2016 Rokon for Hunters
There can be no doubt the Rokon Trail-Breaker is a rather specialized machine, and the Rokon for Hunters is even more so. The all-wheel-drive feature puts it into a rather exclusive category, lending it an all-terrain capability far beyond that of “regular” motorcycles.
Even though it obviously lacks the stability of a four-wheel ATV, it is capable of getting into places off limits to a wider chassis – even in terrain that would be prohibitive to foot traffic! It’s fair to say that you will not win any bike shows or races on the thing, unless you are competing against other Rokons. However if you are looking for a workhorse capable of striking out with you plus gear, then returning with you plus gear and large game (and I do mean large, you can tow up to a whole short ton with the thing), this may be the ride for you.
Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Rokon for Hunters.
2016 Rokon for Hunters
Top Speed:35 mph
Longtime fans of Rokon will recognize many of the design characteristics from the original model released back in 1958. The wide tires, low handlebars and high ground clearance worked from the get-go, and they still work today. Frame members not only provide the skeletal structure for the bike, but also serve a self-guarding function to keep Mother Nature out of the bike’s innards. Though it is essentially a stock Trail-Breaker, it does come in an olive-and-black color scheme and what looks to be Realtree camo (or something like it) rider and pillion seat covers, plus the Brush-Buster handguards over the controls to protect your hamburger shovels while you negotiate hostile undergrowth. A guard over the front drive chain keeps brush from being pulled into the sprockets, and the front-wheel swingarm/yoke forms a bridge from the wheel to the frame to help it skid over felled trees and rocks.
In order to make the ride even more hunter-tastic, Rokon offers a number of accessories to include a hard gun case, handlebar-mounted gun rack and good, old-fashioned ammo can-type storage boxes. A single-track trailer provides up to 2,000 pounds carrying capacity, and the single-wheel design precludes the need for an articulated hitch – the trailer leans with the bike.
Frame construction is tough and utilitarian in nature. The self-guarding frame design and drivetrain considerations dominate the layout (as they must), leaving us with a function-over-form panache. The unusual front end sports a coil-over shock on the right side, opposite the front-wheel-drive chains and sprockets. While there is no suspension in the rear – it’s a straight-up "rigid" back there – it doesn’t really need it; the big, 8x12x25-inch, ATV-type tires run with three to five psi, so the tires themselves serve to absorb a lot of energy and prevent said energy from finding its way into the bike and rider. Rokon offers a sprung seat as an accessory for any who want a little extra cushion, so the rigid rear should not be a deal breaker by any means. The drum-type hubs and large tires provide storage for 2.5 gallons of fuel (for long trips) or water (for traction, similar to a tractor) each, and when empty, provide enough flotation to buoy the 218-pound bike across a body of water.
Ground clearance reaches into proper off-road ranges at 14-inches high, exceeding that of many proven off-road bikes and ensuring that the bike can handle any terrain up to a 60-percent grade that you (reasonably) dare tackle. Sure, I know that the cheerleading from the factory says as much, but when a bike earns nicknames such as “The Cat” or “The Mountain Goat” by its riders, it does lend a certain veracity to those lofty claims.
Now, we get to the onion; the engine and drive system that sets this ride apart. The beating heart is basically a lawn-tractor engine. If it sounds like a condemnation of some sort, read on while I explain why this is a good thing. The fan-cooled, one-lung, four-stroke Kohler engine displaces a mere 208 cc, and burns 1/3-gallon per hour. Mileage isn’t a metric that is very useful when describing off-road performance, but gallons-per-hour paints a much more complete picture. The engine uses a good, old-fashioned magneto ignition, and comes with both electric and pull-start for some most-welcome redundancy. Output numbers are what you would expect at seven horsepower and 9.1 pound-feet of torque. Don’t let that fool you; the bike’s performance is greater than the sum of its specs, even if its top speed is limited to 35 mph. The engine aspirates through a dual-filter setup to help prevent it from choking on airborne dust and dirt, and the muffler comes with an U.S. Forestry-approved spark arrestor, so you can get out there in the wilderness without fear of making Smokey the Bear cry. In addition, the exhaust note is quieter than many other vehicles used by hunters – I’m sure I don’t have to explain the benefits of a little extra stealth on the way to and from the stand/blind/favorite tree/whatever.
