For the adventure inclined, the Ural has always held strong allure. Originally designed to ferry soldiers across the battlefields of WWII, the Russian Ural has been in continuous production for nearly eight decades. The same attributes that made it suitable to traverse the bombed-out roads of Europe in the late 1940s make it perfectly suited to ply the rugged tracks of the world.
With its tripod stance, low gearing, and a second powered wheel driven by a torquey engine, the Ural is a formidable off-roader. We’ve pushed Urals through terrain that stymied other motorcycles. This is not to say the Ural is invincible—like everything it has its limits. Kalaber Creations of Prescott, Arizona, has made it their business to improve on the Ural’s brawny reputation with an assortment of aftermarket accessories. The result is a truly unique machine those in the know refer to as a Kalaber Ural.
It was a couple of years ago when we first tested Kalaber’s proprietary winch mount, the first product in their growing line. Fitted with a small 4,500- pound Warn Vantage winch, it allowed the Ural to overcome unimaginable obstacles. Given a need to, you could drag a Ural up a tree. Just recently Kalaber improved their winch mount design.
What makes the winch mount so proficient is its placement between the car and bike chassis. It allows the synthetic winch line to pull evenly and predictably without yanking the cart in one direction or another. The line is also placed just low enough to not interfere with the balance of the bike, but high enough as to not drag along the ground. It’s surprisingly easy to use and can be placed in the front or rear of the motorcycle with no tools. In our preliminary testing a couple of years ago, we found it had no problem dragging a fully loaded 1,000-pound sidecar through deep sand, mud, or over otherwise impassable ledges.
For anyone prone to put a winch on a Ural, the portent of damaging the underside of the motorcycle while tugging it through rocks and ledges is very real. Kalaber’s latest addition, a heavy-duty skid plate, reduces the risk of harming the bike’s underbelly. Made of plate aluminum with hardened steel mounts, the Kalaber skid plate is formidable. Beveled edges help the plate slide over obstacles without snagging and a small removable panel permits access to the oil filter for fuss-free maintenance without the need to detach the entire assembly.
If you’re going to inadvertently contact the underside of the motorcycle, chances are the sidecar is going to suffer the same fate. Kalaber now offers protection for the cart and the vital mechanical essentials beneath it. The heavy aluminum plating and mounting hardware is similar to that of the motorcycle skid plate and guards the outside wheel’s drive shaft. It also protects the brake bar on models predating hydraulic brake lines. Between the cart and motorcycle skid plates, the added armor only increases the overall weight by 30 pounds, but greatly improves the chances of making it home without serious carnage to the machine.
The fourth accessory is perhaps not as necessary for most people, but it looks appropriate to the Kalaber’s mission as a rough and tumble transport. Their sidecar step replaces the wimpy stock plate and not only functions better, it has the appearance of a repurposed chunk of military surplus metal. It just looks cool if nothing else.
It’s a comprehensive collection of accessories, all designed to make a Kalaber Ural as capable off-road as possible. A Ural is by reputation up to a good flogging, but the added armor and winch raise the ante even more.