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Author Topic: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?  (Read 5639 times)

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Offline R Doug

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Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« on: March 26, 2014, 01:50:54 PM »
It’s been a year now since our garage has included the hack.  So, I wanted to write a quick follow up to my post over on STN under the topic of “Why the Ural is the Ideal Bike for Us.”  I wrote the original post to put share mine and Sheri’s thought process of why we should or should not acquire one.  (  http://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/topic,73893.0.html  )

In short, we reasoned the Ural was ideal for us because of the following:

•   I’ve always been intrigued with the Ural and have loved them since first seeing one about 15 years ago.

•   Sheri, under no circumstances, will ride on the back of any motorcycle and she too has loved the Ural since she first saw one about 8 years ago.  Her love for the hack increased significantly when a local dealer (the shop owner) took her for a ride on one. 

•   I SPORT tour and don’t stop and smell the roses enough.  We anticipated the hack would be a fun change of pace


After our first year with it, what do we think?

•   It requires a completely different (still fun) riding style with a slightly different thought process than riding two wheels. 

First, it’s more physically demanding as compared to riding a 2 wheeled bike, especially when cornering.  Whereas I feel like a motorcycle cooperates with my body motions, the hack fights it.  I believe that comes from the fact there isn’t lateral Gs when riding a corner in a motorcycle, you lean with the bike and the G-force is in your seat.  A hack is like a car in that you fight it to corner due to the lateral Gs. 

You still move around and use your body to aid the machine in cornering.  But, not in the same way that you do on a 2 wheeled motorcycle.  I suspect it feels more like a snowmobile in left hand corners and a snowmobile trying to be pushed over by Sasquatch in right hand corners.  The chair wants to come off the ground in right hand corners when taken at a decent pace.  With someone seated in the chair, cornering isn’t as difficult because the monkey adds ballast.  When I’m solo, the technique is to scoot my bum over on the chair to help keep it down. 

Being able to master riding the hack with the chair up is the key.  The more experience I get doing it, the better I’ll be.  When the chair is up, you can actually start riding it like a normal motorcycle in terms of counter steering , etc.. The exception is you’re doing it while balancing the weight.  I challenge you two wheel riding folks to go out and fill up your right sidecase with led and put nothing in the other.  Take a short ride and you’ll start to get a feeling of what it’s like to ride while flying the chair.  The thing is, learning to master this can save your life because if you don’t panic in a situation where you’re taking a right-hand corner at 50 mph and the chair starts to come up and focus on taking the corner using counter steering all while balancing the chair, you’ll make the corner without crossing into oncoming traffic.  But, other than a racetrack, tell me a safe place one can go practice doing that at speed.  I’ve taken time to find big empty parking lots to practice and occasionally I’ve played around on the road in wide open right-hand corners where I have good visibility of potential oncoming traffic.  I’m not quite where I want to be with the skill, but I’m getting there.

Braking and accelerating has become second nature to me.  But, take heed on your first ride.  The rig pulls to the right when you accelerate (the chair acts as an anchor) and the rig pushes to the left when braking (the chair wants to continue forward as the bike is trying to stop).  Sure, there’s a link on the rear brake to the outside wheel, but it’s not all that effective due to the proportionate amount of weight on the outside wheel. 

•   The important part about the rig is, Sheri LOVES it!!!  And, we’ve enjoyed several long day and short day trips on it.  Because of the bike’s break-in period, I’ve not really been able to ride where I’ve wanted to go for long trips (i.e. the mountains) because that would require stressing the engine a little more than what’s called for during the first 3 K.  We broke 3K late last year and I completed the final break-in service.  We’re looking forward to our first long weekend on it together. 

•   We are stopping to smell the roses more.  Due to the physical nature of riding the hack, we take more breaks when out on the road.  This rig has been very enjoyable for taking the path less traveled and making stops to get out and stretch our legs.  We even use the hack to run errands around town and go out to dinner.  The trunk adds very good security for our gear when we’re off the bike and is a good place to put groceries and other goods.

•   The downside to owning and riding the Ural is what is commonly known in the community as the Ural Delay Factor (or UDF).  If you’re planning on being somewhere by X time, be sure to add a few minutes and leave early.  There’s a good chance you’ll be swarmed at every other stop you make.  Whether it be to get gas or stop for lunch, people want to talk to you about the rig and have pictures taken with it.  There are times you feel like a rockstar when out on the Ural. 

Last week I came up to a four-way stop of two intersecting country roads on my way back from the shop to get the bike’s annual inspection completed.  A pretty gnarly group of cruisers pulled up beside me in a turning lane to go left and they all started revving their motors.  When I looked to my left, I see that they’re all giving me big smiles and thumbs up.  A few reached over to give me a fist pump.  I’ve never experienced that before.

 As an introvert, I dislike the attention.  But, I do like that every walk of life (socioeconomic background, race, etc…) appears to light up with a smile and a friendly wave as you ride by.

