Soviet bicycle “Ural” – history and characteristics

Bikers of the USSR called the best vehicle a reliable, high-quality, load-carrying bicycle “Ural”. The design and technical characteristics allowed you to use the two-wheeler for a long time, changing only the tires and lubricating parts. Avid cyclists still ride the model made in the Soviet Union more than 50 years ago. Comparing the components to modern roadsters, professionals came to an unexpected conclusion. It seems that they will never produce such reliable bicycles as “Ural” again.

History of creation

Ural logo

Bicycles appeared in Russia back in the pre-Soviet period. Domestic manufacturers were actively working to increase production of foreign models of the company Leitner, Duks Y.A. Meller, etc. In the 30s of the last century industrial production of own bicycles unfolded. Leningrad and Moscow factories produced the MD-1 road bicycle for men and the GM-30 racing model. The advantage of two-wheeled machines was considered the simplicity in manufacturing and cheapness. A popular consumer product became in demand among urban and rural residents.

Industrialization created conditions for the production of new equipment. In the USSR, the bicycle was equated with general transport and required registration of a license plate. An important event of this period was the appearance in 1965 of a rugged means of transportation. The designers of the Perm Machine Building Plant released a model suitable for road, mountain and sport riding. The Soviet bicycle “Ural”, on the frame of which flaunted the emblem of the manufacturer, instantly gained popularity for the following reasons:

  1. The simple design gave no problems in operation and repair.
  2. Spare parts were available in every store.
  3. The 28-inch wheels and reliable brakes made it possible to ride on any road.
  4. The privilege of city dwellers became available to villagers, who were able to carry heavy loads.
  5. In case of a breakdown, the Ural could be repaired by both a teenager and a pensioner.

The prestige of the bicycle increased every year. At the end of the 1970s, the two-wheeled transport was awarded to the best workers, top students and other distinguished citizens.

Characteristics of Soviet bicycles “Ural”

There is no need to embellish the technical characteristics of the bicycle. Soviet models still when designing took into account the standards and regulatory requirements for the vehicle. For example, the frame was made of thin-walled electric-welded pipes, and the nodes were made of other durable materials. The high weight (16 kg) due to the use of cast steel is disconcerting, but perhaps this is compensated for by the reliability of the bicycle. Two-wheeled transport could operate for decades in off-road conditions, carry cargo and at the same time not to break down. Features of the “Ural”:

  • steel frame with a height of 56 cm;
  • The design of the handlebar with a molded outstretch took into account human anatomy, allowing the cyclist to ride in the correct position;
  • 28-inch wheels;
  • rear sprockets have 19 teeth, front sprockets have 48 teeth;
  • dual brakes;
  • the front handbrake has a pincer system, the foot brake has a drum system;
  • the saddle was of a semi-rigid frame lined with soft material;
  • the trunk was tubular, and for the villagers there were models with two reinforced trunks to carry heavy loads;
  • additional equipment: headlights with reflectors, chain guard, footrest, pump, first-aid kit.
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High bicycle of high strength and Cross-country—what-it-is–nuances ability was considered a man’s transport. Especially for women produced models with a frame located at an angle of 45 degrees.

Advantages and disadvantages

advantages of Ural bikes

The timeless bicycle is loved for its simplicity, quality, reliability. Until now, many copies are repairable and actively used as road, mountain and sport bikes. The two-wheeled vehicle is called a legend of the bicycle industry for its merits. During the long life of the “Ural” has shown both advantages in comparison with other bicycles, and disadvantages.

Simple design Great weight (16.2 kg)
Good load capacity Heavyweight handlebar, fork, wheel frame
Strong components One speed
Long service life Outdated design
Adjustable handlebar and saddle Lack of modern bicycle accessories
Versatility for all ages Limited selection of women’s models
All parts made of quality steel Inconvenient storage due to unwieldiness
Reliable brakes
Wheel and chain protection

The owners of the “Ural” claim that the road vehicle is not afraid of Uphill—how-to-learn–tipss and steep descents. “The workhorse can easily transport firewood or heavy luggage off-road.

