After much talking with her and the realization we're entering into what is usually the snowiest month of the year here in the great state of Colorado; she talked me into getting a "spare" sidecar rig. Martha just couldn't see me enduring the next few snow storms trapped in a rental cage you see. Nor did she want me out there on Brigitta, my two-wheeled "spare" motorcycle on days when there might be a chance of snow.
After resisting weakly (OK, not at all), she convinced me and we went up to Fort Collins, CO this morning to take a serious look at their offerings. They had two Ural sidecars in stock at Unique Rides, a 2011 Orange and Silver Patrol and a 2012 Forest Fog Gear-UP.
Our first inclination had been to look at the green one above though the orange one had a "can you see me now" fascination for yours truly after my recent accident. A closer look at the Gear-UP with its Forest Fog color scheme, which to us resembled an dark green formica counter top, pretty much eliminated it from the final choice. Being a 2012 model, it was also a few hundred dollars more in price.
The 2011 Patrol above, looked very nice in her orange color scheme with silver trim. I knew there were no significant technical/engineering improvements between the 2011 and 2012 models; and that the 2011s were improved quite a lot in many small ways over previous years of Ural Rigs. Please see here for a listing of changes/improvements between Ural model years: LINK.
Here's a link to Ural's website with some professional pictures of the Orange Patrol: LINK
I was also convinced the bench seat on the Patrol would be more comfortable during long hours in the saddle than the single tractor seat on the Gear-UP, this conclusion having come from reading Scooter in the Sticks' wonderful reviews of the Ural Patrol rig he had a chance to ride: Becoming a Ural Adventurer
These were the only two Urals in stock, it's a small shop after all but Randy the owner runs a tight ship and he was most helpful in answering questions from me and other patrons who were looking at his motorcycle offerings. Randy and Tammy, his wife, sell Trikes, Royal Enfields, Genuine Scooters and more. The website for the dealership is here: Unique Rides. Randy told me you can order the Ural of your choice, and if they've got it in stock at the warehouse in New Jersey, it can be here in as little as a week! If they don't have the one you want, the next shipment from Mother Russia comes in Mid-March!
Soon, it was time to test ride the Patrol and Martha took the following picture of me in their practice area and even shot a video of me getting a feel for the rig:
Can you see the big old smile I've got?
After a full up ride on the frontage road, I returned to the dealership. Surprising I am sure none of my regular readers, I ended up buying the Orange Patrol Rig! Her name is going to be Valencia!
I got all my riding gear out of Martha's car and she left me behind to handle the paperwork to complete the sale. What's a little more debt in one's life right? You can't take it with you and Martha really knows what it takes to keep me happy.
Here's Randy in front of his office. Valencia looks pretty good, don't you think?
"Can you see me now?!"
Before you go thinking I bought the orange color one because I think it'll make me more visible, don't worry. I know that cagers don't look, that one remains invisible while on a motorcycle and to ride as "unhittable" as possible.
Randy did the post-sale prep of the motorcycle, including a fresh oil change! He walked me through some of the new stuff that my poor Natasha didn't have and I left the dealership shortly after 12:30 PM.
It was very windy today here in Colorado and that made Valencia a bit squirrely sometimes when hitting bumps at speed or when doing sudden decelerations. I fixed this by letting a bit of air pressure from the front tire and from that point on I was good to go.
The difference in performance between my 1996 Ural Sportsman (Natasha) and this 2011 Ural Patrol are impressive! Good acceleration, no crashing/crushing gear noises when shifting up on gears, stopping when you want with little effort or concern and the engine is quieter, though one can hear the whining noise coming from the Nippon Denso alternator's location.
This being a new motorcycle, I have to take it easy on the engine for the first 1500 Kilometers. So the combination of high winds and needing to not run the engine hard led me to take county roads all the way home. I headed east out of Fort Collins on CO14 until I got to its junction with US85. The winds were coming out of the West so the occasional gust would try and shove me sideways, but Valencia and I soon adjusted to this and motored along. We passed through the city of Greeley which had a few interesting sights, I'll have to return one day when I have more time.
I took US85 all the way down to Fort Lupton and from there picked up CO52 eastbound, across the junction with I-76 and soon enough was turning South onto CO79. The winds buffeted Valencia and I all the way to the farming town of Bennett, CO where I stopped for a break and some pictures.
The smaller grain silo at Bennett, CO
Just to give you an idea of how big the silos are....
As Valencia has no windscreen (yet), I was getting a bit chilled even though the temperatures were in the low 40s. I continued riding west out of Bennett on US36 and soon neared the Denver Metro Area's easternmost boundaries. I continued on back roads, which took me through the small town of Watkins and got home a bit shy of 3:30PM.
Here's Valencia in her new home.
Here's hoping to a long and mostly (she is Russian after all) trouble free relationship between Valencia and myself. I'll bond with her while waiting for Yoshie to be repaired and then there will be two capable sidecar rigs in the stable to ensure I can ride for work and play in any kind of weather! I am not sure I'll keep two rigs long term, but we shall see.
Thanks Martha....you're the best!