Me and my russian motorbike / sidecar. (I call him the bear).
26_08_2013 by Sarah Bluck
Hi this is my Russian Ural Motorcycle with a sidecar. It's a working, running, reliable Russian outfit.
The sidecar wheel is driven via a differential split 60/40 between the bike wheel and sidecar wheel.
This makes it actually go in a straight-line when I accelerate, and it goes round corners without too
much stress too. When I bought it it only had only done 2800 Kilometres (1740 miles).
It's a bike made for a sidecar, so it has reverse gear. This often gets people looking in amazement
when I reverse out of parking-spaces. Not many motorbikes have reverse-gear. Or a side-car fitted.
And even less have one on the right-hand-side. In the UK it's actually illegal to use a right-hand side-
car unit on the road unless it was made before the laws changed in the 1970's.
No electric start on this beast. It's a side-ways kick-starter. It does have CDI though instead of the
more usual condenser/points arrangement found on early bikes. and the electrical system is 12v.
With an empty sidecar it really hates going around roundabouts. I've had it on 2 wheels and it can
be a little scarey! I tend to keep somthing heavy in there just to help hold it down a bit on right-
turns!. It does take some getting used to.
When I bought it It had spent a few years in someones garden before he got it through the MOT
and up for sale. I had never ridden a sidecar unit before and had a long ride home from Sussex
to north Kent. to learn. By the time I got home I decided it was actually really good fun!
The DVLA and the government screwed things up for sidecar / trike owners a few years back and
I'm just glad that "the Russian bear" wasn't scrapped. as the rules changed and the definitions of
trikes combo's and RH combo's changed many later bikes became illegal to use.
When you look close it's rather like an old BMW. it isn't though. It's a ural engine from the 1990's
in an older bike / chassis. it is very over engineered and when I took the gearbox apart for repair
it was rather similar to the one in my old dumper-truck!
When it was first imported into the UK it was registered as a trike as the two rear wheels are
always driven. this was done as a legal-dodge as the sidecar is on the wrong side for a 1999 combo.
so when the definition of a trike was re-worded as having a symetrical wheelplan, this bike was
not legally usable on UK roads. The previous owner managed to buy a frame and V5 of an old 1977
cossack and so this beast is a 1970's bike with some modifications.. like the front forks were newer
telescopic types on the 70's bike. But they have been changed / kept as leading-link. the engine
is a newer overhead cam 650cc with 12v electrics and CDI later wheels with far better brakes too.
It's perfectly legal to ride it here in the UK, But as most were either taken off the road or re-painted
as german army bikes and sold to the re-enactment community for show-use only. Mine as you can
see from the pictures is in it's Russian army colours. And would not have looked out of place in the
russian - afghan wars. I even have a russian DP28 machine gun for it. That's great at shows.
I love riding the bear about and getting some odd looks. But hey, I'm an attention-seeker! It's also
fun to park it outside the cafe at lunchtime an just watch people as they stop, point, walk around it,
and in some cases kneel down and take a really close look! I have even had people lurking for me
to return so they can ask me questions! Great fun! And really, If you see me out and about in
sittingbourne, sheerness, sheppey, kent, sussex, surrey, or london. Just say HI. I don't often bite!
Here's a free Ural repair manual if you need one. In English too!