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Yamaha That Runs From Vodka Sets Speed Record


Bonneville Salt Flats is well-known for getting in some crazy machines (and people) pass through, all in a search for fame and glory. Still, recently a Montana distillery showed up with a 1980 Yamaha XS650, claiming it was powered by vodka.

Aren’t we all, at one point or another?

In all seriousness, even more interesting than the idea the vodka could work as alternative fuel, was the claim that the motorcycle hit a speed record.

Ryan Montgomery, from Montgomery Distillery, brought together a team and was looking to turn his broken-down-barn-bike find, which they named “Sudden Wisdom”, into a record-breaking motor bike. And they did so by experimenting with a fuel inspired by Ryan’s company. Distilling vodka adds a ‘head’ to the liquid that can’t be consumed; therefore, it is naturally separated and then discarded. The team had a brilliant idea to place this discarded part of the beverage in the motorcycle’s tank, and an incredible idea – and motorcycle – was born.

While the idea seems simple, the process wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The team actually spent about five grand transforming the Yamaha, so it could run on the alcoholic beverage.

The record the Yamaha broke at Bonneville Salt Flats, specifically, was for speed around bikes 750cc and smaller, modified for alternate fuel, in the 1980 or older category.

Sudden Wisdom hit the average speed of 113 miles per hour (mph); quicker than what was expected and faster than the top speed of XS650’s – 105 mph – when the bike’s parallel twin engine is on traditional gas.

Unfortunately, Free Auto Talk recently advised that the team didn’t celebrate this record for long, as a 1974 Honda CB750 rolled on in and was able to hit 143 mph, shortly after. Still, one can’t deny how cool it is to hit the record in the first place, not to mention the fact that the team has created a motorcycle that runs on vodka.