The Ural story begins in 1939, during the USSR’s pre-World War II planning. Despite the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union knew it would soon be going to war against Adolf Hitler, the ruthless dictator of the German Third Reich. Joseph Stalin ordered the military to prepare all areas of operation, including the ground forces that would defend Russia against invading German Panzers, ground troops, and Special Forces. Having seen the effects of the Blitzkrieg against the Polish Army, mobilization was of paramount importance to Stalin and the entire USSR. A meeting was held at the USSR Defense Ministry to discuss what motorcycle model was most suitable for the Red Army. The Army had wanted to modernize its equipment after termination of the military conflict with Finland, as the motorcycles it had been using had not worked satisfactorily. Their technology was out-dated and the manufacturing quality left much to be desired. The official version of the Ural story reads that, after a long discussion and debate, the BMW R71 motorcycle was decided to most closely match the Red Army’s requirements for a combat motorcycle. Five units were covertly purchased through intermediaries in neutral Sweden and smuggled to Russia. Soviet engineers in Moscow busily dismantled the 5 BMWs. They copied every detail of the BMW design and made moulds and dies to produce their own engines and gearboxes in Moscow. Everything about the bike was reverse engineered. Early in 1941, the first trial samples of M-72 motorcycles were shown to Stalin, who immediately approved production of the Motorcycles
Want to know what we spend our time doing at the factory? Or maybe you just need a little more incentive to buy a new Ural, and perhaps you need the details on how to win the argument with that one guy who says your Ural is the same as it was 40 years ago? Well, look no further. We’ve done our best below to capture most of the major improvements by model year for you from 2003 through to our current 2013 model. Yes a Ural is still much like it was in the past, but at the same time, Ural’s are constantly improving, evolving, and we’re very proud of that. We’re not here to argue incremental improvements in horsepower or 1/4 mile times but we are here to stay, and these changes reflect that persistence.