Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Classic Retro Thing: Russian Motorcycles

Ural troyka
[Yes, I know the riding season is coming to an end for many motorcycle enthusiasts, but one can always dream for next season. Here's a rebroadcast of a classic Retro Thing post from 2005 for your two-wheeled enjoyment.]

Even back in the late 1930s, BMW made great motorcycles. They were decidedly better than those the Soviets had to suffer with. In a moment of strategic stupidity, the Germans gave blueprints and casting molds for BMW's out-dated R71 motorcycle to the Russians. Over the course of WWII, thousands of these bikes were manufactured for the Red Army.

By the 1950s, the Irbit Motorcycle Works was producing Ural motorbikes for civilian use. They survived the breakup of the Soviet Union, and now operate as a privately held company. You can buy them new in North America or Europe quite easily, starting at around $10,000.

The vast majority of their bikes feature sidecars, like the Troyka shown here. Powered by a 745cc twin engine, it offers sumptuous (by motorcycle standards, anyway) sidecar seating for your passenger. [more & another pic after the jump]

The weight of the sidecar puts quite a strain on the Ural's antiquated dual-carburetor 40HP motor. Maximum speed is around 60 mph (96 k/mh), so this isn't a good choice as a highway bike. The mechanical design is a throwback to the 1940s, with the dual carbs, grease fittings, and occasional loose bolts to prove it. Plan on becoming a backyard mechanic when you adopt one of these Russian wonders.


Ural Troyka Motorcycle (Ural Motorworks of America, Inc.)


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