Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

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codemonkey001
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Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by codemonkey001 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:54 am

Looking to buy a Ural, and getting very impatient so I've been lowering my target a bit. Originally wanted new, then figured "still under warranty", then "as long as it's got EFI". Even that's gone by the wayside; it's been 30 years since I've worked on a carburetor but I hope to relearn. There are a few I've found in an acceptable price range, but I'd rather not have to finance anything so I'm looking at what I can get with savings.

That brings me to the next step down in terms of settling: if I wanted a used Ural in the next month within 500 miles of my house without financing anything, I'd have to get a Tourist. I get that 2WD makes snow not only manageable but enjoyable, but is it an absolute necessity for Midwestern winters? I'm not planning any offroading, just commuting and occasionally rural backroads (might even skip that if there's deep snow out). I'm guessing three wheels would be an improvement over my current bike in terms of stability, but would 1WD be sufficient for urban commuting or should I bite the bullet and take out a small short-term loan to get a Patrol?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by DrFaulken » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:58 am

When researching this same issue (I am in Minnesota) the board's consensus seems to be that 2WD is not necessary unless you explicitly plan on riding in snow, very loose dirt, or mud.

That being written, I met a gentleman at a recent meetup and he rides his Ural all year round. 2WD has come in handy multiple times for him when riding in the winter.

I intend to take the family on a frozen lake this year, and off-roading on some snow-covered roads to reach some winter camping spots. I decided to go with a GearUp -- and I bought a snow shovel just in case ;)

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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by stagewex » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:22 am

I have 2WD.
No, it is not necessary at all for the Winter or off-roading.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by wooden nickel » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:30 am

I did ride my 06 Tourist in 130 miles in 1 to 6 inches of snow and it was fun but it was on the edge of traction a few times. I am not sure if 2WD would have helped on packed snow off camber curves or not. I will defer to people who have them. I have owned only 1WD Urals for 12 years and driving rain, lightning and salt on roads is more likely to stop me than snow.
I may not be good, but I'm slow.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by Daisy Cutter » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:40 am

its nice to have on hills with loose stuff but most of the time it gets me into more trouble
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by codemonkey001 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:42 am

DrFaulken wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:58 am
When researching this same issue (I am in Minnesota) the board's consensus seems to be that 2WD is not necessary unless you explicitly plan on riding in snow, very loose dirt, or mud.

That being written, I met a gentleman at a recent meetup and he rides his Ural all year round. 2WD has come in handy multiple times for him when riding in the winter.

I intend to take the family on a frozen lake this year, and off-roading on some snow-covered roads to reach some winter camping spots. I decided to go with a GearUp -- and I bought a snow shovel just in case ;)

Where are you located?
Thanks for the input on 2WD; it's the answer I was kind of hoping for. I know the correct answer is always "never finance a motorcycle" and by extension "save until you can afford it", but winter's coming and I'm faced with dumping several thousand into my wife's non-running Jeep Liberty that I'd never drive if riding were an option or buying a more stable bike.

In answer to your question, I'm in central Illinois (2 hours south of Chicago). Not as bad as you'd see in Minnesota, but we get a decent amount of snow and ice each winter. Winter 2016-7 we only had snow on the ground for one day so I thought buying a motorcycle last year was a safe bet; winter 2017-8 we had snow on the ground November through April so my new bike sat in the garage while I drove the sedan I've since given to my daughter.

I found a 2005 patrol in Kansas City that's just outside my savings (after leaving some aside for taxes, registration, and insurance); Heindl's over in Ohio has a 2005 Tourist I could pay cash for this weekend as well as a couple of Patrols (2012 and 2013) that I'd be willing to take out a small loan for. Really wish a Gear Up (new or recent) were in my range, but with my wife not working right now and a friend's wedding to go to in Spain in October I wouldn't want to commit to a higher monthly payment.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by chaos2 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:58 am

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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by windmill » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:10 am

I always tell people having 2wd isn't a "must have" until it is.

