Sheldon’s Ural Sportsman week one at the North American Russian Motorcycle…

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Ural Sportsman

Sheldon’s 1998 Ural — Week 1 (sort of)

February 29, 2000 Please in mind, while reading missives, that my two Urals are models. I did have some with them, but Ural listened to me, and to other owners and changes at the factory in Russia, or at plant in Washington state, solved all of these problems on models. The 1998.5 and newer came with a better system, electric start on the different carburetors and many changes.

My bikes are wonderful but the newer ones from America are much more If one were to buy a new Ural you would certainly not encounter the same problems that I did. were a magnitude of refinement the early 1993-94 models, as the new ones are over mine. The new also come with a year warranty which is the best in the motorcycling world. Sheldon Aubut

3/20/98. on the Internet have been that I look at getting a sidecar rig and someone pointed me the Ural America site at I’m very intrigued.

I been considering a new Buell ST3 or a Guzzi California as my next new but one look at the Ural Deco and my choices seemed to become I have been a motorcyclist 1964, riding a string of Davidsons and Japanese bikes and am in the middle of a major rebuild of a Moto-Guzzi Ambassador. I’m to buy a new bike that will be my runner.

4/11/98. Made the to the Ural dealer, Northern in Brainerd Minnesota to look at a and cream Deco Classic. My Daryl went with for support.

I hoped that she be the sensible one and talk me out of buying but I should have known When I walked in the door was a military version (Sportsman) there in its military green a black Tourist, a red and black a cream and black Deco and the Blue and cream Deco

I first took note of the and commented that it was a wonderful although a bit impractical.

I was a bit disappointed the blue and cream one. The was nothing like the color in the brochure. It was much too washed out and I didn’t find it attractive at The black and cream one, on the hand, was beautiful.

I looked and at it. Staring at every aspect of it for an hour. While sitting on it for the or fifth time I tried to the brake pedal. No go. I had polio a very young child and as a surgeries were done to my right foot.

I have no of my right ankle, either or vertically. Normally I rotate my leg forward and I can depress the brake on most bikes almost Not on the Ural. The intake tube and are mounted right at the right

You must depress the brake and I was not able to do that or rotate my I could not use the rear brakes! depression! We looked at alternatives but I was not with any of them. Moving the to the left side of the bike that I would have to the shift lever and the brake with the same foot.

I thinking about what happen in an emergency or avoidance It also would have at least $150 extra and I have the bike when I it. My mind started thinking

Then I saw Daryl looking at the and I decided to sit on it and see if its brake was the same. out that because it was higher and had a to the hack it had more room the bike and the car. My foot fit and by turning my ankle slightly I depress the pedal.

I am sure my face lit up like a roman when I discovered this

I enjoy being a bit different, or a different, than others, and bike was certainly different. I about it for at least two minutes I wrote a deposit check. never even made an to stop me.

What kind of is that?

For the next two weeks I to sell stuff, collect from any place I could, get in place and basically did little but think about this It is a wonder that I got any thing with my jobs or in my personal

I received tons of advice my friends on the Euro-Moto and Moto listserves, and my new friends on the Ural Discussion areas.

4/25/98 Day 1 as a Ural Owner. Daryl came by and we headed out in my 97 F-150 Supercab to get the bike. The was to ride the bike home the 110 from Northern Sports her following me. I had mapped out what like a good route low traffic country roads only about 30 miles on US 210 is a fairly busy highway.

I had to ride the paved shoulder on stretch. It was made clear to me I should not exceed 30 mph for the first 500 km so the shoulders and back roads be imperative. (Please note: policy was dropped later in and from then on the policy is 40 mph max during break in on the rugged bikes and 50 mph max on the others, including the Classic. It turned out that the low were causing too much of engines, which was worse running at higher speeds.)

On the down we noticed that the 30 stretch didn’t have of a shoulder. It certainly wasn’t and actually dropped away no shoulder at spots. The traffic on the seemed much more what I have experienced and we finally decided to pick the up in the truck and haul it home so I learn to drive in my home

Probably was a very good

Marlow, the dealer, had me take it for a around his property and I learned quickly that my 30+ years of skills needed some adjustments to accommodate the proper of a sidecar rig. I had been all the Ural manuals but I was not really for how thouroghly different it was. I much better about our to haul it home after ride, especially when I between two trees and I wasn’t which I was going to hit.

I I would hit at least one of them but the tracked between them in of my ineptitude.

When we got home I hit the roads and managed to rack up 100 km at 30 mph. Actually my average was probably more near 15 mph in there are more stop and intersections in my sleepy neighborhood in some large cities. But 100 of the 500 are done in one day.

The only that seemed to be problems The lock down nut that down the spare tire and worked itself loose a of times. I was lucky to not have it. The electric starter hadn’t by the time I picked up the bike so I to kick start it. Again, my polio inflicted legs is very difficult because of the of the kick starter.

I am getting a of starting it down but I cannot until I get the electric start.

The thing that was a bit disconcerting in a parking lot at a local restaurant. I put the in reverse to back into a space. I was looking over my and backing in when all of a sudden the fork started oscillating right to left and back I thought I was going to lose the because I wasn’t able to let off the gas in my

I finally let off the gas and held the front and straightened the bike out. I also … the bike. I am not what happened but it sure was

When I had pulled into the lot the owner of the restaurant was standing on the and he waved at me. The whole time I ate my he stood over me talking his search for a used Triumph and questions about the Ural. was my first taste of the UDF (as someone on the America site calls it.

The Delay Factor). Took me at twice as long to eat my meal but I was a ball.

All during my ride were waving or twisting necks to see the bike. It certainly is an getter. Today the high was 42 F. wind gusting to 30 mph.

It was not a day, but I never even until I put the bike away and had a time warming up. I sure Sunday is nicer because I at least another 100 km to ride tomorrow.

4/26/98 Day 2 of being a Owner. Put 100 km on the bike so far today and the day even close to over. on backroads at slow speeds. did about 25 km of dirt roads.

I’m getting a bit more Of course now I have to wash all the dust off the bike. One big frustration I is the kick starter. I am still a terrible time starting the I don’t know what I do differently.

I’ve followed the to the letter, tried varying the settings and nothing seems to It is taking 20-40 kicks I get the thing going. By then my leg like it is going to drop

That starter better in this week.

Tried to at the a large public parking lot to but I was followed into the lot by a City of truck. The guy got out and introduced himself as the Ural owner in Duluth. He has a 95 so of course we had to chat, then a car in the middle of the street with the staring at us and the bike.

Turned out to be a guy I to ride in a club with. And he the other guy also. We stood and talked for an hour before I told them I had to get home. So I the parking lot without ever to practice there.

Then on the way I was flagged down by a friend in his yard. While I was chatting him his neighbors had to all come by to see what of bike this was. about a conversation piece.

been reading the drivers that came with the but the practical experience is wonderful. I am owning my new Ural, so far. might all change if that doesn’t come in.

5:00 and I am sitting here very I went out to go for another ride and I can not the motorcycle. I tried every setting possible. Ignition is on, lit, gas on and I even tried it sit between tries. I had to have at least 100 times total and the will not start.

Next is to pull the plugs. What is is that I ordered the electric A bike that I can’t isn’t a whole lot of use to me and I don’t if it is me or the bike.

9:00 p.m. is over. Turns out that I had a handlebar kill switch. I savvy enough to know it wasn’t going all the way down.

I pushed it till it stopped but it really going all the way. I with it a little and now all is well. The is now starting on the third kick.

But I can’t wait for the electric I was able to go for another ride evening and even though it was 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there was a 35 mph I still had a wonderful ride. The air was the smell of the pine trees was the roads were curvy and all was with the world.

I arrived a little chilly but happy.

