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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 16 Sep 2004
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Ural distance travel

I bought a Ural Patrol hoping to go to Central America (from Minnesota). Within 3000k the R piston blew - is this a realistic bike for distance travel? I know that I'm limited to 50mph and I like having the sidecar but . . .? Experiences and/or tales appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 18 Sep 2004
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I haven't owned a Ural bike but I enjoy talking to owners. I am sure someone has gone everywhere on a Ural. Myself I would keep the sidecar and mount it on a japanese larger displacement shaft drive bike. I once went from wash. state down thru mexico and had great fun with a home made sidecar mounted on a 550cc bike. wore out tires but carried two people and camp gear with no mechanical problems.
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  #3  
Old 18 Sep 2004
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The bike is built like a tank - I would really like to know if travelers have had a lot of mechanical problems with them. I know that I should just point it south and enjoy the ride.
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  #4  
Old 18 Sep 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pencille:
The bike is built like a tank - I would really like to know if travelers have had a lot of mechanical problems with them. I know that I should just point it south and enjoy the ride.
I think you need to take a lot of spares with you when going long distance. And you must be well acknowledged with bikes's technical side - it has lot of constant mechanical failures. And i really think it's very problematic bike for travelling - it bakes down so often and i think you can't get much spares in your area.

Yes, it looks like a built like a tank, but it's very fragile acctually.

If you aren't fanatical bikespecialist and bike mechanic-hobbyist, i'd recommend something else more resistant - european or japanese ones.

Margus
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  #5  
Old 21 Sep 2004
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I have been researching this bike lately for my new family. It looks a real option.

It seems that there has been a buyout in the last decade by a US investor which has installed new management. They have begun producing export-only versions of their machines, which are of a much higher standard than the domestic market ones.

In the last two years the engine capacity has gone form 650cc to 750cc, which gets the power up to a more respectable 44hp. It can do 90k/hr in comfort, and more than that in discomfort.

Reliability? There are three stories of Ural travellers on the web I have found:
http://www.trophymotos.com/site/company/story.html
http://sidetour.free.fr/fr_riders.html
http://www.aedst.org/~mullie/

(The first two in French, the last in English.) It seems that one catastrophic breakdown per long trip is to be expected. This compares not so badly to European bikes.

Reading the web sites it seems that you do have to be very serious about your routine maintenance. Yes, you need to carry a fuller set of spares than most outfits too, but, you have got more room aint you? The usual problems have all been discovered already, so careful preparation will pay off.

I am thinking seriously about buying in the spring. So let us know how you get on.
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  #6  
Old 21 Dec 2004
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Hi,
I think you just got really unlucky with your Ural. At the speed limits you have in the US there should be no problems at all. It is recommended that the top cruising speed for a Ural is about 60-65 mph.

As for the reliability issues, I honestly don't think the horror stories are justified as the origin of the engine is quite obvious when you look at it. It is an early version of the BMW Boxer engine. BMW have obviously, over the years, improved on the original design until you arrive at the engines they use today, but you can still see the similarity.

The Ural engine was bought buy the Russian army before the iron curtain came down and they used the Ural to carry just about everything including rider, passenger, machine gun, ammunition, spares, food, water, petrol, cammo gear etc,etc, and in some circumstances they also towed a fully loaded trailer.

some of the rigs had two wheel drive, rear wheel and sidecar wheel, so the engines had to be really robust to cope with all this being thrown at them.

Of course you had to increase the maintainance schedule but thats only to be expected under those circumstances.

I hope this has given you a bit of a more reasonabe background and understanding of what has become a bit of a lost machine that has a lot of potential.

I personally own a 1973 Cossack (a Ural model name) 650cc trike that runs superbly and goes like a bat out of hell up to about 65mph. I can push it a bit past this but things start to feel strained at that.

Hope you try it again and have better luck.

Rev Chris.


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  #7  
Old 21 Dec 2004
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there is a trick!

They drill a few holes in the piston skirt
to resolve the oil lubrication problem,, then no more blow , but it has to be done good and all is explained on a web site, l think its ural club of Sweden,
You can replace ignition and fit BMW, not sure though!
Harley pipes are cool !

