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My Vostok Motors Experience


osro
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I'm not a witness to what was promised here, but I'll assume it was 'fully restored and in top running condition,' as reported here. Then as a purchaser, I would expect that that there had been an engine rebuild with replacement of all bearings and seals, all engine components had been examined and replaced as needed, ditto on the other main components - transmission, final drive and electrics - and the bike would have been road tested to ensure it running essentially like new. In short, I would expect the bike was in tiptop condition.

 

Obviously this was not the case when the bike was delivered. There is no excuse for this. I don't care if the bike is 39 years old, and I don't care about its history with the military etc, 'fully restored' means fully restored. A 'craftsman' wouldn't let something like this out of his shop. There is something called pride.

 

Peter

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Maybe I'm not getting something here? If I bought a product and was promised it would be in working order when purchased I would expect just that. When I made the decision to buy a russian motorcycle I understood what to expect. But I choose a new Ural because I wanted a the two year warranty that came with the bike. If didn't choose a kit bike at the time from Yuri because I did my research and found that his bikes were hit and miss. I have no idea about the the other Dnepr bike sellers but I do know about running a business. Here's how it works for me, I provide a service for which I get paid for. If I don't preform my services exactly as my customers expect, I don't get repeat business. No room for error. Period. I either stand behind my work or I'm out of work. Do you see where I'm going with this? As a customer if you were promised something then you should get what was promised. Now, anyone out there that thinks a Russian motorcycle is gas N' go is just plain dreaming. You do your homework and make a decision whatever you buy. In this thread there's all this debate over the seller being good or bad. Maybe the seller should post here and set things straight? Maybe the seller doesn't really give a ###### who thinks what about his business? What amazes me is that with such a small narrow market for these bikes that more sellers don't post on these forums than do. This is where the some of the business comes from, doesn't it? For me, my Ural is my hobby, my fun. I know what I got into and I enjoy tinkering with it. When it becomes no fun, then I sell it and move on. It's a duck, not a swan. Lipstick on a pig is still a pig. But still no one should buy a pig that was promised to be healthy and winds up being sick.

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Mr orso; After reading numerous blogs from you on the board here and at Dneprheads web site, I cannot help but reply to your complaints and personal attacks on Mitch Brown, and your bike. Start with, some people should not even own a Ural or Dnepr, because one needs to have at least a smattering of knowledge about machines in general, like 1930 cars and 30's and 40, and even 50 model Harleys, they need adjustments from front to back, at some time or other. And they have to be done right, when done right, they are reliable and enjoyable like no others. ..... Don't have that mechinical ability and the smarts to figure it ot, just ask, there are a number of knowable people on the site here and on Dneprheads. Here at U-2 Cycles we answer on average about 4 calls a day from folks like your self who need some help. In most all cases we get the problems resolved. Some people need major work, such as engine o'hauls, transmissions redone, wheels rebuilt,etc. They invest in their bike, and then with pride enjoy them, as I do. I just came in from a 45 mile ride in the moonlight, (absolutely beautiful nite here) Mt-11 runs great and I have no more fear of a break down, if I were wheeling a Honda or BMW. Biggest worry is nite time wandering deer.

 

Let's start with your bike, It is 39 years old, nice ripe age for any bike. It has gone thru the Russian military, several drivers in all probability, some who beat hell out of it, failed to service it, maybe, was released to civilian use and then sent over here. If it could talk, I am sure it could tell some tales.

Before the bike was sent here, it was rebuilt in a shop in Kiev, I have been in that shop, I have watched them work, They are craftsmen, and I complement them for their work. I watched three gentlemen come into that shop, and lease three bikes, yes MB 650's, and go on a 2300 km tour.....with no dicernable problems. Did they purposely send you a lemon, no, not one chance in 10,000.

 

In June of this year, I traveled to Kiev, To the dnepr factory, with Mitch Brown. He is honest and professional to a fault. But like every motor

cycle dealer in the US He can't warrent every part of a 39 year old bike. You have taken it upon your self to smear him,

and that is unwarrented, I would if I needed another bike, have no reservations about buying a bike sight unseen from him. I have read his text of e-bay offerings of bike, and he is very explicit about expectations for a buyer, I am sure you were aware of the same.

