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Geneva - Ural Preparation Summer 2008

This is a summary of the work I've done on my Ural for the preparation of my ride to Mongolia... and more!
Thank you Giorgio and all your friends in Geneva for the pleasure I had to live your Marcel Pagnol lifesyle.
The friendship you have shared together for over 30 years is unique in this world!

Click here to go back to The "Ural Preparation" page in Geneva.

General modificaiton  
I always want to be what I look like and the navy blue was too chic for me.
That was the first thing I did when I first arrived at GIogio in September. It took 3 days with the help of Carlos, Pierro, Claude and Giorgio to ride my white sidecar before going to Austria
Nuts and bolts:
As much as I could do it, I changed the bolts and nuts with inox Hex bolts and nylon insert nuts. I went everyday with a handful of bolts and nuts to buy new ones at Perillat. First they did not like me too much at the 3rd month, they hated me!
Sidecar cover:
The cover is made of the same material they use for the convertible BMW or Mercedes. It is expensive but worth it because after 6 years on my BMW it is still waterproof and by -40ºF the material stay flexible. Denis took me to one of these shops in Arcachon and the guy did it in 2 days.
Sidecar front fender:
Ural front fender allowed me to stick a spare tire on it. I bought it from from the Austria rally. The small tube size is saving me a lot of weight.
The only obvious weekness on the motorcycle frame. Our experience in sidecar cross told us that it needed a reinforcement. Gibert bucks did it overnight so we could paint the fork with the rest of the bike.
Air filter:
My most controversial item. Nobody liked it beside Giorgio and me. It is a desert style air filter, very sturdy that allows me to have an elevated air intake for river crossing. Giorgio had it on one of his sidecars in the past, i love the look of it.
Exhaust & muffler:
I used the "Sito" made for the BMW R100GS. Perfect design for the Ural. We found a used one very cheap in perfect condition. Peter and Mario did the 2 in 1 pipe in 2 days. I have now a high exhaust necessary to cross rivers.
Separation of the 2 pedals for the rear motorcycle brake and the sidecar brake.
I use them differently for sharp turning or mountain curves all the times. Giorgio did that in a couple of hours.
Gas command left hand:
The most creative of all. I wanted to have a gas command on the left hand so I could control my speed while taking photos with the right hand. The solution came from Louis. The gas handle is a cross model with a return cable that we use on the left hand with a bicycle lever
Wheel: The wheel bearing are good European quality and do not need to be changed.
Morad alluminum rims. The same we use in sidecar cross. They don't rust and never broke. Orlando Calonder is known as "The watchmaker of the sidecar cross wheels".
Heavy duty tube (it's almost as stiff as the Russian tires)
Heideneau on the rear and sidecar wheel and Avon on the front.
Universal joint :
Replaced with agricol quality. Better dirt protection and with a grease nipple. I found them at East-Motorcycles.
From 1996 to 2001 I used a Police Harley Davidson saddle on my Road King sidecars. I bought it new for $10 t a Saturday morning sale at Kosko in New Jersey (nobody wants them there). When I sold my last Road King to buy the BMW, I sent the saddle to Giorgio in Geneva that he installed on his Road King sidecar. Before Giorgio sold that sidecar, he put the saddle on the side. We found it after a couple of days of searching when I came in September and we installed it immediately.
Sharp right turn: It is important to me to be able to U-turn on the spot, would it be for security reasons (the people in front on the front do not like you!) or practical reasons (the trail is to narrow). In order to right turn on the sidecar wheel, I shaved the stop metal, cut the front fork cover on the right side and bent the gas tank to have enough angle at the steering wheel. We did that the 1st day with Giorgio before going to Painting.
Grid protection headlight:
You can not buy them anymore at motorcycle shops. Mario who did the 2 in 1 pipe exhaust, gave us the perfect inox grid. Thierry, the boilermaker, took a round inox bar of 4mm diameter and circle them to the size of the headlights and Van welded them together and made the fixation for it.
Shoe motor:
Giorgio made the layout with a thin copper sheet. Jules made it in a thick aluminum with holes on the front to better cool the engine. Giorgio did all the fixations with Van who welded them together.
Lock rear door sidecar:
A simple mail box lock to avoid friendly thiefs like in a secure hotel at night. Claude helped me a week later to adjust it properly.
Gas tank:
I bought 2 aluminum gas tank of 10 liters each. They are hard to find these days because the top of the gas tank needs to be secured, if not the vibrations will make the support brake. Ural designed an unbreakalbe support that is extremely heavy and does not want to sell the Aluminum can anymore. I secured the gas tank like Dave (Death Valley) did on his sidecar. The rear spare wheel locks them when the sidecar door is closed.
Windshield: Thank you Jean Louis who showed me how wrong I was not to take the Ural sheet metal windshield. As he wrote me "It's the aesthete in me that is talking, not the aerodynamic engineer!." I bought it in Austria. It is perfect may be the best wind and rain protection I never had on a motorcycle.

