IMZ-Ural's origins are closely linked to the developments of the Eastern Front during the Second World War, as the former Soviet Union was preparing for the possibility of German military action, Joseph Stalin the dictator of the former USSR ordered his military to prepare by all means the ground forces for the possibility of war and the necessity of ground transportation for the troops and officers.
The Red Army decided they needed motorcycles and even held a meeting to discuss the possible look of their motorcycles which were to reflect their military on the battlefield. The Red Army wanted to use more modernised equipment after termination of their recent military conflict in Finland. The motorcycles that the Red Army had utilised so far had not worked to the satisfaction of the military and their technology was which left the manufacturing quality to be rather poor. They finally decided to base their motorcycle on a BMW model in which they found both desirable and satisfactory.
Soon afterwards a factory which was set up in Moscow, started producing hundreds of Russian M-72 sidecar motorcycles (BMW copies). With the fear that their Moscow factory may be too close to German bombers, the decision to move the factory farther East was made and the IMZ factory was moved into the middle of the Ural Mountains.
Even though the need for the military motorcycles ended with the Second World War the factory continued to develop and by 1950 the 30,000th IMZ-Ural motorcycle was produced and over 3.2 million motorcycles with sidecars have been manufactured to date.
By 1953 the IMZ-Ural motorcycles began to see their first export into developing countries and between the years of 1973 and 1979 they offered one of their models to be marketed in the U.K. as Cossack motorcycles.
In early 1998 the business was purchased by a private Russian interest and it is no longer under government control which has allowed the bringing of new design technology, new ideas, new management, new investments, new production techniques, and above all the ability to offer quality control of the incoming, in-process and finished motorcycles. Given a new lease on life, IMZ has now been able to offer new models and an engine that benefits both the standard sporting and leisure riders of today. Though the engine appears much as it has over the last few decades the new quality control techniques have allowed for better engineering tolerances, alloying and casting, better paint and chrome as well as maintain the balanced design of their horizontally opposed flat twin.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 05/06/2008