Dnipro Motorcycles

Dnipro Motorcycles: Yesterday, Today…Tomorrow?

MT12

A Dnipro MT (also referred as a Dnepr MT) is a heavy motorcycle produced in Kyiv since the middle of the XX century. During the times of the Soviet Union, those bikes were sold to many countries by the Satra Corporation and were known as the Cossack Motorcycles. You can get more details about this bike and its models in the Dnepr story article.

Yesterday

It all started when the Soviet Union decided that they desperately needed a heavy motorcycle for their military forces. Just like in many other cases, soviets did exactly what they could the best – they took the existing motorcycle (BMW R71)…and added a number of bugs into its construction, probably to make the bike 100% “soviet-styled”. At first the bikes were far from perfection. Just imagine having a 750 cc bike that has 26 HP. Fortunately, some improvements were made and Dnipro motorcycles became good enough to be owned. Despite being created for military forces only, later these motorcycles became available for civilians and even became part of the Soviet Union export list and were pretty popular abroad. When the new century came, Dnipro bikes still had their exotic charm, but were a bit outdated from a technical point of view. That’s why the KMZ (Kyiv Motorcycle Plant) in association with the development bureau “Sokol” designed 2 brand new engines (4- and 2-stroke ones) with greatly improved characteristics. Those engines were meant to be used to update Dnipro motorcycles and make them meet modern requirements. Unfortunately, those plans never panned out.

Today

The bad news is that the KMZ no longer produces new Dnipro motorcycles. In fact, the factory is almost dead. It’s said that the factory was made bankrupt to be sold to one local b*stard for cheap. He was interested not in the factory itself, but in the area that the factory occupies (several hectares almost in the middle of Kyiv). As a result, the only thing that is left is a small shop that sells the parts they still have in stock. The world of Dnipro bikes today is limited to reselling used bikes and spare parts. The only thing related to Dnipro motorcycles that continues its development is the culture of building custom bikes based on Dnipro motorcycles. There have been created lots of interesting Dnipro projects that are definitely worth your attention.

Tomorrow?

Despite all the problems there is still hope for Dnipro motorcycles. The most important factor here is people. There are those who spend much time and efforts on reviving this bike: they design and manufacture new improved parts for these motorcycles, create custom bikes of different styles based on Dnipro MTs, etc. These motorcycles have great potential and who knows, perhaps, one day some millionaire will decide to invest funds into the KMZ to revive the production of these 100% exclusive, unique and reliable motorcycles. There is always hope!

Take care,

Alex White

cossack-motorcycles.com

5 thoughts on “Dnipro Motorcycles

  1. JD

    Hi Alex White. Nice website you have. Good to see some enthusiasm (and hope) about the motorcycles. I hope you will contribute more knowledge when times permit. Cheers!

    Reply
  2. JD

    Also to mention Dnepr MT804 gearbox came in 2 versions, solo (4 forward gears with no reverse gear fitted, but with the possibility of fitting a 5th gear), and for sidecar (carriage, cradle, stroller) with the reverse gear. Another feature is the MT804 gearbox has two neutrals, one between I and II gear (main neutral with neutral lamp on), the other neutral is between III and IV, intended for high-speed coasting on downhills. Due to the smoothness of gear changing these gearboxes are also often referred to as “Dneprglide” or “Dneprmatic” due to the automatic declutching mechanism. It’s important to keep the declutching mechanism correctly adjusted!

    Reply
    1. Alex White Post author

      Thanks for bringing up this fact, JD!

      Personally I’m in love with Dnipro gearbox (no matter what version it is). If you have a solo bike, there is a great opportunity for you: one guy from Kyiv produces new gears, sleeves, etc. that will allow you to add the 5th gear that will be turned on with a foot shift and not a hand lever. The shifting method might seem to be not very important, but believe me, it can be a real pain in the *ss when you have to quickly find the neutral between 3rd and 4th gears and then finding a hand lever while keeping your eyes on the road. I bought a set of gears and other parts and upgraded my gearbox this way and I must say it’s one of the most important upgrades I’ve done for my bike so far.

      Dnipro gearbox is interchangeable with Ural and K750 ones and lots of Ural owners install Dnipro gearboxes because of:

      the 5th gear option
      comfort
      it’s much easier to be repaired (disassembling, reassembling, spare parts, etc.)

      Reply
  3. JD

    Yes Alex, comfort is the right word! Lazy and smooth gear changes, foot clutch in case of broken clutch cable. The old M-Series Ural and up to K-Series K-650 gearbox were clunkers, earning them nickname “Crash” gearbox, usually with a whack or clunk, though my M-63 Ural had quite a smooth gearchange for a crash gearbox, it was fun to change from III to IV using the hand lever selector and open up the throttle, 4 on the floor, so to speak. It’s a good discussion going here. Cheers!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *