Most motorcycle manufacturers strive for progress. And in doing so, progressively remove the connection between the rider and the machine. One hand gives with more power, while the other hand takes away—with electronics to control that power. But Ural motorcycles have always chosen the tried and trusted route. The original BMW-based design is now decades old, albeit carefully updated with modern components. (That includes Marzocchi forks, Sachs shocks and Brembo brakes.) This month is Ural’s 70th anniversary, so the company is celebrating—not with a giant leap forward, but with a giant step back. And it’s exactly the right thing to do.
The new M70 is a tribute to its most famous forebear, the iconic M72 military motorcycle. Almost 10,000 M72s were built in the same Irbit factory as today’s Ural motorcycles, and in 1942, fleets of them were despatched to the WWII front lines. Like those machines, today’s M70 is available only in olive drab. It also comes with a spare wheel, a canvas tonneau cover, a wooden floor mat, a shovel and—wait for it—a machine gun mount. If you’re feeling nostalgic already, you’ll be glad to know that the M70 costs a very reasonable $14,200 (DP-28 Light Machine Gun not included). And it’ll give you decades of service, long after your plastic fantastic sportbike has been consigned to the wrecker’s yard or Craigslist.
PS: Bike EXIF now has an official Google+ page. If you’re one of those early adopter types, you’ll find us here.