Russia brings back history with the Ural

Russia brings back history with the Ural

Posted by Ben Baker on May 15th 2017

In the middle of WWII, the Russians created the Ural, a sidecar and motorcycle company.

The Ural is named after a range of mountains in West Russia. For the geographically minded, read more here.

These days, the Ural is made in a plant in Siberia. Wes Siler visited the plant and wrote about for RideApart. What he learned will probably make you shake your head. Rather than outsource, the factory makes pretty much everything.


The Ural started out as BMW design. In 1940, Russia got the specs from the German company. Because of the war, the production facilities were moved to Irbit and Nizhny Novgorod, which were further away from the front lines. After the war, Russian stepped up production and increased the factory size.

Those who rode in the 70s may recall the Ural being sold as the Cossack motorcycle.

The motorcycles and sidecars are now sold around the world.
While the Siberian factory may continue to use Cold War equipment, the bike itself is updated. It comes with a digital odometer with total mileage readout and a trip mileage.
Fuel-injected 749cc boxer twin engine.
4-speed transmission + reverse.
2.9 Cu. Ft. lockable + watertight trunk.
Electric start.
Sidecar power outlet.
The Ural is sold as a bike and sidecar. You can take the sidecar off, but that means making modifications to the bike to make it street legal. The bike has a left blinker and brake light on the back. The sidecar has the right turn blinker and another brake light.
Ural sells four models. It says the cT and the M70 are meant for cruising, driving around town and road trips that stay on asphalt. If you are the more adventurous type, the Gear Up and Patrol models are aimed at you.
The idea of a two-wheel drive motorcycle (or more) is usually a trike (think Spyder) or one of the one-off custom bikes with tandem wheels on the back.
Then, there's this guy. But this two wheel drive is a one-of-a-kind ride.
What makes the Ural different in the two-wheel drive department are the Gear Up and the Patrol models. They have an on-demand two-wheel drive system. Flip the lever and engage the sidecar tire. A second drive shaft runs from the sidecar wheel to the rear wheel.
Ural says this turns the otherwise street bike and sidecar into something capable of turning off the beaten path. Videos on the website show the bike crossing rivers. Other magazines that have reviewed the ride say it handles snow much better than a two-wheeled bike.
The Gear Up is designed to head into the woods while the Patrol model is meant for streets, but can get dirty if needed, so Ural says. The difference between the two is not obvious, except for some faring on the Patrol. That may be an option. The price is the same for each model.
What is cool, are the options. Jerry cans. Ammo cans. First aid boxes. You can even get a machine gun mount. Get replica items to make it look even more authentic. If you really want to impress folks, get an airsoft Russian machine gun and stick it on the mount.