Ural has just introduced the Ural Baikal, named after a frozen Russian lake that hosts a semi-annual 400 mile Ice Run. Just think, riding through drifting snow, sub zero wind chills and over the ice just for the fun of it. Saddle up! Of course, you probably won’t and most likely, neither will anyone else who buys one of these, but you could, and there’s an appeal in the thought of it that probably sells all kinds of vehicles and Ural runs with it, even if it is a bit, tongue in cheek.
The Baikal, comes equipped with on demand 2 wheel drive for the off road terrain the Urals are designed for, a sidecar mounted spare wheel and tire, a sidecar mounted hatchet to chop a hole in the ice for a little fishing, Titan stormproof matches to light the campfire to cook your catch and a Mil-Spec 10 ounce flask with collapsible shot glasses for the required vodka plus an LED flashlight on one end to shine in the eyes of any attacking arctic wolves. There’s a sidecar mounted weatherproof speaker, too, great for playing Ride of the Valkyries as you charge across the uncharted ice in the blackness of night.
Much of the rest is what you’ve come to expect from Ural, the 749cc boxer flat twin, 5 gallon fuel tank, 4 speed transmission with reverse and what appears to be high quality construction, throughout.
I’ve written about Urals many times before and once you “get” what Urals are all about, you’ll smile every time you see one. If you’re just running errands close to home, you’ll also get a lot of smiles from onlookers and questions every time you park. No one will mistake you for a “biker” out with his friends on their Harleys, but there is a certain similarity, you’re joining a group, Ural enthusiasts who go their own way on a simple machine that has an entirely different image than most any other motorcycle. It’s sort of a Unimog with fewer wheels. Head over to the blog on the Ural website and you see group rides in the snow or off road and owners generally having a great time.
The simplicity of the machine, the fixability, it carries on the Ural tradition which began in World War II and except for modern touches with suspension and braking and refinements overall, it’s really a lot like the machine it was many decades ago.
If you’ve had your fill of the standard fare, you’re not looking for triple digit speeds and turning the street into a race track, if cruising on your V-Twin holds little appeal, if your idea of a group ride includes snowy mountain roads or no roads at all, maybe you’re ready for a Ural.