IMZ is a Russian manufacturer of motorcycles which had multiple factories in Moscow, Leningrad and Kharkov. However, due to the German attacks during the World War II, all the facilities were moved to Irbit and Gorkiy. IMZ's history began in 1940, when the Soviet Union was preparing for the German military attacks.
Thousands of M-72 motorcycles were produced, most units going to the Russian army forces while during WWII almost 10000 M-72 bikes were delivered to the troops. After the war, the production of the M-72 continued and in 1950, the parent company created no less than 30,000 motorcycles.
Even if at the beginning the Ural was supposed to be a motorcycle for military use only, in 1950
the company rolled out several Ural bikes addressed to the citizens of the country, the Ukraine factory being the main plant responsible for their production.
In 1953, these bikes were distributed all over the world, becoming famous under the name of Cossack motorcycles. Four years later, in 1957, the M-72 production lines were sold.
The Ural motorcycles are equipped with four-stroke air-cooled flat-twin engines, a four speed gearbox with reverse gear, shaft drive, two disc dry clutch, spring shock absorbers and drum brakes, being mostly used in the Russian tough areas.
Although they are manufactured mainly for the Russian market, they can also be seen in various countries around the world, including Australia, Britain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Egypt, Iran, South African Republic, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and the United States.
The 90's brought some changes inside the company, because it easily turned into a joint stock company named "Uralmoto Joint Stock Company". 40 percent of the company was actually owned by executives and employees through grants and 22% was retained by the government. The same organization lasted till 2000 when the company was entirely revamped in order to make the motorcycle manufacturer a more important presence on the market.