Day 3. I awakened this morning to a crisp spring day. The was 20 F. (-7 C.) this morning so the bike a bit hard but it did start on about the kick. I think I am starting to out the combination. Because I have to the back roads and avoid the highways my normal 25 minute turned into an hour ride. It was very cold but it wonderful and I was glad it took an

I wish it could have all day but I suspect they would missed me at work. I didn’t much traffic but I did notice the people I did see, just at the bike with blank After the weekend I think all must have still sleeping.

Of course this is at a.m. too. Stopped at a store to pick up a bagel for and the workers all had to peak out the door to a look at the bike.

The people at the all think the bike is about the thing they have seen, but they love it. Go I now have 250 km on the clock.

One of my friends who on the Oregon coast wrote me when I will have my phone and laptop installed in the I told her that I was waiting for the dish to come in so that I can PC/TV installed on the hack, and was the reason I didn’t order the gun mount. It would have with the dish. Funny is that because she thinks she me so well she is probably believing

What she doesn’t realize is I have never even a motorcycle with a radio. I to get away from all of that

I work in a historic district of old The company I work for is headquartered in a large home that is on a walking tour brochure. I received a call from the president of the company informing me a whole flock of 10-12 olds with their were surrounding the bike of looking at the house like were supposed to be doing. and took a look out the window and were about 20 of them.

eventually turned from the and checked out the house, but when walked on up the street there a lot of glances back over shoulders at the bike. Hey, some future side owners amongst them?

I a bit late this evening, to 5:30 p.m. When I the building the UDF (Ural Delay kicked in big time. I had just the bike over, started on kick, when a car passed and an old yelled my name and waved. He down about a block decided he needed to talk to me bikes. He backed up for a full on a one way street and pulled alongside.

We about the Guzzi for about a hour before I finally him I had to get going. Because I am trying to to the break in period religiously I had to come up with some ways home that speeds less than 30 On my way home I suddenly realized I was only two blocks from the Harley Shop. The owner is a friend of mine and had asked me to by with the bike.

I thought I drop in and quickly show it to I should no by now that there is no in anything related to the Ural. By the he was done he had emptied his million shop of people. The sales the mechanics, the owners, the customers all standing around the Ural about the weird machine.

Of they all loved it. My 25 minute via freeways, which has turned a one hour ride via backroads two hours. I now have 300 km on the ticker.

Day 4. Today I have a meeting requires I wear a suit, I computer equipment to haul won’t fit in the Ural, and it was 18 degrees F. morning. The Ural is at home warmly in it’s garage while I drive the truck. I am it quite badly and am experiencing the signs of withdrawal.

My hands are I have a headache and the anxiety are hitting at two minute intervals. I get home and go for a ride soon, I explode.

Went home a few early, fired up the Ural on the 4th Hey, maybe I am getting the down. And headed off for a long on country roads.

Some of the through the Chippewa (Objibwa) near Cloquet Minnesota are Because they also a Forestry Research Center for the of Minnesota riding the curvy lined with huge and red pines can be one of the greatest motorcycling And at 30 mph there is plenty of time to the surroundings. I am making a point of to the letter of the law on the break in period.

The on the tank of the bike says than 42 mph for the first 2500 km but the and I believe the manual, say that I not exceed 30 mph for the first 500 km of that. I decided that I don’t any question in my own mind if something wrong with the bike as to it could have been by my not following the recommendation.

It is not easy to do all of miles at less than 30 but I am learning a whole new meaning to the patience, and so are other drives have to follow me until I places to pull over to let pass. It is a good thing is Northern Minnesota where are patient and accommodating. Anywhere I might have had some by now.

From the Chippewa I went through Carlton and Jay Cooke State Park. It is a curvy run along the Cloquet and St. Rivers that goes downhill for about ten miles.

The drops over waterfalls, earthquake and volcano created and through dense forest. It is one of the spectacular runs I have anywhere in the United States and I blessed to have it in my backyard. The performed beautifully, never a beat and I even managed to every curve and corner I actually knew what I was

From there I headed the long way around and stopped at the Dry Restaurant along the way for a wonderful dinner. When I left the I noticed that all the customers lined up in the window watching me the bike and take off. sure glad it started away.

