Dan's Soviet Bikes

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Updated 'Bikes for Sale' 8th Dec. 2017

Josef Stalin Himself Established IMZ-Ural in 1941, Specifically to Build Copies of the BMW R71 as Combat Vehicles for the Red Army...

Before the outbreak of hostilities between Germany and Russia, a joint venture of sorts involving motorcycle sidecar production took place between the eventual adversaries. The arrangement served to outflank the Treaty of Versailles restrictions that prohibited Germany from any form of military vehicle production, including large-capacity motorcycles and sidecars. However, while BMW was already developing more advanced R75 engines, it supplied the Soviets with the older R71 design.


WWII Soviet Motorcycles: Josef Stalin himself established IMZ-Ural in 1941, specifically to build copies of the BMW R75 as combat vehicles for the Red Army; these were designated the Soviet Ural M72, almost identical to the German BMW R71.

Production was intended at three factories located in Moscow, Leningrad, and Kharkov with ancillary items coming from several other factories. Only the Moscow factory MMZ produced any complete motorcycles prior to the German invasion and commencement of the Eastern Front (World War II).


The Moscow factory was moved east to the town of Irbit in Western Siberia and renamed IMZ. The Kharkiv and Leningrad factories were relocated to Gorkiy on the outskirts of the GAZ car/truck plant and renamed GMZ. During the war, motorcycles were produced at both IMZ and GMZ, however all sidecars for both the M-72 and Lend-Lease bikes were produced at Gorkiy. In 1952 500 M-72 engines were shipped from IMZ to enable KMZ factory in Kiev Ukraine to produce their first batch of M-72s. KMZ produced M-72 until 1956. A closely related model the M-72N was produced later.


In 1957 the Soviets sold the M72 production line(s) to PRC (Peoples Republic of China). The IMZ plant supplied M-72 military bikes to the PRC up to the transfer of M-72 production line in 1957 and continued to supply parts to the PRC until 1960. Production continued in China through the mid-1980s, making the M72 the vehicle with the longest production life, from The BMW R71 in 1938, to current day Chang Jiang CJ750.

Ultimately some 10,000 of the M72s, fabricated in a Siberian factory east of the Urals, went to war. After the collapse of the Third Reich, the Soviets appropriated all BMW tooling and engineering designs, including the R75 motorcycle OHV engine and dual-wheel drive system technology, which was then used to create the more advanced Russian “Ural” and “Dnepr” models. The Ural region of Russia is still home to modern Urals. In the mid-1950s, civilian Urals went into production. In 1993, updated mechanically and cosmetically, they were introduced into the United States. Recent estimates assert that approximately three million Urals are now serving on- and off-road duties in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Early 1942 Model M-72

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KMZ M-72H (M-72N Eng.) 

(cyrillic letter H is the latin letter N) 1956-1959


In 1956 the M-72 was given a minor redesign and issued as the M-72N


with a new front fork cantilever suspension, this was to be the last of the Sovitet M-72's

(this machine as the wrong cylinder heads for year)


Dnepr K750 1957

featured a swingarm mounted inside the frame with rear plunger type suspension.