What about a ROKON?
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Thread: What about a ROKON?

  1. #1
    Member Scotts's Avatar
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    Sep 2013

    What about a ROKON?

    ...In case you guys haven't seen the vids where I ride..
    What are your opinions on a Rokon? They are quite spendy at $7K+ ( but im still a single guy with no kids so..)
    It looks like they are lighter than the TW, But my knowledge of them at this point is a few hrs of searching youtube vids..
    I like the 2 wheel drive notion, its ability to 'float', and the fact it can store 2+gallions of water or fuel in the tires..

    I love clutches on street bikes, but I really like the left hand rear brake when im getting wild on the CT90.. They make a street legal version in Washington state, and if I can get a street legal version in Oregon I think im sold..
    But like I said, my knowledge of this bike is about 1 day old, so if anyone has any input on it, negative or otherwise, let me know.. ?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Leben's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Before you buy a Rokon be sure to ride one. They are an amazingly capable OFF road bike. They can go just about anywhere. They are slow and do not have the suspension of a modern motorcycle, although the newer ones are offered with a front suspension.

    They are very fun if you know and respect their limitations. If you own one, it really helps to be somewhat mechanical. There are pins and keys to break, and chain adjustments to be made. I personally like the older 2 stroke bikes because they are lighter, but I also have a newer honda powered bike that is very reliable.

    I love mine and have met some great people over the years because of them. (Rokon rides). If you need/want to go where there are no roads they are the motorcycle for you. If you want to ride on the street and do some off-roading, I believe the TW200 is a better fit that is nearly as capable until you get to the really rough stuff. If you are considering one, please ride one to make sure it is what you think it is. You are more than welcome to test ride mine if you make it over to my neck of the woods,

  3. #3
    Member noahnsteph's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Oddly enough I just ran across one for sale on Craigslist up in Sioux City, IA today...... Rokon Trail Breaker III

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Tiny-Wheel-200's Avatar
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    May 2013
    Wasilla, Alaska
    No suspension, not a real motorcycle engine, and the floating thing is a double edged sword, makes it exceedingy difficult to drive across a deeper creek. also the tires suck on sidehills. I ride loads of sloppy boggy trails and can say that Its very rare that the 2wd does you any good. Save your money and put atv tires front and rear on your tw, (it will make your bike float) and then spend the remaining 6500 on your choice of:

    Baggies filled with powder or plants.
    games of chance.
    Ladies of easy virtue
    roller coaster park tickets
    etc etc
    You can have alot more fun with that money doing almost anything else.
    Gerry, Peterb, brushhippie and 2 others like this.

  6. #5
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Pleasanton, CA
    I totally agree with everything that Leben and Tiny Wheel have already said.

    I have owned mine for over 10 years and have finally decided to pass it on. They are cool little bikes and always draw a crowd when you ride one, but the older ones like mine are noisy, smelly, smoky and agonizingly slow. Not at all fun to ride for me. How's that for a sales pitch ? If you are interested, here is my current craigslist posting:

    1969 Rokon Trail-Breaker - Price Reduced Again To


  7. #6
    Member Wambat's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    South central Okla.
    I seem to remember that a few years ago Yamaha built an experimental off road race bike with a hydraulically driven front hub powered from a pump built into the output shaft of the trans. I watched some of the race and it did very well from what I could tell. There was one spot on
    the track that was a very muddy left turn. Most of the bikes were sliding and going down there. The Yamaha would start to slide and go down and the rider would pour on the power and the bike would seem to stand right up and take off in a straight line instead of going down. I thought then we would be seeing more of this but I haven't so far. The TW with it's wide front hub and extra room in the front sprocket area would seem to be a natural for this system. Probably would add many extra $$$$$ to the cost. Do have to give Yamaha credit for not changing a already good thing to much over the years.

