There's a fair amount of myth and legend surrounding the Ural, but there's no getting around the fact that the originals were a direct descendant of BMW’s R71 back in the 1930s. Whether the plans were purchased from BMW or outright stolen, they were the same bike, adding only a sidecar and suspension changes. Not a lot has changed since then. The technology is still much the same, with the upgrades being provided by 1998's new owners' use of Japanese parts, thank goodness. The Ural Patrol, like all other Urals is powered by an air-cooled, 749cc, horizontally opposed, two-cylinder, four-stroke engine, with an overhead valve and dual Keihin carburetors.
Suspension is divided evenly between all Ural models; the front suspension is a leading link fork; the rear is a twin-sided swing arm with a spring preload shock—and even though it sounds like plenty of suspension, they're famous for their rough and exhausting rides. Much of this is blamed on the four-speed transmission, which works with a crossover drive shaft for two-wheel drive. This also transfers power to the sidecar’s wheel and is manually engaged, giving it two rear driving wheels. Think posi-traction for a motorcycle–kind of boggles the mind, doesn't it? A Brembo hydraulic disc setup provides stopping power in front; the rear brake is an IMZ drum. From all accounts, it’s still not enough braking power, even though top speed is only about 65 mph.
The motorcycle and sidecar combination has a five-gallon fuel tank and gets about 40 miles per gallon combined. The horsepower is only rated at around 33 bph, not much for a 750cc engine. But keep in mind, the 739-pound Ural Patrol can haul up to 1350 pounds. So if your motorcycling joy is to move your friends to their new apartment, this is the bike for you.
No one recommends riding this bike for a trip of any length for several reasons. They break regularly; parts fall off or just quit working for no apparent reason. They require a ton of work to pilot, the ride is rough and the performance is, well, not up to your usual standards. Toolboxes are sold as part of this bike for a reason. Be sure to add to it with extra bolts, bailing wire, duct and electrical tape. Sadly, you will need them. They can virtually go anywhere in any weather—think Russian winters. When they start, they start in any weather, no cold-weather quirks for this ride. You can run them with any fuel you can get your hands on. They handle off-road the same way they handle on pavement. The bright side of this bike is they're attention getters–everyone loves them, even their owners.