Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Natasha's history with me

As Natasha, my formerly owned Ural Sportsman Sidecar Rig makes her way to Traverse City, Michigan and her new owner Michael A; I figured I'd do a final posting with links and some notes.

I first laid eyes on her in a craigslist ad, and after some emails back and forth, effected a trade with her then owner Phil B.  "The Russians are Coming"

craiglist photo

The day came, September 18, 2009 when she was delivered to me by Phil B, on the back of his trailer.
"From Russia with Love".

First time riding Natasha

My education into the "skills" involved with riding my new Russian tractor-like steed began soon afterwards:  "Shift it like a Man"

One of the main reasons for getting a sidecar rig had been having the option to take on passengers safely and in comfort:  Short rides with the boys and My Loving Wife's first sidecar ride.




What turned out to be an ongoing education into the service and repair requirements of Ural ownership also began soon after I got to know here.

My first RPOC day where what I found out in the long run were heat-related deficiencies in the design of the Urals' ignition system.

My education into the fuel/air delivery system:  LINK

My first long ride on Natasha and finally crossing over Empire Pass

Empire Pass

The first "major" breakdown, dealing with the Russian "hand grenade" alternator and the subsequent successful repairs thanks to Andrey my Russian friend and fellow members of the sovietsteeds online forum.

Here's some of the more memorable snow rides while I owned Natasha, she did great every time!
Here's a search on for rides involving Natasha:  LINK

Some of the more memorable repair episodes:
My thoughts on Ural ownership at the six month mark:  LINK

The last long ride on Natasha:  LINK

Making the decision to sell Natasha: LINK

Some final thoughts:

I am going to miss Natasha, warts and all, she provided so much fun under conditions that two-wheeled motorcycles are pretty much useless under.  

She allowed me to ride an entire year, every day, no matter what the weather, through a combined use of all my motorcycles including her in the nastier weather conditions.

I'll miss her reverse gear and her driven sidecar wheel when on slippery terrain, but believe the V-Strom will do just fine as well with the right tires and some chains perhaps.

I won't miss her struggling to keep up with traffic when going uphill, or her short service intervals, or her sometimes tractor-like riding.  

I will miss her classic looks and attention-getting presence, but believe the V-Strom will contribute her own in these terms.

I won't miss wondering if I'll be able to get home safely when some new noise manifests itself or some new behavior appears.  I won't mind being bored by the often mentioned Suzuki reliability.

I got her with 5125 km on her odometer, she left me 30,586 km later, so about 15,276 miles; this was done from September 18, 2009 to May 16 2011.

I know her new owner will appreciate, as I did, the simplicity of her design even though the execution of which was a bit lacking in terms of tolerances and metallurgical qualities.  I won't miss the issues presented by the Ural parts supply system, they've got a long way to go to match the performance of BMW in this regard.


RichardM said...

Nice history write-up. I enjoyed reading some of those old posts again, especially the ones when you first started riding the rig.

SonjaM said...

Lovely recap. Nice to jump back and re-read your adventures. You have let her go at a time when the posts of fixing the bike started leveling with the road stories. I certainly like the road trip reports better ;-)

Circle Blue said...

I agree with Richard. I enjoyed following your adventures with Natasha and will miss her silhouette against the mountains. That said, I'm looking forward to new adventures. I hope Vicki will bring lots of miles with lots less "normal" maintenance.

On a side note, Natasha is headed toward the state of my birth and nurture. I grew up in the Middle of the Mitten of Michigan. The country in the Northern Lower Peninsula around Traverse City is beautiful. Sounds like she's headed to a good home.

Andy & Laura said...

What a nice tribute to a trusted friend. You two have certainly shared some wonderful times together. You have grown in your knowledge and expertise while lovingly caring for her many needs. And while we may not have your majestic mountains, there are great people and great beauty found in this great lake state. I'm sure Natasha will be in the care and keeping of excellent hands and that she will enjoy exploring her new home very much. You'll have to come on out and visit her sometime!


bobskoot said...


With Natasha physically gone, you have dispensed with 80% of your posting material. As Sonja eluded, time for more ride reports, or take up a new hobby

Riding the Wet Coast

Brady said...

Buy an r90/6, upgrade the flywheel and put 1000cc jugs on it. Sidecar it and ride to the moon.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, was nice going down memory lane for me as well.

SonjaM, thanks for to the repair posts nearing the level of ride reports....I beg to differ: there's 33 postings under the Natasha repair category, and 104 ride reports for there. :P

Circle Blue, thanks to you as well for commenting, good to hear that the countryside that is Natasha's new home is beautiful.

Laura, Hello to you and Andy and my nephew Greg! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Bobskoot, that foot of yours making you a bit cranky? As I mentioned to Sonja, the numbers are not as high as you all seem to believe.


In fact, if you add it all up, less than 10% of the Natasha related postings involve repairs or problems....not bad really. Still, you all are right, it was time to move on...

Charlie6 said...

Brady, I tried that, remember?

Texas Misadventure

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

After selling that Ural to someone else, I'd enter the Witness Protection Program if I were you. The new owner might hold a grudge.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

The Yellow Ranger said...

Congrats on the V-strom Rig; it will probably be a much more reliable ride.

Chris Luhman said...

Owning a Ural isn't dull ;) Congrats again on the sale.