Front and rear drive bike that goes anywhere
THERE are 4 x 4 ATVs – even 6 x 6 machines – and now, there are 2 x 2s; yes, a motorbike with front and rear drive.
Built in the USA and marketed by Omagh-based Home, Farm & Garden, the Rokon Ranger is a bike designed, says the manufacturers blurb, to go anywhere. While there will be those who may question such claims, the first question must be to discover how the drive arrives at the front wheel.
The Ranger is powered by a fan-cooled, 160cc Honda 4-stroke engine driving through a torque converter in to a three-speed transmission. Drive to the rear wheel is conventional via a sprocket and chain but, with the need to steer, powering the front wheel calls for a more intricate approach.
A shaft drive taken from the front of the gearbox travels forward through the mainframe until it meets the pivot point for the front forks. It then passes through a universal joint and into a small gearbox to change the drive through 90í. A small sprocket connects by chain to the front wheels large cog and the drive is complete.
Attention to gearing helps to ensure that front and rear wheels are turning at the same rate and an onboard disc brake – a transmission brake – effectively acts on both wheels at the same time.
A light machine weighing in at about 93kg (205lbs) and capable of a speeds approaching 30mph, the Rokon Ranger is priced at £3250.
Just how the Ranger will compete in the all-terrain vehicle market against the now established 4 x 4s remains to be seen. A range of options – trailers, carrying frames and pto – would appear to extend the appeal of such machines from the sports mode it enjoys in the States to being a genuine workhorse capable of earning its keep. *
The best 2 by 2 – so far? The Rokon Ranger has front- and rear-wheel drive.