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Ural Loyalty


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#31 JohnBG

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 11:13 AM

View Postcsbdr, on Dec 22 2006, 12:32 PM, said:

View Postclarkebd, on Dec 22 2006, 11:21 AM, said:

My feelings are this: I would not buy a NEW Ural at this point. My reason is - for me personally - they are too much money. Nothing to do with the maintenance, reliability, etc. Just money. I wouldn't buy a new motorcycle of any type right now as I think they are all too expensive. Buy Used!


That's where I'm at. All my bike have been used. That said, I can see where people are going. If there isn't a balance achieved between quality and pricepoint, people nowadays won't buy new bikes. With such an abysmally small market share, that could be the end. If the prices are going to go up, then the quality will have to as well in order to interest buyers of new bikes, even if they do understand the inherent flaws, etc. There will be a breaking point, IMHO. chris


I was the same way too with my '98 Tourist. I was content to stick with that and just keep fixing it. But then after viewing the beauty that is the Raven, I had to just buy a new one.

It's the 2nd "brand new" bike I have ever owned (the other being a MX bike in the early '80s). I had to sell my Harley to get it, but I have no regrets. I am really loving having and riding the new rig.

I will have to say that the differences between my '98 650 Tourist and the '06 750 Raven are quite remarkable. Not being a cheerleader, but they have come a long way in 8 years. They still got a way to go IMHO...

When I show of the new rig, people ask me how much I paid for it and I tell them $10K and they are astonished by the low perceived price. When I tell them, they can buy a 1WD model for $8500 brand-new with a 2-year warranty, they don't believe me.

Go to the local Harley or BMW or Jap bike shop and see what kind of sidecar rig $10K buys ya! :P Shoot for $10K there might be one or two Harleys or BMW's ya can buy with that.
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#32 gspell68

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 01:44 PM

I don't know that there is a loyalty to the company but there is a loyalty to the brand. It's not like folks who trade in their cars at the dealership for a new one every two years. Once you buy a Ural from the company, you are stuck with it: for better or worse. I don't think there is a trade-in program
But then again, whats to trade in? An old bike that looks exactly like the new one???

On the other hand, there are guys like John who go out and buy a new one after riding an old one. In another few years, he's going to need a Retro to cruise the streets on and he'll sell his wife's car to get it!!!

As for price, good luck putting together a balanced rig for the price of a new Ural.
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#33 clarkebd

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 09:26 PM

View PostAIRIC, on Dec 23 2006, 11:04 AM, said:

John, I have a harder time navigating this site!  Maybe someone can help.  My biggest two complaints are......#1 When you turn the page, it doesn't return to the top....you have to constantly drag your mouse around to navigate this site.
#2 - When viewing a thread I have two vertical slide bars that I constantly have to move up and down to read all the posts in that thread.   Is it my computer settings....or is it just the nature of the software?

The IMWA site does have too many factory BUTT kissers on there....but it does navigate very easy.[color=#FF0000][b]


Yep, I agree 100% - this site is harder for me to use than the IMWA site.  I have the exact same 2 issues when using this site as you do.  But it's still a good enough site that I work through it! :blush2:
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#34 Neil3Wheeler

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 09:35 PM

View PostAIRIC, on Dec 23 2006, 11:04 AM, said:

John, I have a harder time navigating this site!  Maybe someone can help.  My biggest two complaints are......#1 When you turn the page, it doesn't return to the top....you have to constantly drag your mouse around to navigate this site.
#2 - When viewing a thread I have two vertical slide bars that I constantly have to move up and down to read all the posts in that thread.   Is it my computer settings....or is it just the nature of the software?

View Postclarkebd, on Dec 23 2006, 10:26 PM, said:

Yep, I agree 100% - this site is harder for me to use than the IMWA site.  I have the exact same 2 issues when using this site as you do.  But it's still a good enough site that I work through it! :blush2:
I battled with those problems for a year, then I was advised of the solution.  From the RIMC home page. if you click on the link to the forums, it will take you to----> http://www.russianir.../ironforums.htm

What you need to do is forget about that route, and bookmark this----->
http://www.russianiron.com/forums

Problem solved!
Neil '3' Wheeler
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#35 AIRIC

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 09:19 AM

I battled with those problems for a year, then I was advised of the solution.  From the RIMC home page. if you click on the link to the forums, it will take you to----> http://www.russianir.../ironforums.htm

What you need to do if forget about that route, and bookmark this----->
http://www.russianiron.com/forums

Problem solved!
[/quot


Fantastic!   Sweeeeet!  It works!  Thanks Neil.....What a difference.

