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Ural Patrol

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Volume 36 Number 3 March 2005 $7.00

RUSSIAN DUAL-PURPOSE MOTORCYCLE/SIDECAR COMBO

Ducati ST3The ST2s replacement is a winner 20 MCNs Spring 2005 Used Bike Value Guide Shoppers ammo 23 Do-It-Yourself Brake 33 Great Destinations Walts Service Station 34 CBR900RR Sport-Touring ConversionOne mans quest for the perfect long haul/twisty road tourer 39 Medical Motorcycling Monkey Butt 40 Motorcycle Design The Face

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K Open Road.2 K Letters..3 K M/C Bulletins.6 K Downtime Files.8 K World Motorcycling.10 K Mental Motorcycling.38 Milestones K Proficient Motorcycling.41 Body Language K Whats Happening.44 K Street Strategy..46 K Contact Patch.47 K Innovation of the Month.48 Laser Lines Alignment Tool


and the paint quality is quite good. And there have been some impressive upgrades: The front wheel now carries an impressive Brembo four-piston caliper clamping on a massive 300mm disc, and the handlebar switch pods are neat and functional. Looking a little closer, excellent Keihin carburetors are fitted, a serious electric starter is nicely integrated into the rear of the engine case, and an automotive-style Denso 35Amp external alternator supplies the juice.

Ural has several other sidecar variations, including the Gear Up, basically a Patrol in miltary garb, with spare fuel container, spotlight, carrying rack, and a camouflage paint job, the Tourist, a Patrol without two-wheel drive, the Troyka, a deluxe version of the Tourist, and the Retro, a pinstriped Tourist. There are also two solo machines.

Steering effort is an important consideration with rigid sidecar rigs because they dont lean into turns. Steering trail (caster) is much shorter on the Urals leading link fork than for a typical two-wheeler. But steering effort still required more muscle than wed prefer.

For a novice sidecar pilot, relatively high steering effort encourages slower speed in cornerswhich is probably a safety advantage. But we think experienced hackers would prefer even shorter trail for easier steering. The Patrol (and Gear Up) models both ride on 19 wheels for better offroad clearance, but that also makes them tall, and therefore less roll-resistant in corners.

Normally, we would hang off in aggressive turns, but the Patrol comes with dual bucketstyle saddles. A bench-style saddle is an option for those who like to corner more aggressively. Of course, on-road manners must suffer somewhat to provide good off-road performance. On slick or unpaved surfaces, speeds are slower, and heres where the Patrol really shines. You can putter down a forest road, splash through mudholes, or climb steep gravel sections without a lot of fuss.

And, if youre losing too much traction on the rear wheel, just reach down and engage the sidecar drive. Both wheels will

Okay, the improvements look good, but how does it all work? Starting is quick and painless; the fuel tank now has a vacuumoperated valve, so you dont need to turn it on or off; the carbs have independent enricheners, so if its cold you need to reach down on each side and pull the knobs and the starter cranks the engine whether its in neutral or in gear. Simply turn on the main switch, flip the handlebar kill switch to run, squeeze the clutch, and thumb the starter.

The engine starts easily, although it does take a few moments to warm up before the enricheners can be closed.

now churn away at the same speed until you extricate yourself, then its back to onewheel drive again. We think its a much better system than having a differential that allows either wheel to slip. And theres no need to have two-wheel drive for normal pavement. Heading downhill into a dead-end is no problem, either.

If you need to back up, just shift to neutral and pop the reverse lever down by your right heel, ease out the clutch, and the rig backs up with as much power as you need, for as long as you want. Reverse is a very low 4.36 ratio, compared to 3.6 for first gear. You can back up in two-wheel drive, too.

The sidecar itself is heavy-gauge steel, with a classic design thats very practical. We know from personal experience that you can carry a heavy passenger or a huge load of groceries or camping gear inside. Plus, theres a cutaway at the cockpit side for easier passenger ingree/egress, and a huge (3-cu. ft.) trunk at the back, accessed by a hinged lid.

right down tube, to provide a neutral attitude when braking. Even during an aggressive stop, the front end doesnt squat as with the typical telescopic fork. Nor does it rise, as when the brake is mounted on the leading link. This results in better traction control during braking, since there is no hop when the tire momentarily loses traction.

