One-Wheel-Drive: 1971 Rokon RT-140

Here’s an unusual one, at least in the Rokon world. This 1971 Rokon RT-140 is listed on eBay with bids of just over $200 but the reserve isn’t met. It’s located in Sussex, New Jersey and you can fly in and drive it home… I’m kidding, of course, you can’t do that, this one isn’t currently running.

This is one Rokon that we rarely see here at Barn Finds being a rear-wheel drive model. Most of us know the Rokon as being a Trail-Breaker two-wheel-drive bike most often seen in the famous yellow paint scheme with the flotation tires. This one is everything but that, although it’s still a Rokon and they were still as tough as nails.

This is a project bike as you can tell, a full restoration is needed here so I hope the seller’s reserve isn’t too high. They say that this is a “barn find” and it looks like it. The RT, Rokon Trail, was a traditional rear-wheel drive trail bike as opposed to the two-wheel drive models that Rokon is famous for. These bikes are sort like a big, rugged minibike and not much faster with a 35-40 mph top speed. I don’t know if I remember seeing turn signals on a Rokon Trail-Breaker two-wheel drive bike before but the Rokon Trail had them.

The RT-140 is fairly lightweight at 170 pounds but it can carry 500 pounds. The seller says that this RT is “complete and solid. Has mostly surface rust. Has held up remarkably well. Inside of tank is solid and can be cleaned. Exhaust and muffler is solid.” The Rokon Trail was not only the first Rokon to be rear-wheel drive only but it was the first to use a torque-converter type of “automatic” transmission.

It looks like a somewhat straightforward project so far, no? Strip everything off, fix, sand, paint, new gaskets, new tires, grips, rubber parts in general, etc. But, the seller says that the motor is locked up from sitting. They say that it’s a West Bend two-stroke and it again should be a fairly straightforward project to rebuild the engine. Have any of you seen a Rokon Trail before?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Scotty delivers yet again!!! I never knew Rokon had this model. Seems much more in line with what a trail bike should be. I never thought those hollow wheels with gas in them was a good idea, and heavy, the handling must have been nuts with liquid sloshing around, and front drive would make for some unexpected quirks. ATV’s were a ways off, and if you wanted to go where no man had gone before in 1971, this is what you used. Pretty cool. BTW, West Bend( who also made outboards) was bought out by Chrysler in 1965, and used the old Kissel plant in Hartford, Wis. and this motor powered everything from the Chrysler Sno-Runner to motorized ground pounders, which would tear most motors apart. I’m surprised it was still called a “West Bend” motor in 1971. It was an indestructible unit. Looks like a great deal here.

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha, thanks, Howard! A mysterious Barn Finds reader sent in this tip but they didn’t leave a name to give them credit. If it was May of 2017 I would be bidding on this so hard that I’d have to get a new keyboard when the auction was done.. or somethin’.

      I also thought that they were Chrysler-badged engines by this point and that’s what my research mostly showed, but I was going by what the seller mentioned in the listing. I can almost guarantee that there wouldn’t be another one of these at any vintage motorcycle show, which is a huge draw for me. I’m not a big club guy or must-fit-in guy as you know from the oddball collection.. and the mustache..

      Like 4
  2. Mr. Bond

    Note the severe lack of suspension!

    Like 3
    • Ian C

      Your spine is the suspension!

      Like 1
  3. Butch Morgan

    Hi ya’ll had to chime in on this one, I have an original one page sales brochure for this thing as well as one for a wankle powered cycle

    Like 3
  4. Beatnik Bedouin

    Cool find, Scotty! I always liked Rokons and Tote Gotes, but never got around to owning one (and, no, I’m not tempted to buy this one).

    Thanks, Howard, for the background on West Bend engines. I remember playing with the company’s go-kart mills back in the early 1960s. West Bends and Clintons were popular for those who couldn’t afford a McCulloch.

    Like 4
  5. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    I rode with someone as a teenager who had one. He could hold his own in the woods and sandpits, the fireroads were a problem. I think it was a gearing issue but seeing most of our ride was off road, he picked the right sprockets.

    We swapped a couple of times. The lack of suspension was offset by those tires but nowhere near completely. He later added forks from something else in front but rear was always solid because of that drive setup.

    This example looks to have a tweak in the front forks, but may be the photo angle.

    Like 3
  6. Steven Molloy

    I have one this exact machine I’m in NC if any one would happen to know a roundabout value of them? Thanks

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