#36 VWNate1

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 11:46 PM

??  :huh2: ?? ' trade in ' my old Ural ??  :blink:

Are you INSANE ?  :angry:
Why the hell would I want to give up a reliable bike that's nearly modified to my exact needs for a newer one with useless junk like an Electric Foot and tiny fuel filler  :laugh:
:rant:

Getouta here with that talk !   :angry:

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#37 Baxter's driver

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 12:28 AM

Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I"m kinda of IMZ's target audience.  I already rode motorcycles (Honda VFR Interceptor, Honda CB 750F Supersport), but had minimal mechanical abilities.  Although the wife, aka Ural Ballast Babe, has lots of mechanical skills.

In any event, I bought the two CD service manual and slowly learned to work on the bike.  I think I got good value for my money in terms of the Ural's reliablility and the little warranty work that needed doing was done promptly.

We can gripe about new bike prices, but they are what they are.  To get a factory-prepared sidecar with a 2-year unlimited mileage/kilometer warranty all for less than $8,500 in 2004 was a fabulous deal.

I'm not blind to some of the Ural's quirks:  lockwashers that disintegrate, electrical gremlins, long wait for parts at times, the tire shortage.  But on balance, the + of owning a Ural far outweigh the - by a large margin.

Not to mention RI is a fabulous website for info.  I mean search the 'net for similar niche bikes and you'll see there's not as much out there.  Royal Enfield doesn't have this kind of community, for instance, and there's often more info here than any other generic sidecar sites I visit.

So, yeah, I"d buy another Ural.  Except this time it'd be a Gear Up.   :angry:
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------------------------------------------
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tapping foot waiting for Ural ST to become available

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#38 Bluechip

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 09:42 AM

The Ural is not fit for every buyer and unfortunately, every buyer is not fit to own a ural. It is not another playtoy for those that need to find places for their surplus cash, like many (most?) of the motorcycles sold in the USA.

In the past the bike has worked because it was a low cost, authentic, retro machine and riding owners needed, (and still need) mechanical skills and interest to keep the bike in proper repair and adjustment.
The cost has been low because of manufacturing equipment that has long since been fully depreciated and is paid for. They are largely specialized machines not capable of producing any new parts, just those they were built to in the 40s 50s and 60s.

The market for such a bike is (and should be) very small. It adds to the panache of ownership, an exclusive group, not following the pack.

Now the company is working hard to find its way in a modern economy as a niche player.  They have the right ideas, but we are now in a transition period.  quality will improve, outsourcing is the only way to make it happen, prices will increase.

What other low volume manufacturers offer a unique product AND a low price?  Those boobs in orange county NY get six figures for their unique products, (reliabilty is an unknown as most not even rideable).

So these boards are critical (pun intended) to assist new owners in qualifying themselves.  In a perfect world the bike would fit the needs of the consumer, but till then, the consumer needs to fit the bike.

#39 sgtbrown

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 10:08 AM

And can you see Honda or Chevrolet setting up a factory sponsored discussion group where buyers can come together and, among other things, bitch at the maker? Not hardly!

Sarge :angry:
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#40 Bluechip

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 12:08 PM

My interest is to see if that once they are "mainstream ready" that is gas and go reliable, will there be a market at the $15,000 or so they may end up costing?  They will ALWAYS be a niche, because of the small number of sidecar enthusiasts, although Ural does grow this market segment each year.  I just wonder if they can grow it fast enough to make the volume large enough to get the economy of scale that makes the japanese bikes so affordable for the quality level you get.  As it is they have a niche that has been ecouraged by low prices, low production volumne (nowadays) geared to a very narrow market of people who like to drive newly built antiques.  This is what originally drew me in, I'm an "old car" guy who likes vintage machinery.  Now as a dealer, I would like to have bulletproof performance at 70mph all day cruising speeds and quick release of the sidecar with supurb solo handlings all in one rig for $10,000 or less.... but it aint going to happen.  It will always be a niche bike, either for those that can afford the european quality sidecar rig at over 15,000, or those that can overlook a few faults and flaws at under 10,000.  This is the chasm that must be crossed by the company, trying to keep one foot on each side will become painful.  To expect world class quality at "old world" prices is unrealistic.  I look forward to the improving quality, and these transition year bikes may be the best bargains that will be had.  The quality and prices will both continue to increase in years to come.

