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 When the new century came, Dnipro bikes still had their exotic charm, but were a bit outdated from a technical point of view.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

11 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
  4. JD

    Well, that what a Russian guy told me. Also Dnepr and any parts with stamped “stars” were from the military assembly line, presumably better quality and/or better quality control stamped OTK in a triangle (“Head of the Plant”). Cheers!

    Reply
  5. Fred

    Not only did the 1971 model MT9 incorporate the new MT804 gearbox , but the frame was lengthened by about 20mm to accommodate it. K650 (MT8) and K750 frames all have the shorter frame and earlier gearbox. Of the side valve models, only the MT12 has the longer frame as standard from the factory

    The Mt11 was first made in 1985 and the MT16 in 1984 according to the Russian Avto export magazines of the time.
    Why does your website state both 1980 and 1985 for the MT11 and 1986 for the MT16?

    Also the MT10 was produced from 1974 to 1976 and was superceded by the MT10-36 in 1976 and production continued until 1985 when the MT11 game into production.

    OTK was the old Soviet standards agency , similar to the British Standards or the US ASA. Many parts were submitted for inspection , not just military ones and these stamps are commonly found, especially on wheels. The hollow Soviet star (about 8mm across) is the military acceptance mark but it is not a sign of quality as many parts are worn out or have been changed over the years. If you order military spec parts from some dealers, they will simply pluck a random part and stamp it before shipping.

    Sorry to point out the mistakes but your site is one of the best out there and information needs to be accurate.

    Reply
  6. JD

    Hi Fred,

    Thank you for posting and great to see you here, and great to read your comments! You obviously know your stuff! We try to keep this site in good order and keep all the information as accurate as possible.

    For your question “Why does your website state both 1980 and 1985 for the MT11 and 1986 for the MT16?” That;s a very good question! Funnily enough I had a look and I cannot find any reference here to “1980 and 1985 for the MT11″… nor for “1986 for the MT-16.” ( I might be going blind too!) Where’s PJB!?

    One discrepancy I did just notice here is a table that says MT-16 “since 2001” but maybe that’s not the MT-16… (PJB?)

    It’s a massive forest here! I’ve been working on this project since 1976, trying to figure out the big picture(s). The previous versions of this site on MSN from 2002 and then Multiply had over 1000 members from 41 countries. This present version is a bit simplified and does not have all the bells and whistles of the old site, but our dear Catweazle John webmaster and admin of this site, UDCN Holland, and I are committed to reinstate it ALL (or as much of it as we can) to its former glory, Let’s hope.

    As for quality control, we once found a brand new crash box that had the front gearchange foot pedal hack-sawed within 3-4mm of its life, straight from the factory and still in the grease (IMZ or KMZ?). A frightening prospect, that one day some unsuspecting rider might suddenly have the need to kick down a gear, only to have the end of the pedal break off!!! Imagine this at a tight corner or such!

    Hope to hear a lot more from you Fred! Cheers!

    JD

    Reply
  7. Fred

    Hi again, sorry if I was not clear enough. The date mix up is on http://www.cossack-motorcycles.com/dnipro-dnepr-mt-kmz/ which I associate with you. If it doesn’t, then I apologise.
    Incidentally, the diff lock on 2wd drive units was only ever fitted to the original K750 and discontinued due to it not being ‘soldier proof’ enough for the Soviets. It was never factory fitted to the 650 models. all the available ones now are aftermarket conversions. The original MB650 was based on the MT10 and the MB650M1 was based on the MT11 with sidecar brake (the only military Dnepr bike to have this facility from original.
    Ta for the reply and keep up the good work

    Reply
  8. JD

    Hi Fred,
    thanks for clearing that up. When you said “which I associate with you” I thought you meant us here at http://www.b-cozz. com but then realizing from your reply you are talking about Alex White’s website http//:cossack-motorcycles.com. Alex submitted the above “Dnipro Motorcycles: Yesterday, Today…Tomorrow?” and Cat (site Admin) put it up here in our blog and here we are. I think Alex’s intentions and enthusiasm outweigh a few date errors, if they are there we hope he can fix them. I am sure there are a few errors here on this site that need to be fixed as well. Together we are a great collective of knowledge of the motorcycles and I agree with you, we should all try to ensure all the informations are correct and as accurate as possible. If I live long enough I must restore the Factories page from the archives here, along with Serious Bill’s chronicles and a million others. This site was very big in its heyday.
    I prefer to call the KM3 bikes K-Series or Dnepr (Ukrainian: Дніпро), though I have heard all kinds of names for them: Cossacks, Dnieper, Dnipro, Dnerfer, M, Misc., etc. (M-Series are the Urals), anyway…
    I am more than aware of how screwed up some of the stuff on the internet is, even some published books sadly have incorrect information.
    The giant and sometimes confusing story of Soviet motorcycledom is important to get it right for future enthusiasts to understand the history of these machines, as our dear Admin Cat said “We aim to be complete and in order to do so we need your help”. Yes we all need help John.
    are you THE Fred W ? if you are you legend.
    JD

    Reply

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