Have a Look Inside the Ural Factory in the Ural Mountains

Ural factory in Irbit 17 photos
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Ural sidecars are, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the biggest exponents of a past that refuses to fade away and which found ways to reinvent itself into a product that somehow remains actual. We've got some recent photos from the IMZ-Ural factory in Irbit, the Sverdlovsk region, deep in the Ural Mountains.
If anything, Ural sidecars are probably one of the most recognizable WWII icons, when it comes to motorcycles, of course. In fact, the Ural machines played a major role in certain battles during the World War II, with the one at Stalingrad being perhaps the most famous.

Urals sprouted from the BMW R71 machines in 1940, and evolved in the M-72 model one year later. Despite having a long history, Ural has not produced a wide range of distinct models, with the variations being rather insignificant, at least until the recent years.

These bikes were fabricated in multiple factories back in the day, but the WWII caused the Russian government to reduce the number of plants and move them east. This is how these motorcycles started to be manufactured in Irbit, a town in the Ural Mountains, in the Sverdlovsk Oblast (region).

Urals have remained largely unchanged until several years ago, when the management of the factory understood that updates and upgrades were needed to make the bikes more competitive.

The old-spec machines suffered from multiple reliability issues, despite their overall ruggedness and awesome capabilities to tackle hard terrain. Ural-inspired Dnepr machines manufactured in Ukraine were even worse, and often riders who had to cover long distances carried a lot of spares including piston rings and the likes of those.

The modern era brings injected engines, Brembo brakes and Sachs suspensions

With strong markets established almost all over the world, it was natural to see Ural evolving. The engine displacement went up from 650cc to 750cc (40 to 46 cu in.) and then other features were added.

The Ural bikes are now equipped with electronic fuel injection, disc brakes with Brembo calipers, Sachs shock absorbers, new, stronger crankhafts, Nippon Denso alternators, a smoother gearbox, and even a hydraulic steering damper.

Currently, the IMZ-Ural plant employs 155 people, a mere fraction of the 10,000-strong body that used to work for the Russian manufacturer in its glory days.
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