Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle

The Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle is turning out to be all I could have hoped.  Gilbert, my cockapoo companion needed his own space. A real trooper, he'd been riding on the back of my motorcycles but was long overdue for his own command position.  It's long been known that he's the general and I'm just the major driver. I bought the Ural Patrol, "the Cossack Motorcycle" from Shail's Motorcycle.  I was able to capture a picture of Shail moving the motorcycle out of his Powell Street showroom.  He has specialized in BMW for 30 years. They're apparently moving out to Motorcycle Central in Langley on the highway where Barnes Harley, the Victory motorcycles and others already have relocated.  Shail also imports the Royal Enfield Bullet, a British motorcycle with sidecar now made in India.  The Royal Enfield Bullet he had was 500 cc whereas the Ural Patrol is 750 cc. In addition the Ural Sidecar Motorcycle has a 2 wheel drive capacity in which the sidecar wheel is engaged to help get the bike unstuck or through a very bad area. This feature is not meant for normal driving.
The precurser of my 2009 Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle was the BMW R71 produced in 1939.  The first Russian copy was the M72. This was the Russian motorcycle used in WWII on the front for reconnaisance and mobile troops. It continued to be made for the military and domestic use.  In 1998 the state owned factory was bought by private interests with new management and upgrades. .
"The main bike models built in the plant today are the heavy-duty Ural sidecar motorcycles, designed with rough Russian roads in mind, and the custom Wolf. There are many places in Russia where only horses and Ural motorcycles can be used to transport gear where you need it. Ural motorcycles are equipped with four-stroke air-cooled flat-twin engines, a four-speed gearbox with reverse gear, shaft drive, two disc dry clutch, spring shock absorbers, and drum brakes."
"Like most motorcycle manufacturers, Ural now sources pre-made components in many cases — buying alternators from Nippon Denso, brakes from Brembo, handlebar controls from Domino, forks from Paoili, ignitions from Ducati Energia, etc. The company still makes the frame, the engine, the transmission, the body parts, and the wheels."
Gilbert loves the motorcycle.  A human would find the side car comfortable too.  There's a lot of storage in the feet area and in the box behind the passenger where there's a spare tire. There's a rack on the spare tire for further storage.
The bike has a reverse.  This is like the Honda Goldwing.  It's a feature I've used and enjoyed having because one tends to park the bike like a car. If it's flat it's easy to roll the bike back in neutral but if it's a downhill slope the reverse is the way to go.
Driving it is more like an ATV quad than a motorcycle. It's like a trike.  I'm not leaning so much as turning.  There's a bit of a tug to the right driving which is counteracted by a little push on the right handle.  Turning to the left is fairly standard but turning to the right, counterintuitively can cause the side car to lift in the air. It's a bit disconcerting at first and can be counteracted with more weight in the sidecar.  So far I've been slowing to 30 km/hr for turns off the freeway and having had problems.  It's happy at 80 km/hour and a delight in the city.  I haven't put it past 55 mph feeling a bit anxious as yet at higher speeds. It's certainly not my Harley Electroglyde which was made for the Amercan freeway and comes alive over 100 km.  This bike was clearly not made with the Autobahn in mind.  I haven't had it off road yet but everything tells me it's going to be a delight on a gravel and dirt.  It's really heavy duty made and I like that.
So far I've driven it all over Vancouver, driving down Robson and Davie, around Stanley Park, out to West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Kitsilano and Commercial Drive. Everywhere we go we get smiles.  Guilt expects this as he's been a biker dog sensation for some time but it's another level of entertainment for others.  When I've parked the bike people have come up and talked to me about it more so than any motorcycle I've had. I really appreciated the really old fellow who said he remembered them from Russia when he was a kid.  Right now I've left Gilbert in his side car seat while I've stopped at Starbucks.  Passers with dogs have let  their pets sniff Gilbert. He's appreciative of the visits.
I love having a motorcycle in the city. My truck is too big for the city and parking in general  in Vancouver is such a hassle that I'd just avoid downtown were it not for a motorcycle.  I've ridden year round despite the rain the last couple of years and hope to do the same this year. Gilbert needs a sweater and fleece lined jacket for the 30 to 50 mph trips. If I were to take to the rode I'd have to get himself something warmer.  Today he has a Martha Stewart sweater and an BC rain slicker. I'm just dressed in standard biker wear.  Admittedly I don't look so tough with Gilbert in the side car wearing designer motorcycle duds.  He refuses to wear a helmut and goggles so I'm glad the Ural side car has the windshield. Shail has ordered one for the main bike.  I'm loving the Ural Patrol Sidecar Motorcycle.
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