Ural Three Wheel Drive Sidecar Rig

Ural 3 wheel drive sidecar outfit

Ural 3 wheel drive sidecar outfit

Ural manufactures several 2 wheel drive sidecar models, and we've seen a few 2 wheel drive motorcycles, including this recent KTM conversion, but the sidecar rig you see here takes it to the next level and drives all three. Pretty it isn't, functional and capable it is, especially for the muddy off road Russian countryside where it lives.

The Russians seem to be pretty serious about their Urals. Though the Ural was cloned from an early BMW design, the BMWs you see out and about, especially the GS models that look like they're ready for anything, are more often clean and sparkling posers, while these Urals are mucking about in the backwoods. The Russians take whatever tools they have available and cobble something together, like this sidecar outfit, and head out to the muddiest out of the way road they can find and see if it works.

This outfit just shouts crude. Nothing is done for appearance, it's all function, but after watching several videos, you won't notice the looks, all you'll see is how it motors through impossible roads and you'll appreciate what the builder did.

There doesn't seem to be any photos of this rig, just the video.

I'm not sure where the Ural ends and the homemade begins, but there's a LOT of homemade here. Rough welds on square tubes, wooden planks for the sidecar, and driveshafts rigged up to the front wheel and third wheel.

BMW could produce something like this, but it would be impeccably engineered and finished and cost at least $50,000. It would be offered with $900 multi-pocketed jackets and $700 off road boots, maybe a BMW logo jerry can for the extra fuel necessary for those off road adventures planned for the future. Ural could do it, too, though it would cost less. Or, you can forget the factory and just do like this guy and start cutting and welding.

I kinda like this. It's not something I want to do and certainly not a road I would want to ride on, but I can appreciate what this rig is capable of and what the owner built. Interesting.

Thanks for the tip, Nicolas.

Videos below:


  1. B50 Jim says

    A lot of Soviet military equipment during World War II was described as “crude but robust”. Not made for appearance; made to do the job, and do the job it did, under the worst conditions imaginable, as did the Russian people.

    I love this machine! Looks like the builder applied whatever skills and parts he had laying around to make something that will get him through nearly anything. Here in the States, where even back-county cow-path roads are paved, we forget what a truly horrible road can be. But in rural Russia, truly horrible roads are part of daily life, and machines like this aren’t novelties, they’re necessities. I can’t find a thing wrong with this machine — its cobbled-together overall appearance unifies the “style”, there’s not an attractive part on it, which renders the entire machine attractive in its own way. More than anything else, it does the job.

  2. JP says

    the side drive looks more like a modified stocker for added clearance though not much is gained there. Russia does have massive areas with little or no roads. I could see having one of these as nearly a ​necessity.

  3. Bryan S. says

    While BMW would make it nicer looking, at least it would work right off the showroom floor, most times.

    Urals have those “quirks” that make owning one frustrating, even new from factory.

    • Paul Crowe - "The Kneeslider" says

      My BMW comments were in jest and you’re correct, a Bavarian 3WD would work perfectly, but the point to remember here is there’s no showroom floor with one of these anywhere. This is pure DIY of the most basic sort.

  4. todd says

    I’d love to take this thing through those roads. Hes should start some sort of Adventure Trek where he leads a pack of pilots on his creations through the forests. He could even set up a connection for tours through Edelweiss Bike Travel. Sign me up.


  5. Cameron says

    We just use quads or jeeps, but when in Russia a Ural will do nicely. Great ingenuity. Sometimes even when there is a showroom floor, necessity still prevails.

  6. Paulinator says

    You have to admire the Russians. Whenever I see machines with Cyrillic text, I think of jets with mud-flaps.

  7. B*A*M*F says

    Wow, what a really cool machine. It looks like the sidecar wheel is not driven from the rear wheel like current 2WD Ural sidecar bikes.

    I’m also trying to figure out the front propshaft, it appears to telescope, which is pretty crazy, particularly for a mud bike like this. I wonder how you keep the mud out.

    All in all, looks like fun.

  8. Mean Monkey says

    My dad would’ve loved seeing this setup. He had a fascination with Urals. He owned an early 70′s Ural sidecar rig and despite the bad quality reputation Urals have–it ran fine, but it was slow and noisy.

  9. Dano says

    My daughter spent a winter in a coastal city a few years ago, she said it would snow and they still rode their bikes and hacks everyday. The cars and bikes just mashed the snow into slush and kept going. They would only clear the roads on weekends and then only with shovels. There were no snow plows. Tough bunch of riders!

  10. Svein Skavik says

    I’m very impressed, the Urals had 2wd (off the rear wheel to the side car) forever , but unfortunately because we have right hand drive here in Australia , even though we can buy brand new Urals with sidecars , we don’t have the option of 2wd. Read a book by Dave Barr called ‘Riding the ice” if you want to know about a tough (US) rider involving sidecars , snow , Russia , Urals.

  11. Swagger says

    Hmm……been wondering what to do with this low mile XS1100 that’s just sitting here getting dusty!

  12. ozhank says

    Awesome. Is that a winch on the front of the sidecar? It sure looks it, so its a 1/2/3/4 WD motorcycle outfit