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Old 11-05-2006, 09:13 PM   #1
northern ON rider
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Question Ural....known reliability problems?

I am wondering....the Ural bikes are known to be less than stellarly reliable...which isn't the biggest deal in the world to me, but in planning for a world ride in the next 2-4 years, and considering one as a possible ride. Since it will be me and the wife, and one bike is easier than two to maintain on the road, and we are a little bigger than average (500lbs+ together) ruling out two-up on a regular bike, this seems like the only single vehicle choice.

So...what i'm trying to find out is what are the known maintenance/reliability issues with them (considering a patrol/gear-up) and are these easily repairable on the road or are they things that must be handled at a dealer/shop. Are they things like blown bulbs and bolts that need to be loctited or is more like droppin valves and cooking rod bearings.

Further, what would be a sensible list of spares to have on hand for safety's sake.

If any of you are thinking of replying to bash these bikes as I've seen in several other posts(you know who you are)...save it. I'm seeking knowledge, not bitchin'. This is as I said looking like our only choice if we don't want to wait 10 years to be able to afford it, or take two already abused bikes that may not meet the needs anyway. We know they're slow, we're planning to take our time.

For those that are curious, we are planning on driving from NW Ontario Canada, westward to vancouver/seattle, then on to vladivostok, and on through to eastern europe and then north to norway and finland, across the water to iceland and then boat to Newfoundland/Labrador and drive back to home . Yes we are serious. Potentially on a Ural. Are we nuts? Most likely. can we do it? Definitely. Just want to know what to expect from the rig along the way.

Well now I'm just rambling....okay...waiting for your input Mr. Cobb and others.

Cheers from NW Ontario,
Christopher
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:05 PM   #2
Roadwarrior
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If it were me, I'd avoid the ural. The dealer netork is so scarce you would have to back a lot of spare parts. If you are really worried about wieght, tak a look at a Goldwing. they are very reliable, and I have see zillions of them on the road two up pulling trailers!
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:51 PM   #3
AceRph
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Be sure and look at these two web sites for more info.

http://imzwa.secureforum.com/

and

http://russianiron.com/ironforums.htm
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:16 AM   #4
debueller
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I met a couple of guys on 2WD Patrols with sidecars, who were tottally trashing them during the dual sport poker run at the Odessa 100 desert race in E WA last spring.

We talked for a while and the issue of relialability came up. Their biggest issue was the clutch. With a 4spd trans, I guess 1st gear is kind of tall for off road work.

They wouldn't admit to any other major issues, I believe they were big fans of Urals and were reluctant to admit any other shortcomings. They did say the older ones had issues. (I don't remember if they were more specific)

I followed them for a while on my XR650L through the scrub brush and tumbleweeds. It was very entertaining watching them mow over everything in their path on the single track course. It was a pretty impressive show. One of them got hung up on some brush and stopped suddenly them almost went over the bars. I was cracking up inside my helmet watching them. I love watching other people trash their $hit.

BTW, about 2 months later while traveling over Clockum pass on my Uly (dirt road), one was hauling a** going the other way. I tried to flag him down so we could talk, but by the look in his eyes as he passed, I don't think he was seeing anything except the road ahead of him. I bet it was one of the same guys.

debueller screwed with this post 11-06-2006 at 04:26 AM
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:12 PM   #5
davide
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I'm originally from Italy and have seen the Ural or Dneprs touring all over Europe, especially in the former soviet provinces. Those things are unstoppable! They plow thru everything and when they strand you, somehow you can always kick them back into action + any half decent mechanic/welder/machine shop can figure them out. Parts are all over the world, especially in Eastern Europe, Africa (Angola, Ciad), Cuba, Nicaragua... basically any country where the Russians had any business during the 70s..... My advice? Buy a 750 motor with the Denso alternator... stay away from the 650 with a russian alternator, break it in properly, rejet and repipe, ride it without exceeding it's limitations and it will plug along for ever. Change oil, air cleaner, plugs every time you set the valves and be constantly on the look out for lose connections, stretched cables, lose bolts. Bring spare tubes, tires, cables, plugs, filters and oil. Run it at 55/65mph, stop every few hundred miles to check things out and you will be rewarded with a bulletproof machine.....
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:16 PM   #6
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I was talking to the dealer (Modesto) and he was saying that there are some big changes for 07, but that's all I got from him. We were thinking about the Raven, but he made me inclined to take a position of wait and see....

Anybody know what's up for 07 Urals???
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:25 PM   #7
AceRph
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I copied part of a post by a guy on the IMWA forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IMWA forum
Here is what I saw new:

1. All the sidecars now use the same body. No more holes for mounting the plush interiors or machine gun mounts. They have velcro fasteners now for the interiors.