One of my other, new, friends told me yesterday driving a Ural is like riding in a parade. You have to back to just about you encounter. And I am certainly finding to be true.

I now have 350 km on the bike.

Day 5. This morning the temperature was up a It was all of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, but so what. didn’t want to start away, but this time it the bikes fault.

I just forgot to turn on the gas. like none of you have done that? Once I the gas on it must have been up pretty good because it over on the second kick.

for work and of course by the time I got to the top of Mountain and started down the I had a sore arm from waving at people. Well, not really It was then that encountered my fan. I had to take a road the freeway that makes a curve and narrows to one lane. As I around the curve at 30 mph there in the just a few feet ahead was a

Ural Sportsman

He was just standing there in the of the road staring at me with his in the air. I am sure that he was Hey, ain’t that a And in his surprise at seeing a Russian motorcycle on U.S. roads he kind of stood there his mouth open and his tail in the air at me. I know he was excited to see me, why else he wave?

Well, to make a story long. I had no place to go. I run over him with the bike or run over him with the hack or drive over him and hope taking his head off with the wouldn’t upset him to much. But the obliging bike lover he was, at the last second he his body sideways and I was able to between him and the guardrail.

As I drove I looked back over my and he had turned his head completely and was following me with his eyes. even after all this he was waving to me with his tail so I back.

Got to work and soon there was an e-mail from at Northern Sports. He asked I call him, I did and he did one of the good news things. He told me it looked like the seat, spare tire cover and red would be there when I the bike back for its first on Saturday.

What was missing this picture? The electric of course. Arghhhhhhh.

He went on to me that it would be at least a until the starter arrived as it that the Hitachi factory is producing about 35 of these a for installation on U.S. Urals and aren’t shipped from until someone orders Marlow offered to take a new Deco Classic that he has on the and put the starter on my bike.

He even that because it would a lot longer he would deliver the back to me in Duluth, a 110 mile one way. I told him I was still on coming down on Saturday I want the other parts and the service and I would call him about the starter.

He has been but accommodating and wonderful to deal and I certainly don’t want him to end up a rig on the floor that he can’t because it is torn apart so I am to call him back and tell him to off until he gets the one being It makes it tough on me with my but I am starting to get the hang of kicking or bump starting the bike and I I could hold out for a month. If it is a month. You know how these go.

I may ask him to instead pick the bike up and it down there to put the starter on it arrives and I will pick it up done. Marlow and the rest of the at Northern Sports have good to me and I know that if have the opportunity to sell Ural I would feel bad if it torn apart in the barn. I will just hire high school student to along with me to kick the bike whenever I stop.

I now have 380 km on the bike with no It is not named Boris. (inside Seems that on the Ural group someone said Ural was named Boris, after the postings started many people who all used the name for their bikes. I never understand giving an object a human name, but maybe a Ural isn’t an inanimate object)

9:00 Had a meeting to go to downtown tonight. I to sneak out before it got dark but the sun was setting as I set off on my long ride

As it was my first time riding the at night I discovered something new my Ural. It seems to have with bedroom peeking Going up a hill at 30 mph I encountered a doing 20 and as I pulled up behind him I that my headlight, on low beam, was right at the top of his trailer. I turned on the beam to see what it would do and it right up into the sky. of a neat little feature.

It me to illuminate the second floor of houses, and also stands as a beacon to passing alien Either that or it was meant to be with the optional machine gun as a spotlight for tracking low flying

4/30/98 Day 6. Temperature was 40 degrees F. I left home, bike on 15th kick and I had a pleasant into town. It was about 60 F. by the time I got near the lake. Superior is 385 miles across so it its own weather patterns and the temperature the hill can be 20-30 degrees than by the lake.

