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Just bought this bike from a late friend's family. I love it, but I have idea what year or model it might be. i'm pretty sure it's a early 70's, but I'm not sure. Tires say "Made in USSR" and lights have "CCCP" stamped. Can I determine the year from the frame number or engine number? I'm hoping the experts here can help. Thanks, and I'm thrilled to own a old school Ural.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks, Luca! I'll keep trying to find the exact year. Any hints on what might help with that?

Russians don't use year of construction for consideration of anything. They don't make changes until they build an entirely new model. Ural or Dnepr models are all the same from production start until the end. That said you can get an approximation of the year it was built by looking at the date code on the tires if they are original or on some other small part on it. I found by accident the reflectors have a date code stamped on the back of them on my Dnepr MT-11. Your Ural my be different but from what I understand all reflectors for all vehicles were made in one factory. Reflectors do degrade over time so it makes sense they would put a date code on them like tires. Most people leave reflectors alone or they discard them so there's a pretty good chance all the reflectors are original on the bike. They could still be from a prior year of production having been warehoused before shipment to the factory where they are installed. After removing my left front side reflector on the headlight bracket to mount it in a different location so I could mount a fairing is when I found the date code. I then removed all the other reflectors just to check them and they all had the same date code. Other than registering your Bike in a country where they care about the production year there's really no other reason to know that. The paperwork that came with my bike for registration purposes that included the "year of production" is not in the range of actual years of production. No one cared about or knew that where I registered my bike and I didn’t say anything not wanting to cause problems as registration was going so smoothly. Even my vehicle insurance company was OK with the obviously ( to me ) incorrect year on the paperwork. If possible just pick out a year that lies in the period of production years for that model. There's nothing on the Bike that's going to say it's not the year you chose.

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That is probably true for older Urals, but Urals made from 2000 on have more year delineation due to emissions regulations and steady improvements. Additionally they run a much leaner parts inventory due to the reduced volume and there are often bike to bike changes in the same year on items that don't affect safety and environmental specs such as tires, lights and other trim parts. Unless the owner has modified the bike a good dealer can identify the bike's year by the brakes, rims, carbs or fuel injection type used, starter, oil filter fitting, and so on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That is probably true for older Urals, but Urals made from 2000 on have more year delineation due to emissions regulations and steady improvements. Additionally they run a much leaner parts inventory due to the reduced volume and there are often bike to bike changes in the same year on items that don't affect safety and environmental specs such as tires, lights and other trim parts. Unless the owner has modified the bike a good dealer can identify the bike's year by the brakes, rims, carbs or fuel injection type used, starter, oil filter fitting, and so on.

Ural was purchased by an American company that kept the Ural factory in operation. When that happened production became Americanized with built in obsolescence and constant changes along with year model of production. That's the reason Ural dealers here in the USA no longer support Ural owners with Bikes earlier than 2010 year models. If you have an "old" Ural they expect you to buy a new Ural or at least one that's not more than 10 years old. Why? They don't want to stock parts for older bikes in addition to newer bikes.

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^^ The 2007 Ural tourist i have is not difficult to source parts for... Generally I just call Crawfords.. Done!!

Good thing is, it don't need Much.. Reliable as a pet rock!!!

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"Major Tom" did not buy the Russian Factory, he was just an importer. His contract expired in 2003 and the 3 RUSSIAN owners took over US distribution themselves. The reasons for the continual changes are survival - they couldn't sell bikes at the quality levels of the 90s and they also had to meet ever tightening emissions and braking standards. Since they now sell less than 1 percent of the volume they had under the Soviet government they can no longer in house facilities to make wheels, do chrome work, make alternators or fuel systems and such and have had to purchase from outside. Vendors change - go out of business, don't want to do low volume, etc. and they have to roll with it. They have also worked hard to make the bikes more dependable, which they have done.

 

I have been to the factory and met the 3 RUSSIAN owners.

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I am one of the 6 Seattle-area people who volunteered for 6 months to help the new Russian Ural Owners set up business in the USA.

And I've visited the Irbit Ural Factory twice.

So if you have more questions about those transition years, just ask and I will share what I know.

 

One of the three owners and the President of Irbit Motor Works of America, Ilya Khait, is actually a Metallurgical Engineer by education. He and his teams have worked hard to improve the bikes and bring their technology into the 21st century, while retaining their older "charm." I think they have done a pretty good job, especially considering the world challenges they have faced. And still face!

RussN

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