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I keep looking at Ural's and thinking I really really want one. Then I hear these horror stories about how much maintenance they require. Combine that with the price tag and needless to say, one has not yet found it's way into my garage. Anyone ever own one? Are they as awesome as they look or are they truly a nightmare to own? For $4k that seems like a pretty sweet deal for someone who wants that bike.
 

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I'm in Reno now for the week and have nothing planned for tomorrow. Hmmm.....

Better not. Read an article that said sidecar bikes combine the open, unprotected-ness of a motorcycle, the flippy nature of ATVs, and the width disadvantages of a car all in one. I'll stick to my TW, ATV, and SUV.
 

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That's a cool rig, saw it over on the Ural site. But specific to upgraded German final drive gearing, ignition systems and switchgear you will want to look at a 2007 thru 2013 if you want to buy used. These are the carb models and very simple to maintain though not as simple as turning a key on a TW and going. Theres just a bunch more stuff to maintain. Great mountain, hunting, off-road and street rig.
For new one's they added efi in 2014. But there was a mapping problems similar to what BMW went thru in the early 80's. And with no owner "efi tool" available (like a Power Commander on a Harley) new owners are stuck only having a dealer deal with the issue. They seem to have resolved on the 14's & '15"s with 3 or 4 versions of the software out there. Waiting to see if they have resolved on the 2016's. One thing I can say about IMZ-America is that they do go well beyond anything I have seen in customer service from any motorcycle or car manufacture. They only build and sell 600-800 rigs a year so they have to be. Very supportive.
Personally I don't like using the term software and motorcycle in the same sentence as in KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

That price for this older used bike is a pretty good one BTW. Chances are the owner has done upgrades over the years which would bring it up to snuff and "sorted". Just have to do your research on an older model.
These were and are still in fleets of military divisions. But set-up for Russian light-weight machine guns. I needed to fabricate a mount for a good old U.S.A. Browning 30 cal. which in reality would be a bit too heavy of a gun for this rig. On the other hand IMZ-Ural does offer a rocket propelled launcher that mounts on the passenger fender (not to us of course) so maybe the 30 cal. would be ok?
But it looks great. So yes... you absolutely do need to mount a machine gun if you own one of these things:

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You also need to find a willing gunner. Peppermint is my most loyal Co-Pilot.
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The guys over at Soviet Steeds are putting the owner through his paces because they know the questions to ask. Seller acknowledges an electrical problem that he has not resolved, thus the low price. If you are even a shade-tree mechanic and like to tinker the guys at SS can walk you through about any problem.
Here's the post and conversation over there. I think you will be able to read but not participate without joining. Looking close at this 2005 and after recommending no older than a 2007... this is a pretty darn good deal for someone who wants to dip their toes in the 2-Wheel drive sidecar world. Parts alone are worth more than this fellow is asking for the bike and it looks real clean. Here's the link:

FOR SALE: 2005 Ural Gear Up - Soviet Steeds
 

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Nothing better if your into it. My mentor was crazy about sidecars and old boxers. But his daily ride of choice was a newer Harley. Ural has come a long way from the days where one had to completely tear down one down and rebuild apon receiving. But it's a high maintenance design from an era where if you couldn't do maint repairs you were not going to ride very much. I sure love looking at them though.
 

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I love your sidecar gunner. I have an old outside basketball frame I keep eyeballing thinking one day I'll make a TwUral! Mainly thought of it because my gunner is too old now to hop up on the back of the TW anymore. She was my "tail gunner" for many years. Now she has been transferred to being a paper pusher as she is no longer on TW Flight Status.
 

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Some of the more impressive off-road hacks I have seen lately are sidecars attached to KLR650's. This is all modified stuff of course but look like the most extreme of fun. You can also disconnect the bike form the sidecar as well. You can't (and wouldn't want to) do that with a 2-wheel drive Ural.
 

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Cut up a moped for hack wheel. Provides brakes, suspension, easy attachment with a wire fed welder. If your a little touched in the head
you can also have powered wheel............my mentor and I built one with a Honda 110 and 50 cc Yamaha "Chappy". We ended up having to cut it up as it was too much fun and neither of us had sufficient self control to operate without certain bodily harm. But I think the idea was valid, just wrong executors.
 
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