#41 Blue Ridge Wheeltor

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 01:11 PM

A few observations from my Guzzi friend. Take them for what they are worth:
1. Some bought the bike because it is Russian. It is becoming less so as systems are being farmed out.
2. Simplicity. Less so as it modernizes.
3. Price. It is rising. Will the gap remain the same or close?
4. Easy to work on. Most new buyers don't want a bike that has to be worked on.
5. Once you work out the bugs, there is little reason to replace with a newer one. This does not bode well for a manufacturer.
6. There is no competition, so buyers must accept the bike with its flaws. But we have seen in the past where a manufacturer will create a new line to accomodate aging client base (Honda and Harley trikes) and we have seen where manufacturers produce a flagship vehicle for attention (Studebaker Avanti, Dodge Viper) so you can never say never.
7. As Ural modernizes to remain competitive and to satisfy regulations, more and more systems will be farmed out, resulting in either a smaller profit margin or an increase in price. As more need to be sold to the mainstream to survive, it becomes less of a niche bike.
I think the original question was if a competitor came out with a limited edition sidecar unit that satisfied the retro urge, would you jump? I guess the underlying question is are you loyal to Ural or to the idea of a retro sidecar.
Ural's goal is to survive and sell bikes. Chrysler realized they had some die hard Jeepers, but to survive they had to lose some of the toughness/simplicity of its brand and add models that appealed to a larger demographic. They also had to give up on a bulletproof and simple engine (I6) in order to meet EPAstandards. The result, a less pure, better selling Jeep. It could happen to Ural.
I don't have the Russian connection some of you have, but I am into the retro sidecar experience. Could another manufacturer come along and fill that need? Possibly.
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#42 Baxter's driver

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 01:37 PM

It's kinda funny as some Foilheads grouse about the bike's shortcomings the last few issues of ON, the magazine for members of BMW  Owners of America (BMWOA) has been filled with letters to the editor saying "IMZ is doing it right. I have either just bought or am about to buy a Ural as I want an airhead that's reliable, relatively inexpensive, and shadetree mechanic friendly.  I'm not getting that from the current offerings from BMW."

I'd also be interested in how many Urals get sold in the US vs. the rest of the world.  I don't know if we're their prime market or is it Europe, Asia, Africa?

The sense of Ural loyalty reminds me very much of the feelings early VW Bug owners had when that car first landed in the US or the loyalty early Datsun owners had for their pickups and coupes.  I"m not implying Ural will turn into that large of a success, but I think the bikes can make a slightly bigger splash in the sidecar market.

Harley hacks go for about $30K and no reverse or spare, no 2WD capabilities.  The other main option for retro look is buying an old BMW airhead and hanging a Ural tub off it.  Your still looking at a fair chunk of change.

I think we'd all agree the Achilles heel of the Ural experience is the scarcity of dealers who can do service and repair work.  The standard 2,500km servicing is pretty easy.  I'm talking more about major woes like tranny or engine rebuilds.  Or lubing the rear splines.  That can intimidate folks or they don't have the spare time to do it themselves.

But all those worries fade when I am out toodling about on the hack.   :thumbsup!:
Once you go hack, you'll never go back.

------------------------------------------
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tapping foot waiting for Ural ST to become available

2005 KLR 650 in faster, er, dustier red color

#43 Peter Williams

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 05:04 PM

View PostBlue Ridge Wheeltor, on Dec 25 2006, 01:11 PM, said:

6. There is no competition, so buyers must accept the bike with its flaws. But we have seen in the past where a manufacturer will create a new line to accomodate aging client base (Honda and Harley trikes) and we have seen where manufacturers produce a flagship vehicle for attention (Studebaker Avanti, Dodge Viper) so you can never say never.
7. As Ural modernizes to remain competitive and to satisfy regulations, more and more systems will be farmed out, resulting in either a smaller profit margin or an increase in price. As more need to be sold to the mainstream to survive, it becomes less of a niche bike.
I think the original question was if a competitor came out with a limited edition sidecar unit that satisfied the retro urge, would you jump? I guess the underlying question is are you loyal to Ural or to the idea of a retro sidecar.
Ural's goal is to survive and sell bikes. Chrysler realized they had some die hard Jeepers, but to survive they had to lose some of the toughness/simplicity of its brand and add models that appealed to a larger demographic. They also had to give up on a bulletproof and simple engine (I6) in order to meet EPAstandards. The result, a less pure, better selling Jeep. It could happen to Ural.
I don't have the Russian connection some of you have, but I am into the retro sidecar experience. Could another manufacturer come along and fill that need? Possibly.

