A Little Russian Retro

Like the better known Volkswagen Typ 1, the Ural motorcycle too has been produced since the late 1930’s and remained relatively unchanged. The staggering defeat of Russia in the Winter War with Finland demonstrated the cost of using obsolete technology in combat. A new motorcycle design was desperately needed considering the increasing momentum towards war with Germany. So, the Soviet army covertly acquired 5 BMW R71 motorcycles in Sweden and took them back to Moscow for reverse engineering. Every detail of the design was studied and reproduced in the 1941 Ural M-72.


Thousands of Urals were put into service on the Russian frontlines during World War II. After the war, military production of the Ural was moved to Ukraine from the Irbit Motorcycle Works near Siberia and the original factory was converted to civilian production. Since then over 3 million of the R71-based Urals have been built and can be seen on roads around the world.

Yes, they are available here in the United States.

What you get today is a shaft driven motorcycle powered by a 750cc air-cooled flat twin rated at 40 horsepower with some pretty unique looking leading link forks. A few things have been updated since the 40’s like the front brakes & carburetors. They now come with a Brembo disc brake and Keihin carbs. Oh, did I mention that it also has a shaft driven sidecar!

I would sure like to take it for a spin, but I’m not sure I could drop the $9-11k to buy one. However, if you get one, I would bet that you are the only guy that shows up at bike night with a sidecar. Or you can imagine yourself being Indiana Jones on an old BMW!

Indiana Jones BMW

Check out the Ural website at www.imz-ural.com

There is a community at ural.wikispaces.com

Here in Phoenix you can check them out at Logan’s. www.logansmc.com