Knowing you can go anywhere is a big part of it.
In a world where just about every other motorcycle manufacturer moved on from its early models over time, Ural is exceptional. The company knows who it is, and it knows who wants to buy its bikes, and it’s perfectly happy to fill a specific niche that only it can fill. It doesn’t need to be out setting world speed records; it just needs to excel at being itself. Ural does so, unapologetically—and that’s why its fans love it.
Much better off-road than on-road, the Ural GearUp featured in this video comes with a shovel, a gas can, and an extremely extensive toolkit. Maybe that last part is a wink and a nod at Ural’s historic reputation for sketchy reliability, or maybe it’s just because in addition to having all that hauling capacity in the sidecar, it also comes with a sizeable trunk—or maybe it’s even both.
On-road, it’s definitely not the kind of sidecar setup that’s meant for racing. No one expects that of it, though. Its magic lies in the fact that it’ll get you where you want to go, no matter what kind of rough terrain you have to traverse to get there—and it’ll take your friends and stuff along with it. Don’t like people? That’s cool, stick a helmet and some doggles on your favorite friendly pooch, and this is an ideal way for both of you to get some fresh air, fun, and quality time spent together. You’d also better not plan on stopping, though, because you’re going to have to field a whole lot of conversations with random people if this is your ride. Are Urals the most social of bikes? Maybe!
Despite its exceedingly retro looks, it’s actually changed plenty over time, under the skin. As Ural CEO Illya Khait told Common Tread, where historic Urals had virtually all parts made in-house in its Irbit factory, now about 75 percent of parts are sourced from suppliers outside of Russia. Build quality, as a result, has largely improved—even if it looks virtually unchanged on the outside.
Speaking of which, as the guy from SRK Cycles points out, one thing to put your mind at ease about such a utilitarian bike as this is that if you scratch or ding it, it’s no big deal. Interesting scars just add to a Ural’s personality, and become part of the story it silently tells people who see it. You can slap a little paint over it if you like, but you’re not going to have the same kind of panic hit you at seeing a scratch on this as you might with some bikes. This bike is meant to live, with all the ups and downs that entails. It’s not showy, but it’s got heart, and that counts for something.