 

Mitch and I have similar intrests in Dneprs, This is how we met up, Mitch does more sales work, and my son Lorne and I , do the heavy repairs, and sell parts as needed , and answer a whole lot of questions. Our work is aimed at getting the Dneprs of owners like your self, running as good as the one described above, for you and your family to enjoy. But you have to understand that there is a learning curve, start at square one, and work upward, the rewards are great. And after you have invested the money and efforts, your bike will be worth far more that the so-called kit bikes, It will start in one or two kicks, and handle very well indeed......Regards Ken Ulrich :thumbsup!:

 

 

Ken,

 

You used to say exactly the same about Arbalet until they ripped you off. Is this support the same? A good Dnepr is VERY reliable, but it seems that good Dneprs are still unavailable in the U.S. The bike was supposedly rebuilt, so it should have been a good bike.

 

You say this "Let's start with your bike, It is 39 years old, nice ripe age for any bike. It has gone thru the Russian military, several drivers in all probability, some who beat hell out of it, failed to service it, maybe, was released to civilian use and then sent over here. If it could talk, I am sure it could tell some tales." and yet you then say this "Before the bike was sent here, it was rebuilt in a shop in Kiev, I have been in that shop, I have watched them work, They are craftsmen, and I complement them for their work." You can't have it both ways Ken. It was a pile of junk that was rebuilt to high standards or a pile of junk tarted up and the exported. Which is it?

 

Peter Williams.

 

 

Pete, you have considerable experience in maintenance, and so you know very well that (quote) you can't have it both ways, it was a pile of junk that was rebuilt to high standards, or it was a pile of junk, tarted up and exported.....

Now if that is not a a trap , I never saw one ....Sound like that came out of a union meeting....Go back and read my post...further more Arbalet and and Mitch Brown are a half world apart, and one will never see the "pearly gates"

 

And if an individule wishes to fly antique airplanes (done that) restore old cars ( that too), or classic motorcycles, you had better expect that you will find tid bits of errors, misfits, mismatches. Your Ural failed you at one time, to condem every one from the manufacturer all the way down to the dealer who sold it to you, is unfair. By the way I didn't see you do that.

 

My Position on Urals and Dneprs, is that, all ages and models can be made by dilligent efforts, to run and handle as new. Some people will never achieve that goal, but will whine and moan till hell freezes over, and smear and condem to boost their own ego's...

 

And then their was our long lost friend Matt.... :thumbsup!:

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I'm not a witness to what was promised here, but I'll assume it was 'fully restored and in top running condition,' as reported here. Then as a purchaser, I would expect that that there had been an engine rebuild with replacement of all bearings and seals, all engine components had been examined and replaced as needed, ditto on the other main components - transmission, final drive and electrics - and the bike would have been road tested to ensure it running essentially like new. In short, I would expect the bike was in tiptop condition.

 

Obviously this was not the case when the bike was delivered. There is no excuse for this. I don't care if the bike is 39 years old, and I don't care about its history with the military etc, 'fully restored' means fully restored. A 'craftsman' wouldn't let something like this out of his shop. There is something called pride.

 

Peter

 

 

I would suggest to one and all to review the posts from safety bob and others, regarding Mitch Brown, and in fact then review the sales blurb on e-bay, where it was never said a dammed word about "TIP TOP shape", I restore more of these bikes than any other facility I am aware of....and restoring mean not makeing it into a new unit, but making it as close to new as time and money will allow, and then there is a choice of who's time and who's money

 

Ken :thumbsup!:

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I did not purchase this bike off ebay, I purchased it over the phone with the aid of their website, which makes their ebay disclaimer irrelevant. If you look at their website it says "restored and rebuilt". Similar things were explained to me in emails and over the phone.

 

Furthermore, I was also told that he would stand behind me and support his product until I had a working motorcycle, something I still do not have.

 

I would suggest to one and all to review the posts from safety bob and others, regarding Mitch Brown, and in fact then review the sales blurb on e-bay, where it was never said a dammed word about "TIP TOP shape", I restore more of these bikes than any other facility I am aware of....and restoring mean not makeing it into a new unit, but making it as close to new as time and money will allow, and then there is a choice of who's time and who's money

 

Ken :thumbsup!:

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No use wondering if a "fully restored Dnepr" compares to a new Ural. New Urals are nice, but they are new Urals, not Dneprs.

