Red Ranger: 1974 Rokon Trail-Breaker Ranger

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

When a person thinks about a two-wheel drive motorcycle there’s really only one name: Rokon. There have been other makers of such machines, but this is the famous maker that most people automatically think of. This is a 1974 Rokon Trail-Breaker Ranger and it’s listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $1,200. It’s located in Marysville, Washington.

Most of you have heard of and seen the Rokon before. We’ve shown a few of them on Barn Finds in the past, they’re one of those wacky machines that a lot of people have experience with. Then there are those folks who can’t seem to get past the Pawn Stars episode where Rick Harrison has Rick Dale restore a Rokon for him and at the end of the episode he’s putt-putting along, barely staying upright because of the slow speed of these things. Yes, they’re slow, but when you’re crawling up a hill or through a stream you don’t want to be going 30 mph. You’ve probably seen this MotorWeek video on YouTube before, and I’ve shared it in the past, but it’s fun to see these things in action.

In 1974, Rokon changed their model names, now known as “Mototractors”, and instead of the MK3, MK4, and RT-140, they offered the Ranger, Scout, and Pioneer. A new transmission, bigger seat, engine covers, dual disc brakes, and a reconfigured exhaust were among the new features. The Ranger and Scout names lived on for the next 25 years or so. These bikes are more about evolution than revolution when it comes to big design or engineering changes. This Ranger isn’t currently running, unfortunately, and with a few key pieces missing it’s most definitely a project, but it would be a fun one to restore.

The seller says that they think this is the Chrysler Power Bee single-cylinder, two-stroke engine, and it would have had about 8 hp. The pull-starter for this one is missing, as is the right side engine cover, the front chain, and unfortunately, the title. Some states are more lenient in obtaining a title for a vehicle that doesn’t have one, and with a top speed of 20-25 mph, the next owner will most likely not be driving it on public roads anyway. Have any of you owned a Rokon? What do you think about this project, could you track down the missing parts and pieces and get it restored?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Before modern ATV’s came about, this was it, and “break trails” they did, just not too comfortably, but they did get you back in the woods. I think the rims were hollow, so you could fill them with gas. Always wondered how you’d get it to the tank? Front chain off means drive problems, it was kind of a funky setup, but worked well. That motor powered every oddball creation from Chrysler Sno-Runners to motorized ground pounders. It was a good unit, and probably still made somewhere. I think parts are around, but we’ve come a long way in ATV’s, might just want to go that route. These were heavy and clumsy, but you had to start somewhere.

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    • Craig

      Rokon is still making these and they are located in Rochester NH.

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  2. Mike

    Got a ranger and a scout the ranger has a 3 speed transmission and will do about 43 mph the scout is single speed and does 21 but it will do it up a hill so steep you cannot ride it back down without falling over forward. It will go places you cannot walk. the Chrysler engines are 2 stroke junk and eat carbs because of the vibration. swapped mine out for 8 hp honda’s

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  3. Rokon Fan

    I have a 2004 Ranger, swapped out the Honda motor for a 212cc Predator motor, and it upped the fun factor tremendously. Also have a 1992 Trailbreaker with the two stroke, and it is noticeably lighter and a bit shorter. It hasn’t eaten my carb. Never heard that one before.

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    • Peter

      My BIL had two of these, 2-strokes, in the early-mid 1970’s, with the Chrysler 8hp–as mentioned, the same powerplant on the Chrysler “Sno-Rabbit” (a single ski, short-tracked “snow-bike” sold under various other names).

      Those, older, two-stroke Rokons were a lot of fun, with the “Suicide (hand) Shifter” as just one of a number of exciting/interesting “features”….

      @Rokon Fan: I too, never heard of this very popular, 8 hp. Chrysler two-stroke engine “…eat[ing] carbs because of the vibration.”

      But since that carb-eating allegation is coming from the same quarter as the opinion that these ubiquitous Chrysler 8 hp, two-strokes (which have powered machinery and Rokons and “Sno-Rabbits” for DECADES, seemingly without major issues), are “…two stroke junk…” I think one should consider the source…. 😉

      And speaking of sources, @Mike:

      I’ve never seen any references of these Rokons getting anywhere near “…about 43mph….”, contrary to your experience. Other than the (anticipated) “I saw it on my GPS!”, can you cite us a source for that 43mph spec.?

      Because while these bikes will certainly BREAK TRAILS, I’ve never heard of any of these bikes “breaking” more than about 30-35 mph, at least on the flat.

      Peace,

      Peter

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  4. Steven

    Make a classic with a kick starter is better or electric start..

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  5. Mark-A

    I’m another subscriber who can remember one being on TV (but I thought that it was on Rick’s Restorations not Pawn Stars!), thanx for sharing the story, such an odd looking thing too! Definitely built by the FUNCTION OVER FORM team Not a Make it Look Good first & well work round the rest!?

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  6. Mark-A

    Reckon that it’d be amusing trying to find a replacement pair of Boots for it as well, especially with such an aggressive tread pattern? Possibly the sizing might match a Garden Tractor or Lawnmower type, but I reckon the tread pattern might have to be far less aggressive but I’d like to find out?

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    • Steven

      Search online as Rokon builds them new today!

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  7. Steven

    A 2017 Rokon Ranger as they are built in New Hampshire.. Under Rokon International Corporations.

    1+

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