One of Uralla’s best kept secrets is a motorcycle shop by the name of Ural. FOCUS got to jump in the sidecar of an iconic Ural motorcycle and hit the tar with Clare, who tells us more …
For those who don’t know, tell us about the history behind Ural bikes …
Ural Motorcycles are the world’s leading manufacturer of sidecar motorcycles and have been producing them for over 75 years.
The origins of the IMZ-Ural (Russian for Irbit Motorcycle Factory) began during World War II.
The motorcycle was modelled after a late-1930s BMW sidecar bike called the R71. The Red Army wanted to modernise its equipment and the motorcycles used up to that point had not been satisfactory; their technology was outdated and the manufacturing quality was inadequate to endure the harsh Russian climate and terrain.
According to official accounts, five BMW units were purchased through Swedish intermediaries. Soviet engineers dismantled these, reverse engineered the BMW design in every detail and made moulds and dies to produce engines and gearboxes. Early in 1941, the decision was made to enter mass production.
During WWII, a total of 9,799 M-72 motorcycles were delivered for reconnaissance detachments and mobile troops.
Initially, the “URAL” was built for the military only. In the late 1950s, Irbit Motorcycle Works focused on making bikes for domestic consumers, when full production was turned over to producing non-military motorcycles.
We have just finished celebrating 75 years of Ural sidecar motorcycles!
How did they come to Uralla?
Jon and Vicki Taylor from Kentucky began importing the Ural sidecar motorcycles back in 2008, where the business had been located. Following Jon’s recent retirement, Ural Australia moved into our new headquarters on the highway at 119 Bridge Street, Uralla, in September. Perhaps we are now Urals of Uralla!
What makes them unique?
Our adventure ready sidecar motorcycles are designed for you to share the adventures and explore further, to carry your passenger, your luggage or your canine pal in comfort and style with you wherever you explore. Whether it be taking a ride to the local coffee shop, taking the kids to school, loading up with your grocery shopping, a weekend getaway or exploring this great land of ours, Urals are gaining popularity as an adventure lifestyle motorcycle, feeling right at home on the dirt and just as comfortable on the tarmac.
Do you have to have them with the side-car?
As the world’s leading maker of sidecar motorcycles, we specialise is making the complete sidecar outfit. In the past, they have produced a limited number of solo bikes for overseas markets.
How many models are there currently?
At present, we have the cT model, Tourist, Ranger and Retro/M70. They come in a range of colours, with some new metallic colours in the 2017/18 model range. There are many great accessories available to fit to your adventure outfit, depending on your individual needs or requirements.
What’s the best selling model?
The cT is popular, being our base model, so accessories can be added to suit the needs and budget of the owner. The Ranger model is also one of our most popular models, being designed and accessorised for off road and long distance adventures. Until recently, the Tourist has been the most popular, then the Retro/M70, being the more military style.
What will we see in 2018?
2018 will see a new range of standard paint options in matte metallic, plus some new custom colours in high gloss metallic and semi gloss. The factory has continued to make some technical changes on the new models, as they do each year. Some improvements over recent years include fuel injection, electronic speedo and Brembro disc brakes on all three wheels. These modern improvements have made our latest models on par with other adventure bikes, yet keeping the original looks. We’re expecting the 2018 models to be available in Australia late March.
Any final thoughts?
Ural owners come from all walks of life, be it young, old or in between, looking for something a little different.
With the Urals’ unique sidecar looks, they turn heads everywhere – guaranteed, bringing out smiles, creating special bonds and reminding us that adventuring together is better!
There is plenty of leg space in the sidecar for your passenger and the seating is very comfortable. The sidecar has good suspension, a disc brake, grab rail, as well as a light and power socket for charging your devices.
Each Ural outfit has plenty of boot space, plus extra luggage racks are available for an overnighter or that trip around Australia. Go off road with your local adventure bike branch or join the local classic motorcycle or sidecar club near you, which are becoming more popular. There is a Ural owners group, as well as our annual Ural Adventure Ride, which sees Ural owners from all over Australia come together to share the adventure, exploring some local roads over a few days.
With the Urals’ updated modern features, these outfits are a serious machine for a fun time!