Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

The "Pimp my Ride" section for Soviet bloc bikes. Everybody seems to have their own custom add-ons, modifications & accessories. Share your tips and post pictures of them here.
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This is the place for topics concerining modifying and accessorizing your Ural or Denpr.
nicholastanguma
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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by nicholastanguma » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:52 am

thumper05flstsc wrote:Just to be clear. The most basic rule of the forum is......"pics or it didn't happen". Once you have finished, or even better while the mods are in progress, please post some pics here so all of us can see how it looks.


I come from ADVrider. I am well familiar. :thumbsup:

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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by Scott » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:12 am

nicholastanguma wrote:
mr. cob wrote:
nicholastanguma wrote:I do actually like the new Ural hydraulic damper, but I'm wanting to put custom triple trees w/ Yamaha forks, a 19" wheel (stock is 18"), and a high dirtbike fender on a 2014 M70, rendering the factory damper attachment point useless.

Can I safely learn to ride without the unit, or do I really need it--perhaps I should have the custom triple trees raked a few degrees?
Howdy nicholastanguma,

WHY would you want to change the front fork assembly on a rig that has been specifically built from the factory to perform safely for its intended use?

I know a couple of folks who have ridden M70's on gravel roads and NOT needed to swap front forks to do it. Because of its LACK of ground clearance your NOT going to be doing any off pavement riding with a Retro or an M70 unless its on decent gravel roads unless you want to spend a lot of time and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ repairing it due to OWNER ABUSE forget about warranty covering your broken or bent frame and front forks.

Ride your M70, on decent gravel roads, CAREFULLY and enjoy it, in my opinion your wasting your time and money installing a front fork assembly that WAS NEVER DESIGNED to used in your application.

Hub and dual rotors from a Yamaha XVS 1100, calipers from a Yamaha R1, custom 41mm forks from Franks, custom triple trees from Claude Stanley. I'm seriously into custom motos, don't mind spending ridiculous money in pursuit of a specific look. In this particular case, the front end mods wouldn't be for performance above the stock parts, just for achieving a certain aesthetic.
Actually, what you propose may sound strange to today's Ural owners, but up until about 10 years ago, swapping to a Jap bike front end was the easiest way to get front disc brakes because the Urals came with drums all the way around back then.
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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by Red Dwarf » Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:11 pm

mr. cob wrote:
I know a couple of folks who have ridden M70's on gravel roads and NOT needed to swap front forks to do it. Because of its LACK of ground clearance your NOT going to be doing any off pavement riding with a Retro or an M70 unless its on decent gravel roads unless you want to spend a lot of time and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ repairing it due to OWNER ABUSE forget about warranty covering your broken or bent frame and front forks.

Ride your M70, on decent gravel roads, CAREFULLY and enjoy it, in my opinion your wasting your time and money installing a front fork assembly that WAS NEVER DESIGNED to used in your application.
Excellent points, mr. cob! :bow:
FWIW, my Retro is lots of fun on gravel roads that are free of rocks, serious holes and deep water.
Ground clearance is usually less of an issue than loss of traction. Sand and Retros don't get along--bring a shovel.
Washboarding requires speed reduction but otherwise I find that the ride is more comfortable if normal speed is maintained.
So far, no structural parts have bent/broken.
2012 Retro

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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by Ironhorse Sa » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:40 am

I also don't agree that a Retro/M70 is no good off-road!
I have taken mine off-road where the Gear-up rigs were scared to go.
I watched your vid BigJames and that qualifies as very good gravel road here.
The only thing that ever happened to my Retro off-road is the front wheel mud screen came lose and after 4 new bolts i was in the mud again!
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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by nicholastanguma » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:10 am

Red Dwarf wrote: FWIW, my Retro is lots of fun on gravel roads that are free of rocks, serious holes and deep water.
Ground clearance is usually less of an issue than loss of traction. Sand and Retros don't get along--bring a shovel.
Washboarding requires speed reduction but otherwise I find that the ride is more comfortable if normal speed is maintained.
So far, no structural parts have bent/broken.

This sounds hopeful. So you find you usually don't have ground clearance problems, and can even do washboard roads if normal speed is maintained. Please define "normal" speed?

