Anyone that knows me knows that I have an affinity for Urals. The Russian-built sidecar motorcycles are as quirky as it gets, yet they push my buttons in all the right ways. Unfortunately, their quirks have alienated them from the modern world, resulting in little to no custom bikes being built off of this platform. That’s what makes Kevil’s Speed Shop’s Ural the coolest custom on the block.
The story of how this custom Ural Tourist came to be is one of hilarity. Kev Hill of KEVIL’s Speed Shop was approached by a man that wanted his Ural turned into a coast cruising machine that could turn some heads while carrying his entire family, all 4 of them. Kev’s response to this man is actually the typical question us Ural enthusiasts get, “do you actually like this quirky machine?” And the man answered with an unsure “Umm Yes, I think so…” to which Kev responded with “Well, if you’ve got the money we can polish that turd, and roll it in glitter if your budget extends to that.” As you can tell, Kev is a real charmer.
With Kev’s blunt but honest evaluation of the project the Urals owner was in. Just 4 days later he had the 2007 Tourist 750 at Kevil’s shop via flatbed. He wanted this turd polished, regardless of cost. Now there are a couple things about Urals that you need to know before the story continues. First is that they are old. Yes, I know this one is a 2007 model year, but that’s 1942 going on 2007. That’s when they first started ‘mass’ assembly. And they really haven’t changed much in that time. So they are in fact, kind of a turd. Even still they manage to be fragile and built like tanks all at the same time. The sidecar tub in particular is built from steel, making it very stout. This can pose certain challenges when considering modifications, yet that didn’t slow down Kev’s team in the slightest.
They started by disassembling the Ural, which was surprisingly easy. These are made to be worked on from a single tool roll after all. With the rig disassembled it was sent off to be painted. Kev elected to use a similar color scheme to one of his other customs that he calls Moto 3. From there the wheels and entire frame were powder coated black. With his intended purpose of beach cruising the powder coating will surely help protect the Ural from all that salt water. They also fitted the Ural with some knobbier tires, just for added off-pavement ability.
Upon re-assembly things really started to get custom. For starters, the stock Ural headlight was ditched for something more unconventional. In its place now sits a number plate with an extended off center spotlight finished with an amber lens. Kev kept this tracker appearance up by adding another number plate on the right side of the bike, and then had one painted on the left side of the sidecar tub. Kev also built custom turn signals as well as a new rear tail light. One of the biggest changes was the choice to swap the stock tank for a Jawa unit. This alone transforms the Ural into a whole new machine. You would think after 75-years Ural could have improved this one little thing.
For the tub Kev made only two modifications that completely transformed both its form and function. The less noticeable of the two is the small windscreen added to the front of the tub. Subtle, but classy. The second is a much more substantial, much cooler modification. A stock Ural tub features an 83 dry liter rear trunk, presumably to stash all your WWII ammo. But since the owner of this Tourist needed room to fit 4 bodies, Kev decided to turn the trunk into a genuine rumble seat. With the rumble seat fabbed up it was off the Kevil’s upholsterer, who had quite the job cut out. The upholsterer was tasked with building not one, but 4 matching seats out of soft touch brown leather, as well as small leather straps used to strap the rumble seat shut when not in use. Not only did they do it, but they knocked the seats out of the park. The brown leather used perfectly complements the gray and red color scheme picked for the Tourist.
With that, this is now without a doubt one of the coolest Urals currently rolling the streets. The only thing I can’t wrap my head around is the idea of riding around with 4 people on an already underpowered machine. With just 40hp and a curb weight of 750lbs, it’s safe to say that a Ural is no spring chicken. Regardless this has to be one of the coolest Urals I have ever seen. Truly one of a kind. Now that’s how you polish a ‘turd.’