If you care for the authenticity of an old Soviet machine buy a Dnepr and first stay around while a guy fixes it for you.

 

 

I never achieved to make my Dnepr or Ural run as new, but they keep on going (with tools and spare parts in the trunk).

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off-topic

In June of this year, I traveled to Kiev, To the Dnepr factory, with Mitch Brown.

Sure would be nice to hear a review of your visit to the KMZ plant. By the way, when you're around in Kiev drop down in Romania, maybe to the sidecar and old bike rallye we've been doing for a couple of years. Sure would be an honour for Charlie23 and me.

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Thanks to the kind comments from those who submitted them. I'm not a regular forum guy but I was urged to make a statement in this case, so, very reluctantly, here it is.

 

It was hurtful to read the gentleman's statements about his purchase of an MB-650 from my company, Vostok Motors, earlier this year. Without getting into too many details I think it is important to state that we did not leave the customer twisting in the wind and tried to solve his various problems as he reported them to us. These apparently began when he took delivery of the vehicle from a commercial shipper (which he booked) and did not make a damage claim although he informed us that the motorcycle arrived with one of the carburetors knocked off its mount during shipping. It would take a fairly good impact to do this, which could have damaged other components, but that's just speculation.

 

For weeks and months after his purchase we supplied many replacement parts to the gentleman although we don't warranty these vehicles at their current price. If we did warranty them we would have to virtually double their price, approaching Ural levels. We also called the gentleman several times to discuss his problems, called his local repair shop and shipped parts to them as well. At various times he reported that everything was okay and he seemed satisfied.

 

My goal is to have zero unhappy customers. That's not why I started this interesting business. When it seemed apparent that we were not going to be able to resolve the gentleman's concerns I offered to refund his purchase price (minus any damage done to the machine while in the gentleman's care) if he would ship the MB-650 back to us. He said he did not want to do that. The offer still stands despite the ugliness of the comments he made about us (and opposition from my mechanics).

 

There are many aspects to the Dnepr business. It is quite challenging to get these machines from Ukraine to the USA and getting them street legal once here is a whole other set of issues. We price them as low as we can and at $5500 the MB-650 is a tremendous bargain. Our profit margin with that price tag is miniscule. Despite being careful and a pretty knowledgeable Ukraine hand, I have been royally duped a couple of times by well known vendors in Ukraine who continue to operate on the major online auction site. It's a minefield out there and not for the pale of heart. Then we come to operations in my beloved home state, which is a whole other set of issues and expenses that would make anyone with any sense run away as fast as possible.

 

During the Kiev trip in June with my dear friend Ken it became apparent that the number of Dnepr motorcycles still available in Ukraine has diminished alarmingly, which shouldn't be too surprising I guess since the factory has been out of production for a decade now. Still, I was hoping that the fabled 800-1000 "Rumanians" (MT-11s ordered by the Ceaucescu regime) that were returned to KMZ after sitting in a Bulgarian warehouse for a decade or so would provide a source for a while. These were stored in a facility outside Kiev along with some of the production machinery in case KMZ could make a production comeback one day. Sadly, this stock has been hugely depleted for parts and scrap metal. The MB-650s are even harder to hard to find now because most of them, stored in various military facilities around Ukraine, are long gone.

 

Although once produced in enormous numbers the Dnepr is an endangered species so those that we have in the USA should be valued and not reviled.

 

In summary, if this gentleman wants us to take his MB-650 back and refund his purchase price the offer still stands. My mechanics will be furious with me for this but that's the way it goes. We will pay for the shipping from Houston to Sacramento if that's what it takes. The only condition is that the gentleman must agree to accept our evaluation of any damage done to the vehicle while in his custody. If this is acceptable to the gentleman I hope he will refrain from any further attacks on our little business.

 

Best regards.

 

 

Mitch Brown

Vostok Motors Inc

Sacramento

916 921-6090

vostokmotors@hotmail.com

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Mitch,

Thanks for the response I genuinely appreciate it, but in the interest of fairness I do feel like a couple of your remarks deserve clarification.

 

For weeks and months after his purchase we supplied many replacement parts to the gentleman although we don't warranty these vehicles at their current price.

