Being a smart arse I was able to correct the lovely bloke when he claimed the Russians got the BMW plans (on which the Ural was based) at the end of the second world war. Actually the Russians got the technology transfer as part of the Russian German pact in 1938 before Hitler turned on Stalin and invaded Russia.
And my point is? Silk purses and sows ears come to mind.
Actually (and to be a bigger smart arse) the shop keeper was correct. Prior to the war the Russians were indeed sold the plans and production tooling for the then BMW outfit used by the pre-war Wehrmacht. The Germans then used the brand new (well 1938 design) BMW for their armed forces.
Now the one they sold to the Russians was a piece of shite and it didn't take much experience in the real word for the Russians to discover that. At the end of the war the Russians found themselves in possession of the facilities used to make the German outfits and adopted it - this became the Ural, Dneiper, Cossack, Hossack we love so much (sold in Australia in the 1970s by Frank Musset "750.00 for a 750cc motorcycle with a free litre of Russian petrol thrown in". They were of course relatively crap.
The current edition with decent brakes, a decent electrical system, fuel injection etc is actually not a bad 1970s motorcycle. Shame they are selling it in 2016 and want north of $20k for it though.
A far more interesting story is what happened to the earlier BMW outfit actually legitimately purchased by the Russians. Well, to prove that the principles of Capitalism run deep, they sold it to the Chinese. The Chinese then churned out tens of thousands of the things and, after realizing they had been sold a dog, the things were warehoused (they are after all a photocopy of a photocopy of a not very good machine)
But wait, there is more, as Capitalism rose up in China, the clever Chinese came to the realization that you can sell just about any crap to round eyes if you dress it up appropriately - you can buy one today as a Chiang Jang, Only $3k in Australia, delivered in a pine box with the sidecar fitted left or right to your order. Pity they are not able to be registered in any State without major re-engineering.
I have ridden one that slipped through prior to the registration authorities realizing how ghastly they are, lousy performance (flat chat at 85kph), appalling brakes and a reliability that ensures your fitness from frequent pushing it home events. There is a chap a few kilometers north of here who imports them and then "upgrades" them with Ural parts so they can be registered - he then sells them for $8,000 in the colour of your choice. I have ridden one of them too, they still only do 86kph but at least have better brakes and apparently they don't fail as often - trick being to throw the generator away, bypass the not very much better Ural device and fit a Nippon Denso device that mysteriously is made to fit exactly.