Russian motorcycles have never been so popular in the world as in the middle of the 20th century. It was during the Soviet era, which today everyone is trying to present as the most gloomy and less developed, that the peak of the development of the Soviet motorcycle industry fell. The collapse of the USSR led to the practical destruction of this type of industry. And attempts to restore its former glory today have not yet been crowned with success. Isolated cases still cannot be compared with the massive success of the past. Today, maintaining the Russian motorcycle industry has largely fallen on the shoulders of some old but famous brands that survived the hard times.
Comparison of the present day with the history of the Russian motorcycle industry cannot be objective and generally possible. Famous Soviet brands were a full-fledged product of Soviet production from a screw to a seat, gaining worldwide recognition as a whole product of the country. Modern companies that loudly position themselves as leaders of the Russian motorcycle industry can only boast of their design of motorcycles or the ability to make them ride, assembled into a single mechanism from spare parts from foreign manufacturers. But recently, new developers have begun to appear, trying to support the domestic brand based on structures assembled from elements produced in Russia. Today we can say that the return to past successes has begun.
The most famous Soviet motorcycle brand was and is the IMZ-Ural company. The company was founded in 1941 by the Soviet Government in Irbit. Since then, its products have been holding the palm of the best Russian manufacturer for many decades. The brand was able to withstand the most difficult period of the collapse of the state. This was facilitated by the constant demand for Ural motorcycles in some European countries and the USA. The first model is based on the basic design of the BMW R-71. Heavy motorcycles with a sidecar were distinguished by high power and cross-country ability, thanks to the drive to both wheels. The technique was indispensable in off-road conditions. In addition, the company produced an urban version – the ST model. The company continues its activities due to the high popularity of its products.
The letter abbreviation IMZ was the central element of the emblem. The sign is a stylized wheel of two circles inscribed into each other. An isosceles triangle is inscribed in the small field. The internal space of the figure is occupied by the abbreviation of the name of the manufacturer’s enterprise. In the field between the small and large circles, there is an inscription – URAL MOTORCYCLES in the upper part. The logo color is black monochrome. It characterizes the severity and seriousness of state production aimed at meeting both civil and defense needs.
Stels is one of the brands already born in new Russia in 1996 in Lyubertsy, Moscow region, as one of the activities of the Velomotors company. The creation of the brand was caused by the need to form a separate division that will deal with motorcycle and bicycle production. Stels contributed to the possibility of individualizing the company’s products in a market that was quite filled with similar offers. The company develops its motorcycles, ATVs (since 2009), and bicycles, assembles them based on components China and implements them through a wide network of dealers worldwide. In 2013, the company’s products passed international certification.
The Stels logo is a vivid example of modern minimalism. The emblem is made in a solid light yellow color. This shade has a strong positivity, which makes it especially good at demonstrating visual self-identity. The brand mark is a light yellow square with a slight right-hand slope. Inside the figure, on a white background of an unfinished circle, the symbol “S” is inscribed – the capital letter of the brand name. White color forms the visual impression of the presence of a symbol that echoes the Chinese “yin” and “yang.” The brand’s name is placed under the sign – Stels, executed in lower case type close in execution to the type of Comic Opera Oblique JNL from Jeff Levine in light yellow. The tilt of all logo elements is a symbolic visualization of speed and the ability to get what you want today and now.
One of the popular Soviet two-wheeled vehicles was the legendary “carpet maker” – a moped from the Voskhod brand. Voskhod production was formed based on ZiD – Degtyarev Plant, established on August 27, 1916, in Kovrov, Vladimir Oblast, Russia. At its formation, the enterprise belonged to the First Russian Joint Stock Company of Rifle and Machine Gun Plants. In Soviet times, machine guns of Fedorov, Degtyarev, Goryunov, the world-famous PPSh, were made on it. Since 1946, the production of the first K-125 motorcycles has been established. Today ZiD is part of High Precision Systems (Rostec) and has several divisions in the motorcycle industry. ZiD produces motorcycles based on developments from the times of the USSR and motorcycles of the Chinese brand Lifan.
The ZiD logo repeats in its shape the image of a wheel, which is traditional for enterprises of mobile Soviet technology. During this period, very little attention was paid to brand appeal. All the forces of production were aimed at simplicity and recognizability of the product, which was to receive consumer recognition for its quality, the possibility of long-term functioning. Therefore, the emblems’ brevity, simplicity, and uniqueness were the main directions in their creation. The ZiD logo was made in a solid blue color. In the center of the circles, the abbreviation ZiD was placed with a right slope. A five-pointed star “fluttered” above the middle letter.
