AWD Motorcycle: 1980 Rokon Ranger

A lot of us who live in the upper-Midwest, northeast part of the US, Canada, and other northern climates have to put away our motorcycles in the winter months. If you happen to live where there’s snow on the ground for a few months every year, you wouldn’t have to put away a bike like this AWD 1980 Rokon Ranger. This one is listed here on eBay with an unmet opening bid price of $2,500 and a buy-it-now price of $3,750. It’s located in Iowa City, Iowa.

We have seen a few examples of the 2×2 Rokon Trail-Breaker here on Barn Finds over the last few years and they pretty interesting, or they are to me. I like my motorcycles on the unusual side as much as I like my cars and trucks and all other vehicles on the unusual side. And as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, they aren’t just for summer use. Here’s a group of folks plowing through the Maine woods in the winter as seen in this MotorWeek video on YouTube. Very cool. How have I never owned a Rokon yet?!

These 2WD bikes started back in 1958 as the Trail-Breaker which most of us know as the model name that the Rokon Company used when they took over the company in 1964. Orla Larsen who started a company called Rokon in 1963, was a top Trail-Breaker distributor. The owner of the Trail-Breaker company, J.B. Nethercutt of Merle Norman Cosmetics fame – also, The Nethercutt Collection, an incredible auto museum in Sylmar, CA – sold the Trail-Breaker company to Larsen in 1964.

You can see part of the front wheel chain drive system here, it’s an unusual but effective way to have both wheels providing power to the trail. The engine should be a 134 CC two-stroke and the seller says that this one runs, stops, and drives great. Have any of you owned or ridden a Rokon?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Corny thing, I think, like the farm tractors, it was called “front drive assist”. Whatever it was called, a goofy setup, and I’ve ridden a LOT of off road vehicles. It’s a clumsy deal, with a driveshaft and u-joints in the steering head, and a chain to the wheel. Just too much hardware spinning for any kind of stability, BUT, pre-ATV, you had to start somewhere. The rims are hollow too, for extra water or gas, further complicating the struggle. The motor, while horribly underpowered, is the famous West Bend/Chrysler “Power Bee” motor, that powered everything from ground pounders to Scotty’s Sno-Runner to,,,well, Rokons. It looks like fun, but one ride will convince you, it’s no DRZ 400.

    Like 7
    • triumph1954

      Really Howard A. Rokon’s are still being used .They can haul up to 800lbs and go through 24″ of water and they are very quiet. Our Special Forces still use them for stealth missions in far away places where other vehicles can’t be used. Nothing clumsy about them. Must have been the rider

      Like 3
    • chrlsful

      “…rims are hollow too, for extra water or gas, further complicating the struggle…”
      or easing as they help w/flotation in H2O

  2. Francisco

    A couple of guys used these to cross the Darian Gap between Panama and Columbia. It is perhaps the last stretch of wilderness in the world, where no roads exist. I remember reading they left the wheels empty so that they could float them like rafts across the rivers they had to cross.

    Like 10
  3. piston poney

    i wouldn’t want to have to change the front wheel on one of those

  4. Paul Jackson Member

    This bike isn’t for those with a wimpy nature! It’s kind of like my 10hp 1965 Skidoo, way underpowered, no hi-tech of any kind, slow-however, if your goal was to go where the modern guys can’t then this is the rig for you

  5. Johnny

    I remeber being way back in the woods and I heard something coming. It was my neighbor. He had one of these. It was slow but go about anywhere. I saw a video .You can even pull logs with these. I,ve only seen one.My neighbors and don,t know if his son has it or what.He lives across the road from me and ask him about it. It looks like something good to loose weight on.Bounceing you around.haha I like it,but what Howard said.Ride it and you find out. Like the time I road a snow mobile.Once is all it took for me.

    Like 1
  6. Mitch Grimes

    OHHH…. What’s the deal? I love this bike. Would love to own one. I’m not saying I’ll pay what these guys are offering it up for. But I do like it.

    Like 3
  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    There was an episode of Pawn Stars many years ago when Rick Harrison bought one because he always wanted one. I believe that he got it fully restored, an interesting episode.

    Like 1
  8. TJ-AR

    A Rokon is a lot of fun. I spent some time on a friend’s Ranger.
    This one IMHO is very over priced for a 40 year old Rokon.

  9. tony t

    Imagine the rotating unbalance on wheels half-full of “whatever”. Or empty tires in water = flip right over w/ bike upside down …

  10. Robt

    Id take it.

  11. Catie H

    We had one in the 90s. My husband once rode himself, myself and our two sons (5 and 7) cross country to visit friends on it. When we got there the rest of us dismounted and he rode it up the steps to their deck. It wasn’t fast or luxurious but it sure was fun. It is one of many oddities he has owned and wishes he never sold.

  12. Terry Melvin

    This reminds me of the earlier Tule Trooper of the 60s. It had fat tires and a built-in box at the rear. They were powered by a Briggs engine with a pull starter and centrifical clutch. My neighbor had a couple and we’d ride them all over his pasture!

  13. Cushmoney

    Remember these from the classified ads in Popular Mechanics 60s era.

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