Australian sidecar enthusiasts rejoice—Ural has heard your pleas, and grants your request. Starting for 2021, there’s a new left-hand 2WD sidecar option available for the Australian market—and it’s probably going to be available elsewhere, soon!
Long-time Ural aficionados know that for years, there’s been one constant in the Ural formula: The company’s 2WD sidecars are always on the right-hand side of the vehicle. That was the layout for the original BMW-built R71 sidecar rigs the German military used in World War II, and when the Russkies copied that design, they copied the layout. Dnepr and Chang Jiang sidecar rigs were also set up with this arrangement, as they were more-or-less built on the same pattern (1WD sidecars were able to have the sidecar on the left, as it was an easy switch).
This is great for countries that drive/ride on the right-hand side of the road, as it places the motorcycle’s pilot close to the centerline of the road, and the sidecar (and its passenger) close to the shoulder. It’s not so great for countries which drive on the left, like the UK or Australia.
So, Ural’s adapted its design, and is now offering a left-hand 2WD sidecar for the Australian market. The Aussie version of the Gear Up still has the selectable 2WD system—it’s not locked in full time, as that would be hard on the driveline and rest of the mechanical bits, and be undesirable on-pavement. Aside from the change-up in the rear-wheel drive system, which allows Ural to power the sidecar wheel on the left-hand side of the bike, it seems the rest of the machine is more-or-less the same as the standard current Ural Gear Up design, with fuel injected 750cc flat twin and other concessions to modernity. This is all good news, as Ural’s machines have come a long way in the past few years, technologically speaking.
What about other countries where people drive on the
wrong left-hand side of the road? According to Ural, “Australia was chosen to be the first country this model is released and available in. We are now ready to release this new LH Gear Up into other markets that drive on the left. Ireland just recently came on board. Our sights are now seriously set on the UK market. Dealer inquiries are welcome here.”
For more deets on the new Ural, check out the Australian website. Pricing starts at (gulp!) $27,990 AUD.