In April of this year I purchased a new Ural Gear Up. It was set up as a Sportsman Adventurer model by the fine folks at St. Croix Harley/Ural. In the past couple months I’ve had opportunities to ride it off road. I was hoping it would be fun and I was not disappointed. I was told the bike could take a beating and it really can.
The model I have allows the sidecar wheel to be engaged with the drive wheel so it gives me two wheel drive. On my first outing my brother was with me and he was convinced I would get stuck. With a curb weight of around 800 pounds, I was a little worried myself. I didn’t even come close. I plowed through mud and deep, soft, sand without even working hard. It was amazing. We were riding on trails near Danbury Wisconsin. The trails were basically single lane roads through the woods. We travelled at a pretty good clip and there was plenty of drifting with the Ural. I did learn, after the third or fourth time, to slow down when going through large puddles. The front of the sidecar is like the hull of a boat and at higher speeds it would throw up a huge wake, right in my face.
My second outing was in Watertown South Dakota. It was the Fall Dual Sport Ride put on by Street, Trail, Four-Wheelers Unlimited Motorcycle Club (STFU-MC). It was scheduled to be a 140 mile day. My nephew and I lost the rest of the group and ended up with about half that many miles. The ride was mapped out on gravel, low maintenance and no maintenance roads. It was pretty cool. There were 15 riders on various dual sport bikes, dirt bikes, one four-wheeler and me and the Ural.
I have been to South Dakota fairly often and the landscape always blows me away. Sometimes it feel like a different planet. Where we were riding, there were very few trees, a lot of soft rolling hills and just plain wide open spaces. A good chunk of the riding was on gravel roads which are really fun on the Ural. The rest of the ride was on rutted two track roads (trails) across farm fields and open plains. Riding the ruts was pretty challenging on the Ural. It’s not wide enough to just straddle the center. I would get pulled from side to side and control was somewhat limited. I took to riding with the bike on the center hump and the sidecar in the rut. The rut would occasionally change my direction and i mowed down a few corn stalks. It was quite the upper body workout.
So far my experience off road with the Ural has been better than I expected. I’ve been able to go more places than I thought I could. It’s even more fun than I thought it would be and I haven’t felt like I’ve been holding the people back that I’ve been riding with. I had planned on taking it grouse hunting but time ran out. Hopefully next year. The sidecar is great for hauling stuff and the jerry can full of fuel has come in handy for me and other riders. I have yet to use the shovel but who knows, my off road adventures are just beginning.