For a reason that I honestly don’t remember, I decided to get my motorcycle license in 2006 at age 24.
It was the strangest thing; one day I woke up and just had a complete fascination with them. It became all I could see when I drove down the road, all that I looked at on the internet. When I went out, took a training course, got my license and actually bought a motorbike, it shocked everyone. Up until that point in my life, it was such an atypical decision.
I was cautious. Calculated. Safe.
Maybe that’s what pushed me to do something outside of my norm. Maybe I realized that I had been living inside of a safety bubble of my own design for too long. Maybe it was my wife, who is honestly a maniac with no fear.
Whatever the reason was, it was an extremely important turning point.
Motorcycles don’t run my life, but they do symbolize a driving force. I don’t want to regret missed opportunities. I don’t want to look back at the end of my life and wish that I had been more bold.
I want to live like I REALLY believe and trust in the faith that Kristen and I both proclaim.
So whether it’s motorcycles, or scuba diving, or photography, or music, or travel, or writing, or metal-smithing, or whatever it is that Kristen and I are pursuing, I want to do it with fervor. I want to do it with passion. I want to do it with urgency. And most importantly, I want to do it for the glory of something that is much bigger than the two of us.
A new instrument panel with several new indicators including a low fuel light! I still mostly look at my mileage but the extra reminder is nice.
In so many ways, the new 2015 Ural Ranger is identical to our 2007 Gear Up. It has a familiar soft whir and tick of the engine. Shifting the gears must be deliberate and planned and results in a “thunk”. The sidecar itself feels the same and the entire rig is well-balanced and sturdy. But there have been major changes in 8 years of development.
And as we have now put 1500 kms (about 930 miles), I am greatly appreciating the updates.
The new hydraulic steering dampener is greatly improved over the old friction type.
Newly styled exhausts.
New and improved wheels, rims and spokes.
The new hand operated parking brake is easier to use and will actually stop the bike from rolling down a hill.
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The most noticeable and important thing to me are the new Brembo disc brakes on both the rear and sidecar wheel. I can't express how poor the braking is on our 2007. There are times when it seems miraculous that the bike has been stopped at all. Now, the bike stops quickly and seeing as our rig is properly set up, in a straight line.
The new screw-in oil filter is just incredible. Pulling the old filter from our 2007 is a pain just because of the location and lack of space. This makes me want to give the bike an oil change just because I can.
The fuel canister seems more robust and has a nice improvement to the mount.
My bum is considerably more comfortable on the new bench seat, although as a tall guy, I don't like the step.
The most controversial and potentially exciting change is the removal of the carburetors and inclusion of fuel injection. I can honestly say that I’m quite torn. It is really nice not to need to mess with anything when climbing elevation but the fuel injection will most certainly make repairs in the field more complicated or even not possible. If you are near professionals that can service and repair Urals, this is a major plus. For areas in the middle of nowhere, it is potentially trip ending.
As of right now, the 2015 is running amazingly strong and has been able to take a beating on muddy, dirt tracks to highway speeds. Although our bike at home is running really great, this new bike is really impressing me. So much so that I will be really sad to leave it in Australia.
I should note that this bike is still a Ural. In comparison to our ultra-modern BMW GSA, it is basic and quite simple. It isn’t fast. It isn’t high-tech. It isn’t uber-reliable. It slips gears every once in awhile and drools oil from time to time.
But, and this is a big but, it excites me. I catch myself just admiring its looks. It reminds me of 9 years ago when I first got my license. And it makes me want to travel to the furthest ends of the Earth.
I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement.