Motorcycles and Motorcycling in the USSR from 1939 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.
There has been nothing published outside of Russia concerning the activities of its motor industry, by 1937 the Soviets had become the largest producers of motor vehicles in Europe, albeit with the help of Henry Ford The author decided to concentrate on the work of the pioneers in Czarist Russia, for their efforts were more diverse than those of their counterparts in the Soviet era. However, one Soviet motor car which was an indigenous product has been included to illustrate how the industry might have evolved if Henry Ford had not been approached. This is a comprehensive overview of all facets of vehicle production from the early days to the final demise of the Soviet Union. All the manufacturers of motor vehicles, certain accessories, military machines, and even aero engines are recorded in this unique book.