The URAL Chapter I
I’m soooo overjoyed with the new addition of the Ural to our garage, I hardly know where to begin this blog. This is probably the closest I’ll get to understanding how new parents feel (of course, other than when I welcome a new pup to the family). Adding this very special, unique bike to the fleet, has been such a fun-filled experience – everyone who’s seen it, ridden in it, or has discussed it with us, has admired it with wide-eyes and been brought to laughter. While at times it feels like we’re riding in a circus prop, this crazy bike is actually a pretty tough, loud, raw, machine. We consider it beautiful, like a typical adoring, new parent. But I suppose to others, it might seem more like an international military machine – well maybe, because it sorta is.
Yes, the Ural acquired it’s design and production techniques from BMA’s R71, and was exclusively used by the Russian military until the 50s. Now it’s available for domestic purchase although it still retains it’s durable design. It’s equipped with a four-stroke air-cooled flat-twin engine, a four-speed gearbox with reverse gear (finally Clay does NOT have to get me out of sandy, hilly parking spaces) a shaft drive, dry clutch, spring shocks up front and Brembo disk brakes. And even more impressive fact for a trail blazer like myself – there are still places in Russia where only horses and Ural motorcycles can be used to transport gear due to the terrain. So yes, this interesting machine is actually a lot tougher than it may seem – which is a sharp contrast to the other bikes in the stable which are modern designs built for pure speed and street performance.
This all started with a Watsonia sidecar attached to a Triumph Bonneville that I rescued from a beach house near my family’s home on Flying Point. My father’s client had left this bike outside, exposed to the salt air, for nearly a year. When he said that I could have it, the team at Maximum Motorsports helped bring it back to life. My ridgeback was my frequent passenger, and we enjoyed many rides throughout the Hamptons together. Fast forward years later – after many international trips, and living abroad – I no longer had my sidecar set up, but my dog still looked at me with longing eyes every time I left on my new motorcycles, so I began coveting a Ural – I LOVED the classic look, and the features that presumably made this set-up handle better than my previous set-up – a bike that was actually built to handle a sidecar. I also liked that it had off-road capabilities which could open up all new adventures for me and my four-legged pals.
Recently, I stumbled across a nearly NEW Ural looking for a new home. The seller was virtually my neighbor, had taken amazing care of the bike, and it had hardly any miles on it. He wanted to find it a new home where it would be ridden more than he was able – and he was upgrading to some “regular” motorcycles (see Triumph Street Twin and Ducati Monster). The moment I laid eyes on it, I knew it was EXACTLY what I had been looking for…..
…until Clay told me there was a problem – it was only running on one-cylinder (gotta LOVE having a mechanically-minded BF). The owner was more than understanding and accommodating, and worked with us to assure we’d have a perfectly running Ural. So on to Part II of the Ural story….
The day we showed up to take ownership of the Ural, it wouldn’t fit in our trailer (which had successfully carried our two bikes multiple times). So we had to get another, wider trailer. A few hours later we were back at the sellers house, and took ownership of this glorious machine! We took it directly to the up to the dealer, Alpha Cars, in Boxborough, Massachusetts. We were AMAZED at how beautiful the “dealership” was – it felt more like a car museum. There were rare, expensive cars kept immaculately inside of a perfectly lit showroom. They also had all colors of Urals, as well as a Vincent Black Shadow!!! Our new baby was in good hands!
On our way home, we took the opportunity to visit our first ever moto-café! Wow – what an amazing experience that was – see my blog on the New Tradition Moto Café for details. Let me just add, it was sooo remarkable, we planned our return trip to pick-up the Ural, around the café’s hours. Yeah, it was THAT good! See below for some pictures from our adventure. Even more fun can be seen in the video in the next chapter of the blog - The URAL Chapter II
I waited a long TWO WEEKS for them to repair the throttle body, and make a few minor adjustments. We headed back up there on a Friday night, and spent the night in Worcester before getting the bike Saturday morning. Now THAT was an experience….see The URAL Chapter II for those crazy details.
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