All Good Things
Back when we first got to Vietnam, the only motorcycles on the roads here were remnants of the Warsaw Pact—Javas, MZs, Simpsons and Minsks. All our initial adventures up into the mountains and down the Ho Chi Minh Trail were done on these bikes, and when we formed Explore and started offering tours we settled on our two favourites: the 650cc Russian Ural and the 125cc Belarusian Minsk.
The Ural and the Minsk still have a special place in our hearts. We had so many adventures on them, and actually feel like we contributed to their history in some small way by supplying them to Gordon Ramsay, Charley Boorman, the BBC and the Top Gear team on their tours of Vietnam. So, here are a few examples of appearances these awesome motorcycles have made on television and film over the years!
Top Gear Vietnam Special
Richard Hammond rode the famous pink Minsk (which is still in our garage) from Ho Chi Minh City to Ha Long Bay, where our team made it amphibious so that he could spend a day cruising the bay.
Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape
Gordon Ramsay rode a Ural solo in Mai Chau and cooked with some of our local friends.
By Any Means
Charley Boorman chose a Minsk to ride from the Chinese border down to Hanoi.
Freedom Riders Asia
Charlie Boorman rides a Ural around the streets of Hanoi and joins our annual Rally Indochina charity rally.
Parts stripped off a Minsk motorbike are used to survive in the wild. The sparkplug is used to start a fire, a signal fire is made from burning the bike’s tires and magnesium filings from the engine case are ignited by sunlight concentrated from the headlamp mirror.
Russian TV Special on the Minsk Club
Way back in 2005 our Russian comrades filmed a segment about the Minsk Club at the best mechanic in town who could fix them.
Minsk – A Motorbike and a Passion
In this VTV report, we meet Viet Cuong, a young mechanic in Hanoi with a big love for Minsks and find out what these motorbikes mean to him.
We modified two Minsks and one Ural so that they could be ridden by a guy missing his right leg, a guy missing his left arm, and a gal who was partially deaf.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indy and Sean Connery take out a platoon of machine gun wielding Nazis with nothing but a jousting spear and a Ural.
Saving Private Ryan
Tom Hanks fires off his last bullets while leaning against a Ural sidecar.
The Dirty Dozen
Urals are used in two dramatic fight and car chase scenes.
Dien Bien Phu of the Sky
An old friend of ours played the part of a downed US B52 pilot who was transferred to Hanoi’s Hoa Lo Prison (nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton) in a Ural sidecar.
The bad guy gets his Minsk blown up from under him by an AK47 wielding kung fu queen.
Germany’s top late night TV show host chose to cruise Hanoi on one of our Urals.
Zombie Nazis chase the good guys in a Ural.