A lot of manufacturers make sidecars for their motorcycles, including (at least until recently) Harley-Davidson. Ural makes sidecar motorcycles. The company, based in Irbit, Russia, has been producing these machines since the early days of World War II, when the Russian military decided that a sidecar motorcycle, capable of carrying two men and a machine gun over rough terrain, would be ideal in the fight with Hitler’s invading forces. Based on a late 1930s BMW sidecar bike, the Russian motorcycle was made in the Ural mountains—hence the company name—for military use only until the mid-1950s. Ural began exporting its retro-styled three-wheel bikes to the United States in 1993, finding a boutique niche that has kept it in business. No longer mass-produced workhorses carrying machine guns—or loads of hay—over rough or nonexistent roads, Ural sidecar motorcycles are now made by hand by a crew of 150 people in Irbit.
Like all of Ural’s motorcycles, the 2007 Ural Tourist 750 is powered by an air-cooled, 749cc, horizontally opposed two-cylinder four-stroke engine, with an overhead cam valve configuration and dual Keihin carburetors. The front suspension is a leading link fork; the rear is a twin-sided swing arm with a spring preload shock. 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.
In 2007 Ural added the Tourist LX 759 to its model line, with two new two-tone paint schemes—black and maroon, and silver and blue—and upgraded upholstery and finishes for the interior of the sidecar. The Tourist 750 comes in solid black, maroon, or bright red. A multitude of accessories are available, ranging from a sidecar tonneau cover to a NATO luggage rack for the spare wheel. For those who are interested in using the bike as an off-road vehicle, Ural offers an ""adventure package"" that makes a number of modifications, but the stock Tourist is intended for city use. Its ground clearance is not quite five inches, and the sidecar also sits low to the ground.
The sidecar rig makes operating a Tourist a very different experience from riding a two-wheel motorcycle, and training is advisable. Women who have spent a lot of miles riding pillion behind their partners mention that riding in the sidecar gives them a different experience of the motorcycling world—one that lets them see the scenery instead of their partners’ backs. Owners appreciate the Tourist’s old-fashioned charm and looks and recommend allowing extra time for every errand, because passers-by have so many questions and comments. The sidecar provides plenty of storage space for groceries or camping gear, and as a touring vehicle, the motorcycle provides plenty of easy-going, retro fun.