All depends on your local riding conditions. It terrain is flat and/or the snow is cold and dry where it stays loose then no. If there's lots of long or steep hills, and/or the snow is warm and wet where it packs down hard then yes.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by Lee Pape » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:22 am

I live in Iowa and have driven a Tourist (2) for 17 years. My current bike is a 2007 Tourist and I feel that a 2WD is a waste of money except for bragging rights or the wow factor. With 2WD you have more maintenance to do and more expense to repair things when they do break. I can do 90% plus of the things a 2WD can do. My advice is save the extra for gas, oil and tires.

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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by chaos2 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:31 am

think of it as owning a 4wd car/truck. Some swear they need it but many do fine without it.
past afflictions include limey motocars and bikes, R60/2 & a R65ls, and a Citroen.
Now a 2012 rusty GU and a 87 K75s with 200k miles both bought new
dual K&N cones on homemade intake, 40/137.5
Raceway needles
Modtop exhaust
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by codemonkey001 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:31 am

chaos2 wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:58 am
donuts are easier in 2wd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjpeKuRDnfk
I don't have audio on at work, but I'd like to imagine the soundtrack to that was one long WHEEEEE!!!!!!!!!
Lee Pape wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:22 am
I live in Iowa and have driven a Tourist (2) for 17 years. My current bike is a 2007 Tourist and I feel that a 2WD is a waste of money except for bragging rights or the wow factor. With 2WD you have more maintenance to do and more expense to repair things when they do break. I can do 90% plus of the things a 2WD can do. My advice is save the extra for gas, oil and tires.
Cool! Thanks for everyone else's input in this thread but having grown up in Shenandoah IA and living in an area with nearly identical winters to what Lee Pape experiences in Perry, I'm gonna take his advice most seriously (not that any of you really disagreed). If his Tourists got him through 17 Iowa winters, I'm sure they'll serve me well. This is really a load off my mind, and makes it way less likely my wife will kill me.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by INSUBORDINATOR » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:49 am

A lot depends on youth & enthusiasm. Even when young I got very tired of riding in snow or sleet being frozen & uncomfortable. You to may find you don't like it either - then you wouldn't need your 2wd. I like having a clean, civilian looking, zippy street sidecar rig, & have 4 wheel winter warriors for foul weather. Even in a pickup truck, I try to stay in - to avoid having my vehicle smashed by others who can't drive (& shouldn't) IN SNOW.
Think how bad you could be massacred - Sidecar VS Buick. That is why I'm found at home with loved ones & fireplace "Snowed In", here in the mountains.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by windmill » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:10 pm

Lee Pape wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:22 am
I live in Iowa and have driven a Tourist (2) for 17 years. My current bike is a 2007 Tourist and I feel that a 2WD is a waste of money except for bragging rights or the wow factor. With 2WD you have more maintenance to do and more expense to repair things when they do break. I can do 90% plus of the things a 2WD can do. My advice is save the extra for gas, oil and tires.

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For us out west, it's easy to forget just how flat the Midwest can be. Our driveway is steeper than anything in your pictures, and it gets worse after that. We're at the bottom of a hill that sometimes needs 2wd and chains to get up.
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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by chaos2 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:28 pm

as far as maintenance, the 1wd rear has it's share of problems too. And you can remove the sidecar driveshaft if you don't need the 2wd.
past afflictions include limey motocars and bikes, R60/2 & a R65ls, and a Citroen.
Now a 2012 rusty GU and a 87 K75s with 200k miles both bought new
dual K&N cones on homemade intake, 40/137.5
Raceway needles
Modtop exhaust
$29 VW Hydraulic steering dampener

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Re: Is 2WD an absolute must for midwestern winters?

Post by windmill » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:54 pm

chaos2 wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:28 pm
as far as maintenance, the 1wd rear has it's share of problems too. And you can remove the sidecar driveshaft if you don't need the 2wd.
Having one of each, I don't think the difference in maintenance and reliability is meaningful. IMO, the difference in handling is the only real thing worth considering. A 1wd rig, especially with 18" wheels , handles much nicer.
Barry

"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills".

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