Slow and steady on the throttle is the best practice for controlling the Ural. This is especially important for those coming from high performance motorcycles.
I accelerated smoothly from a stop, listened to the engine rev, pulled in the clutch, shifted into 2nd gear with authority, and rolled on the throttle.
The Ural lurched two inches to the right, which at the time felt like I was about to travel into the next lane.
Even during the break in period for the Ural motor, there’s enough torque at half throttle to violently jerk the bike off its course. This can be unsettling to new owners, but illustrates an important aspect of riding a sidecar:
You have to be gentle rolling on and off of the throttle. Slow and steady leads to a better, safer riding experience for everyone.
The dynamics of a sidecar wheel make piloting a sidecar equipped motorcycle incredibly different from a two wheeled one.
As the “pusher” (what we normally think of as a “motorcycle”) accelerates, it’s going faster than the sidecar’s wheel.
- When you release the throttle, the sidecar’s wheel moves faster than the pusher’s wheels. This means the sidecar will move to the left. The faster you release the throttle, the more violent the movement.
- When you engage the throttle, the pusher’s wheel moves faster than the sidecar’s wheel. This means the sidecar will move to the right. The faster you roll on the throttle, the more violent the movement.
Both of these things can be unsettling when you’re starting out, and a little dangerous depending on your environment and conditions.
If you find your Ural “jumping” suddenly, try being easier on the throttle. This will help you a lot as you set up for turns — freeway onramps and offramps in particular.
Smoother throttle modulation will make it easier on your sidecar passenger, too. We mask “twitchy” throttle manipulation on regular bikes because we know that they’re coming, and we’re anchored by the grips, tank contact with our knees, and footpegs.
Passengers don’t have this luxury, and you can monitor how smooth you’re being by watching their heads move during shifting. Try to balance a smooth shift with riding the clutch.
Slow and steady is the strategy for Urals in general, especially as you’re starting out.