  8. #7
    Member jflynn's Avatar
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    Sep 2012

    Rokon Impressions (and why I doubt I'll own another one)

    I know this is a near dead thread, but I want to document a few things about the venerable Rokon that the uninitiated might not appreciate until they've ridden one or owned one. I had a 1971 2-stroke Trailbreaker I rebuilt and then eventually donated to my local Search and Rescue/Fire department/EMS (I worked with them, so when I moved I told them they could use it or auction it to raise cash as I didn't want to even bother crating it). Please keep in mind that this was just my experience, and this was one of the old models.

    1.) The turning radius is terrible (this may have changed on the newer models, but I doubt it). As far as a go-anywhere vehicle, this limits its true mobility and makes maneuvering it more difficult than you might think. That whole front wheel drive system limits the turning arc, meaning you can only turn the handlebars about 30 degrees (don't quote me, but I would measure it if I still had one). It's maddening. You have to back up and go forward fifteen times to turn around. This was the one thing that drove me to distraction, because it limits your ability to switchback (which is needed--read #7).
    2.) As many people mention on forums there is no suspension on the old ones, but mine was actually quite comfortable (relatively), and the seat had some give (as did the tires). These things move so slow that proper suspension isn't really needed. They crawl, so you don't get bounced around much anyway.
    3.) Mine was really temperamental (again, this was a 40 year old 2-stroke model, but it had great compression and when it ran it buzzed along). It was easy enough to work on, and I like 2-stroke simplicity, but I never had the confidence to take it 20 miles into the wild (I just knew I'd have to push it back or wind up cursing and troubleshooting in failing light). Also, the spark plug was harder to get out than on any motorcycle I've ever owned (the frame was sort of in the way which meant carrying a socket and extension instead of just one of those little plug wrenches you get in a spare parts kit). It being a 2-stroke, you're a brave soul if you go on a ride of any length without a plug wrench.
    4.) It was pretty light and easy to wrestle around or over anything it couldn't climb, but (again) the lack of steering angle made it sometimes tougher to move than one might think.
    5.) It was loud and irritating (not just the engine, the entire machine clanked and stuttered). The noise was not at all pleasant. Not unlike an old tank with a chainsaw engine.
    6.) I was not a fan of the transmission or clutch, but can see why it was designed as it was. It's as easy as operating a scooter.
    7.) The hillclimbing ability is wildly exaggerated (why aren't Rokons sitting at the top of all the hillclimbing events, posting record-slow times? Because they can't get up there). I've been on several motorcycles that can get up hills the Rokon simply couldn't climb. The engine is simply far too weak, even in low gear, and will bog down. I really doubt the newer ones with the Honda engines can climb much of a hill. If you doubt this watch the youtube videos--they're not that impressive. Making ultra-low gearing will only help so much.
    8.) They sell all sorts of ridiculous add-ons: side cars, trailers, etc. But they don't have the power to work when loaded up like that (again, watch youtube--all the videos are on flat ground). You're not going to pull a log up a hill because it's not a winch on wheels.
    9.) Overall, it felt like riding a piece of lawncare equipment--agonizingly slow, loud, and only somewhat capable. I certainly did look at terrain differently than people on quads do. It would (eventually) get you almost anywhere, could sidehill and therefore (theoretically) switchback (if you could get it turned around, which was murder) and didn't tear up the ground very much. However, the same could be said for a pair of hiking boots. It will not drag a moose over a mountain, if that's what you are expecting, nor can you point it at a long incline and hang on for the ride. Riding one is work.
    10.) I chuckle when people ask what the top speed is, because that's not the point, and it's not very fun to ride at 20 miles per hour with that engine screaming anyway. The shorter answer is: dang slow. I don't think you really need to ride one before you buy one, but in my case the novelty wore off not long after the project was finished. It was probably more fun to rebuild than it was to operate, but that's just me.

    I have been tempted to get another one (they are horribly overpriced, even used, so people pull them out of the garage and put them on Craigslist constantly to make money), but honestly I think a TW with some modifications (ATV tire, lower gearing, and racks) would serve the same purpose, be more utilitarian, be easier to maintain and much more pleasant to ride. In a heads up contest a good rider on a good dirtbike could go anywhere a Rokon can go, but the operative words are "good rider." You don't need any skill to get the full potential from a Rokon, but jumping felled trees and getting up dangerous hills on a bike is something else.

