Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Snow Ride of the Season

The weathers guessers had predicted snow this weekend which forced me to change my plans for one last long four day weekend ride. Instead, I spent time working on the bikes with the main goal of getting the last bits done on the Ural.

First Snow of 2010 Winter Season

The last thing I needed to do was to install the new snow tires I had purchased: Kenda K335s. I bought three because I found an amazing deal on a Ural forum.

The first step was to get the bike on the center stand and remove the rear wheel.


I had a flat tire last year because the rim strip moved and allowed the spoke nipples to puncture the tube. Since then, I have been using duct tape to hold it in place.


Here is the new rear tire mounted and back on the bike:

IMG_8021 IMG_8019

I used a floor jack and a piece of wood to get the front wheel off the ground.


and then put a jack stand on the frame to hold it:


The front tire came off nicely once I realized the axle was opposite threaded (lefty tighty, righty loosey) (Thanks Kevin!).


With the wheel off, I found this o-ring was damaged.


I found a replacement at the hardware store for $0.85 that seems to work. I was so excited to find it, I forgot to write the size down.

Front wheel finished:


Sidecar wheel was last on my list. Again, I used the floor jack and a piece of wood to get the wheel up.

IMG_8032 IMG_8033

Here is the new K335 (left) vs the stock Uralshina (right)


New sidecar tire back on:


Cotter pins are cheap. Make sure to use new ones each time, especially if they look like this:


I’ve found the 1/8 x 1 1/4 pins work the best on the Ural.


There was lots of snow outside and it snowed all day. It was a thick wet snow and the temps were hovering in the high 30sF.

First Snow of 2010 Winter Season

The new tires worked great! I had a blast riding around in the snow. The K335s are significantly better in the snow than the stock tires. The K335s are actually made for winter, so I think that helps! I had to practice some winter maneuvers in the parking lot to get reacquainted with riding in the snow. ;)

First winter ride of 2010 on the Ural!

I was riding through snow deep enough that the engine jugs were plowing a path in front and the exhaust melting it as I went. It was neat to feel the snow flying up on my shins!

Then it was off to enjoy the scenery. This is a short video of some roads I rode today from last winter since I forgot my camera at home.

When I got home, the front wheel’s spokes were caked in snow.

Snow stuck in the front wheel of the ural after first winter ride this season.

While riding, I saw the clumps of snow coming off the wheel and flying up at the fairing through the headlight beam. Very cool looking.

I sat with the Ural in the garage with a massive grin listening to the engine hiss and spit as clumps of snow fell off the bike and melted. A very cool noise.

The Kendas are a bit louder than the stockers, but that is expected as knobby tires are just loud. The grip in the snow was impressive; it will be interesting to see what they are like once all the roads are plowed.

What a fun ride!!


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  1. What a great blog today, Chris! You make me excited for our 1st snow. (I never look forward to that...) But once I'm out in sure gives ya a feeling of wonderful accomplishment and fun! Isn't life great?

  2. Chessie: Thank you! It was so much fun. I'm still sitting here with a giant grin thinking about it. Getting all three tires swapped did feel like a nice accomplishment. Life is good.

  3. "Ride" and "snow" are two words motorcyclist's don't often see together. Then to add "FIRST" and I absolutely had to read this post! ;-)

    I've ridden in snow on (2-wheel) dirt bikes and it's really more about the falling than the riding!

  4. @Reyzie: LOL! Riding in snow is the best, and I think three wheels is the sweet spot.

    I tried two-wheels last year both on my WR250R and my scooter, and fell down a lot. Not nearly as much fun picking up a bike as drifting around.

  5. I got the kenda 335 as well, but only one, and only for the pusher. Of course, I've got to get my rig out of the shop first, I'll tell you this, they won't be getting my business again.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  6. Dom: Yes, you ordering the K335 and a couple others having nice things convinced me... that and the $215 deal Heindl was running. I needed new tires all around, so I thought what the heck. I also talked to another Ural guy who rides year-round in WI. He highly recommended the front in addition to the rear. It really helps the bike turn.

    I'm sorry, you haven't gotten your Ural back. I totally understand as mine was held hostage for a month earlier this year. I hope you get it soon.

  7. ROFL.... I need to proofread my comments... having=saying. LOL

  8. RichardM: I'm sure you could add a sidecar to your bike. :)

  9. Oh believe me, I have been looking!


  10. Breakin' it loose on the left hand slide.

  11. Richard: whatcha been looking at? close to a purchase??

    Kevin: love breakin it loose! the best part about riding in winter. 2wd makes up for the lack of power nicely ;)

  12. Chris,
    How much different would the ride be if you didn't have 2wd? I'm thinking the ability to go 2wd would make a big difference in stability as well. I'm thinking it would be a much more challenging ride with a hack which had only a single pusher.

  13. Keith: 2wd helps, but I don't use it all the time. My Ural has a selector that lets me switch between 1wd and 2wd. I use 1wd about 90% of the time in the winter. 2wd is best for snow over 2-3 inches.

    2wd vs 1wd is a different animal. I find 2wd is much harder to turn since it always wants to go straight.

    for your weather, I'd think 1wd would be enough.

  14. Chris, so you stopped along the route to reposition the go pro, right? I loved how you edited the side scenes in so smoothly. I loved watching the sunset (or rise, I couldn't tell) over the trees--very cool. Also, was there a design along the jawline of your helmet or was that a reflection of the landscape? Just curious. I agree, this post made me wishing for our first snow--not to ride in but to take some winter shots.

  15. Sharon: For the linked video? I made that before I got my GoPro. It was with my pentax PnS. I did run the route seven or eight times to get the different angles and then tried to splice them back together. Sunset at the end is one of my faves.

    My winter helmet does have a design on the jaw and on the rest of it. I'm not a huge fan of it, but it was that or nothing.