 

Being that you assured me you would stand behind your product until I had a working motorcycle, the fact that you sent these items only means you were holding up your end of the bargain. Perhaps you could have been clearer about your definition of a "working motorcycle", something I still do not have, when we were talking.

 

At various times he reported that everything was okay and he seemed satisfied.

This is absolutely correct, unfortunately each of those instances was extremely short lived, to the tune of 50KM or less. I admittedly was naive, optimistic, and trusting; I assumed that since I had purchased a "restored and rebuilt" motorcycle that any initial problems would be flukes and quickly rectified. Furthermore, I later made my dissatisfaction extremely clear.

 

In summary, if this gentleman wants us to take his MB-650 back and refund his purchase price the offer still stands. My mechanics will be furious with me for this but that's the way it goes. We will pay for the shipping from Houston to Sacramento if that's what it takes.

I think its fair to mention that you are only now offering to cover shipping back to your facility, whereas before that would have been my responsibility. I had previously expressed sincere disappointment with you regarding your product, but it wasn't until I made a public review of your product that you have come forth (publicly I might add) and offered to cover shipping. Also, considering I've invested over $1500 directly into the repair of the motorcycle, including $275 in parts from you, the situation is slightly different than before. That being said, I'm considering the offer. I'd be down about $2500, but at some point you have to learn when to cut your losses.

 

Osro

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Mr. Brown,

 

You are forever a gentlemen and the most honest businessman I have ever met. I am very sorry this has happened. You and Mr. Ken have treated me with kindness and were alway available for help or questions.. For that, I am in your debt.

 

I also appreciate you flying the Dnepr flag for us .. Without you I would not have two wonderful machines that are one of the true joys in my life.

 

The more of these machines we have on the road (legally) the better off we all are. Parts, support, and general interest in these machines will grow the more they are seen putting around.

 

I look foward to more Dnepr purchases and maybe a little info on your Kiev trip????

 

All the best my friend,

 

Bob in Baton Rouge

SB##

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No use wondering if a "fully restored Dnepr" compares to a new Ural. New Urals are nice, but they are new Urals, not Dneprs.

If you care for the authenticity of an old Soviet machine buy a Dnepr and first stay around while a guy fixes it for you.

 

 

I never achieved to make my Dnepr or Ural run as new, but they keep on going (with tools and spare parts in the trunk).

 

 

 

A couple people have asked about the KMZ factory, but no one is stepping up, so I'll take a swing. I was just at KMZ last month, and visit it at least once a year.

 

KMZ is only a shadow of what it used to be. Today the motorcycle production facility sits idle except for about 2, maybe three months out of the year, and its been this way for several years. The only part open on a regular basis is the spare parts sales counter, and almost everything needed on a regular basis is unavailable. KMZ was open at the end of July and into August to manufacture parts on what remains of the company's machinery. Back in March they ran what is going to be the final production run of bikes, 300 MT11s for the Cuban market, but they could not fill the complete order due to running out of parts. These bikes were assembled from left over frames and parts in parts stores. The frame jigs, and the jigs to make the leading link forks exactly like used on Urals have been sold off as scrap metal for years.

 

When the factory does run, its mostly official rebuilding of motors and gear boxes for clients. No real motorcycle/sidecar production has gone on since before 2005. The machine shop also produces certain parts for resale.

 

Starting soon after the collapse of USSR, the suddenly privatized factories and their managers were absolutely slammed by the free market reality; their factories were frozen 30+ years behind the times technologically and none had any positive cash flow or credit, and could never hope to compete on the world market. Within 2 years of the USSR break up, most heavy industry throughout the former USSR not associated with weapons manufacturing was either closed down, heavily in debt and in their death throes, or bankrupt and being liquidated. The group assigned to manage and run KMZ did not have the foresight that those who got IMZ did, and they squandered potential. Most of the idle machinery was immediately sold off as scrap metal as only one production line was running at the time, I have never seen equipment squirreled away for a future restart. The electrics manufacturing was sold off to a chinese company. I have bought some things like the assembly line cradles and 3 sidecar alignment jigs for the different frames because they make assembling a bike easy, and the alignment jigs hold everything in perfect alignment so you can set everything and bolt it down with no trial and error and the toe in and camber is on the money every time.

