Saturday, September 18, 2010

One Year Anniversary with Natasha

A year ago today, I took receipt of Natasha: my '96 Ural Sportsman Sidecar motorcycle from Phil B, in exchange for my giving him Maria, my 2004 BMW R1150RT motorcycle.  I think both of us got a good deal in this swap, and hopefully Maria is getting ridden far and often by her new owner.

Phil B. and I, one year ago, with my new to me Natasha

In this last year of Ural ownership, there have been quite a few bumps in the road but in the end it's made me a better wrench turner.  The Ural design is clean and simple if a bit rough around the edges, seams, welds and performance!  : )

I got Natasha with 5125 Kilometers on her odometer, today she reads 25,602 Kilometers.  Not bad considering some of the issues that had to be overcome along the way to making her a reliable companion on the road:

The Russian Hand Grenade Episode, the sheared apart propeller shaft for the sidecar, assorted minor electrical gotchas, broken brackets, going Total Loss on the electricals due to the failed alternator, learning about loose spokes the hard way, the importance of a spare tire, re-learning how to tune/troubleshoot and live with carburetor technology aka dark magic, dealing with recalcitrant ignition systems/coils on hot and/or rainy days and just the day and night difference when riding on three wheels vice two.

On the other hand, Natasha allows me to ride in Winter weather with no major issues.  Snow is a welcome sight and not a soul-crushing event to me now.  It's really amusing the looks I get when riding by on snow-covered streets.

Natasha's "batwing" fairing enable me to ride in temperatures below zero with only the electric grips being needed; though it does get a bit "nippy" at times.  Windy days?  No problem and no heart-stopping moments leaning into 20-30 mph gusts when on two wheels and the wind stops.  Rain?  Bring it on, last time it rained so hard that intersections in my neighborhood were flooding, I had a great time doing "river crossings" on Natasha.

Sure, her max speed is 65 mph, on a good day, going downhill, with a following wind, so not the speediest vehicle on the slabs.  Off-road though, there's very few trails now that will stop me, and if in the company of fellow Uralisti, I'd be willing to try the tough "trails" as well!  Speaking of the Uralisti, their support and companionship on rides and wrenching is another of the benefits of owning Natasha.

I've learned a lot while riding/wrenching on Natasha, the main thing I've learned is that I like the simpler designs and motorcycles of yesteryear.  Both my motorcycles are from designs predating their manufacture dates, in the case of Natasha, by several decades!  It allows me to work on them with my ham-fisted skills and they damn near always bring me home.  What more could I ask?

Natasha and I, during a recent ride through the Rocky Mountain National Park


Electra Glide In Blue said...

Hard to believe it's been a year already. You've came a long way with Natasha in knowing her inside-out.
Congratulations on this one year anniversary!

Circle Blue said...

I became a reader of your blog about the time you got Natasha. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading of your exploits, trials, and adventures over the last year.

Thanks for letting me tag along.


Martha said...

Happy Birthday, Natasha!

As the observer in the garage, Natasha has also demanded that Dom develop patience and perseverance as he figures out the challenges she has presented him with. He's made new friends as he has had to turn to those who know more about the Russian way (thanks Andre and the other guys from the Denver Uralista group).

But most important, Natasha has changed the scope of this motorcycle passion: opening it up to more of a family adventure. We all love this Russian mistress.

PS: I still say that Natasha and Brigitta would not mind sharing the garage with a GS. Just sayin'.....

SonjaM said...

Time flies by. Happy anniversary to you both.
When I think of year rounders, it is your name (and Natasha's) that come to mind. Keep on rollin', and thanks for the ride.