Thirsty Horse MONGOLIA LLC
Louis & Valentin, France 2014 (Nicolas ĖLouis & Valentin hired a Ural from us in July 2014. They made a 2 day round trip to the Terelj with us for familiarisation, in accordance with our policy, then headed off on their own towards the west.)
We want thru this mail to tell you about the wonderful journey we did these 20 days with this incredible Ural bike.
We left UB on the 5th , we decided to ride to the west. Thus we followed the road in the south west of UB which crosses Altanbulag, Ondorshireet ... these first days we experienced the kind of road weíd drive on during our trip: dusty roads , rocks, sheep crossing :).
We didn't have big difficulties to find our way: we had a well made map and we always asked the locals for the route who were always very kind and helpful with us. We heard a lot about the big lake at the very north. We tried to reach the main road to approach the blue diamond of Mongolia. However, when we saw the road (lot of cars/dust/awful little paths) we quickly choose to change our itinerary: we rode now to the South. We needed also to deal with a problem: we ran out of money and impossible to get some cash in the villages we crossed, we had to reach the nearest city where we could find an ATM. So took the road to Tsetserleg (fortunately we had a full petrol can to avoid to push the bike at the end of the road).
Finally we went back to UB thru Ogi Nuur and followed the "highway". We moreover changed for one hour of way to travel, we did horse riding! ( the seat a "little bit" less comfortable than the bike one haha!).
One day we where looking at the motor bike (spark plug problem), locals from a ger near from us asked us if we had a problem we had finally been invited to take some koumiss (very very strange taste) and some of this great salted Mongolian tea. Moreover they asked us if we wanted to stay for the night. That's how we slept as Mongolians do!
We are further more not disappointed of the bike; the engine is absolutely great and strong, few difficulties with the gear box and a broken clutch cable, but the Ural convinced us that side car is one of the most original and great way to enjoy the wildness and the immensity of this beautiful country.
Thank you for your trust ,and your attention to our several questions and requests.
Louis left to France on the 23th, I continue my trip across Asia, I ve just reached Beijing by train today.
Russell, London 2013
I saw the web site and was heading for a holiday in Mongolia. So I thought that it would be fun to ride around on a Ural outfit while I was there. I hadnít ridden a motorbike in years, but the memories of outback trails in my early days in South Africa very good. The guys at THM were very helpful and gave me a trial run around the block. The deal was for me to accelerate smoothly to 40 mph and cruise along for a while without going off the road† - sounds easy and it was, but apparently a lot of guys canít do that. THM said that older guys like me who grew up with simpler machines that broke down from time to time generally have a good feel for the mechanics and donít push the limits† - guess that must be me.
Anyway. My ambitions were modest and no records were broken on this trip. I stayed in the Bayan Gol Hotel in central Ulan Bator, rode the bike to the hotel car park, and took a spin around town. It draws a lot of attention and made me a star for the day, although the traffic was pretty heavy.† After that I had a day out running across† the open steppe with a guide on another Ural, then did some short trips on my own. The bike was actually an 800cc BMW engine in a Ural frame and it never missed a beat.
My advice: Donít push these bikes too hard and youíll have fun.
Patrick & Celine, Lyon, France 2008
We planned to hire a Ural outfit and tour the whole of Mongolia. The trip was to be just the two of us, but THM talked us out of it and we eventually took a guide with us on a second bike and curtailed our ambitions to Central Mongolia and back. THM gave us a very good deal on the price as we hadnít planned for this expense. To be honest the Urals werenít that good and needed regular attention from our guide, who doubled as a mechanic. But we got there and eventually back. Riding off road was a lot harder than I expected and I broke a wheel in a rut about 600km from UB. To there credit, THM ran out a second bike to me the next day. This was a 2 wheel drive Dneiper and a lot better than the first bike mechanically too.
Curt, USA, 2011
Thanks guys it was great. Best of luck with your plans and dreams and I hope to catch up with you again sometime.
Jesse & William, London, 2009
I must be honest† - it was a disaster! But THM couldnít have been better or done more. These guys are tough and they never give up, and that seems to be the THM spirit.
This was actually the first trip that they had done with trail bikes, and the bikes were Chinese copies of XR250 Hondas, all bought new and just run in. We were running down to the Gobi for the dinosaur fossils and other sights, then back up through Ghenghisí old hang out in Kharkhoran. THM had done the route before, but† that had been by jeep.† Once we started pushing the bikes, they showed their weakness, which was the gear box. The first one let go after only 70km. THM replaced the bike, but we lost a lot of time.
By the time we got going again it was late and soon it was dark. That forced us off the pretty paths and onto the graded track across the open steppe, which is an evil washboard surface but easy to follow. Just riding on it at all was enough to make you think that the bike would shake itself to pieces, and ours didnít seem to need much encouragement.† At Tonyís suggestion, the bikes went on ahead and the jeep followed close with headlights on full, so we had good illumination with the wing mirrors turned away. But it wasnít much of a surprise when the next gearbox broke, and we still had 100km to go before we reached Mangal Gobi and our hotel for the night. By then it was pitch black on the open steppe and we had one bike running and two in pieces in the jeep. We couldnít have got another bike in the jeep. So if the third one broke, we would have had no choice but to abandon it.
So what happened? Tony rode the last bike and into Mandal Gobi and it made it in one piece. We left it there and continued the trek by jeep without incident and actually had a pretty good time at THMís expense as they gave us a full refund without question. In conclusion, it was a shame about the bikes, but it was the adventure of a life time, even if for the wrong reasons. Under the circumstances, THM were magnificent and I donít want to give a negative impression with this story just because they were unlucky with their equipment. So to be clear: Would I do another motorcycle trek with THM? Yes, I plan too. Now that they have invested in DR650s, I canít wait.
(Note: Those Chinese bikes cost us a lot of money and a major set back to our activities. But we will make some thing of it yet!† Itís a great story, and it is going to make a great video in 2015. Meanwhile, the bikes have been re-enginned with real Honda XR motors and gearboxes. Anthony.)