If you haven’t ridden, er, driven, um, piloted a Ural sidecar rig in the last couple years, you might be surprised by how far they’ve come. For 2014 the Irbit, Siberia-based company brought the rugged but stone-simple machines into the 21st century with electronic fuel injection, Brembo disc brakes on all three wheels and some engine intake mods that bump horsepower from a claimed 40 to—hope you’re sitting down—41. All kidding aside, the air-cooled, 749cc OHV opposed twin got a decent torque increase too, from 38 lb-ft to 42, and we found it to be quite tractable in our last road test. There’s a new 16-position steering damper that improves handling, a new front engine cover with a standard spin-on oil filter, a new weather-tight wiring harness with an electronic service port and a redesigned instrument panel. The leading-link fork and triple clamps are stronger, and the machines have new kneepads and badging.
Today’s Urals really do work much better, well enough that even those of us with most of our brain cells intact might consider taking one on a cross-country or even ’round-the-world adventure. It might take a while, but these rigs can conquer most everything…eventually. Especially the Gear-Up models with engage-able sidecar wheel drive, which Ural is offering in a special new limited edition called the Sahara. It has 2.3 cubic feet of trunk space, racks for loading up gear and groceries and a reverse gear for city parking. The on-demand 2WD gets it through dirt, gravel, mud, sleet, snow or dark of night, and there’s a spare tire, luggage rack, sidecar accessories panel for charging devices, utility shovel, a sidecar spotlight and sidecar Cordura tonneau cover. The Sahara starts at $17,999.
For more information, visit imz-ural.com.