AFAIK neither Honda or Harley trikes are made by the manufacturer, they're all aftermarket, pretty much the same as sidecars. However, the Chinese have started to make trikes, not Workhorse-style, but custom looking passenger trikes. Only 250cc at the moment but how long before they start making 750cc versions? And if they add a reverse gear which is pretty easy, how long before they think of making a bike and sidecar to take that niche market as well. There's a lot of people importing the Chinese ATVs and Dune Buggies into Australia and I have to admit that the quality of some is as good as the Japs.

As to another manufacturer, I was hoping that the Carberry Enfield would be built - 1000cc 55 V-twin, an excellent sidecar tug. No reverse gearbox, but I've owned sidecars without reverse before and it's no big deal. I had a Sportster sidecar about 15 years ago and it made a nice outfit. About the same time there was another Sportster outfit set-up for off-road work and it was excellent in sand, mud etc. and it really looked the part - shades of "Mad Max". I think H-D doesn't sell outfits and trikes to avoid legislative problems, but if sales decline enough, I wouldn't be surprised to see both on the showroom floors.

It's probably the result of needing LH sidecars here, but I can build a better outfit than a Ural so the Ural outfit may well go at some stage, but the solo is definitely a keeper.

#44 Sam Simons

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 07:16 PM

Well,I agree with BRW's chums' observations ...especially his comments regarding Quality.
The Ural sponsored discussion group isn't any great sacrafice for the company...it's potentially
a very powerful tool for them IF they're actually monitoring it,and willing/prepared to act upon
the information gleaned from it....IF.
My personal take of it reveals the thin skinned nature of those not wanting to hear negatives;
both the 'staff' and the suckies that live/sleep/eat/breath Ural (or profess to...).
I remember a few of the (supposed) model year upgrades heralded as 'major improvements',only
to hear from owners about mechanical failures on other areas of those new 'superior' bikes...so,
it's one step forward,and....
Personally,I'd prefer that the factory leave the machine exactly as it is,and concentrate on the obvious
inconsistant QC probs....IMO,the factory isn't capable of producing anything significantly different/better
than what it does presently,so they should stop fantasizing about EFI,L/C,etc.,etc.
The fact that my '03 G/U was of Russian origin did factor favorably towards it's purchase;but not
as much as the 2WD feature did....and I certainly would not have bought it had either circumstance
been lacking....


Sam in IN

#45 Peter

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 09:21 PM

The Ural GU is what I need right now to ride the local dirt roads, to commute, and to get my errands done on my way home from work. When I was younger and had no money, I did not know that keeping my motorcycles in running condition by myself was what gave me a lot of satisfaction. Back then, I thought that there was nothing better than a gas'n go machine. When I got my first modern, reliable motorcycle in 2001, a 98 Hinckley Thunderbird Sport, I thought this was it. I finally got what I always wanted. I actually bought a nice set of Hazet tools at the time to be able to fix it. Needless to say that there was nothing to fix. I never really warmed up to the bike despite of the nice and powerful three cylinder engine. The bottom line is, when I was young, I got my rewards not just from riding motorcycles but even more from keeping them running. The Ural has not disappointed. One of my major gripes 25 years ago was that usually somebody had messed up the nuts and bolts by using cheapo tools. The Ural has some of the most delicate hardware I have ever seen on a vehicle (My garage door has better hardware, I checked). The Hazet tools are perfect for the job and I'm just gonna replace things while I"m going. Please don't get me wrong, I do not like mechanical problems. But then, fixing them gives me tremendous pleasure, anticipating and warding them off is even better. I am not normal.
My 2006 GU is just what I wanted: A utility rig which can be fixed with the tools one would have found on a small farm with a Porsche Junior at the end of a dirt road in the 1950s.
Twenty year olds today cannot relate to what I am talking about. It's a consumer complaint, if there's a problem, customer service has to take care of it. They are not normal. I'm trying to be a motorcyclist, again. As long as it's not much more difficult than repairing the washing machine, and Bill Glaser keeps up his five star website, I'm game. The rarefied heights of Dnepr indulgence, like rewinding alternator coils, will forever elude me, I'm afraid.
Unfortunately, IMZ cannot succeed in the marketplace just with customers like myself and most others currently on this board. I wish IMZ to succeed and what I am hearing and what I can see in my rig, they are doing the right things. In the meantime, we'll just help each other like always.
Loyalty? Just like others said before: As long as there are parts available there is no reason to buy a new rig in the foreseeable future. What I have in my garage is a fundamentally sound machine. Do I regret my purchase? Absolutely not, it's actually much better mechanically than I thought it would be and it gets the job done.

Old-fashioned, grouchy Peter

2006 GU




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