“Ural” is a brand of Russian motorbikes, which has recently become a sort of cult in the USA for some reason. Basically, this is probably the only consumer automotive technology being imported into the States, and they say that even Brad Pitt has one. Why are they so popular its hard to say, but what is obvious is that this make and model has not been changed since the 50s or 60s, at least visually, and maybe that’s what attracts the customers.
In Russia, they cost a fraction of how much they are being marketed for in USA, and this is why: a lot of top notch Western components are being used in those “Soviet” machines: Marzochi, Sanchs, Denso, Ducati, Yuasa, Brembo, etc – all those brands are used to assemble the bikes that now only visually remind us of their Soviet fathers. And here is someone has visited the URAL factory in the town of Irbit, which is in Ural mountains. Here we have it:
“What Soviet technology is left in them – it is just those frames made of metal tubes, then the cast iron engine parts, and parts of the sidecar”. Yes, those bikes have sidecars.
They say those URAL bikes have hit a few “only one in the world” marks. Here are a few:
1. It’s the only “all-season” bike in the world that is not afraid of extreme hot or cold temperatures.
2. The only serially produced bike in the world with a sidecar.
3. The only “all wheel drive” bike. Yes it has got three wheels, one on the sidecar and if you get stuck somewhere you can turn on the drive to that wheel too – this way it can go only straight but it can help get it out of the mud.
The workers from the factory have told the blogger that they regularly go camping high in the mountains on dirt roads and it behaves nicely, also on a highway it can go 110 km/h.
The machine tools in the factory are mainly Soviet but some are modern, like a laser cutter.
One man can work with a few machines at once.
In the painting workshop, there are mainly women working. They say they don’t rush as their plan is producing around five bikes a day. In Soviet times they had to produce 10,000 bikes a year.
They say that in Russia they can buy URAL bikes only in two or three dealerships, however in USA there are one or two dealerships in almost every state!
The bikes pass safety tests each year to comply with EU and US road standards.
There are only two models but over sixty choices of paint work.
A lot of things are being assembled manually.
Here is a clutch being assembled.
And this is going to become a motor.
Here is the bike already starting to form its future look.
Here are the Brembo brakes.
Even on those bikes that go to USA, the URAL logo is in Russian.
Every bike is being tested before shipped.
This is the assembled bikes ready to be shipped overseas.
The final cost of one bike might be over $16,000 in US.