With 25+ years usually very pleasant experience with Russian four-stroke sidecar combinations, you have quite a bit of ex-Soviet experience. And when we think of ex-Soviet motorcycles, we now think of the rapidly gaining popularity Urals and Dneprs. Ural had 10.000 employees and made hundreds of thousands of sidecar combinations. In 2000 there were only 400 who made 1800 combinations. But that tide has turned. Dnepr was such a big boy too. Dnepr has completely fallen over. But for Urals, new Urals with warranty, there is again a truly official dealer in our country.
The time when you had a reasonable Russian for a few hundred guilders or euros is over
The boxer twins are kind of discovered. But in a world where prices climb over each other's backs like monkeys, driving a real classic from Russia is still quite affordable to cheap. And the quality of the offer has greatly improved.
Two strokes as an option
Only for the best prices you should no longer go for the once BMW-inspired boxer twins, but for the two tasks from Russia. For example for an IZ Jupiter or Planeta.
IZ (due to incorrect translations from the Cyrillic script you also read Ish, Izh, Iesch, Isch, IJ or Ug) was founded in the city of Izhevsk. The company started as Ижевский Mашиностроительный Завод, which means Izhevsk arms factory. A long story short: the 'I' stands for the place name. The 'Z', translated from our lettering, stands for 'zavod', factory.
Keeping up with modern times
The Jupter and Planeta were named after the USSR's successes in the aerospace industry. Although the Planeta is virtually unknown outside of Eastern Europe, it was one of the most widely produced models in motorcycle history. Think millions rather than hundreds of thousands. And here you rarely see them. They were also widely used as a sidecar and three-wheeled 'universal cargo module' for hauling cargo. The technology behind these two-strokes was largely indebted to the pre-war DKWs.
Unknown makes unloved
The legendary Henk Vink was once an importer of Urals, Dneprs, Jupiters and Planetas. That was at the time when those machines here were already very outdated. Vink's advertising texts were phenomenal. But if anyone bought a Jupiter or Planeta, it was because of the price. Most buyers soon regretted it. Because the ex-Soviet two-strokes were qualitatively below par. So very few have been sold here in the Netherlands and there are even fewer left. And if one is offered? Then De Markt usually responds with a deadly silence.
As a Planeta owner you belong to a very select group
That makes searching for someone who would like to own Jupiter or Planeta an innocent pastime. After an hour of scrolling you can close the session satisfied: "Look, I haven't found any." Fine. But then what always happens. You don't search, but you find. That system has proven to work in love, but also in the motorcycle world. The existence of a Planeta was reported in Arnhem. The thing would probably do, would look neat, and was for sale without a license plate. This aroused mild interest, also because the seller turned out to be an acquaintance. Immediately afterwards a whatsapp came from someone who, while looking for a BMW, had found an advertisement that said: "I also have a Planeta for sale."
The owner sent me some pictures of a beautiful, endearing early copy. And now there seems to be one in Zevenaar as well. None of the three is running (well). But technically Planetas are on the level of a wet washcloth. So that is surmountable. One of the three will be mine. Minimal. But because these Russians are so scarce and yet not wanted, I like to share the addresses of the other two. email@example.com en firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, maybe we will be the Planeta Club Netherlands in a while.