Ural’s Decidedly Distinctive Sidecar

  • Basem Wasef

Ural’s early reputation for iffy reliability came from their insistence on manufacturing every last nut and bolt in-house. But they’ve since seen the light and departed from stubbornly vertical integration, incorporating some of the most capable components in the industry: German-built gear sets by Herzog, an alternator sourced from Japanese juggernaut Denso, and Italian brakes from Brembo, to name a few. The result? Novel and nostalgic sidecars that retain their WWII-era look while adding newfound reliability.

But efficiency hasn’t sacrificed character, as we discovered during a rainy weekend spent exploring the forested outskirts of Seattle on Ural’s latest model, the T. The horizontally opposed, air-cooled 749cc twin still produces a distinctly mechanical chatter, the old-school saddle recalls The Great Escape, and a matte black finish reeks of military purposefulness. Unlike more elaborate two-wheel-drive models, the T still has some of the unusual riding dynamics that can throw some veteran riders off. But once you get the hang of this sub-$10,000 sidecar’s unique handling characteristics, you and your companion are sure to experience a healthy dose of three-wheeled fun—rain or shine. (www.imz-ural.com)

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