The 2009 Ural Retro might look like it's from the 1930s, but it uses contemporary engineering that meets the needs of modern riders. The Ural Retro, however, isn't intended for high-speed racing. It's a relaxed motorcycle with a sidecar that makes a great option for leisurely exploring roadways.
Those who have never driven a bike with a sidecar will likely find the experience strange at first. The 2009 Ural Retro's sidecar, for instance, isn't connected to the bike's engine. This can cause the motorcycle to drift to the right. After a few minutes, correcting this drift becomes second nature. Within a couple days, even timid bikers can feel comfortable piloting the Ural Retro through city streets, as well as empty country roads. Ural makes motored sidecars, but riders often find that they appreciate the lower cost and lighter weight of those without accompanying drive shafts.
Ural began making motorcycles with sidecars in the 1940s. Until recently, the company shied away from making bikes without them. The first bikes were based on the BMW R 71. After acquiring the designs for this German-made motorcycle, the Soviet Union intended to open factories in several cities, including Moscow and Kharjov. As Nazi troops moved deeper into the country, though, the Soviet Union was forced to move facilities to Irbit and Nizhny Novgorod, to avoid manufacturing disruptions during World War II.
For most motorcycle manufacturers, this history might not matter. Ural, however, has held onto its roots as a company that offers no-nonsense bikes that average people can afford, whether they live in Russia, North America, or other parts of the world. (Ural currently sells its bikes in Australia, South Africa, Northern Africa, North America, and Europe.) This approach means that performance specifications often matter less than they do when buying Asian motorcycles that focus on impressive torque and horsepower. Operating the 2009 Ural Retro essentially means that the driver needs to master going forward, stopping, and making turns. Drivers don't have to get finicky with gears. They just have to get used to thinking of the bike as an extension of themselves. In some respects, this makes the 2009 Ural Retro easy for beginners to operate. Mastering the machine, however, means that the driver needs to learn fundamentals, instead of relying on high-tech features.
Don't mistake the straight-forward, no-nonsense design with sloppy engineering. The 2009 Ural Retro can hold its own against contemporary bikes. It just takes a different approach which appeals to a certain breed of motorcycle enthusiast. With its retro aesthetics, reliable mechanics, and sidecar, the Ural Retro is a great option for anyone interested in exploring the world with a partner. It's not an outlaw bike, and it's certainly not a sports bike. It's a touring bike that has evolved with technological improvements, while maintaining a connection to its rich history.