The final drive uses an automatic torque converter, eliminating the need for a manual clutch, and the gearbox driving the drivetrain PTO comes with three gear settings that you select based on the desired or anticipated top speed range; up to 10 mph in first, 20 in second or 35 in third. Chains carry the symmetrical power to the wheels, so the front wheel pulls at the same speed at which the rear pushes.
The sticker is where things get not-so-rosy. Some may balk at the $7,635 price tag on something that basically amounts to an all-terrain, adult-sized minibike, no matter how nifty. The catch here is; if you really need a bike like this, nothing else in the world will do, and it’s difficult to place a quantitative value on that. It comes with a 12-month limited warranty, which isn’t bad at all for off-road. (Many manufacturers offer only 30 days of coverage.)
The Christini’s form is more of what you might call a “traditional” format for a dirt bike. Tall, with high ground clearance and long-stroke suspension, it looks much like any other regulation dirt bike until you dig into the front-wheel drive system. While it’s as capable as the Rokon as far as terrain-conquering ability, and decidedly faster, it lacks the flexibility and sheer utility offered by the Rokon with its various accessories and attachments.
Christini rolls out its AWD 250 at about $1,600 more than the Rokon, and the Rokon for Hunters falls close to the typical 250 cc dirt bike range, which is remarkable given the front-wheel magic, but the AWD 250 just won’t do the same jobs as the Rokon. (No disc harrow or log skidder for the Christini, just to name a few.)
“When I was (much) younger I would have given my eyeteeth for a Rokon instead of my minibike with its Briggs lawnmower engine, and even now I would probably prefer one of these to a four-wheeler for hunting activities. One huge selling point for me is the fact that it uses Standard American fasteners and drive chains, so it is easy to get those parts, and you can get Kohler engine parts at nearly any mom-n-pop small-engine repair shop. Not only that, but Rokon is very forthcoming with service information, so an experienced mechanic (or even a not-so-experienced one) can perform major procedures far beyond the maintenance routines published by most other manufacturers.”
My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I am down with the availability of service information and it is easy to get. This Rokon line serves a niche like no other I am aware of. For outdoorsmen, it’s a nifty ride. And did you catch the part about floating it across deep water? Lay the bike on its left side so the intake is out of the water and it floats so you can swim across with the bike. I want to try that. Don’t you want to try that?"
|Engine:||Kohler, single cylinder, four stroke, fan cooled|
|Piston Displacement:||208 cc|
|Power Output:||7 Horsepower at 3,600 rpm|
|Peak Torque:||9.1Pound-Feet at 2,800 rpm|
|Power Transmission:||Automatic torque converter into a three-gear range selector|
|Speed Range:||1st gear 0-10 mph, 2nd gear 0-20 mph, 3rd gear 0-35 mph|
|Power Take Off:||7 Horsepower, speed proportional to throttle setting|
|Fuel Tank Capacity:||2.69 Gallons|
|Fuel:||Regular unleaded gas|
|Fuel Consumption:||0.33 Gallons per Hour|
|Brakes:||Disc type, hydraulic front and rear with dual handlebar-mounted controls|
|Starter:||Electric and pull start (automatic recoil with compression release)|
|Exhaust:||Muffler and U.S. Forestry approved spark arrestor|
|Carburetor:||Fixed Main Jet Carburetor|
|Air Filter:||Dry type, with foam secondary stage|
|Grade Capability:||60 percent|
|Drive System:||Full time, Front and Rear wheel drive|
|Wheels:||12-Inch aluminum drums|
|Tires:||8 x 12 x 25-inch tubeless|
|Wheel Base:||51 Inches|
|Ground Clearance:||15 Inches|
|Height Over Seat:||33 Inches|
|Height Over Handlebar:||42 Inches|
|Fordable Water Depth:||24 Inches|
|Warranty:||12-Month Limited Warranty|