Iconic Russian sidecar manufacturer Ural has decided that what its classic retro outfits need is more technology in the form of a built-in drone launch platform. The Ural Air comes with its own DJI Spark, with a carry case and launch platform built right into the sidecar.
Some people (mainly psychopaths, I'm led to believe) are into sidecars. A larger number of folk are into drones. I know exactly one guy who's into both drones and sidecars, but Ural must have some data indicating there's at least 40 such types in the world that will be willing to fork out US$17,999 for a sidecar custom built with drone pilots in mind.
The Ural Air is a modified version of the company's Gear Up outfit, a 749cc flat twin-powered sidecar making 41 hp with an on-demand two-wheel-drive system that sends power to the sidecar wheel when requested to give it some additional off-road capability. While it now sports modern accoutrements like fuel injection and disc brakes all round, it's still a WW2-era Soviet re-engineering of a 1930s BMW design at heart. Ural has arguably been a retro brand for almost its entire existence.
In service of its drone-enabling ambitions, the Air's sidecar is equipped with a button-operated, waterproofed hatch built by Stratasys, beneath which rests a DJI Spark in a small case that allows it to remain fully set up and ready for action. A USB port is provided specifically for charging the drone, which can launch straight out of its case, and when the hatch is closed it doubles as a landing pad for skilled pilots that don't mind the whirring of prop blades close to their faces.
The remote can be placed in a custom-tailored RAM mount and clamped to a convenient point where either the passenger or the rider can fly the drone while seated. And in addition to the standard spare wheel, fog lights, jerry can, utility shovel and tool kit, Ural also provides a telescopic selfie stick, to which a windsock can be fitted should a pilot be incapable of licking a finger and holding it up in the air.
We would advise pilots not to leave the windsock up while attempting to ride the motorcycle, as the parachute effect it creates may overpower the stock Ural engine and impede progress.
Only 40 will be built, at a US$1,500 premium to the price of the standard Gear Up. That's not bad for what you're getting, actually, and they'll hit showrooms in November. Pre-orders are available now.
Check out the Ural Air in action in the video below.
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