Earlier this summer we were lucky enough to spend a long weekend getting a sneak peak at Coleman’s National Park Centennial camping gear (more on that soon). As part of our trip, we spent quite a bit of time cruising fire roads and ATV trails of Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula aboard a Ural Motorcycle. After gunning the engine up our first steep, washboard hill, the two wheel drive had us swooning – although that could have been the exhaust fumes too.
Ural’s parent company has been building sidecar bikes in Irbit, Russia since 1941. Originally based on the venerable BMW R71, Ural’s early models were exclusive to the Red Army. In the 1950s they starting producing bikes for the public, and in 1973 the first motorcycles made it across the Iron Curtain into Great Britain. Over the years the sidecar design hasn’t changed, but modern ignition systems, disc brakes, and powerful 750cc engines have become part of each bike’s DNA.
Ural’s USA headquarters in Redmond Washington is the perfect location for some serious testing, so we couldn’t pass up a weekend of riding when we had a bike at our disposal and pristine forest roads to ride on. At first blush, the two wheel drive is insanely grippy – too much for paved roads, but excellent for loose gravel and washed out dirt roads. The sidecar affects the balance enough that you’ll have to pay attention closely at first, but if you don’t drive like a madman (we’re looking at you Ryan Hayter) it’s not a steep learning curve. The best part is the cargo space. The sidecar has a seat for a copilot – or dog – and plenty of room for a weekend’s worth of camping gear. So if you’re planning on heading out for a weekend of fire road cruising and camping, your first choice should be a Ural.
Pictures Courtesy of Ural Motorcycles