2. The spare tire mounts are all the same now too so they clear the high back seats.

3. The trunk latch has a handle that can be removed and the inside catches on lid are different.

4. The trunk has a plastic coated stop cable now instead of the white strap the comes loose.

5. The bolts that hold the hinges on the trunk are Tork/Hex head as are all fastener on the bike.

6. The ignitions system is Ducati with the module under the seat and the coil on top of the engine.

7. All the gears in the engine and transmission are German made and look top notch. They are working on doing the same to the final drive.

8. The fuses are blade type.

9. There is a stop on the fuel can bracket to keep the can from bouncing out and it is now mounted on the left rear of the sidecar.

10. No more machine gun mounts.

11. There is a New Adventure Model GearUp with skid plates, upswept exhaust & power outlet. Personally I think the upswept exhaust is a good idea but should be on the right side to keep from getting burned on the pipe.

12. A new tool pouch with flat tire irons.

13. New front brake strut on Leading Link front disc and a floating disc.

14. 22 mm handle bars to fit standard grips & accessories.

15. New License plate holder with proper holes for US plates.

16. The Troyka was replaced with a "Deluxe Tourist" with two tone paint. The only bike with Telescopic forks was the Retro but it did not have a side stand mount. I did see a bar from the center stand around to the outside of the muffler so you don't get burn putting it down. There was no Wolf in the lineup. It looks like they are out of the "Solo" bike business.

17. Sealed wheel bearings.
and of the Russian Iron site:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russian Iron forum
The new Austrian made gears in th engine AND the gearbox and the replacement of ALL the OEM Russian bearings in the bike with quality ones make just those two of the '07 mods an interesting dilema for '06 buyers. The full list of '07 changes is pretty long.
There were some pics posted too. Here's one.

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Old 11-07-2006, 05:23 AM   #8
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If you're really worried about reliability and still want a sidecar why not just put a sidecar on another bike? Seems the easiest solution to me.
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Old 11-07-2006, 05:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strokerdave
If you're really worried about reliability and still want a sidecar why not just put a sidecar on another bike? Seems the easiest solution to me.
This is what I did. After 20 years of two wheels, I wanted to try something different and my wife was all for three wheels as she was not fond of riding herself anymore. The Ural was an option, but at the time the $$$ was not there for a new one, used ones were hard to find local and the nearest dealer was 300 miles away.

I found this nice used California Companion on Ebay, dragged my mom's old CB1000C (ten-speed!) out of her shed and had a local hack guru put it all together. Very reliable, inexpensive and a lot of fun.

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Old 11-07-2006, 07:13 AM   #10
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I don't know squat about Urals, but logically with the route you have in mind, it sounds like a reasonable choice of bikes to me. Good luck, you have much bigger stones than I do.
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Old 11-07-2006, 06:52 PM   #11
johnstokesII
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IIRC, in "The Long Way Round," when the photog's bike was fried by the welder, he ended up on a Ural. You might want to check with Red Menace, as well as Mr. Cobb

Red Menace's website:

http://adventuresidecar.com/index.html

Given your route, a Ural, especially a new one, seems a rational choice.

johnstokesII screwed with this post 11-07-2006 at 06:56 PM Reason: Poor grammar
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:56 PM   #12
bajaburro
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ural

spent an afternoon once helping a guy at a gas station trying to start his!seemed to be a cronic problem with his.
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Old 11-08-2006, 04:27 PM   #13
KneeDrachen
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i've done a ton of research on them, i assume you'll be going for a 750, not a used 650....the 750s are a MUCH better improvement over the 650 however the carbs do have a tendency to overflow and remember the driveshaft is not a sealed unit so any offroading is going to require a decent cleaning to maintain longevity. IIRC all the reading i've done they're pretty damn bullet proof as long as they are cared for. . .caveat though, they need to be maintained, it's a not a popeil "set it and forget it". . .
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:10 PM   #14
davide
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... that's what I like about them, the fact that you have to be intimate with your machine and know what to look for or what to do after every ride. In fact, that's exactly what they are: machines, not appliances whose performance you take for granted year after year. In 2002 I ditched everything, loaded all my stuff and my 3 dogs in an old clunky VW bus and took off.... I drove it like it was still 1966, took my merry time, stopped to troubleshoot it, mantain it and never had a problem. Plus, old VW vans, Meridien made Triumphs and, I suspect, Urals all have one thing in common: they attract people who always have a story about the machine and often some insight into fixing the problem..... you are never alone out on the road on one of them.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:24 PM   #15
Sidecardoug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davide
...
Snip

Plus, old VW vans, Meridien made Triumphs and, I suspect, Urals all have one thing in common: they attract people who always have a story about the machine and often some insight into fixing the problem..... you are never alone out on the road on one of them.
Yup, that's the truth. The Ural world calls it UDF

Ural Delay Factor
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