2017 Rokon Ranger / Trail-Breaker / Rokon For Hunters
Rokon expands a little bit out of its pure off-road niche with the Ranger model that brings the traditional look and function associated with the Rokon brand to the street-legal, dual-sport sector. As with the rest of the Rokon inventory, a small Kohler engine powers a hydraulic system that enables the full time, front- and rear-wheel drive. Yeah, these bikes don’t exactly fit anyone else’s mold, but they aren’t meant to be, and they are very good at what they are built for. Today I’m going to check out the lineup, and see what Rokon has done with its newest addition to the family, the Mototractor.
Continue reading my review for the Rokon Ranger, Trail-Breaker, and Rokon for Hunters.
2017 Rokon Ranger / Trail-Breaker / Rokon For Hunters
Top Speed:37 mph
To me, Rokon bikes are the absolute epitome of the form-follows-function concept, and trivial things such as aesthetics take a backseat to the almighty bottom line which is Rokon’s uncanny rough-terrain capability. All three bikes look much like the original Trailmaker from back in 1958 with a utilitarian, two-wheel tractor vibe that has a charm all its own.
A wide front end carries a headlight can and small luggage rack, plus turn signals and side reflectors on the road-ready Ranger model. The Hunter model comes with handguards to protect the rider when penetrating heavy undergrowth and the Ranger carries the same clean bars as the Trail-Breaker, but with mirrors for that all-important rear view. The new Mototractor takes the Trail-Breaker and adds an extended 24x33-inch rear cargo rack, the rugged aluminum braced Brush Busters — optional on other Rokons — and the go-anywhere Maxxis Big Horn Radial tires. This turns the already rugged Trail-Breaker into a rough and tough work horse for all your back-woods or out-on-the-range jobs.
A rather chunky little fuel tank complete with an externally routed vent tube gives the Rokon line a definite dirtbike slant, and the seat rides a little higher than the tank up front and large, bench-type P-pad in back. All-in-all a rather uninteresting set of lines, but what isn’t so boring is the layout of the frame and suspension; how they guard the moving parts and allow the bike to slither over obstacles on a frame that acts like a skid, and how the structure between the passenger seat and axle acts as a brush guard on all three models and the footrests simply pivot out of the way in the event of a terrain strike. Naturally, there are plenty of modifications possible with these bikes, from sidecar models to farming equipment, so you can customize your setup for a number of work- and play-related activities.
Tubular-steel members make up the dual-downtube, double-cradle frame, and the swingarm is made of...oh wait, that’s right, there is no swingarm. Or rear suspension whatsoever. A rigid ass-end assembly hard mounts the axle to the frame, but fear not, the oversized tires absorb a lot of abuse that street tires do not, so the tires themselves provide a bit of suspension. And flotation. That’s right folks, you can lay any of the Rokons on their sides and float them across a body of water if you come to something deeper than the 24-inch fording depth will allow. Plus, you can store up to 2.5 gallons of liquid in each tire. Useful for carrying extra fuel and/or water for long trips, and for weight to increase traction in farming applications.
The Trailbreaker and Rokon For Hunters roll on gnarly, eight-inch wide off-road tires and 12-inch, drum-type hubs, but the Ranger’s tires have more of a dual sport tread that seeks to balance on-road performance with the off-road capabilities. A solid front end and leading-link cantelever front suspension mounts a coil-over shock on one side to tame the motion of the front wheel, leaving room on the other side for the unique, front-wheel drive system. Hydraulic disc brakes at both ends slow the machine through separate controls without any sort of ABS or linked brakes involved.
The legendary off-road capabilities of the Rokons come from the unique drivetrain arrangement. First off, we have a 208 cc, four-stroke, Kohler thumper that generates a mere 7 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 9.1 pound-feet of torque but sips the gas at a third of a gallon per hour. An automatic torque converter couples engine power to a three-speed gearbox, and riders can expect to get up to 10 mph in first gear, 20 mph in second and a blistering 35-to-37 mph in top gear.
A reliable magneto-type ignition provides the spark, and the bikes come with electric starters with a pull-rope type recoil starter for backup. While these numbers don’t look like much on paper, what the dual-wheel drive does with it is pure magic. They are capable of climbing up to a 60-percent grade, and with the accessory towbar installed can tow up to 2,000 pounds. That’s a lot of grunt from what is effectively a large, hand-push lawnmower engine. Granted, the 37 mph top speed won’t get you safely/legally down the highway, but it may get you to your favorite off-roading spot on its own two wheels if secondary roads are all you need to navigate to get there.
