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Ural: The Kalashnikov of motorcycles

September 26, 2013

This is a beautiful motorcycle-sidecar combination in Kitsilano. I knew there was another motorcycle-with-sidecar in the same area, but it didn’t look anything like this one—or so I thought. But check this one out first.

As I said, not all that far away is this other motorcycle with sidecar. It’s nothing like the first one. In the first place, it’s grey rather than red and

Actually, they’re darn near identical. Sure the red motorcycle has fancier shocks but those sidecars—paint jobs, and detailing, aside—are identical.

The Red motorcycle is branded with the name “Ural” and both have the same logo on the tire mount. These are both Ural brand, Russian sidecar motorcycles, with an interesting history.

The modern company, IMZ-Ural, and it’s sidecar motorcycle, are both direct descendants of a Soviet program during World War II to reverse engineer the late 1930s-model BMW R71 sidecar motorcycle.

To make things even weirder, by the 1970s, there was a Chinese knock-off of the Russian knock-off of the original German BMW motorcycle. I’m thinking, now I know where they got all those motorcycles ridden by Nazis in the Indiana Jones files. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Fairview, Kitsilano

  1. ~xtian permalink

    I first read about the Ural here:

    RetroThing is a wonderful site. It’s at least part of the reason I hang on to my ex CAD shop 19″ Trinitron monitor. The fact I still have the first 15 incher I ever bought sitting up on top of my closet isn’t their fault though. It maxes out at 1024×768 and one of these days I’ll hook it up to my Mac and get rid of the broken PC Company thing sitting beside it.

    • “there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a hammer and sickle.” Ha! Way to make the post better. Thanks. My IIci had a 17″ Trinitron. In 1992, I think only Radius monitors were better

      • ~xtian permalink

        Wow. A IIci with a 17″! That’s some serious business.

        I saw a teardown of one of those on an old Computer Chronicles episode ages ago. Well it wasn’t strictly a teardown – this is back when Apple made machines you could actually get into. If I recall correctly the example machine also ran A/UX. I may be mixing a couple of episodes up though.

        When you have the time and available bandwidth’s Computer Chronicles collection is a treasure trove. They have a couple of early ’80s vintage Canadian series on there too as I recall.

      • The IIci was so nice inside — like a dream apartment. Very upgradeable. 32-bit clean with a mode switch so I could run System 6, 24-bit software. Only 25 MHz, but the top-end Quadra 950 was itself only 40 MHz, and I couldn’t afford it. That first Mac system, including PS fonts, software like Photoshop, FreeHand, QuarkXPress, and Infini-D; legal-size Umax scanner, Trinitron monitor, 4 MB of RAM to push it to 8, and a 300-plus MB HD, set me back over $30,000. Loved that Mac. Loved System 7.1.

        I clearly remember puzzling over the A/UX forum on CompuServe; not having the slightest clue what it was.

  2. Terry McNabb permalink

    Da, Comrade…. Grey one is named “Boris”….. belonging to friend, both running on vodka…

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