One of the premier producers of sidecar motorcycles, Ural's designs, created to handle any type of terrain, date back to World War II. Established in 1939, the Russian brand's origins are muddled with stories of smuggling BMWs from Germany through Switzerland for reverse engineering. But the slightly tamer tale—Stalin bought the blueprint directly from Hitler or the BMW factory thanks to a friendly wartime pact—might be more likely.
The latest model, the Patrol T, is as utility-oriented and durable as Ural’s other models, but this updated version works for a variety of riders. The world’s only on-demand two-wheel-drive sidecar drive shaft provides increased security for inclement conditions (allowing the sidecar driver to control the wheel and perform like a street-legal ATV), and the ample trunk space offers more room for extended journeys.
The now Seattle-based company still manufactures their motorcycles in Russia, test-driving them through the icy Siberian wilderness. While the sidecar style doesn't offer the flexibility of a café racer or sport bike, the Patrol T has an opposed twin engine that provides major momentum and smooth acceleration for thrill-seekers, and—combined with its fully functional all-terrain capability—off-road adventures abound.
Available in “olive drab” as a reminder of its military roots, the Patrol T sells from dealers around the world for about $12,400.