12 thoughts on “Old Russian Motorbikes”

    • Wow. At some RPM and above, OHV engines tend to breathe better. Below that RPM, a sidevalve engine loses less power to valve train reciprocating mass. If we are about to be *Gored* to tears with Al-Gore Warmie legislation, at a national 55-MPH again, a sidevalve engine will do. As long as it has the valves and valve seats for no-lead gas, it will do.

      I have fired a Chinese copy of a Russian Simonov 7.62x39mm carbine, just a bit. I have taken it apart and put it back together and fired it a bit more. A motorcycle will have a few more moving parts, but so far I’d be inclined to try it.

      Have you a url for these Chinese IMZ-knockoffs? Thanks. Best regards.

    • VERY nice. Thanks for the url.

      Hey… Up in the pictures that begin this page, the first one


      is one of those sidevalve BMW-style motorcycles in “rustic” condition, with a spare long-block on the floor beside it.

      Down the page, in the 4th photo, wearing fresh O.D.-green paint


      we see a sidevalve-engined IMZ with ‘plunger’ rear suspension like vintage BMWs had. It hardly gets more ‘retro’ than that, unless you find an Earles-type front suspension!

      The engines in those Russian sidecar-bikes I admired at your link are probably a bit better for sustained Interstate speeds. But if the Chinese are making the older flathead models I wonder–have the Russians considered competing? Just a thought. Best regards.

  1. Any time you have more pictures of Russian 2-wheelers, I hope to see them here. In picture #1, beside that seriously hammered motorsickle, what’s the medium-green scooter? Thanks and best regards.

  2. To learn more about that Chinese sidevalve, search “Chang Jiang 750”

    –or “Chang Jiang M1”

    You may want to prepare a sandwich, made conservatively so you can one-hand it–and a cup of coffee. There is a lot to read and a lot to see, about these. They wouldn’t be for everybody, because they are NOT fast (and may not be amenable to tuning). One site shows some side-by-side pics of original PLA-approved parts and more recent copies. From a Machinist’s perspective: the newer pieces are NOT pretty. It appears the Peoples Liberation Army had decent quality-control. But these bikes are old, and GOOD parts will keep getting harder to find. I’d hesitate to push one too hard if I bought one. It might go 45 to 50 MPH (80 klicks, more or less) for another 30 years, but trying to keep up with a new Ural on the Interstate could ruin it.

    If you like old 2-wheelers and care to treat them well, you should read this person:

    To get one of these PLA-surplus rides into the States, one imports it as a “Military Curio.” Better be sure you can prove the one you ordered is at least 25 years OLD, for that to fly.

    As our “Workers’ Party” degrades the U.S.A. to a 3rd-world Socialist “Republic,” I might still prefer one of these 3rd-world-Oldsmobiles to riding a bicycle or walking. Somewhere along our downward spiral, “the-people” will embrace a national speed-limit low enough for the old Flattie to handle it. Best regards, all.

  3. I had a Voshod bike for a few months. I can say that it was a very-very good bike!!!!!!! Low consumption, good start, pretty powerful engine.

  4. If you want to know more about the history of these Russian flat twins and the Soviet Army sidecar cominations in particulair; have a look at this website: http://www.BestBear.nl

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