When Jean-Louis was a teenager,
he was pulled by the dream of travelling the world on a motorcycle.
"I looked at my old drawings from the 70's; It is the same spirit" Jean-Louis.

Made for Dnierp-Ural in Switzerland by the Ural importer.
Generic Muff from Hein Gerick
Motor, Gearbox
& Rear Drive
I changed all the bearings of the Motor because at 2500 miles, I found the alternator bearing on the magnet of the oil plug. Thank you to Louis and Damien for taking care of my motor and GIlbert for installing the 10/14mm insert in the crank case. Thank you Kekes for nurturing the gearbox and the rear drive.
Shaft seal:
They changed all the shaft seal with viton shaft seals (better handle high temperature)
Gasket: In Austria, I bought a complete pack of motor gaskets that Damien used to put back the motor together.
Oil temperature gauge:
The most important accessory. A deepstick oil temperature. Simple and efficient. Will tell you at any point the oil temperature. I have the habit to check it 50 times a day and either I slow down or I stop if it starts to overheat. The best way not to damage your engine. Ets Kennedy.
Gearbox breather:
Giorgio welded a little pipe so I could connect a small hose on the gearbox breather.
Odyssey Batteries I installed 2 Odyssey batteries. One at the location of the original batterie - 18A, 625 amps cranking - the other is betweent the sidecar and the motorcycle on the rear - 28A, 925 amps cranking. Odyssey are known to better keep their charge in extreme cold like -40ºF
Battery switch: The most important device for the security. It disconnect the negative wire on a switch. It is located on the right side cover of the motorcycle. I have one for each battery, it allow me by a simple twist to have either one or both connected - for starting in extreme cold in the morning.
Heated Grip : I bought a kit from Honda.
Red & amber rear lights:
Approved by the Geneva bus system since 1972. These good looking oversized lights give the visibility I could expect. The red lights are mounted on toilet tube. They are still available at Millet, Geneva.
Waterproof plugs:
The same excellent waterproof plugs that Ural has on the harness. I used them to add a head light on the sidecar and to be able to disconnect the sidecar fender easily for when it will break.
Headlight sidecar:
A H4 headlight is connected in parrallel with the main head light. I put a relay and a fuse on each of high and on the low beams.
License plate light:
Relocated behind the sidecar to give place for the 2 oversized amber lights.
Hazard lights :
A simple switch connecting the left and right blnkers give me a hazard flashing lights. The original Ural blinker relay support 4 X 21 W for flasher.
In bad weathe situation, I put my hazard lights on to be seen from the rear.
I then perfected the system to manage to have the hazard lights switch on on the accessory position of the Ignition key. In difficult situation, i want to be able to walk away from the sidecar with the hazard lights on and keep the key of the motorcycle in my pocket.
Like for the oil temperature, I always keep an eye on the battery charge while riding.
Tool Box:
My most successful add on. From Pellican, very sturdy waterproof case for professional camera. By luck, I found a few plastic containers at the perfect size to make separations inside. I glued a thin rubber membrane inside to avoid the gling gling noise while riding.
At my return to Geneva, I installed 2 direct carburator Mikuni VM 32. for better tork, and ease to maintain. I spend 3 days on the Dynojet of Godier Genoud. These carb have too much velocity for this motor. At high speed, it works great and I was able to ride faster, but at 3000 rpm, it is the worst. There is not tork there. If you accelerate a little too fast, the motor stoll. I reversed to the Keihin. Bernard gave me the tip to drill a hole at the bottom of the throttle valve to allow it to move faster up and down. The original hole was 2.5mm, we drilled an other hole of 1.5mm. It works great the motor accelerate faster and deaccelarate faster also.
Cigaret lighter:
I instaledl 2 cigarette lighters (the 2 different diameters) on the right side cover of the motorcycle just for the commodity to charge the motorcycle battery easily or to charge a camera battery for example from the motorcycle battery. Claude did a little consol the the 2 cigarettes lighter and a license plate light with a swicth for me to read a map.
Reverse and 2WD command at gas tank:
I double the command lever on the right of the gas tank for the reverse and the sidecar wheel traction. That lever lock the reverse at the correct position and let me shift the tracted sidecar wheel while still in motion. You don't want to wait to stop to do it, it may be much harder to restart. For those who say that the sidecar wheel can only be shifted when stopped, it's like any gearbox, if you do it the right way, there will never be a problem. At the mechanical training I saw Alain's set up and I love it. It works great.