Everybody likes a good comeback story, and the story of the sidecar is becoming exactly that.
Up until the 1950s, sidecars were seen as the cheaper alternative to the passenger car. They offered an “elegant” way of carrying an extra passenger, but were still conveniently cheap, as well as light enough to be pushed out of ditches, potholes, and other obstacles along the less-than-smooth roads of the past.
By the 1950s, though, it had all but vanished. Cheaper passenger cars took over, with only a few sidecar manufacturers able to hang on to what was a dwindling market. For decades, it seemed like the sidecar would fall into oblivion and be nothing more than a curious side note in the history of motorcycle manufacturing.
But all that changed when Ural, a Soviet-era motorcycle company, broke into a new niche market with their highly durable off-roading sidecars. Read on to find out the story behind this inventive old-school company, and what their latest model has to offer (hint: it’s one wild ride).
The Ural Company Story
Ural’s bikes have an equally impressive backstory. Born from Nazi and Soviet parents in the middle of frigid Siberia, these crazy sidecars were originally designed to get soldiers to the frontlines during World War II.
The Ural sidecars were designed at the beginning of the war, when Soviet engineers needed a motorcycle that could easily charge through mud and snow. They snuck a few models of the German BMW R71 motorcycle into the country, took them apart, and reverse engineered them into durable off-roaders that could plow through just about anything.
After the war, Ural sidecars continued to enjoy moderate sales thanks to their durability and affordability. But, with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, all that changed.
Ural made its comeback when it reinvented itself in the early 2000s, by tapping into a niche market that craved the retro feel and downright ruggedness of a war era sidecar. That niche market was the American adventurer.
The Sportsman Motorcycle Package and What it Has to Offer
As a sidecar, Ural motorcycles are notoriously difficult to handle and have an underwhelming top speed of 112km per hour. Fortunately, though, they make up for their shortcomings by being formidable off-roading machines.
The latest Ural Sportsman package offers the following options:
- Rear sidecar bumper
- LED fog lights
- LED headlight
- Full ceramic protective undercoating
- Blacked out gearbox, engine, and drive train
- Waterproof seat and sidecar covers
That’s on top of standard features like two-wheel drive, disk brakes and an electronic fuel injection system that helps bring this motorcycle into the 21st century.
Of course, even with these newly-added modern comforts, the main selling point of the Sportsman is its retro feel – still captured in its unique design. Take a look here:
For those with careers in auto repair and sales who like the look of an old-school motorcycle, then there’s nothing quite like the Ural.