Off road, two wheel drive is ok, but four wheel drive is mo betta. In the world of motorbikes, one wheel drive is all you get, or is it? In the early 1960’s Charles Fehn had other ideas when he applied for a patent “Motorcycle Having Two Driven Wheels”. The result of his patent was the large, wheeled two wheel drive motorcycle, the “Trail-Breaker” that was mo betta if you were truly going off the beaten trail. Find this 1973 Rokon Trail-Breaker Mk 4 for sale in Maple Valley, WA for $2,400 via craigslist.
Popular with hunters, outdoorsmen, farmers or anyone else that needed to get to the back 40 slowly, the Rokon was powered by the Power Bee 820 134cc two stroke (what else, it’s Tuesday). The Power Bee was built by West Bend in the 1960’s until Chrysler Marine bought it in the 1970’s. Chrysler sold the Power Bee to Mercury Marine in the 80’s, who then sold it to US Marine in the 90’s who still manufacture it today. It produces 8 hp from its one lung, and has been used from go karts to chainsaws, augers to Sno Runners. This bike has had new seals and crank bearings and a carb rebuild, so you should be ready to smoke up the woods.
The secret sauce of Charles Fehn’s patent and the 2wd motorcycle was his permanent 2wd system that allows the front and rear wheels to move at differing speeds using an override clutch that disconnects drive to the front wheel while turning. The Mark 4 was equipped with a 3 speed auto; low, second and high gear, that you shift by hand on the left of the bike. The bike is able to run at a minimum speed of half-a-mph and tops out at an eye watering 20 mph in high gear with the throttle wide open.
With large tires, the Rokon is claimed to leave a lighter footprint than a 200lb person. It may be true, but I think the two stoke smoke might counter act your impact on the environment. Another advantage of the large tires is that they will provide some flotation for your Rokon . However, pictures I’ve seen of it look more like an accident than what you have in your mind when you imagine it. Hint: It’s not vertical. One of the FAQ items on Rokon’s website asks “What could go wrong?” Indeed.
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