Abandoned Ural motorcycle gets much-needed full restoration

Names such as Harley-Davidson and Ducati for its superbikes could dominate some motorcycle markets. With noisy engines and quick acceleration, they have a stranglehold on the minds of riders. However, other companies exist such as Yamaha, Honda and Ural. The latter, at first glance, is an oddity; Russian, retro and, in terms of pure engineering, doesn’t beat its contemporary German and Italian rivals. They take their name from the Ural mountain range, the rugged terrain that bikes can traverse without issue. What this company offers is a modern motorcycle with a retro look. The main selling point of Ural motorcycles is their reliability and more social nature.


Most common with a sidecar, the company’s bikes allow passengers to travel in comfort and explore almost any part of the world.

What is the Ural motorcycle?

Most Russian exports such as vodka and Yugo have an interesting history. The Ural motorcycle is no exception. A product of World War II, the Ural motorcycle began production in 1941. Based on the German-designed BMW R71, the model served valiantly on the Eastern Front. Ironic, because the model came to the USSR at the time of the non-aggression pact. Production increased to match the Nazi invasion. In the 1950s the design rights fell into the hands of a Chinese manufacturer who continued to produce the Chang Jiang.


Ural as a company still exists, selling under the name IMZ Ural their bikes are available worldwide. Tough and sleek, and a retro look in keeping with their wartime predecessors. The model is best known with its sidecar attached, but not all Russian-made bikes had one. According to IMZ Urals, their most affordable model is the CT which starts at $16,999. This entry-level bike leaves the factory with a 749cc engine and the company claims it’s “happy to go 65-75mph.” As standard, the CT has a four-speed transmission, disc brakes all around and a power outlet in the sidecar, the height of luxury.


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YouTube channel Rescue Story claims the motorcycle has a 650 cc engine that produces 36 horsepower. This particular example has a sidecar and green paint. It’s not dated but with a little detective work it’s more than likely a Ural M-67-36. This left the company factory in the 1970s and used a different cylinder head design with larger exhaust and carburettors. These modifications increased the output from the bike’s 28 horsepower to a stock time.

Is it difficult to restore a Ural bicycle?


URAL 36 in a field
lifeguard story

Ural has an incredibly simple design. Not just because of his advanced age, but because that was the intention. The simpler the design, the fewer pieces there are to break on the battlefield. The YouTuber dismantles the Urals with ease. To remove the sidecar, just use a key. Draining the engine of oil is painless, as is lifting it from the frame of the motorcycle.


Create comforts such as seat cover and windshield with as much ease as the sidecar. None of the nuts have seized or rusted, a testament to the original design and its longevity. With every part up to the throttle removed, the YouTuber strips the paint off the metal frame. At first, paying attention to the fuel tank, it is free from rust and corrosion. A rarity for motorcycles found in bushes.

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With the bare frame, Rescue Story sets out to repair the few signs of wear. Once sprayed in the primer, they allow the frame to dry. The restoration continues with the black painting of the rims and new tyres. Each single body part snaps back into place on the frame, once again using the hand wrench.


How is the finished bike?


Ural motorcycle on the grass
Rescue Story YouTube Channel

With the bike frame repaired and repainted. The powertrain is the main focus. Once again by disassembling the bike by hand, the engine is easily disassembled. The engine black is dirty but shows minimal signs of degradation. All parts and above all, the two cylinders move freely. Removing dirt is easy, treating the pieces then sanding down any imperfections makes the metalwork look new. Unlike a car restoration, the appearance of the engine is important to the overall aesthetics of the vehicle. After all, the engine is there for all to see.

After Rescue Story reassembles the engine, they mount the engine to the frame, rewire the lights, throttle, and fuel lines. During this work, the sunlight perfectly captures the new dark gold paintwork of the Ural motorcycle. An elegant choice for such a legendary motorcycle. With a freshly carpeted and upholstered sidecar, the project looks like it’s rolled out of the factory for the 2022 model year.

The YouTuber doesn’t let his new bike roar on back roads, at least on camera. However, the video ends with the bike in a grassy field and with him rolling across the field. From the engine comes a subtle hum, identical to those of the motorcycles used by the USSR during the war. Black foil now decorates the fuel tank, a nice touch that breaks up the dark gold color it’s now painted in. It slowly creeps away taking the rough bumps of the terrain in its stride.


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