Urals are pretty low-fi, so pulling off a feat like this trek down the West Coast (while properly documenting the attempt) required the addition of some key electronic equipment.

Foremost was communications. Our two poor souls, Bowman and Smith, needed to communicate. How else to survive 30-plus hours wearing helmets while drowning in the din of an ancient-design flat twin? But it wasn’t just for basic human contact and to discuss condiments for 15 minutes, such as “just mustards and ketchups,” in an attempt to stay sane; they’d need to sort out operations on the Ural, and they needed to communicate with two chase vehicles hauling a photographer, a pair of videographers, a mechanic, and other support personnel.

Sena
Mic'd up and ready to go.Jeff Allen

And, given that the Ural wasn’t supposed to stop for the entirety of the mission, this meant our three-vehicle crew had to coordinate photo and video shooting while all of us were essentially constantly moving, plus cleanly and precisely execute things like mobile refueling and handing off fuel cans for such.

To avoid needing our four-wheel-based folks to wear Bluetooth headsets, we equipped our Ural riders with Sena 10C helmet communicators ($350), which have integrated cameras (so they could shoot video as required), and connected them to Midland GXT1000VP4 FRS/GMRS two-way radios ($62 a pair) using Sena's SR10 Bluetooth-to-two-way radio adaptor ($150) and the required radio attachment cable ($20). Doing so extended our range substantially (potentially to many miles) and allowed support vehicles to each carry walkie-talkies, which also meant everyone could hear what was going on.

Wires
This seems legit.Jeff Allen

Electrical power became our next obstacle since each rider was wearing a Sena 10C, Sena SR10, and walkie-talkie, plus we needed to run on-board GoPro Session cameras, LED lighting strips, and heated gear for 30-plus hours.

Luckily, the Ural sidecar is equipped with an always-hot 12-volt power source and secondary fuse panel. Alongside the standard DIN (BMW-style) power port (which we used for heated liners), a pair of two-port USB outlets were mounted in the sidecar seat’s wood base and we were able to power everything we needed using those and a multiport USB block we mounted on the sidecar. Our only error was not upping the stock 15-amp fuse capacity; wiring is plenty heavy-gauge to handle more current and we blew fuses (usually when plugging in the heated gear with all the other extra load) until we upped to 20 amps.

Sena
Is this thing on?Jeff Allen

High-tech, but in a Ural way.

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