How did they get those BMW's?
What a story: in 1938 the Germans had developed an excellent BMW sidecar, the R71. The Russians managed to get hold of about 5 copies in one way or another. Through the cooperation between the Red Army and the Wehrmacht? By arranging a few through a Swedish diplomat? By just buying a couple in Germany? Nobody knows for sure.
Copy of Copy of Copy
The fact is that they have copied this BMW meticulously. They disassembled it to the last screw and examined all parts for the exact metal type and alloy. Even if the Soviet engineers found areas for improvement, they were not allowed to act on it. Their assignment was to copy exactly because there was a great hurry. After all, a war was about to start (the Soviets knew full well that the pact with Nazi Germany had a short shelf life). Subsequently, much needed mass production began. The Moscow factory was soon shifted to the safe Ural Mountains. And most people know this motorbike under that name. After the war, a factory was also set up in Kiev in Ukraine. The bike that came from there was named after the river Dnepr.
Later the Soviets gave communist China all the information needed to build a copy of a copy of the pre-war BMW called Chang Jiang.
Present day Ural alive and kicking
This was the short version of a long and magical story. What about the present?
Chang Jiang in 2008 stopped producing their Ural-copy and has been making other bikes since. For the enthusiast: they still make some refurbished Ural lookalikes. Dnepr has not survived the transition to the free market due to mismanagement and Ural continues to this day to build with ever-better quality bikes almost like the pre-war models and is hype in the USA. Especially since the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) was introduced in 2014, we see a very reliable motorcycle.
A second generation EFI Ural is launched in 2019 of which Holland Sidecar Tours has chosen the Ranger because of its outstanding off-road and road capacities.
Welcome and go Rural with a Ural :-)