As I passed the overpass where I encountered my friend yesterday, there was a picking at some carrion. I that the skunk was still there looking down the at my passing when the next came along. I hope the little fellow is riding his own up in heaven right now.

thing I noticed this was that the bike has started to its spot in my garage. There was a inch spot of oil on the floor below the rear transmission I guess that is just else for the dealer to check I take it in on Saturday.

I now have 480 km on the and I am hoping that it rains so that I take it to the dealer with almost exactly 500 km on it.

I rode home of work the way. How come everything is the long way all of a sudden? I stopped at the to look at gas Barbecue grills and I went out to start the bike was a guy who looked to be in his 60s staring at the bike. Oh no, UDF. He had been in the military in just after WW II and had a 51 BMW.

He me this was the exact same they hardly changed a I hardly had the heart to tell him is wasn’t exactly a BMW. So I get the bike running, after 20 or so kicks, and while I was letting it up a bit a pick up pulled up.

It was a guy I had know 15 years ago. He of course to know all about the bike. And we were talking the bike When I tried to re-start it I have flooded it. Another 50 later and the bike still going.

So I pushed it up hill and to bump start it. The guy was still By this time I had been in the lot for almost an hour. This was UDF, but I did really enjoy And the ride home was spectacular.

The thump of the engine, the smells of starting in the air, the temperature going up and down hills, and the of riding a machine that has all conspired to take away any of kicking the bike. I must add that I doubt that other people would had the trouble starting one of these I have. I is not really the bike, it is the weakness of my legs from the

When I was young I could a souped up Harley with problem, but times change, and I don’t blame the bike.

I character. This machine does have character. It is so different than other in the area that it stands it reflects my personal need to be and because it needs special it draws me to it to give it that Everything about this is different. At lunch today I to the park before going for my ride.

I eat lunch in Chester just about every day I am in town. I love getting from the office and this is I find a little peace in my days. Today a friend by on her new Harley. She was duly impressed the Ural and examined it completely. She did knocking on the fender and found it to be solid.

When you thump on things they are very The metal used in them is thicker than I remember the of the 50s to be. We both did some thumping on the of the Ural and the Harley.

I have admired Harleys for the quality and of the metal, but now I know that the is built like a tank. was no comparison at all. 400 years now that bike will be in a field with no plastic or parts left but the metal still be completely usable.

Did I that I love the character of bike? I now have 530 km. time for its

5/1/98 Day 7 ONE WEEK. I am sitting bumming. It is 80 degrees outside and I am not the Ural. I was told that at the 500 km the vehicle must have its maintenance and I am trying to follow the in schedule to the letter of the law. I parked it in the garage last it had 524 km on the odometer and that is what be on it Saturday morning when I it to Northern Sports in Brainerd for its first check up.

I suspect it is not for me to be quite that precise but if I have problems I never there to be a question in my mind I did something wrong. I will let the do all the maintenance work that I even though they are 110 (177 km) away. It will be a day for me to run errands.

I am going to pick up a of bicycle locking chains to put the gas can and the spare tire/rack/trunk, and I have a of big boxes to haul, so it really is that I drove the pick up But I sure miss the bike. I have to fire it up tonight and drive it around the block to sure that it doesn’t neglected. Oh my, I am starting to think of it as an object. Next thing you I might even assign it a


I forgot to mention Marlow called yesterday and the there was a possibility that the start would be in within two Apparently Ural America is to work something out to get it in a bit quicker.

on right is of Son #1 taking the bike the block.

10:00 p.m. couldn’t let the bike sit in the garage all I took it out to the video store and a movie. Added a few more to the odometer. Son #1 just called and he is on his way out to me load the bike in the truck for the trip to Brainerd in the morning.

He was to go along but he now has to work tomorrow. be an interesting trip. Marlow me that I would be welcome to him service the bike so I could the procedures.

Not being the best in the world I certain’ly can use the instruction.

ends my first week the Ural.

Ural Sportsman
Ural Sportsman

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