The russian-made ural patrol t redefines what makes a motorcycle cool
By Mike Guy
THERE ARE FEW SUCCESS STORIES in the history of knockoffs, but then few knockoffs are produced in the same factory as the original. The Patrol T is made by Ural, a Russian company that moved into the BMW motorcycle factory after Stalin marched into Germany at the end of World War II. And rumor has it that before that, the Russians smuggled a BMW R71 through Sweden and reverse- engineered it, in the process designing one of the most rugged and enduring, if not exactly the fastest, motorcycles in postwar Europe.
Much to the delight of American moto enthusiasts, the latest evolution of this Russian three-wheeler has finally hit the States. A reassuring departure from the energy drink– fueled Frankencycles that emerge from places like Jesse James’ Monster Garage, the Ural is stylish in an understated, utilitarian way. (Plus its matte olive paint scheme makes it look as though it’s come straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark.)
Though it has the vintage platform and look, the new $13,999 Ural (as shown here) is actually built from a conglomeration of parts: Brembo brakes, Sachs shocks, Herzog gears, Domino grips, Keihin carburetors. With the pull of a lever, a drive shaft leading to the sidecar wheel engages, making it the world’s only two- wheel-drive motorcycle. Na zdrovie.