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From Russia, with love

January 25, 2011
Ural Tourist, in red

Ural Tourist, in red (Ural USA photo)

All the news in the motorcycle/scooter biz seems to be bad at the moment. Sales are down, if not way down for everyone. Except Ural motorcycles.

Ural’s U.S. distributor (which is based in Redmond, Wash.) reports a 39% increase in sales over the previous year.

Dave Burgess of Ural USA told me there are several reasons for increased sales. Mainly, it’s a matter of the word getting around about the Ural’s durability. “They don’t break,” he said.

The advancing age of the riding population is a big factor as well. Look around, and you’ll see more Harley trikes, and even Gold Wings with training wheels (!). Urals are all sidecar bikes (with 2-wheel drive, no less). No need to put your feet down. And with prices starting at $9,999, much more affordable than a trike conversion.

While Urals have had a military look, there are now attractive color schemes and several trim levels from which to choose.

I must admit, I’m curious to try one of these on for size. Learn more about them by clicking here. Favicon

  1. jon permalink
    January 25, 2011 12:12 pm

    Orin, a gent I work with at a Harley-Davidson dealership is a big dude. I mean BIG! He is not at all opverweight-just really tall. He’s is so big that he dwarfs any motorcycle. He can’t take his wife as a passenger because the bike isn’t big enough. He got a used Ural sidecar rig so he could take his wife for a spin if he wanted to. They aren’t all two wheel drive-but his is. Also, they have come out with a solo Ural now (no sidecar). I think it’s the Ural ST??

    There’s guys on that ride these under terrible conditions. Massive mud and snow etc. That second driven wheel really contributes a lot. My big friend also ride a Buell Uly and a bike he put together himself based on an HD engine.

    South Sound BMW sells the Urals (and Huskys along with the Beemers) here in Fife/Tacoma.

    Take care, Jon

  2. January 25, 2011 1:28 pm

    Jon, so far Ural’s Web site only shows sidecar bikes, but they sell solo bikes in other markets. I do recall when Urals first appeared in the U.S. there was a choice, but at some point they decided to concentrate on the sidecar niche. Mr. Burgess told me the “made in Russia” label was once looked upon with skepticism, but as more of them were bought and used, the word about their durability spread.

  3. Jack Riepe permalink
    January 25, 2011 7:41 pm

    Dear Orin:

    I know two guys who have Urals. One has occasional problems, and the other has constant problems. Both love these machines. They are definitely cool looking. I love the looks of the model Ural offers in full camo.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  4. January 25, 2011 8:49 pm

    25 mpg 65 mph max and “durable” more than “reliable” I guess. I like the idea but the reality? They have lots of clever features but my Ford Fusion gets better gas mileage, has a spare wheel and climate control.

  5. January 26, 2011 10:43 am

    Mileage is a hang-up for me. I suspect my Toyota Yaris gets even better mileage than Conchscooter’s Fusion.

    That said, if I had a friend like this:

    And, a mechanic like this:

    And, a little more garage space I might be tempted.

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