The ural boxer engine is a copy of WW2 BMW engine

Many parts can be replaced/adapted by car parts l also heard

Matt
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  #8  
Old 28 Dec 2004
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HI I have a friend with an old military style combo painted camo spare whell mounted on chair etc. His experiance ( and this is an old model) bearings, high tolerance parts or high material spec parts have variable quality control. If preping the bike change all roller bearings, check cables etc. Thee is a book featuring the travells of five expat china school teachers in new combo jailings??? They carried a local mechanic and kept him employed full time !!!. as an adventure I am sure you will meet lots of people you wouldnt meet if you were on a reliable Jap Euro bike. If you have the time and patience...wheres the problem?.
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  #9  
Old 29 Dec 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pencille:
I bought a Ural Patrol hoping to go to Central America (from Minnesota). Within 3000k the R piston blew - is this a realistic bike for distance travel? I know that I'm limited to 50mph and I like having the sidecar but . . .? Experiences and/or tales appreciated.
Hello!

Sorry to hear of your problems with the bike. You did not give any information about it though that may help with advice to you. ie: year, engine size, etc.

No matter the year/engine, I would say that blowing a piston in the first 3,000km is a bit of bad luck. Unless abused. You should be sure to be gentle on it for the first 3,000km or so, and always check the oil, and adjust valves whenever needed (not only at reccomended intervals). I wouldn't be afraid of riding a little faster either. 55mph should be fine to to, 60-65mph for short periods or passing. (yeah right!).

If you haven't already, go to the web boards at www.ural.com and russianiron.com for TONS of great advice.

I think that using a Ural for your trip - or even a complete RTW adventure - is very do-able. At the hosts of this site say, ANYTHING will do the trip, some may just be more challenging than others.

With the sidecar trunk you've got plenty of storage space for some spares, and costs are pretty low for the Ural, so the "extra spares" as they say should not be too great an issue. Besides the "normal" consumables to carry (spark plugs, cables, tubes, fuel line, etc) the only "extra" things I think I would carry with a Ural would be spare heads (or if your thrifty just the valves), a piston & set of rings, alternator/cam gear set, and an extra ignition module - or convert back to points for more reliability and smaller/cheaper spare points. Add extra tools to the kit to your taste, but the standard factory tool kit WILL tear the whole damned bike down to the crank if needed. Anything else needed could be overnighted or air-frieghted from IMWA, or a well-stocked dealer such as Terry Crawford in MI.

Other than that, I would just "take it easy" and be very proactive on the maintenance and you should do fine I would think.

I've got 20,000 near trouble-free KM's on my 2000 650cc, been on several multi-week trips through the US, and it's always brought me home. Only off the road now for extensive customization.

Good luck! e-mail me if you have any specific Q's

Brian

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  #10  
Old 29 Dec 2004
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Are you still thinking of doing it or have you been put off? I'm looking at setting out in early 2006 from Mexico, heading South all the way to Cape Horn. Undecided though as to whether I go a Tourist or Patrol. Dollars may make the choice for me in the end.
Quote:
Originally posted by Pencille:
I bought a Ural Patrol hoping to go to Central America (from Minnesota). Within 3000k the R piston blew - is this a realistic bike for distance travel? I know that I'm limited to 50mph and I like having the sidecar but . . .? Experiences and/or tales appreciated.


[This message has been edited by carloscarlos (edited 29 December 2004).]
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  #11  
Old 2 Jan 2005
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Here it is, good info for you & your ural
http://dnepr.ural.free.fr/Modification_pistons.jpg

modify the pistons
fit an oil cooler

the guy have made 130 000 kms that way

good luck

Matt
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  #12  
Old 2 Jan 2005
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Thanks Matt. I'll take it on board!
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  #13  
Old 8 Jan 2005
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Appreciate all the responses to my post - at present am slip/slidding around Minnesota's ice dreaming of warmer places. The Ural does seem to like cold better than I do. Will see what Spring brings as far as travel.
Bruce
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  #14  
Old 19 May 2005
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hello,
you can have a look at these french people trip website done around the world with an ural sidecar :

http://sidetour.free.fr/

and these other links (some other experiences) :

http://www.motoservices.com/sites/sidecars.htm

happy trails
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