The Rokon two-wheel-drive ATV motorcycle is as sure-footed as a mountain mule. And like a mule, it can climb 60-degree slopes, step over deadfall easily and even swim.
Rokons were first manufactured in 1958 and little has changed in 60 years. Tom Blais became the owner of Rokon in 1991, having saved the company from oblivion in bankruptcy courts.
Rokon is the only serious two-wheel drive ATV-style bike available on the market. They are manufactured in the U.S. and shipped around the world, including to the Middle East, Panama, China, Chile, Russia and countless other places that are easier to get to with two-wheel drive-wheels.
A diversity of uses
Rokons are a lightweight beast of burden for backwoods trekkers, big-game hunters, trappers, remote wilderness explorers and many others. These off-road motorcycles are used by workers who need access to tough spots, such as mining prospectors, municipal search and rescue, agriculture crop checkers, military reconnaissance and border patrol teams.
Jim Scott of Western Canadian Rokon in Calgary, Alberta, reports some of his customers make the bike fit in a Cessna airplane by removing the wheels. Those bikes are destined to work out of remote base camps in mountainous terrain. Other customers load Rokons onto riverboats for remote area access for hunting, trapping and exploration.
Rokon’s high clearance easily handles obstacles like downed logs. — Photo courtesy Timothy Fowler
Rokons tread lightly but are built to work hard
The Rokon is the number one choice of wheeled vehicles by remote elk hunters in North America. The machine is light by quad standards––100 kilograms (220 pounds)––compared to quads that start at double that and move up the weight range. Rokons footprint is less than a size 13 hiking boot of a tall backpacker. It can climb 60 degrees and clear 38-centimetre-diameter (15-inch-diameter) logs. It will even float in water, given the chance.
The Rokon is slow compared to a dirt bike. The air-cooled 208-cc Kohler engine allows the off-road motorcycle to chug along in low range at a maximum speed of 16 km/h (10 m.p.h.) and in high (third) range at 56 km/h (35 m.p.h.) at peak r.p.m. The engine generates seven horsepowers at 3,600 r.p.m. That’s not a lot of horses but the gear ratio makes the Rokon feel like it is capable of pulling stumps.
The Rokon is like a two-wheeled tractor. It is designed to pull 900 kilograms (1,984 pounds), so it can haul logs out of the woodlot and downed game out of the bush.
The Rokon is designed to handle problematic terrain from Louisiana mud, boreal bog and packed snow and ice to powdery sand. If you need off-road access in rough terrain where getting you and your gear there and back is more important than speed, a Rokon might be your perfect beast of burden.