•   In summary, the rig is a blast to own and ride.  Because this is the only way I can get Sheri to share the motorcycle experience with me, the Ural is still ideal for us.  Despite its quirkiness and (IMO) added risk over two-wheeled rides, I wouldn’t trade it for anything (well, that is unless Sheri ever decides she would prefer to ride pillion instead of hack monkey).  Seriously, I would be on the fence as to whether or not I’d keep this in the stable if it weren’t for Sheri.  I have come to learn that I do appreciate the more relaxed approach the Ural offers.  That’s a big change for me.  I’ll never ride at a relaxed pace on any sport oriented bike, even my “porkier” RT.  The fun riding sportier bikes is the pace and art of doing it right. 

But, the Ural does make me appreciate the experience it offers and if I ever trade the hack for something in the future, it would most likely be for a cruiser (think Guzzi).  But remember, I'm only interested in taking this bike out of the stable IF Sheri is no longer interested.  So, basically, it's with us for good.   :smiley_thumb:

Feel free to write any comments or questions you may have about the rig.  I look forward to seeing you out on the road.

Cheers. 


Solo Uraling Around
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 01:28:09 PM by R Doug »
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Offline R Doug

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2014, 01:54:32 PM »
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Offline Rincewind

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 02:13:53 PM »
What does she do when you fly the chair with her in it?

Interesting write up - I did not realize that they could be considered more dangerous than 2-wheels, in some regards.

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2014, 02:15:45 PM »
- I did not realize that they could be considered more dangerous than 2-wheels, in some regards.

I would think in most regards, except tipping over at stop signs.

Offline Stripes

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 02:16:18 PM »
Terrific!
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Offline R Doug

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 02:54:16 PM »
What does she do when you fly the chair with her in it?

It takes some effort to fly the chair with someone in it.  For the most part, she giggles when I fly the chair.  When I do it too frequently, I get a punch on my right side.   ;D


- I did not realize that they could be considered more dangerous than 2-wheels, in some regards.

I would think in most regards, except tipping over at stop signs.

That pretty much sums it up, Chris.

The rig is 750 lbs with 45 HP.  It has one single disc brake on the front and two drums on the back (2014 models have discs all the way around now). 

The rig doesn't get out of anyone's way in a hurry.  An oil tanker can stop better.  And, forget trying to perform an emergency maneuver to the left or right (especially the right) anywhere near the level you can with a 2-wheeled machine.

While I very much enjoy riding the Ural, I am less intimidated taking a track bike out on any race track than I am taking the Ural out on a public road at sane speeds. 
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 07:07:54 PM by R Doug »
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Offline olderigetfasteriam

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 07:43:26 PM »
Thanks for sharing that! Now, to save some cash and get my wife on board.

Offline Andrew

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 08:37:11 PM »
Well Written Doug and  share your observations.

Although my Hack is a bit older (drums all the way round) the wife and kids love it. Having a Ural is the only way I can get the wife to ride with me.

I bought mine because I wanted a bike with a sidecar since I was a kid, just never thought the rest of the family would love it as they do. visitors can't see pics , please register or login
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Offline R Doug

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 11:55:59 AM »
They certainly look happy!  The bike does make us smile every mile.   :smiley_thumb:
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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 12:11:05 PM »
Keep it. They're a complete laugh.
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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 01:18:36 PM »
I always thought they looked like a buttload of fun. I've never ridden one -- either as pilot or monkey. Thanks for the insights.
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Offline 2RR2NV

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 06:19:18 PM »
Didn't know they looked that nice. every time I think of one, I get Indiana Jones Flashbacks.  ;D

grats! 
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Offline bomber

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2014, 01:57:54 PM »
The smile on Sheri's face says it all . . . . .

I would add one to the motorpool today, all things being equal, but OMB is not quite sold . . . . . . .

A failing knee, however, and it'll take days for one to appear . . .


thanks for the report!
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Offline CLAY

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 07:01:56 PM »
My neighbor (80+) has one sitting in his barn- three flat tires.  Hasn't been touched in probably 8 years.  I chatted wit him about moving it next door.  No bites yet...
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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 07:39:38 PM »
My neighbor (80+) has one sitting in his barn- three flat tires.  Hasn't been touched in probably 8 years.  I chatted wit him about moving it next door.  No bites yet...


You still working on that guy.
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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 07:41:39 PM »
We've been shopping for one. We'll probably pick one up when we're in New England this August!
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Offline Cookie

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2014, 07:52:21 PM »
We've been shopping for one. We'll probably pick one up when we're in New England this August!

I'll give you $1500.00 for it.

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2014, 08:04:27 PM »
Wait 'til he blings it out. It'll be worth $1100 for sure.
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Offline CLAY

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2014, 09:57:57 PM »
As soon as the weather warms up and he is outside again I will be!
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Offline Acadian Rider

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2014, 06:26:18 AM »
They're also good if you travel with your dogs. 

I met this guy in 2009 in Newfoundland who had travelled from Ontario.  You can see two dogs in the picture but he had a shy third one hiding on the floor of the side car. 

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Re: Is the Ural Still the Ideal Bike for Us?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2014, 08:37:30 AM »
Love the winch! That's a super idea!
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