Based on a late 1930s BMW R71 bike, the Russian Ural motorcycle was made in the Ural mountains—thus the company name—for military use only until the mid-1950s. Ural began exporting its never-changing three-wheel bikes to the United States in 1993, finding a boutique niche that has kept it in business. No longer mass produced, Ural motorcycles are now individually made by hand by a crew of 150 workers in Irbit, Russia. The Retro 750 comes as a solo or sidecar styled bike. The specs for this review are for the Retro Solo–one of only two standard two-up motorcycles made by Ural.
The 40-hp engine dishes out a whopping 65 mph for its top speed. The boxer 750cc is an air-cooled, 749cc, horizontally opposed, two-cylinder, four-stroke engine, fueled by dual Keihin carburetors. The Solo gets around 45 miles per gallon and runs on regular, or anything else you put in the five gallon tank.
The front suspension is a telescopic fork; the rear is a twin-sided swing arm with a spring preload shock. With its tractor style seat, the bumps are not as bad as they could be considering the suspension. The four-speed transmission works with a shaft final drive. A Brembo hydraulic disc provides stopping power in front; a drum rear brake stops both the motorcycle and the sidecar. They work fairly well with solo two-up seating, but add the extra weight of the sidecar and the stopping power is insignificant to say it nicely.
With 5.5 inches of ground clearance you can take this bike lots of places. Even though it's famous for covering rough terrain, this really isn't a lot of ground clearance for the average off-roader. The bike is more suited to dirt roads and minimal off-roading. We'd like to tell you it was built for comfort, not speed. Unfortunately this wouldn't be the case. Known for its rough ride and unreliability, the Ural still has a huge following. No matter where you park it, you will always find someone looking at it when you come out from wherever you've been. This alone, is not a recommendation, but still fun.