The drum brakes on rear and sidecar wheels are adequate for their jobs, since you dont need as much braking power on those wheels. Both rear and sidecar brakes are actuated by rods, with the sidecar brake connected mechanically through a lateral shaft to the rear brake pedal. Since both rear and sidecar brakes are independently adjustable, they can be balanced for smooth straightline stops.

And we know those Russian brake shoes have thick linings that last forever. Wed rate the brakes excellent, except for a slight surge during hard braking on the front, perhaps the result of the disc being fixed rigidly on the front hub. But, considering the gritty environment of offpavement excursions, the fixed disc is an advantage, since it has no small parts to wear out prematurely.

With the Ural, longterm durability is more important than highzoot brakes.

Ural motorcycles have been around since 1939, when the USSR Defense Ministry decided to reverse engineer the BMW R71, and called it the M-72. By the end of WWII, nearly 10,000 Ural motorcycles had been delivered to the military, most with rugged steel sidecars. After the war, Russians used sidecar Urals for basic transportation because they were cheap, tough, simple, and capable of managing rough roads through mud or snow.

Since WWII, approximately 3 million have been produced by the factory in Irbit, a small trading town on the fringes of the Siberian steppes in the Ural Mountains. With the Soviet Unions collapse in 1992, Ural began selling to other parts of the world, notably North America. For a number of years, Urals were imported and distributed in North America by Ural America (a subsidiary of Classic Motorcycles and Sidecars), in Preston, WA.

The American importers understood quite well that those early Urals were very crude, and improvements were suggested as quickly as the Russian managers in Irbit could be convinced of the need. Specifically, the machines drastically needed more power, greater reliability, and features such as electric start and efficient carburetors.

Meanwhile, in 1998, back in Russia, the Ural factory was privatized about the same time that Russian citizens were deciding in favor of automobiles for basic transportation. Sales of domestic Urals slumped, and production dwindled from 132,000 sidecar motorcycles in 1994, to just 1700 by 2000. With the factory in a steep decline, Classic Motorcycles decided to get out of the sidecar business.

With wolves circling the gates, three Russian entrepreneurs purchased Ural, with the intention of building better motorcycles that could compete on the world market. The communist-style management was eliminated, 60% of the workforce laid off, production reorganized to be more efficient, and global distribution simplified. The three new IMZ partners assigned themselves to three separate global markets.

In North America, Ilya Khait became the president of Irbit MotorWorks of America, Inc. in Redmond, WA, just a few miles from where Ural America used to do business. Today, Irbit MotorWorks has 50 full service Ural dealers nationwide, including service centers that stock parts and repair components. Many of the former Ural America employees are now Irbit employees. They have a website at www.ural.com.

And Irbit seems committed to producing, marketing, and supporting sidecar motorcycles they like to call sport utility motorcycles.

All three wheels are chromed-steel rims attached to aluminum hubs with very stout (4.5mm) spokes. Ural wheels have always been strong, but their latest are very impressive, with clean hub castings, smooth, welldimpled rims, and nicely plated straight-pull spokes with heavy nipples. Ural wheels are also unusual in having threaded collars to allow adjusting bearing clearances without shimming.

The rear wheel and sidecar wheel are interchangeable with the spare wheel carried on the sidecar trunk lid. Whens the last time you had a spare tire on your motorcycle?

The heavy tubular-steel sidecar chassis is supported on a single-sided trailing swing arm and monoshock, and the rear of the sidecar body is supported on huge rubber accordion springs. Suspension is very adequate for additional loads, and extra weight doesnt seem to bog it down. In fact, with a load in the sidecar, right turns are much more controllable since there is less concern about the car flying.

The Patrol has a pillion saddle over the rear fender, to enable carrying a passenger behind the driver as well as in the sidecar. However, novice sidecar drivers should be warned to avoid carrying an adult passenger on the rear of the bike unless there is an equally heavy passenger in the sidecar. My vote would be to remove the pillion perch until later in the learning curve.

The Fun Quotient

We used the Ural Patrol to run errands for a couple of weeks, and it drew a lot of attention. Wed get thumbs up while riding, and conversation every time we stopped. Sidecar passengers commented on how quiet the engine was, too.

Ural Patrol

All in all, having a midsize sidecar outfit to run around on provides a lot of smiles. What we really like about a rugged dualsport sidecar outfit is being able to slip and slide down grotty unpaved roads without fear of falling, or concern about scratching any shiny paint. And, on those days when there was frost on the ground, we could still take a spin when properly bundled up youve gotta love it.