Baltmotors is the first Russian company to assemble motor vehicles after the collapse of the USSR, founded in 2004 in Kaliningrad. The company’s products consist of motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and light-duty motorized towing vehicles. The latter is in particular demand in Europe, Canada, and the USA. The company gained fame due to the high quality of its products. This is ensured by the use of modern Japanese and Chinese technologies. Motorcycle production today includes the development and modification of 10 models. The assortment covers almost all areas in which they can be used to provide a comfortable life for a person and sports areas.
The Baltmotors logo considers the modern requirements of visualization and the psychology of perception of information by the current consumer. The color of the sign consists of black and silver-gray. The round logo has a visual bulge towards the center. In the upper part of the inner margin of the circle, the text – baltMotors is applied in capital Latin letters around the circle. Center – “bm”. A stylized image of a radiator is formed along the circumference from the beginning of the brand name inscription to its last letter. At the bottom, there is a strip in a toothed design, which is an element of gear in an expanded design.
The history of Irbis Motors, a company for the assembly and sale of motorcycles from Chinese manufacturers, began in 2000. The brand BEIJING IRBIS TRADING CO, LTD from Taijou entered the Russian market searching for representatives, which became the Russian company Vostokscooter. In 2004, the company was renamed Irbis Motors; the brand significantly expanded its capabilities, acquired assembly shops, and moved from the sales-only category to a manufacturing company. The range of offers includes:
- High-quality and affordable motorcycles and scooters.
- Snowmobiles under the TM Irbis.
They are distinguished by their low price and reliability, the possibility of service, and the constant availability of original spare parts.
The brand’s trademark was the footprint of the animal that gave the name to the company – the snow leopard. The entire logo is in solid carmine red. To the right of the paw, the symbol is the brand name – Irbis. The text is in serif lowercase. This performance creates a visual sense of acceleration that is characteristic of the product and development prospects of the entire company.
The St. Petersburg brand AVM was founded in 1996 as a foreign-made motorcycle trade company. The name itself was created based on the abbreviation from the first letters of the goods offered for sale – cars, bicycles, motorcycles. Today the brand carries out retail trade of foreign car brands, wholesale and retail of bicycles, and production and wholesale and retail sales of light motorcycles and mopeds TM AVM and XMOTO. Later, the company acquired its facilities for the production of motor vehicles under its name. The company has a wide dealer network throughout Russia, selling and servicing the manufactured equipment.
The AVM emblem gravitates towards the world-famous Audi AG logo. The same gold rings, only in the amount of three pieces and made with the intersection of each other. Each of the rings contains a lowercase letter of the company name abbreviation. The smooth transition of the tonality of the rings provides a visual perception of iridescent gold and provides volume in the form of a triangular prism.
The most famous Soviet brand for producing cars and motorcycles – IZh, has been producing motorcycles for 80 years. The enterprise located in the city of Izhevsk was a subsidiary of Izmash – an arms factory and was called IzhAvto. The first motorcycle left the stocks of the plant in 1928 – IZH-1, design engineer Petr Vladimirovich Mokharov. Subsequently, the range of motor vehicles of the brand was replenished with many types of different designs. Among them, the most famous were the Izh-Jupiter-5 of the middle class and the sports and tourist profile Izh-Planeta-Sport, produced from the 70s to the 80s of the last century. The models were in great demand in Europe and America under the Cossack and Neval brands. Along with Ural and Dnieper, which had reverse gear, IZh motorcycles were at the head of all motorcycle brands produced in the USSR at that time.
The company’s logo, which until recently was the leader in the production of the Russian motorcycle industry, is still remembered by all motorcycle enthusiasts in the world. The emblem was a stylized planet Saturn with a ring around it. Interestingly, the logo’s appearance turned out to be a mistake of the designers, which they wanted to use for the Jupiter model. It appeared as a result of another race to fulfill the plan and the tight deadlines for release. The emblem was prepared in a hurry, entrusting its fine-tuning to a young engineer who had just left the walls of the University. In a hurry, a detailed check was not carried out, and in this form, IZh-Jupiter-2 was presented to the state commission. The error has become a brand name. The logo’s planet ring and circumference were gray. The inner field of the planet is light blue. In the foreground, the ring became the abbreviation for the brand name.