And why does your Retro have traction loss; because of rolling on street oriented tires, perhaps?

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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by nicholastanguma » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:11 am

Ironhorse Sa wrote:I also don't agree that a Retro/M70 is no good off-road!
I have taken mine off-road where the Gear-up rigs were scared to go.
Please elaborate a bit more on your gravel and dirt adventures. I'd like to hear some more from someone who doesn't discourage getting the M70 dirty.

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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by rivers » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:48 pm

I don't have a retro or M70 but if I did I would certainly ride it "off pavement" as in dirt gravel roads. Don't think I'd explore much "off road" though. w/o expecting problems. IMHO "any" bike should be dirt/gravel road travel capable if you keep speeds reasonable. Aka: don't beat it. I've ridden every street bike I've owned on dirt roads including full dress GeezerGlide Harleys. Yup cosmetics and frame cradle don't like it, you'll shake things loose that you otherwise wouldn't on pavement and hyd fork seals don't last as long. There will be extra maint but that's part of the deal with any bike used on dirt roads.
I can't tell you to buy a Retro and head for the dirt roads but if I wanted a Retro/M-70 I would not give up exploring dirt roads. If in 014 they would have still sold white Retros in the US I'd have one.
Keep in mind I'm talking dirt/gravel road travel (offpavement) not offroad grinding/flogging or mud bogging. I may be totally wrong here but can't believe a Russian built bike of any flavor isn't built tough enough to travel dirt roads.(When did they pave Russia?) Maybe Kristof will read this and throw his 2 cents in. He's traveled all over southwestern Russia on his Retro and I'm guessing there was some dirt travel involved?
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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by Red Dwarf » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:23 pm

nicholastanguma wrote:
Red Dwarf wrote: FWIW, my Retro is lots of fun on gravel roads that are free of rocks, serious holes and deep water.
Ground clearance is usually less of an issue than loss of traction. Sand and Retros don't get along--bring a shovel.
Washboarding requires speed reduction but otherwise I find that the ride is more comfortable if normal speed is maintained.
So far, no structural parts have bent/broken.

This sounds hopeful. So you find you usually don't have ground clearance problems, and can even do washboard roads if normal speed is maintained. Please define "normal" speed?

And why does your Retro have traction loss; because of rolling on street oriented tires, perhaps?
Only time I had a serious clearance problem was in loose sand.
If the pusher digs down just a little, it and the sidecar wheel create too much resistance for the available torque/traction.
Cure seems to be clearing sand from in front of the pusher and walking the rig out to the firm ground.
Sand seems more like work than fun.
Suspension needs a little speed to work well [springs to max preload].
I travel most gravel roads at the same speed I'd use on pavement but washboard makes me slow down radically.
Rig seems to walk sideways at higher speeds. :shock: Ride is rough at best.
I've experimented with a knobby tire on the pusher. It helps in snow/ice but fender/swingarm clearance if very limited.
Bottom line: Retro is NOT a highly-strung pavement burner.
YMMV
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Re: Is a Ural M70 Steering Damper Really That Necessary?

Post by Badabing » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:36 am

My first Ural was a 98 Deco Classic, which I sold to buy a 2000 Bavarian Classic. I sold the BC after suffering a heart attack to get the money to return to college and finish up the two courses I needed to graduate after attending college off-and-on for 39 years, because I figured I might as well finish something before I croaked. Well, I didn't croak and so I got an 05 Patrol, which didn't work out so well ... 'nuff said. But I had always lusted in my heart after a Retro but was stymied because of the cost. When the 2011 M70 Anniversary LE was announced and I found via the Ural webpage there was a local Ural dealer, I figured it was perfect and I'd figure out the money angle later. I reserved one literally from the side of the road using my cell phone. It's the best Ural I've ever owned. My Ural history is overwhelmingly one of street versions, which is what I wanted. I've had the LE "off-road" but only under the mildest of conditions. I'd be the first one to admit it would be entertaining to be seriously "off-road", but if I wanted that out of my bike I'd buy a version that was made for it. I guess it all boils down to deciding what you want a bike for, and getting the version that suits your style. As for me, the only thing I've added to my LE is Heidenau K28 (street) tires, which worked out extremely well. I love what I've got and it shall remain pristine.
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