Motorbikes from Russia and Europe

The motorcycle brand most famous across the European continent is the Ural, which was made in Russia in the latter half of the 1920s. Nearly 11 million have been manufactured. The first Soviet bike to be exported to the Netherlands and the British Isles was the Planeta Sport, which has proved to be a winner. Unfortunately, the factory closed its doors in 2008. Production was taken over by the Kalashnikov concern which has released an escort motorbike which, perhaps, designed to escort presidential cavalcades. It will have a surprising top speed of 250km per hour and will reach 100km per hour in 3.5 seconds.

The Ural is one of the few motorcycles to become popular in the Western World. The actor, Brad Pitt, has helped to put this bike on the “wanted” list, by riding one himself. The Ural is a heavy bike which is more comfortable to ride with a sidecar. The next is the Triumph Bonnevilles, which hit the road in 1959, from a beginning in 1902. The Bonneville, one of Britain’s most iconic bikes, got its name from the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA.

When a Ducati won the Isle of Man F1TT in 1978 it was not a popular bike, and the company was struggling to keep afloat, and this win certainly put them back on the road to be a winner. The 851 also came to the rescue with its desmodromic valve actuation combined with its water cooling and its fuel injection system. Later the 888 put Ducati at the top of the superbikes. Doug Polen won two superbike championships in ’91 and ’92. The 888’s tubular frame made from SAE 4130 and its combination of Ohlins rear suspension and Shonx front forks gave Ducati the edge over all the other bikes.

Less Popular Brand

  • The Bantam, of which 50 000 were produced until 1951 was arguably one of the most famous European bikes ever delivered. Launched in 1948, the two-stroke was designed from the DKW 125 two-stroke (German), the blueprints of which had been acquired after the Second World War.
  • In 2011 Moto Guzzi had been in production for 90 years. The Model 850cc Le Mans, 1975, was as up to date as the Japanese bikes of the times. The Le Mans had a few problems such as a fast clutch, torque reaction, and the changing down of gears had to be timed with the engine revs, but even with these shortcomings, the bike became popular.
  • This 745cc made its debut at the 1967 Earls Court Motorcycle Show sporting an inclined parallel-twin engine. This engine, developed for the Atlas, was produced with a larger engine, which established a vibration. After the engine was mounted on rubber mountings on a redesigned frame, the problem was solved. This new frame was a winner with its improved handling.
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