09-30-2013, 04:40 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
The previous Summer my Urals Ignition Switch had failed coming into Osh, fortunately I had previously met the Swiss guys at Muztoo Motorcycle tours and with a call to them they put me in touch with a local Ural mechanic, reportedly the best in Kyrgyzstan. (Muztoo can organize group tours through the ‘stans’ on enduro’s)
On my arrival back into Osh I thought I would pay Damila the mechanic a vist, for he may have or know of a bike for sale.
I am given two numbers, one for an Ural and one for a Jupiter. I pass on both knowing they are here if I cant find anything up north. The next day I take a suicidal taxi drive to Bishkek.
In Bishkek I had made friends with a couple of the taxi drivers that helped me find my previous Ural. As they regularly stalk tourist prey from their stand at the intersection close by the Sakura hostel. I visited their corner the next day and I am surprised to learn that they are both on Holiday, How dare they! I call them and they are away for at least a few more days, So I will be without their help this time around.
I walk around town enjoying the sites; especially the Russian dress culture is a welcomed site from the more conservative Pakistani one.
To find a bike in Kyrgyzstan the Avtogid Classifieds magazine is a good starting place, its almost only all cars, over 10 000 are stolen from Europe and delivered to Kyrgyzstan every year. The bike column though is a little depressing with just a few Urals and the odd Japanese scooter.
I return to the taxi stand and pick a new driver, we scan down the column and call 2 Urals, Unfortunately both have moved on, we then Hesitantly call for a ’73 Ural 650. Its almost 20yrs older than my one last year, I have my doubts about it even though the seller insists its in very good condition.
The taxi driver and I strike a deal on heading out of town to view the bike and the return journey then push on.
it’s a good 30 mins west out of Bishkek in a small satellite town and then another 15mins more negotiating the small dusty back roads to find the sellers house.
Alexey the Russian greats us down the road on a modified Ural Solo and shows us up to his house and through his large swinging gate. In the yard I count 4 Urals all in various states of disrepair…or repair. Its hard to know for certain.
I fix my gaze on a green one with sidecar. The bike has been resprayed and looks to be in reasonable shape despite its age. Alexey also fills me in on that the motor has also been ‘rebuilt’. To my disbelief it starts first kick from cold and I head out of the gate, I have never ridden with a sidecar before and soon find myself fighting for dominance with the bike in which direction we will next head in, other than the usual lackluster Ural brakes and some other finer details I am happy with the bike, Wethen strike a deal for 350$ to collect the next day without the sidecar and for a new trials type rear tire to be fitted and the aging rear to be fitted to the front. The tires are marked with ‘made in the Ussr’, so I presume they are the original 40-year-old 19x4.00 rubber.
Max the taxi driver, Alexey the Russian & One 40yr old Ural
On my way back to Sakura, I feel the throttle go and after pulling over and dismantling the throttle assembly I find one of the chain linkage pins has slipped out, luckily I am carrying my Leatherman with pliers and after 5 minutes I am back on the road, but this time with some doubt about how far I will go if this is the first 15minutes!
I park up inside Sakura's garage next to an African twin, the Swiss owner can’t believe my bike and really is happy to hear my plans.
Over the course of the next 3 days I visit both Osh and Kudaibergen bazaars to collect what I need for my ride, boots, gloves, helmet a suitable side bag, bungees’ for my pack and ofcourse tools and spares for the Ural,.One reason to go with the Ural is that you can find them everywhere in the ‘stans’ so spares no matter where you are, are never much of an issue.
Kudaibergen Bazaar goodness.