The test drives came as IMZ-Ural, a Russian maker of heavy sidecar motorcycles, launched its modernized Ural Sahara model.
It is powered by a 750cc "boxer" twin 4-stroke engine that makes 41 horsepower, through a six-speed transmission and shaft drive. The entry-level Sahara retails for $17,999.
Win Friends and Influence People With a 2017 Ural Sahara Motorcycle https://t.co/5wm7V1TV3g— BikerEntourage (@BikerEntourage) 5 декабря 2016 г.
In his article published by the Los Angeles Times, journalist Charles Fleming did not think twice before giving kudos to the Russian bike.
"They look like vintage bikes, sound like vintage bikes and ride the same way. They're clunky, clumsy, stodgy and slow — and so much fun!" Fleming said, adding that "if you want to make friends fast and feel like a celebrity at every stoplight, the Ural is for you."
He was echoed by Hannah Elliott from the Bloomberg news agency, who said that her riding the 2017 Ural Sahara recently in New York raised many eyebrows. "More than any car or motorcycle I've had this year, it drew smiles, thumbs-ups, and eager inquiries into its inner workings and provenance," she said.
Elliott admitted that the Ural motorcycles do look Soviet, but "would anyone take offense to its communist aesthetic, even though there are no correlations between the Ural brand and that particularly strain of political theory? In a word: no."
What's more, she said that she "had about a dozen requests from strangers seeking rides."
Meanwhile, the Motor.ru news website reported that IMZ-Ural produced a special sidecar motorcycle designed in style of Darth Vader, the lead baddie in the Star Wars saga.
Ural Dark Force will be released in a limited edition of only 25 examples.
It is already available in the United States and is on sale for $14, 999.