One dominating story of EICMA 2018 is how manufacturers are evolving and adapting to tougher emissions standards. It's a landscape-shifting requirement that no one can get around, even if you're selling heritage-focused adventure motorcycles that can trace their origins to before WWII.

2019 Ural
Most of the changes to the 2019 Ural are to the top end of the engine.Courtesy of Ural

For 2019, Ural announced technical evolutions to keep the personality of its motorcycles the same while aiding refinement and meeting these emissions requirements. The result is the same Ural, but with a slew of all-new components. Most of the changes revolve around the top end of the engine. From what we've seen, the bottom end is a carryover.

First, cylinder manufacturing has been modified for more precise honing. Ural claims these changes will make the break-in process faster with more consistent sealing of the rings, allowing for better oil retention and a longer cylinder life.

new cylinder honing process
Better break-in with better ring sealing and longer wear are all claimed for the new cylinder honing process on the 2019 Ural models.Courtesy of Ural

For the cylinder heads, intake- and exhaust-port geometry is revised and Ural is claiming improved flow of gases. To decrease operating temperature and improve cooling, the exhaust port of the cylinder head is reduced in length, and the cooling fins on the cylinder and cylinder head have been increased in size.

exhaust port
The exhaust port is now shorter to reduce operating temps.Courtesy of Ural

The pistons are all new. From a manufacturing standpoint, they’re now gravity cast from NASA 388, an aluminum/silicon alloy, for improved heat resistance. In addition, there are Teflon-inlaid skirts to reduce friction, a hard-anodized crown and top ring groove for temperature resistance, a phosphate-coated piston pin, and optimized piston ring groove tolerances.

Teflon skirt inlays
New pistons in the 2019 Ural engines feature Teflon skirt inlays and a hard-anodized crown.Courtesy of Ural

The fuel-injection system is also all new. Keihin throttle bodies are utilized and feature a TPMS and electronic idle speed control. These changes are aimed to improve throttle response, improve “start ability,” and provide a more stable idle. It is now a closed-loop system, with a new fuel injector, new fuel injector location, new self-priming, in-tank fuel pump with integrated filter and pressure relief, and new catalysts, all with the aim to reduce emissions without reducing power. If all this sounds a bit too modern, have no fear, Ural enthusiasts, because it still has a kickstart.

Rounding out the changes are an improved oil pickup design, and redesigned oil sump to increase oil capacity to 2.6 liters without reducing ground clearance. No power increases are claimed with these changes. Ural states that horsepower and torque are still 41 hp at 5,500 rpm and 42 pound-feet at 4,300 rpm, respectively.

Oil capacity is increased to 2.6 liters without reducing ground clearance form the deeper sump.Courtesy of Ural

In addition, all three wheels (and spare) are now fully interchangeable with one another; and now share the same hub. The rims are from a new vendor and made from different aluminum alloy and are claimed to have more strength and a more refined finish.

Ural states the goals of all these changes clearly, “Our goal was to improve performance and reliability while meeting or exceeding ever-tightening emission control requirements.” With a fair amount of ingenuity and an adherence to what makes Ural unique, these changes sound like a win-win. Who doesn’t like a cooler-running motor, that’s more reliable and cleaner, all while retaining its unique character? We’re excited to test these changes soon. The 2019 models hit dealerships in January, and pricing starts at $16,999.