Braking is much improved with the Brembo caliper up front. More importantly for sidecar use, the caliper is now pivoted off the front axle, with a thrust link to the

Left: The Urals 745cc boxer twin is based on the BMW R71 and was first built during WWII. Recently upgraded with a Denso alternator, Keihin carbs and better castings, its reliability should be greatly improved. Power is still a paltry 40 hp (claimed), so dont buy one for performance.

Right: The Urals seating looks almost antique, but those old tractor-style seats were some of the best anatomically. The pillion seat should only be occupied when the sidecar carries a passenger. Sidecars dont countersteer like a bike, so proper driving takes some getting used to. Below: Leading link forks are ideal for the job, as they resist dive.

The excellent Brembo caliper grips a heavily ventilated disc to shed off-road dirt. Left: The sidecar has a tonneau cover for the chair, a large 3-cubic foot trunk at the rear, and a fullsized spare tire is attached to its lid.

Right: This photo gives a detailed view of the driveshaft arrangement that is connected to the rear wheel drive hub. The lever on top of the gear case allows the sidecars wheel to be engaged to the engine for slippery goingwhich is great fun when you dont have to worry about falling down.

TESTERS LOG

The big question with Urals has always been reliability. When people would ask, What do you think about the Ural? until now, I had to waffle and suggest alternatives, say a BMW R100 with a Ural sidecar attached. I didnt want anyone to get the wrong impression, that the Ural was equivalent to a Russian-made BMW. Ive occasionally compared driving an older Ural outfit to driving a 1937 Ford with mechanical brakes.

It would be a novelty, but not something youd want to take cross-country on the superslab. Even IMZ admits the original 650cc Ural engine was underpowered and overworked. Transmission bearing failures were common.

The old generator could barely keep the battery charged. The castings seeped oil. Kick starting was always a chore involving multiple kicks and fiddling with carbs and throttle settings. And the old drum front brake was pitiful. So, is the new 2005 Ural improved enough to be considered a serious sidecar rig?

I think it is. Im cautiously optimistic that its now reliable. The engine has more power (but still not enough), and it runs better. That big 35 amp automotive alternator keeps the battery up, no question. And that means the electric starter cranks the engine every time.

Okay, the gearbox is still a little clunky, but its got new baffles to keep all the bearings lubricated. Ive heard reports of Urals going 100,000 miles with nothing other than routine maintenance. However, lets remember that the Patrol is still underpowered for todays highway traffic. 4th gear is so tall that it wont sustain 55-60 mph except on level ground without a headwind.

Third is better, and will pull hills at 65 mph, but tackling 7080 mph traffic isnt fun, and working the machine that hard is asking for trouble. What that means is that the Ural Patrol is really best for puttering down the backroads at 45 or 50 mph, and exploring unpaved roads. I suggest we think of the Patrol as a street legal dual sport sidecar rig thats oriented about 60% off-road, and 40% onroad.

Pick your roads, and it should do fine. Or, consider trailering the outfit to a far-away place where you can offload it and go David Hough exploring.

2005 Ural Sidecar Combination

SPECIFICATIONS AND PERFORMANCE DATA

ENGINE Type. Air-cooled, opposed twin Valvetrain:.2-valve OHV with screw and locknut valve adjustment Size. 745cc Bore/stroke. 78.0mm x 78.0mm Comp. ratio. 8.6:1 Carburetion.

Dual Keihin L22 AA 32mm CVK Claimed output:.40hp @ 5600 rpm 38.5 lb./ft. @ 4000 rpm Exhaust. 22 DRIVE TRAIN Transmission:.4-speed + reverse Final drive:.Shaft w/ selectable two wheel drive to sidecar wheel RPM @ 65* mph/redline.Not tested DIMENSIONS Wheelbase. 58.0 Rake/trail.32.0/2.56 Ground clearance:.mc/sc 8.4/9.0 Seat height. 33.0 GVWR. 1344 lbs.

Wet weight (est.):.746 lbs. Carrying capacity:.598 lbs. SUSPENSION PERFORMANCE Measured top speed.n/a 01/4 mile.n/a @ n/a 060 mph..n/a 0100 mph.n/a 600 mph..n/a Power to Weight Ratio.n/a Speed @ 65 mph indicated.n/a M/C RATING SYSTEM

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD FAIR POOR

Ural Patrol
Ural Patrol
Ural Patrol
Ural Patrol
Ural Patrol

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