Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Monkey Business: 2012 Ural Gear-Up

Retro is in and if you want a retro Brit bike you can look to Triumph and its retro-look Bonneville or if you prefer some Italian, Moto Guzzi has its V7 II.  If you want German however, you need to look east to Mother Russia and Ural.  Find this 2012 Ural Gear-Up in Albany, OR for $10,000 via craigslist.

In the early 1940's the Red Army laid down a set of requirements for a motorcycle and sidecar after witnessing the effect of Blitzkrieg on Poland.  It was found that the German BMW R71 best met the requirements.  A couple of R71's were purchased from Sweden in late 1940 and were reverse engineered into the M-72 motorcycle sidecar and was shown to Stalin in early 1941.  Interestingly, the M-72 is still manufactured in China today.  This current Ural Gear-Up is a descendant of the R71 and M-72, powered by a BMW toaster-esque two cylinder 749cc boxer.

Imported by IMZ-Ural America, located in Redmond, WA.  Urals have a small but dedicated following among adventure bikers in the U.S.  This Gear-Up model is the top of the line, featuring a switchable drive mode between 1 wheel and 2 wheel drive.  It also features a beefy frame and rear swing arm suspension able to cope with poor Russian roads.  Pity the original buyer went with the boring grey vs. the camouflage paint scheme.

This bike has about 7,800 km on the clock and had the full service at 5,000 km.  It's all stock with the exception of the sidecar windshield and has a new battery.  Not unexpected as bike batteries expire quickly when they sit around.  No word on whether this bike has the optional gun mount.

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Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent.  He likes even numbers of wheels.


  1. Everything I've ever read says these are as reliable as a Russian made clone of an 80 year old BMW.

    I still really want one. Reliability is overrated.

    1. You can probably get an extra level of reliability from the Chinese copy of the Russian Clone of the 1930's German: The Chang Jiang . There is one actually for sale in Tucson AZ:

      1971 Chang Jiang

  2. I have a 2004 Ural right now. Have had it for 6 years. Never a problem, started right up every time. Easy to work on and easy to maintain. You want to re-jet the carbs for better performance, takes about 10 minutes a side with a small screwdriver. Valves are easy to adjust, everything straight forward. If this one does not have electronic ignition, there is a kit too convert. Mine is a Tourist model with chrome. Wish I could post a photo, it is gorgeous. I go to local car or bike show and they are all around my Ural and ignoring the Corvettes. Don't believe any of the stories you hear about how bad these are. They are great and a lot of fun. I can get parts from a dealer in 2 days but really never had to order any except when I broke a brake lever. It has reverse gear also.

  3. I've always wanted to buy a derelict project Ural and swap in a 70s BMW Airhead (mostly because I have a spare one). Haven't ever run across a cheep enough Ural, they're generally in pretty good condition when sold.


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