Jack and Luzimar’s 2006 Ural Tourist

7 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Jack and Luzimar’s 2006 Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist

2006 Ural Tourist 750

Introduction

For about ten years I have followed the Ural saga here in America. Distributors and dealers have come and gone, but the Ural and the Ural faithful just keep motoring on.

The current distributor, IMWA, is dedicated to the success of Ural here in the United States. Tons of upgrades have found their way to American shores the past few years including the larger, more reliable 750cc engine, Keihin carburetors, Italian handlebar controls, Brembo front disk brake, Nippon Denso alternator, American wiring harness (made in Taiwan), electronic ignition, redesigned bench seat, and so forth.

So, after waiting for the Ural to evolve these past few years, we finally bit the bullet, sold the Bandit, and purchased a new 2006 Ural Tourist (sight unseen). We purchased the rig from:

Wagners Cycle Shop

991 Hwy 70

Bonnerdale, Arkansas 71933

I am often asked why I did not purchase from Ural Chicago. given that they are located practically around the corner from our home. It was a hard decision, as Ural ownership is not a turn-key affair. In other words, chances are, you or your dealer or going to get their hands dirty servicing the rig over its lifetime.

So life is made much easier if you’re on good terms with your local dealer. Three issues led to my decision to buy from Wagners:

They know Urals inside and out. They’ve been a dealer for 10+ years and support the product and their customers.

They perform a much more extensive setup than most dealers.

They had the accessories I wanted.

With that said, especially now that Ural Chicago has Bob Lewis on board, I would not hesitate to purchase from them. The owners that I know of that purchased from Ural Chicago or very satisfied.

First Impressions

Mike Wagner delivered the Ural to our door. He spent about eight hours going over the bike, covering the normal maintenance, and gave me a couple of driving lessons. Mike actually removed the valve covers and adjusted the valves to show me how it was done.

He also went through the carburetor adjustment and synchronization, again making sure that I knew how to do it. He did the same for the sidecar setup, and other basic adjustments. Pretty impressive delivery!

It was midnight before we took the Ural out for a spin. Started off with me at the controls (my very first time driving a sidecar rig). During that first, brief drive I couldn’t help but ask myself, Self, why in heck did you buy this piece of . It was hard to steer, the engine sounded like a blender chewing on a barrel of bolts, and the transmission was about as smooth as 30-grit sandpaper rubbed across a porcupine’s back. I spent the night tossing and turning wondering why on earth I spent the better part of $9,000 on this RPOC .

I woke up at the crack of dawn and Mike and I went for another ride. Magically, the ride went much better than the night before. For one, I could see. For two, I felt much more comfortable steering and driving the beast.

Later that evening I took the wife and family members for rides, and after another day, I felt completely comfortable driving it.

We now have over 1000KMs and have completely fallen for this chunk of steel, aluminum, and rubber (not much plastic on the Ural). The whirring and tapping sounds are still there, it is still hard to steer in some situations, but it is an absolute blast to ride. The wife absolutely loves riding in the sidecar. She loves the Nomad and sitting back there on her throne. However, she can’t see a thing forward, except my back.

It’s a different story of course in the sidecar. She can sit back, stretch her legs, and take in the sights.

So, would we do it all over and buy the rig again? Absolutely. No question.

Detailed Review

Granted we have only put 1100KMs (roughly 650 miles), but so far, we love the rig! So, here are a few details, good and bad about our Ural Tourist:

Pros

Appearance, stability, extended riding season, price, easy to service, practical, no plastic, rugged construction, sidecar comfort and storage

Cons

Low power, non-syncromesh gear box, noisy engine/alternator, heavy duty (stiff) suspension, frequent routine service

Appearance

Of course looks are subjective, but we (and most onlookers) love the way the bike looks. It is like a vintage bike that was manufactured last week. It looks like it was built in 1942 by a meticulous group of Bavarian craftsman.

It’s only upon closer inspection that you realize it was built in Siberia by Olga and a few friends (joking of course). By the way, I am thinking about mounting a BMW emblem on the sidecar. It’s a prestige thing.

We added a few pinstripes (and plan more), but basically the bike is just plain cool. The tonneau cover, windshield, chrome (steel) side covers, engine, knobby tires, all work together to create a visual image that is unique, yet very, very cool.

Ural Tourist

On the downside, the paint job is far from perfect and the chrome appears to be on the thin side. I was told up front that IMWA may not respond to warranty requests regarding chrome.

Engine-Transmission-Performance

At a rated 40HP, you’re not talking about a barn burner here. Plus, shifts must be made slowly and deliberately (throttle off, pull in clutch lever, count 1-2-3, shift, release clutch, apply throttle). I’m sure that more than one Ural has been rear-ended by tailgating jackrabbit drivers as the Ural slowly pulls away from a stop light .

With that said, the power seems sufficient up to about 55MPH (with or without passenger). This rig is NOT intended for freeway/expressway driving. City and two lane highways are where it belongs. I have found the Tourist to be almost peppy with the windshield stowed and no passenger.

Oh, and plan for hills. Gravity seems to work against the Ural like no other vehicle since the 1960’s 35HP VW Microbus.

The transmission takes some effort and finesse to shift, compared to modern iron. It is not a syncromesh transmission, so you have to match the engine revs with the gears and still each gear change results in an audible clunk. One evening Luzimar and I ran some errands on the Nomad after having ridden the Ural all week.

The Nomad’s transmission seemed like it was an automatic in comparison to the Uralyou can almost will the Nomad transmission to shift.

The gas mileage has been surprisingly good. We are averaging about 31MPG with a passenger and sidecar windshield installed. Not bad.

And though this has nothing to do with the actual performance of the rig, elapsed times for trips to the store seem much longer with the Ural than other vehicles we own. This phenomenon is almost entirely due to UDF .

Reverse Gear

The reverse gear is just plain fun. More than once I have shocked onlookers as I motor out of a difficult parking place in reverse. And unlike the Gold Wing’s reverse, this reverse is part of the gearboxjust like it should be.

By the way, you don’t need a reverse with this bike. Just grab the front grab bar with one hand, the handle bar with the other, and you can roll it anywhere you want with very little effort.

Brakes

The front Brembo disk brake is impressive. But the rear and sidecar drum brakes are poor. I am told they will improve as they seat.

Plus, the long, downward travel of the rear brake pedal makes it very difficult to use.

Construction

The bike is built like a Russian tank. Problem with today’s bikes is all the stinking plastic. Not the Ural. Even the side covers are chromed steel. The sidecar sits on a large tube steel frame.

The leading-link fork can handle curbs, not to mention logs, rocks, and whatever else gets in the way. The tires are semi-knobbys that with the raised front fender, give the bike an aggressive look. A frequent onlooker question: Where’s the machine gun?.

Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist
Ural Tourist


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