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May 22, 2019
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Motorcycles and Motorcycling in the USSR from 1939 – a Social and Technical History


Motorcycles and Motorcycling in the USSR from 1939 – a Social and Technical History

By Colin Turbett
About the Author

Hardback • 25x20.7cm • 128 pages • 250 pictures

ISBN: 978-1-787113-14-5

£ 25.00 Postage + P&P (eBook prices vary, and delivery is free)

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• The first English language text on postwar motorcycles produced in the Soviet Union
• Technical information on every motorcycle produced in the USSR between 1941 and 1990
• Extensive use of previously unavailable material
• Fully illustrated throughout in both black and white and colour
• A fascinating insight into the lives of ordinary citizens in the USSR
• Hidden history of Soviet motorcycle sport – from ice-racing and speedway to road-racing
• Rare family photographs illustrating the place of motorcycles in social life in the USSR
• 20th Century Socialist-Realist iconography applied to motorcycling
• Aspects of motorcycling not seen elsewhere – bears as riders, camels as passengers!
• Describes state production of utilitarian motorcycles on a scale not seen before or since


The models, the riders and the propaganda that surrounded them: those interested in Soviet era Russian motorcycles and the era that created them, need look no further than this lavishly illustrated and unique book covering the cold war period, when East and West were divided by ideology.


This book provides the first accessible English language account of motorcycles in the Soviet Union. Concentrating on the wartime and postwar period until 1990, prior to the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, it covers the motorcycles produced, and looks at the way in which they were used at home and exported abroad. Chapters cover wartime, models produced, the social character of Soviet era motorcycling, and wide-ranging sport. With planned rather than market-led production based around copies of pre-war German BMW and DKW models, the industry churned out hundreds of thousands of utilitarian and rugged machines that were very different from the more fashion-orientated machines produced in the West. These motorcycles went under the place names of the producing factories: Ishevsk, Kovrov, Moskva, Minsk and, of course, the large flat twins produced in Irbit and Kiev under the Ural and Dnepr names. With a strong emphasis on Soviet era illustrations, the book provides an insight into a life, based on idealism and ideology that has now passed. Photographs and images, many of them from private family collections, show Soviet bikes as well as popular imports Jawa from Czechoslovakia, and Pannonia from Hungary.

Additional Information

Period Covered: 1939-1990
Models Covered: All motorcycles produced in the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1990.
The large flat-twin four-stroke motorcycles produced in the Kiev and Irbit plants: the M72, K750, M63, Mt11, MT12, MT16, M61, M62, M63, M67; the 350cc twins and single two-strokes produced in Ishevsk; the 125cc and 175cc two-strokes produced in Kovrov and the 125cc two-strokes produced in Minsk. It also covers the Vostok and flat-twin road racing motorcycles plus Jawa and Pannonia 250cc and 350cc two-stroke imports from Czechoslovakia and Hungary respectively
Models NOT Covered: scooters, mopeds, cyclemotors
The first English language book on the mass-produced Soviet era Russian bikes, and the ordinary people who rode them.
The book is unique and covering a subject of interest to motorcyclists and those interested in the former Soviet Union and its socialist form of production.
The book includes never previously published photographs as well as Russian sourced material not published before in the West.


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