Overview of important parameters of old Soviet bicycles “Ural”

Perm factory produced several models of the vehicle, which in a number of parameters are not inferior to modern bikes. All bikes had a foot brake hub, sprockets with 48 and 19 teeth, cast handlebar stem. The name remained the same – “Ural”, changing only the numerical designation of the model (111-621; B-124; B-142). The main parameters of Soviet bicycles:

  • steel tubular frame;
  • rotary handlebar with an overhang;
  • steel rims;
  • manual front brake;
  • rear brake hub with free running;
  • wheel size – 40×622 mm;
  • one gear;
  • weight: 16-16,5 kg.

Late Soviet single-speed “Ural” 111-631 with wheel size of 622×37 mm weighed 14.7 kg. Model 111-641 was produced with five speeds and weighed 14.6 kg.

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Nomenclature of LLC “URAL-TRADE” in the 21st century

Now you can buy a bicycle “Ural” of the Soviet period only from private individuals. Production of modern modified bikes is engaged in the company LLC “Ural-Trade” (Perm), which has 21 branches in Russia and Belarus. In cooperation with firms in China and India, components for bicycles are made. The manufacturer offers four modern models. Advanced bicycles are made separately for men and women. Two types of women’s models are identical to men’s bikes, differing only in frame geometry.

The main characteristics of the “Ural” of the 21st century:

  • reliable technology;
  • innovative design solutions;
  • long service life;
  • 28-inch wheels;
  • 6 speeds with Shimano derailleurs;
  • accessories Quando, Sunrun and other manufacturers.

Universal, practical two-wheeled transport is made of high-quality, high-strength material. Characterized by an optimal price-quality ratio.


The bicycle “Ural” was the most popular means of transportation in the USSR. Specialists of the Perm Machine-Building Plant were constantly working to improve the technical characteristics of the model. Each bicycle was accompanied by an instruction manual. Chief designer M.S. Batyukov guaranteed the quality of assemblies and parts tested on test benches. The head of the plant addressed to the citizens a list of questions, the study of which helped to find the right solutions to meet the needs of consumers. Modern craftsmen bring the look of the bike beyond recognition, and who wants to buy an improved model, turn to the famous brand “Ural”.

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Comments: 5
  1. Noel Padilla (автор)

    I’ve been familiar with Kama bicycles since the last century. I rode two models myself. I used to have a bike in every family, and not just one at a time. We rode the bike to the store, and to fishing with the guys. Almost every day the bike was parked outside in the morning and put away in the barn in the evening. there was no theft. The bikes were a reliable horse. Virtually nothing in it broke down with good care. Every spring everything was disassembled in a friendly company of the same fans of bikes, washed, carefully lubricated with grease, collected and adjusted. Those were fun times

  2. Sharon Lancaster (автор)

    Today I bought a Ural Velta. In perfect condition, factory lubricated, not a single rust, no mileage, new rubber and in my opinion you can still ride it. Even the purse under the saddle has all the keys and repair kit from the factory. Rear view mirror, reinforced trunk and feather guard. Fabulous! Got something to do now. I want to rebuild and lubricate the whole thing and go for a ride! Vadim, welcome! My “Ural” 41 years.My parents bought me in 1980.Recently in the carriage found wear shaft.Turner could not grind as a chisel does not take.That’s what hardened steel was made!!!Can you tell me where else can you buy a Ural? Sv andrey, Vladivostok

  3. Matthew Fletcher (автор)

    Vadim, welcome! My “Ural” 41 years.Bought my parents in 1980.Recently in the carriage found wear shaft.Turner could not grind as a chisel does not take.That’s what hardened steel was made!!!Do not tell me where else can you buy a Ural? Sv andrey, Vladivostok

  4. Davion Lamb (автор)

    Soviet bicycles were unified in parameters and mechanisms, although they were produced at different factories. Therefore, it is not quite correct to talk about the advantage of one factory or another. Our side valued the Minsk ones because of the carriage with pressed cups and threaded cones, which could easily be replaced by a homemade one with “eternal” industrial bearings.

  5. Julie Smith

    What an interesting blog post! I’ve always been intrigued by the ural bicycle and it’s fascinating to learn more about its history. It’s amazing how much of a lasting impact the bike has had over the years!

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