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IMZ-Ural (Russian: Ирбитский мотоциклетный завод, tr. Irbitskiy Mototsiketniy Zavod) is a Russian maker of heavy motorcycles.[clarification needed] Many of its models also have sidecars.

In 1940, the Soviet Union acquired the design and production techniques for BMW R 71 motorcycles and sidecars. The first M-72 model was finished in 1941. Originally, factories were to be located in Moscow, Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), and Kharkov, but due to the approach of Nazi German troops, the Moscow facilities were moved to Irbit, and the Leningrad and Kharkov facilities to Gorkiy (now called Nizhny Novgorod).

A similar model is the Soviet (now Ukrainian) Dnepr motorcycle. Both Ural and Dnepr motorcycles are sometimes known by the generic name, "Cossack motorcycles". In fact, between 1973 and 1979, Ural was one of the makes marketed by SATRA in the United Kingdom as Cossack motorcycles.[1] Chang Jiang, a Chinese motorcycle manufacturer, bought the IMZ M-72 production line to build its CJ-750 (original designation Model 1957, M1).



The origins of the IMZ-Ural are linked to developments in the Eastern Front during World War II. The Soviet Union was preparing for possible military action by Nazi Germany. Joseph Stalin ordered the Soviet military to prepare in all possible areas, including the ground forces that would be defending the Soviet Union against invading German panzer tanks, storm troopers, and special forces. Mobility was especially stressed after the Soviet Union had witnessed the effect of the blitzkrieg on Poland.[2]

A meeting was held at the Soviet Defence Ministry to come up with a model of motorcycle that would be most suitable for the Red Army. The Red Army wanted to modernize its equipment after the suspension of the Winter War with Finland. The motorcycles used up to that point had not worked satisfactorily; their technology was outdated and the manufacturing quality was not adequate to endure the often harsh Russian climate and terrain.

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