    Possible Rebuttal: "But they are the only vehicle to cross the Darian Gap!"
    Response: Mmmm, read the details of that fiasco before bragging. I have, and I have mixed feelings about it. Much of that trip involved crossing water with the Rokons in canoes, and while the trip was an adventure, the lowly Rokon wasn't the unsung hero there. It would have been easier to just hike it. Those guys were just hardcore lunatics with more motivation than sense who took the Rokons along for the trip so they could say they "rode." I'll bet they could have done the same thing with Segways or Honda Scooters, anything light enough to put in a canoe or carry.
    TW-Brian, kj7687, Gerry and 2 others like this.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Pleasanton, CA
    Hey Jflynn,

    I agree with you 110% and could not have said it better, which is why I currently have mine for sale on ebay. TW's are much better bikes, much more fun, and better suited to my needs.


    Other Makes Rokon Trail Breaker | eBay

    Last edited by TW-Brian; 09-03-2014 at 10:58 PM.

  10. #9
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Southern California - Inland Empire
    Jflynn: Your post here is one of the best, most well-written, most interestingly informative posts I have ever read on TW 200 forum, or any online forum, for that matter! What you say about the Rokon is undoubtedly true for the most part, with the possible exception of your opinions (in MY opinion) of it being boring,agonizingly slow, annoyingly loud/noisy - I reckon I'd be entertained by these characteristics; I just really like quirkiness in a machine. That being said, I think I'd not ever be so fond of those quirks as to prefer a machine exhibiting them, over something like my KLX or a DRZ, and it's possible I might eventually tire of them, too. I understand exactly what you mean about the Rockon having a reputation far greater than its actual capability. With one or two exceptions, all the hardcore Extreme Enduro guys are still using good old fashioned KTM or KTM-esque, rear-wheel-drive, well-suspended, light weight, high horsepower traditional-style (more or less) dirt bikes. Over the years, I have personally reached similar conclusions regarding the TW 200. I used to think it was the most capable machine ever built, and it could climb hills way better than big powerful KTM race bikes. It's still a great little bike and quite capable in its own right. For me, however, the illusion that it is a more capable, more serious, go-anywhere off road bike than anything else -something like a Beta or Husqvarna - has been shattered by my own experiences on it and a multitude of other off road motorcycles. Even if the Rokon had more horsepower, in reality the 2 wheel drive still wouldn't get it anywhere near the top of some of those ridiculously huge Enduro hill climbs. The only way up those is very rapid acceleration at the base, the attaining of high speeds, and the maintenance of the momentum gained. You also need high quality suspension/chassis setup to keep the tire in contact with the ground and holding traction as much as possible. Keeping the FRONT wheel on the ground is often a much greater problem than maintaining traction adequate to continue forward propulsion up a hill. This being said, there certainly ARE situations where 2 wheel drive on a motorcycle will be quite beneficial. On a more or less straight, wide hill climb with lots of wet, swampy grass, patches of snow and slick mud, for example, two wheel drive could help - but you'd still need speed and momentum to make it up. From a purely performance and capability standpoint, Christini's efforts have thus far proven by far the most effective of any of the two wheel drive systems to hit the market. I think it'd be great fun to own a Christini, if you had the money and time to wrench on it endlessly.
    Last edited by kj7687; 09-04-2014 at 12:37 AM.
    Toecutter likes this.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.

    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  11. #10
    Senior Member Leben's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    I think that the biggest reason people are disappointed with riding a Rokon is because they compare them to a regular motorcycle. It may be better to think of them as a 2 wheel drive tractor. With an experienced rider (and modern ATV tires) you would be surprised what they are capable of. I have ridden my Rokons places that I wouldn't take a regular dirt bike. What I like about the Rokons is that you can travel over rough terrain at a safe pace instead of needing momentum to get through.

    They are a niche tool/toy but not for everyone.
    turbodieseli4i6 likes this.

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