So Comrade, you want to buy a motorcycle, I have just the one for you. Made right here in the mother country, the Ural M-63. A wonderful motorcycle, 650 CC, 15 KW power (20 hp) and a top speed of 104 KPH (65 MPH). It comes with a sidecar if you would like , that way you can take your wife and your mistress on a ride.
I had great fun again researching Ural. You have Ural, Dnepr, under one roof. Later down the road they were also known as Cossack motorcycles. Originally they were Military only but in the late 50’s IMZ started building bikes for the public. IMZ stands for Irbitskiy Motosikletniy Zavod (say that three times really fast) IMZ is the parent company. They were also sold in the UK under the name Satra from ’73 to ’79.
Ural has a great history thanks to BMW and the German government. In 1940 the Soviet Union acquired design and production techniques from BMW. The Ural was based on the 1930’s BMW R71. It was originally built in the town of Irbit in an old Brewery. Now we have all heard about the lack of reliability in Urals but think about this…they’re built in a brewery…what did you expect? Let’s see, a barely adequate 6 volt electrical system, the carburetor leaked, floods and spit gas everywhere except into the engine. Sounds just perfect.
The Urals however were known as a tank of a motorcycle. A 750 lb (with a sidecar) 20hp motorcycle that was very capable of traveling two up all over Eastern Europe. The M63 was made from 1963 to 1980. There is a lot more history but you can find it yourself.
There are those of us that go for interesting and then there are those that go for just plain weird. Today I found weird, but in a cool way. I’m going to leave any description of the bike to the ebay seller. I really don’t know what to say about it. Click on the blue link below for more pictures and some information. It is weird but in a cool way. You certainly won’t see anything like at your local Sunday morning hangout…or the Church parking lot.
<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Ural+-63&icep_item=172347404334&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”>
1970 Ural M-63</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Ural+M-63&item=172347404334&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
What do Dnepr, Ural and Chang Jiang have in common? If you answered pre war BMW you win the prize!!! In the 1930’s 1930’s, BMW was making the R71 model. Rugged reliable and perfect for military use. Enter a little Russian ingenuity, buy a couple of the bikes from some guy in Sweden and take them back to the Motherland for a little creative reverse engineering Russian style. Two years later off the assembly line rolls the new (?) M72. Early in production the Russians were worried that the Moscow factory was too close to Germany so the factory was moved to the Ural Mountains. Nearly nearly 1000,000 M72’s were shipped to the front lines during the war. After the war, the military issue bike factory was moved to the Ukraine and the Ural factory focused on civilian motorcycle production.
The Dneper (kissing cousin to the Ural) is built in Ukraine contrary to popular thought, most people think it is a Russian made motorcycle. Over the years the KMZ factory kept building Dneper’s for military use. The Dneper was designed to be the ultimate off road military vehicle in the world and as I learned about it, I believe it. As a military vehicle it was built with two wheel drive (the sidecar wheel is driven via a geared hub), 10″ of ground clearance, can drive through 15″ of water, climb a 10″ rock ledge and with a 50″ track it can traverse a hillside with a 40 degree slope…that’s not going up and down a hillside, that’s riding across it!!!. When the terrain is the ugliest, the Dneper is beautiful.
I did a bunch of research on these motorcycles and the more I got into them, the more I got into them. There is a huge Dneper community all over the world for support and camaraderie. You can even buy a ‘kit’ version for less than $5,000 shipped to your door…complete! A Dneper can be upgraded easily enough, but the basic sketchiness of Russian motorcycles is still there no matter how much you upgrade.
The Dneper I found on ebay is the ‘Tourist’ model so I’m guessing it’s not the full Russian military version, but who knows, the owner didn’t give a lot of detail in his description…he may not know either. The bike is in very nice condition and check this out…only 99Km on the clock, that’s like 60 miles. An almost new 48 year old motorcycle…well if you call a motorcycle from the 1930’s new. Click on the pics for more..it also looks to be a good deal so far and you certainly won’t see yourself coming down the road.
A what?? A 1973 Chang Jiang World War Two motorcycle with a sidecar, you never seen one? Me either. It looks like a BMW out of WW2. And wasn’t WW2 over in like 1945? Not so in China, ‘The Big One’ (WW2) lives on at Chang Jiang.
I started liking sidecars when a good friend showed up on one day with a big grin on his face. After a little begging and pleading, he taught me to ride, I mean drive, the sidecar outfit. Too much fun. Went to a big Sidecar Rally some years back and when I got home I started looking at what motorcycles I had the would haul a sidecar around, the bad news was…all of them. However, the old checking account said…none of them. Sigh. I still love sidecars and drive one whenever I get the chance. So today when I found this Chang Jiang on ebay the days of wanting a sidecar rig came back in a hurry.
I spent some time this morning looking up all I could find out about Chang Jiang and this motorcycle. The Chang Jiang (we’re going to shorten to CJ from here on out, ok?) 750 was based on the 1957 IMZ M72 Russian made motorcycle which was derived from the 1938 BMW R71. The story of how the Russians got a hold of the BMW is interesting. Too long to put here but interesting nonetheless.
When Russia decided the IMZ M72 was no longer suitable for military use they sold everything to China. Design, tooling, materials everything they would need to build their own M72. China changed the name to the CJ750. China over the years made a few upgrades, they went to an overhead valve motor from the basic sidevalve (flathead),it wasn’t until 1986 that upgraded the electrical system to 12 volts, and some chassis changes, but it still looks like an original CJ750 from 50 years ago.
In doing this research I found there is a huge CJ community out there. Most bikes come from dealers or builders in China. You can get a virtually new CJ750 built the way you want and have it shipped to you, you can go to China and rent one, you can take tours of Tibet on a CJ750…the tour operator says that because these were made for the military, they will handle any road ( or lack of ) you can throw at it. Most owners restore them to military style. There is a whole of fun Chang Jiang stuff on the net, start here http://www.changjiangunlimited.com/
The CJ750 I found on ebay this morning is a military style motorcycle. It needs love. It does run according to the owner and he advises the buyer to be handy. CJ’s are of a very old design and it really doesn’t take much mechanical skill to keep this thing running. It’s dirty, needs some rust removed, maybe some leather work and it’s got less 300 miles on it. The price seems somewhat reasonable, depends on much you want a WW2 sidecar. If you want to know more click on the pics. I wonder how much he wants for the lawnmower in the back ground?
’73 Chang Jiang w/ Sidecar<img style="text-decoration:none;border:0 none;margin:0;padding:0;" src="http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=%2773+Chang+Jiang+w%2F+Sidecar&item=220637893322&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER