• Aug 24th 2013 at 4:03PM
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Occasionally, we come across a technology that has just kind of been forgotten about. Take this Ural motorcycle. It runs on a substance called wood gas, which is the byproduct of incomplete combustion of carbon products like wood, hence it's name. The fuel goes through a process called gasification in a wood-gas generator to produce combustible hydrogen and carbon monoxide. So basically, you're burning wood to produce fuel.

This Ural has had a rudimentary wood-gas generator fitted, while an a number of other low-tech, scrounged items make up the rest of the side-car-mounted system. According to The Knee Slider, the top speed of the bike is a mere 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour), while the fuel it runs on is quite bulky. Still, if you run low, just pack an axe and hope you run out of gas somewhere that's wooded.

Wood-gas-powered vehicles might be uncommon today, but they were a normal means of transport in the past. Vehicles in Germany, Sweden, France, Denmark, Switzerland and Finland were converted to run on wood gas during World War II due to fuel rationing, while wood-gas is still used in rural parts of the world today. Take a look at the wood-gas Ural in the gallery provided by English Russia.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      The licence plate says Belarus. It's close to Russia but not quite Russia.
      Justin Shaw
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bikes from this era are so beautiful. Don't get me wrong, I love Harley's gt bikes, and Honda' s high revving race bikes. But this is a true classic.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Justin Shaw
        Ural is a copy of German made BMW motorcycle, russian got free factory after 2nd world war as result of compensation for distruction made by Hitler invasion. Funny is that Ural is still the same as I remember it from early 70, when my grandfather took rides on it.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Justin Shaw
        You can still buy these all day long. A visually nearly identical 750cc model is still being manufactured in China and is commonly used by troops and security forces there to this very day. Hell, Urals are still being made too and even exported, for anyone foolish enough to buy one...
      • 1 Year Ago
      During my brief tour of Reserve duty in 1951 Tokyo, there were still a significant number of 1938 Japan built Plymouth wood burning taxicabs.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gasafiers were used on some tractors back in the day. Top speed didn't matter, and they were capable of handling the extra weight of the fuel with ease.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Reminds me of this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhmTjLZKing
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is actually cool
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you're a child of the 80's, you'll remember those G.I. Joe bikers/punks in the cartoon. I think they were called Dreadnaughts or something. They were Zartan's hired muscle, IIRC. They also made toys of them. One dude had a pistol-grip chainsaw...my inner 8 year old still thinks that's awesome! Anyway, this looks like one of their bikes; a bunch of junk randomly stuck here and there. All it's missing is a big-arse missile that would've set the rider/driver on fire if launched. Actually, I suppose I could've just said this looks like something out of Mad Max. Regardless, I dig stuff like this. I wonder if that sidecar is full of cord wood.
      • 1 Year Ago
      50 mph is very good for a wood gas powered vehicle. Cars running on wood gas aren't usually that fast.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Comes with an optional axe, and map of convenient trees....
      • 1 Year Ago
      Michael C
      • 1 Year Ago
      this is cool in the sense that you could ride it into the wilderness/ middle of nowhere and not worry about where the next gas station is (as long as there's wood around you)
      • 1 Year Ago
      From the shape of the cylinder cover...it looks like a Dnepr to me. Ural covers are more oval shaped. The Dnepr is a similar machine made in Kiev Ukraine..the Ural is made in Urbit Russia. There are some differences as you can see in the motor, the transmission and the Dnepr has a differential on the two wheel drive version. The Ural, as I understand, does not have differential on the two-wheel drive version, but does have a way to lock in the second wheel on the sidecar but not through a differential. So it shouldn't be driven on hard surfaces using two-wheel drive.
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