So Far So Good
I have had the 2018 URAL Gear Up for a while now, but I waited until I put 1,000 miles on It before I wrote this article. I am fanatical about break in miles, so the first 600 miles are always the hardest and take the longest.
It has been running better than I expected so far, the only issue was a faulty Ducati Ignition switch that was replaced under warranty almost immediately.
First of all, the most noticeable thing is that everyone comes up and asks about it and wants to talk about the bike and most people that don’t know anything about bikes think it’s a Triumph for some reason. I am thinking about getting cards made up that I can just hand out as people come up and ask me about the bike. There are quirky little things that bring back memories of days gone by for example it comes with 4 distinct keys. Remember back when American cars had ignition keys and door keys and they were sperate keys well the Ural is like that and comes with an Ignition key, trunk key, fuel cap key and fuel tank glove box key. The keys are all the different sized keys each with a different function and then it just continues from there. It comes with a big ass tool kit which I have not had to use yet, and the owner’s manual is a pretty good service/shop manual with lots of technical details. There is of course ton of storage all over the place which is always great.
Some things are Quirky
Another Quirky thing (or at least I think its quirky) is you really must use the heel shifter. I had been using the toe shifter for upshift and down shift and noticed my shoe was getting black and a little worn out. I crawled under the bike to look and saw the bottom of the toe shifter is none rubber covered angled metal (I guess they just assume your going to use the heel shifter). So, you train your brain to use the heel shifter and it turns out to be a hell of a lot of fun I just figured it had something to do with former soviet Russia always being under the heal of a boot and the idea of ergonomics being “go screw yourself”. Right turns are a little exciting because you can fly the sidecar and the first time you experience it is a little nerve wrecking and then you spend the rest of the day seeing how often you can fly the sidecar.
Gear Up Model
The gear up comes with a full-sized spare which is good and looks cool with the bonus that models since 2015 have a Universal Spare. The thing about the “universal” spare is you can’t just slap it on as the brake rotor might need to be migrated to it first. Luckily the URAL blog has very detailed information on how to use the spare and its something I printed off and added to the repair kit incase I even needed to use it.
How to Install Rear Spare Wheel
How to install the Front Spare Wheel
How to install the Sidecar Spare Wheel
The gear up not only comes with a spare wheel it also comes with a shovel and a jerry can. The jerry can is great, but it is pretty much useless without the funnel that fits it and you should get one of those immediately if your planning on using it for fuel, and I have not yet used the shovel.
Alignment is key & 2-wheel drive
My dealer has no idea on how to align the sidecar and if you loosen you grip for a second it will make a hard-right turn, which is exactly what happened. I had gotten the sidecar up past the bar ditch at a pretty good angle but was able to put it in 2-wheel drive and get it back on the road safely with a couple of lessons learned. I have since built my only sidecar alignment tools and fixed the problem the dealer was unable to because I don’t think they ever looked at the specification even when I provided it to them.Breaking is a little different especially in dirt or rain. The 4” wide tires turn into skis when the brakes are applied hard and in rain or dirt you will find yourself drifting off to one side. It takes some practice to figure out what wheels the rear brakes are applying to and how much rear brake to apply to control the drift (the short answer is to apply more rear brake then you think you need to).
The 4 speed gear box and 750cc air cooled engine that makes 41 hp 42 torque with a dry weight of 730 pounds is something that simply must be experienced. At times I hate the limited power and gears and other times I think its charming. You must adjust your mind set and basically just slow down. It’s a bit of a workout when you find a nice twisty road with hills and find yourself downshifting a couple of times just to maintain 40’ish mph on a hill and if you have a passenger then you might not make it up the hill. The flip side to that equation is that if it had more power and gears it would just end up killing you as it gets squarely over around 70 mph but its perfect for a nice day out ride about town.
Summary of thoughts
It’s a lot of fun to put around in and speeds between 30 mph and 65 are an absolute blast. You can haul stuff or people around without worries and if you are recovering from a shattered ankle it is a great little bike that allows you to at least get back out. Its capable on dirt but you do have to work at riding the bike a bit more because of the lack of power and weight. Personally, I like having at least one bike that doesn’t have anti-lock brakes, or a cruise control or a tachometer or a fuel gage it reminds me of what its like to have to think about things and not depend on a bikes computer to do all the thinking for you. I also like the bike with extra knobs (parking brake) and levers (reverse and neutral pedal) as its gives a very retro almost steampunk appearance to the bike and you get a real since of accomplishment anytime you arrive where you where heading.
I will be keeping the URAL for time to come and have committed to do all the work on the bike myself and keeping everyone up to date with my experiences as they happen.