Originally posted by carloscarlos:
1) Are they as unreliable as I'm told?
2) How strong are the racks, jerry can holders and other bits and pieces?
3) Are they set up to run on tubes or tubeless tyres?
4) How good are the factory tyres?
5) Is there any real advantage / disadvantage in having the sidecar wheel drive as on the Patrol model?
1) probably not, but depends on what you've been told, and what you consider "unreliable"
2) They're Russian, so pretty strong. Everything is about 1/3rd bigger than it needs to be
3) Spoked rims. tube. duh ;-)
4) Meaty, pretty good. expect to get about 6,000km out of the pusher, 10,000 out of the front, and 15,000-20,000 out of the hack (under normal load, pavement driving). Pretty good value for the $. Some folks switch to block-profile type hack tires or even skinny car tires from Coker though.
5) most folks say that 99% of the time it's not needed - even in pretty nasty stuff. But the 1% it is you'll be damned glad you had it. disadvantage is added cost, weight, and maintenance. Also since it's a locked axle and not a diff like the older Sportsman models or a Dnepr MT-11, it's nearly impossible to turn the rig while the sidecar drive in engaged.
More treatment on the topic, visit the boards at www.ural.com, www.russianiron.com,
and read the accounts of the few other RTW Ural travellers - Bille & Noel, Tattoo Pluto, Carla King, and the "Russian Guys" (at ural.com)
I own a 2000 650cc "Bavarian Classic" with 20,000km's on the clock. It's had it's moments, but it's never failed to bring me home. It's been over "4x4 only" mountain passes in Colorado (google "alpine loop, san juan county, colorado"), through rivers and creek beds, and to Sturgis and back.
Right now it's off the road for customization and "de-Americanizing" (replacing the CVK carbs for Russian K-68's, replacing the electronic ignition for points, etc).