 

What does KMZ look like today? Today KMZ is run by a real estate management company, and 90% of its floor space is leased to other businesses. The motorcycle facility is in poor shape and looks very run down. About 50% of the space is now offices, and there is manufacturing of plastics and metal goods, like fences, window frames, lawn chairs, water sprinklers, etc. These are all independent private businesses, not KMZ.

 

In the late 1990s, Ukraine experienced a real estate boom and property prices went through the roof, the managing company saw KMZ's floor space more valuable leased out to private parties than it was for motorcycle production because sales had naturally lamented being there was only limited production. Another kick in the nuts was at that time in the 1990s no one in Ukraine wanted a bike like this. It was considered low class to drive one, very Soviet, and it was very prestigious to own a foreign made car/bike. Only poor villagers and farmers drove these things up until a few years ago. Today that's changing with the resurgence of national pride after the 2004 Orange Revolution. If you see a nice Dnepr or vintage Ural on the street today, it was not bought at one of those shops in Kiev, someone painstakingly restored it himself and probably was its original owner or bought it as a broken down scrap heap.

 

KMZ will never be again. It is dead, its only a matter of time before the last 5 buildings are leased out to other parties and the remaining equipment is scrapped and the books is forever closed. I have some fotos from my last trip. Coincidentally I took fotos of the assembly line in K5. It is interesting place. There was no electricity running in that workshop when I went through it, so everything was taken in low light and looks dark, but as soon as I get them out of my camera and have time to work with them I'll post them.

 

Attached is a copy of the property floor plan which is available from the managing firm to parties wanting to lease space. I have colored the 4 buildings which are in use at times for motorcycles. KMZ's floor plan numbers for their motorcycle production locations are K1, K2, K3, and K9. The motorcycles are assembled on the 2nd floor of building K5. You can also get an idea of the size of these building, the floor space in square meters is shown for every building!

 

If anyone is interested in what comes out of these Kiev so called 'refurbishing' shops, let me know and I'll detail it.

 

Enjoy the single foto

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Osro, can you to show as the photos of your MV-650?I can't find it.

or give me the link.

As we understood the engine in your bike is civil MT 10-11 (not MV-650 engine)

 

Peter Hayden : early MV-650 were made in 1985. the bike is not 39 y old.

 

Dnepr against new Ural : bought bikes runs perfect, but ural 750 can run 100 km/h long time , dnepr with sidecar I risk only 70.Weather was very hot.Last summer I ran on Ukraine more 6000 km without any problem. Some time I ran with moskow's guy by Ural retro.

ofcourse, on a motorway I suck but ground road they are the same.

 

continue. for next message. i saw photos of your bike. gearbox with e-starter.this is expensive but is not MV-quality.

post-491-1284622135_thumb.jpg

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certainly, here are 2 pictures. If you'd like to see more, just let me know what to take a picture of. :)

post-9603-1284644006_thumb.jpg

post-9603-1284644024_thumb.jpg

 

Osro, can you to show as the photos of your MV-650?I can't find it.

or give me the link.

As we understood the engine in your bike is civil MT 10-11 (not MV-650 engine)

 

Peter Hayden : early MV-650 were made in 1985. the bike is not 39 y old.

 

Dnepr against new Ural : bought bikes runs perfect, but ural 750 can run 100 km/h long time , dnepr with sidecar I risk only 70.Weather was very hot.Last summer I ran on Ukraine more 6000 km without any problem. Some time I ran with moskow's guy by Ural retro.

ofcourse, on a motorway I suck but ground road they are the same. sidecars

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Within 2 years of the USSR break up, most heavy industry throughout the former USSR not associated with weapons manufacturing was either closed down, heavily in debt and in their death throes, or bankrupt and being liquidated.
And even the weapons manufacturers suffered. Just a couple of years ago, Mr. Kalishnakov and Co. was filing bankruptcy because the USSR had licensed lots of their commie satellite countries to make AK-47's (along with lots of other equipment, I'm sure). However, after the fall of the USSR, those countries apparently felt they owed nothing to the former USSR, kept the tooling and flooded the market with cheap AK-47's and paid no kickbacks to Mr K. or the USSR.
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