The Trail-Breaker comes out as the cheapest of the three at only $7,350, and is available in six different colors, while the Hunter variant of the same bike is available only in olive drab with tree-type camouflage seat covers for $7,635. The enhanced Trail-Breaker — the Mototractor — comes in at $7,995.00 and shares the olive drab palette with the Rokon for Hunters, as well as basic black. At the top of the range we have the Ranger at $8,150, and it’s available in the same six-hue spectrum as the Trail-Breaker.
Rokon bikes do what almost nothing else can and are rather unique little rides. For this reason I can’t provide you with the usual head-to-head competition, but instead will talk about vehicles with similar capabilities, if not forms. First we have the Christini products that deliver power on an as-needed basis to the front wheel, but on a bike that looks very much like any of a number of current dirtbike models. Not only that, but engine size runs up into the 450 cc range, over twice as big as the Kohler in the Rokon. Off-road capabilities are similar as far as the terrain they can handle is concerned, but while Christini can deliver supercross-like performance, the Rokon is a lot more like riding a mountain goat up a hill. They’ll both get there, just each in its own way. The 450 cc AWD Christini runs a little proud at $9,595, but it’s capable of much greater speed and performance, and can’t perform all the farming tasks and such the Rokons can do.
Ural makes a sidecar called the Gear Up that comes with 2WD-on-demand capable of driving the machine, but instead of the front wheel, the factory powers the sidecar wheel for handling low-traction situations. As with the Christini, the Ural is capable of getting greater speeds out of its 749 cc mill and is safe to use on the highways, but it lacks the cat-like climbing ability of the Rokons. Price is a bit of a stretch at $15,999, but the tradeoff is greater road-travel capacity.
In the end, the Rokons are just so unique they are really in a class all to themselves, and if you need their special capabilities, nothing else will do.
“I know a guy who owns a Rokon so I didn’t have to travel far to find a road test. He and his father both ride, and he confirms that all the stories about how well they can manage rough terrain are true. So far, everyone I talk to about their Rokons loves them, and I can see why.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “As I’ve said before, as a mechanic, I love that you can get service information on these bikes right on the website without having to produce a credit card. They’re no-nonsense work horses made for the outdoorsman. With the street-legal Ranger, you don’t have to trailer your Rokon to the trail head. Awesome. And who doesn’t want to swim across a small body of water with their bike? Okay maybe not here in the swamps and bayous because an alligator doesn’t care how cool it is that you’re swimming with your bike, but elsewhere, it opens up a lot of options.”
|Chassis & Drivetrain:|
|Drive System:||Full time, Front and Rear wheel drive|
|Engine:||Kohler, single cylinder, four stroke, fan cooled|
|Power Output:||7 HP at 3,600 RPM|
|Peak Torque:||12.4(9.1) Nm(ft. lb.) @ 2800 rpm|
|Power Transmission:||Automatic torque converter into a three-gear range selector|
|1st gear:||0-10 MPH (16 kph)|
|2nd gear:||0-22 MPH (35 kph)|
|3rd gear:||0-35 MPH (60 kph)|
|Power Take Off||:7 HP, speed proportional to throttle setting|
|Fuel Tank Capacity:||2.69 US gal (10.0 L)|
|Fuel:||Regular unleaded gas|
|Fuel Consumption:||0.33 gal/hr (211g/PS h)|
|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 (Optional High Altitude Jet Available)|
|Air Filter:||Dry type, with foam secondary stage|
|Grade Capability:||60 percent|
|Tires:||8 x 12 x 25" tubeless|
|Wheel Base:||51 Inches (129.5 cm)|
|Ground Clearance:||14 Inches (35.6 cm)|
|Height Over Seat:||32 Inches (81.3 cm)|
|Height Over Handlebar:||41 Inches (104 cm)|
|Width:||30 Inches (76.2 cm)|
|Length:||79 Inches (200.7 cm)|
|Weight||218 lbs. (98.8 kg) dry weight|
|Fordable Water Depth:||24 Inches (61 cm)|
|Warranty:||12 Month Limited Warranty|
|Colors:||Olive Drab, Forest Green, Black, Yellow, Red, Orange|
|Rokon for Hunters:||$7,635|