unpleasantly surprised at this as he rode it more, having a dump truck passing him when he was at top speed, about 60 MPH. The lack of power of course manifests itself even more when going up hill. He says it vibrates excessively above about 45 mph and the car seeming to not be tracking with the bike, but wandering. He is reading the manual to check the set up to see if it can be adjusted.

    Gord is a superb mechanic who works on all of his bikes. He has a Handy platform lift now lift that he modified to pick up the entire rig. He's removed each tire to check mountings and greased fittings on the bike he thought should be. During one visit to him a few years ago, he had his Triumph Explorer up on a center lift with both wheels, the tank and the front end off. It looked like a frame and an engine. He was rebuilding the front forks and doing a tear down inspection after riding to the Arctic Circle with me along with valve adjust.

    The biggest issue with the Ural is that he seriously doubts it's reliability. He bought it to take his lady friend on a ride to Alaska. I know her to be a beautiful, gentle sole who used to ride behind him on his Electra Glide but a stroke she had few years ago now makes that impossible. Hence the rig. I had recommended that he send his TEX to Jay at DMC Sidecars for a proper car and installation on a bike he knows and which makes a lot of power. He bought the Ural not realizing the issues he is discovering. He's made some upgrades and mechanical corrections so whomever he sells it to it will get a better Ural than he did.

    On the dogs, Gord used to be a dog breeder and owned a large kennel that he built by himself. His present bulldog, Cha-Cha loves to ride with him, jumping in the car whenever he takes here into the shop. He has made a nice bed for her by putting a pallet in front of the seat to give her a place to lay completely down and stretch out. I posted this pic in another thread and do so again here. Cha Cha is with him whenever he rides the Ural. This was her first time in the car before he built the bed and found her the proper harness.
    thumbnail_IMG_0469.jpg

    I must say that if I still had my beloved Boxer, Duke, he'd be in my sidecar everywhere I went. He once tried to get on the passenger seat of the Harley I had at the time. My wife said he would sit by the front picture window while I was gone and would start wagging his nubby tail even before she could hear by bike approaching. Dang, now I just made myself sad thinking about good old Duke. Loving and loyal to the end of his days with us.
  20. SkagitStan

    SkagitStan analog analogue, alternative factoid Supporter

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    I'd say it's more that your friend got the wrong bike for his wants, than that the Ural is "severely underpowered". If I'm going over to the east side on Sara, I'd expect every single vehicle in western Washington to beat me going up Washington Pass.
    That's not what the Ural was designed for.
    But even so, I'm sure Sara would have given my old, dearly departed, VW bus a good run for the money. And that still is the best car I've ever owned. Even the good times of rebuilding the engine (sucked #3 exhaust) when we lived on old abandoned BC logging roads in the '70s.
    Moral: If you want to race dump trucks up a hill, you should not get a Ural.
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