The 2018 Ural “Air” Limited Edition is a stark departure from prior special versions. I’d prefer it if Ural stuck with its rugged, timeless brand image.

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Almost every year, Ural makes a Limited Edition motorcycle. The bikes typically have unique colorways / paint, a bunch of factory options as “standard,” and a quirky thing or two only available on that year’s special edition.

The 2018 limited edition (LE) Ural is the “Air,” which combines aviation-themed colors and accessories with an entry level “Spark” drone from DJI.

After the initial excitement wore off, I think the “Air” is not a worthy successor to the LE family lineage.

I love the bike’s styling, and the nose compartment is interesting. The windsock may seem gimicky, but given the propensity of Ural owners to hang these off of our bikes (myself included), I’m sure the windsocks will see actual road time. It also doubles as a selfie stick, but I’d rather have the heavy duty one we carry for excited passengers.

Other than the special drone compartment from Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, and the custom RAM mounts that hold everything together, there isn’t a lot of special equipment on this year’s bike.

The Slate Gray is a premium color, as well as the blacked out engine, but neither of these are unique to this model year.

I’m curious about how much of the sidecar “tub” is consumed by the Spark’s docking bay. So far I haven’t had any passengers that might be effected once they sit down, but large, or tall, (or large and tall) passengers have had trouble clearing their knees before they sit down.

I’m more concerned about the drone choice. The DJI Spark is the smallest “legit” drone DJI makes, but I don’t think it’s the right choice for various reasons.

The Spark has aging technology. I would be slightly more excited about the Air edition if there was also a special edition of the Spark. Maybe a better, 4k camera, or better / more sensors, etc.

Ural owner HelbillyBob takes some incredible shots with his Spark, so perhaps it’ll do.

I was one of the first people to own a Spark, and after some problems with its self piloting I returned it and bought a Mavic Pro, the next model size up.

The Mavic Pro has folding arms, and once it’s compacted is about the same size as the Spark. It also shoots in higher resolution, is more powerful, can fly longer, etc.

In all ways it’s better than the Spark, and once you get into the cost of a Ural, the difference in $$$ between a Spark and a Mavic is neglible. I paid more for my nose rack than the difference between the two.

Furthermore, DJI has an updated version of the Mavic Pro, called the “Platnium.”

Bundling any technology with a motorcycle is folly, but I wish DJI and Ural had at least provided the most up-to-date drone possible.

Flying a drone where Ural riders are likely to go is also problematic, at least where I live. Too many vague drone laws, and DJI’s own “safety” measures in the app are going to frustrate owners who think they can ride wherever they want and film their exploits.

The legal and software restrictions about drone use in the US run in stark contrast to the “go anywhere, do anything” Ural brand.

I really prefer the prior special editions. Ural NE has a Web page with some of the more recent LE bikes.

The prior LE bikes were beautiful, came in different paints and styles not usually available, and had functional accessories.

The Gaucho Rambler is my favorite; it came with a picnic set and a premium wool blanket from Pendleton.

Here’s to hoping next year’s model is more in line with the past.

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