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When you mention Rokon, most people will give you a confused look. If you’re lucky they may say, “Yea, I’ve heard of them before.”
You would think the second oldest American manufacturer of motorcycles would be more of a well-known icon. How can one of the most capable ATVs on the planet be the big foot of the off-road industry, heard of but hardly ever seen?
In the 1950s, a California inventor named Charles Fehn set out to build theultimate off-road vehicle. It had to go anywhere and be a rugged workhorse. With this in mind a two-wheel drive vehicle with hollow wheels was designed and produced. Some call it a bike but the name Mototractor more closely defines its capability.
While there have been a handful of updates over the last 50 years to this trusted and reliable design, the heart is still the same. Since its creation it’s been adopted for military use and is in service with more then 25 state and federal wildlife agencies. They’ve also been recognized as the go to vehicle for the toughest situations.
Lets talk a little bit about how it works. The Rokon is a two-wheel drive motorcycle powered by a 6.6hp Kohler four-cycle engine. The power gets distributed to the automatic torque converter (same as on most 4-wheelers and snowmobiles). It features an automatic three-speed transmission, allowing it to reach a top speed of 35 mph and crawl up and over the toughest obstacles. After the power goes through the transmission it gets transferred to the wheels; the rear wheel by a direct chain.
The front gets its powerthrough a drive shaft that runs through the frame, then goes to a miter box and to a chain driving the front wheel. It then powers either a 15” wheel with a 6.5” wide tractor tire, or the preferred 12” wheel with an 8” wide ATV tire. The rims are hollow so that you can carry water for added ballast in climbing steep hills or carry gas for extended trips.
While no one off-road vehicle will meet the needs of every individual, a Rokon meets more than most. With its 15” of ground clearance and full frame skid plates, it will climb over logs over 30” in diameter. All it takes is a clearance of 30” to clear the handlebars, allowing it to go into tighter places. It’s also designed to carry a passenger.
The Rokon will run for 9 hours (or 200 miles) on three gallons of gas. When it comes to hills it has the ability to climb 60 percent grades and remain upright when driving horizontal on hill sides. With a 4-wheeler you always run the risk of flipping it over when on a steephill. The Rokon will take you where you want to be and get you back again.
- Ability to pull 700 lbs. dead weight or 2500 lbs. rolling
- Weighs in at 205 lbs. making it a breeze to move and load
- Lightweight allows it to be carried using just your hitch receiver and a special rack
- Can ford water or mud 2 ft. deep and can float across bodies of water when the rims are left empty
- Allows you to go down the tightest trails making it ideal to retrieve downed game
- Fits easily in a garage
- Solid state ignition so it will start even if there’s been an EMP attack
- American made and owned
So what are the down sides? The speed is the biggest thing. They’re not for flying down trails; on the contrary they are for making trails. Although with its automatic transmission anyone can get on one and go, they stay upright at 0.5 MPH. However, there is a learning curve that must be mastered; just know you WILL tip it over. The good thing is when you do it’s normally at 2MPH so it’s no big deal.
Over time you’ll learn how to climb over logs, hills and drive in wet conditions. As you learn how to drive a Rokon you’ll soon start to master the things that hung you up in the beginning.
Here’s my disclaimer, I own a Rokon dealership in Tennessee. With that being said, the dealership is just a hobby and not my day job; I do it because I have a passion for showing people the benefits of Rokon and have put this article together for the same reasons.
Whether you come to me or not for your Rokon needs, you can absolutely call me or email me with any questions; I’ll shoot you straight.
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