ARCTIC BURLAK: RUSSIAN AT VEHICLE FOR THE NORTH

03.12.2017 MEDIA ABOUT US

Material of Popular Mechanics magazine about the cargo version of Burlak all-terrain vehicle.

If the villain Stapleton from “the Hound of the Baskervilles” had had such a vehicle, he could have ridden deep into the Grimpen Mire without risking anything, carrying his nightmarish giant dog with him and many more other goods. Burlak snow and swamp-going vehicle, the pre-production model of which was made in Ekaterinburg, is a real truck, deep snow, ice, water, or swamps are nothing to it.

Lake Shuvakish in the outskirts of Ekaterinburg once had an almost round shape, but nowadays, about half of it remained - everything else has turned into a swamp overgrown with reeds somewhere and with stunted birches and bushes in some places. “Well, God be with us!” the auto designer Alexei Makarov said, being at the wheel, and a huge vehicle with almost flat wheels rolled out along the flat shore right into the nearshore reeds. A moment later, it was in the water. We weren’t sinking, we’re floating ... The wheels of the all-terrain vehicle, spinning, were paddling in water, and that was enough to overcome a small area of clean water and drive up to where the bog started. We were trying to get out of the water, Burlak gave a terrible lurch and seemed to be about to roll over.

Snow or swamp?

“We experimented a lot with different configurations,” Alexei Makarov says. “This Burlak is optimized for driving on winter roads, deep snow, and its engine is in front. And the body is not loaded. Therefore, it “leans forward” a bit in the water, and the angle of the rolling wheel is not sharp enough. It’s possible to ride through swamps in such vehicle, but it’s more difficult, the central or rear position of the engine is preferable here.”

In confirmation of the designer’s words, after several attempts, the snow and swamp-going vehicle gets out of the bog and, where any wheeled vehicle would have drowned, goes as if on a solid surface. A short ride turned out to be very adrenaline-filled for us not used to it. On the way back, Burlak easily overcame the off-road section leading from the lake, and having rolled out onto the asphalt, it raced along it just like an ordinary car. Although those who look at this giant from the outside are unlikely to perceive it as such.

Burlak is impressive even in a bay. Driving out through the gates is a delicate operation, the vehicle can hardly go through.The snow and swamp-going vehicle is 24 cm wider and 70 cm higher than the Ural-4320 military truck. You cannot get into the cabin without a special ladder. The clearance is 70 cm even at full load. The inner diameter of the wheels is 80 cm. Burlak was developed by Makar Offroad company, which was created by Alexei Makarov and Maksim Belonogov, the founder of Maxim international taxi booking service.

Passion for off-road driving

“It all started with the love of traveling in all-terrain vehicles,” Alexei Makarov says. “Me and my friends-enthusiasts went for a long trip around the Ural region and faced with the fact that the geography of our travels, especially in the off-season, is significantly reduced due to the capabilities of vehicles. We could not cross swamps, drive on winter roads. Then we had the idea of a snow and swamp-going vehicle. Makar snow and swamp-going vehicle was our first creation. This is a medium-sized vehicle, something like the famous all-terrain vehicle “TRECOL”. Makar was built mainly on the basis of Japanese units - Japanese engines, Japanese axles. Having built two vehicles (for support and backup), we left for the Arctic Circle for a month to the region of Salekhard.”

The idea to build a snow and swamp-going vehicle of actually a cargo configuration was suggested to Alexei by a Muscovite Alexei Shatov. Initially, it was decided to use the suspension and a number of other elements from the armored personnel carrier (BTR). Subsequently, for various reasons, we had to leave the military base, and the preference was given to Japanese units, in particular from Toyota off-road vehicles. While the task was to create a purely tourist vehicle, a set of components was quite satisfactory for the designers. But driving his new vehicle across the polar area, Alexei Makarov realized that it could be used as a promising vehicle for those who lived and worked in the Arctic regions of Russia. For example, it is necessary to transport a crew of shift workers and a set of supplies and tools. The road is actually a winter road, quite often going through the ice of frozen water bodies or frozen swamps. The ice won’t stand the weight of an ordinary truck - the truck will drown in a river or swamp, and people are more likely to die. Burlak will not get drowned under any circumstances: each of its wheels (with an internal pressure of 0.1-0.4 atm.) is a float with a displacement of 1.8 tons. There are six wheels in total. The vehicle did not even sink in the waters of Baydaratskaya Bay in the Kara Sea, the all-terrain vehicle was transported for testing there. With the help of wheels or a propeller, it floated in the water, cracked thin ice, and got out onto hard ice, pulled by its own winch. Besides, the main Burlak systems (transmission, braking system, etc.) are hidden in the so-called hull - a box that is constantly heated by engine heat. Everything will work perfectly even in the most severe Arctic frost.




On wheels - to the Pole

So far, four Burlak prototypes have been built, and the last of them is the pre-production one. This means that it is optimized for professional use in the Far North. Since it is not so easy to order and buy Japanese parts in these areas, the vehicle was rebuilt on the basis of serial components widely available in Russia. The transmission is from NEXT Gazelle, the modified transfer case is from GAZ-66, the Cummins diesel engine has been successfully used in production cars for a long time. However, in the design, there are a number of original parts and assemblies developed in the workshops of Makar Offroad company. These are, for example, final reduction gears that unload a standard transmission and facilitate its work with large diameter wheels. Orders for such units will be placed at the production sites of Ekaterinburg, and so that the customers of Burlak can replace them promptly in case of breakdown, together with the new vehicle, the new vehicle will be supplied with an additional original spare parts kit.

TEST DRIVE
IN EKATERINBURG

A free ride will give you an opportunity to see the possibilities of the AT vehicle.

The five-kilometre route runs along a dirt road, swampy terrain, includes steep
uphills and downhills.