2016 Rokon Trail-Breaker
Back in 1958, Charles Fehn introduced the world to his two-wheel-drive motorcycle, aptly named the Trailmaker. Mr. Fehn designed it as a utility vehicle with serious, if slow, off-road capabilities, and his bikes became popular with hunters and farmers as something of a mule. Fast-forward to 2016, and you can see that the new Rokon Trail-Breaker is one acorn that didn’t fall far from the tree. Same basic front-wheel-drive system, function and overall look of the original, this ride provides true off-road capability and can perform a utility role in an agricultural or campground setting.
(Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Rokon Trail-Breaker.
2016 Rokon Trail-Breaker
Top Speed:35 mph
Ok so, the Trail-Breaker isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but when your nickname is “the moto-tractor,” your concerns lie in an entirely different direction. This ride is low and wide, and it follows a pragmatic approach that completely ignores aesthetic concerns. The frame layout and suspension links allow the structural members to serve as their own brushguards, and prevent terrain from contacting the running gear. Rider footpegs swing off a pivot on the frame, and will fold up completely to accommodate extreme terrain. You’d better be paying attention and pick your feet up before they do!
Rokon provides a number of accessories to customize the bike to your purpose. Need to take a passenger? No problem. Prefer to have a cargo rack, or even an extended cargo rack? Gotcha covered. Find yourself with a 2,000-pound trailer and load to pull? Today is your lucky day. Need a sidecar? PTO? Disc harrow? Log skidder? Well, you get the picture.
Folks, this ain’t a big bike by any stretch of the imagination. The tale of the tape gives us an overall length of 79 inches, with a 51-inch wheelbase. The tires are big and gnarly – 12-inches wide and built to tackle the wilderness, and they allow the bike to ford water up to 24 inches deep. If you need to cross deep water, the tires and hollow drum wheels float the bike. You lay the bike on its left side so the intake is out of the water and swim across next to it like the old boys used to do crossing deep water alongside their horses. (Forgive me if I don’t want to test that technique myself.)
Hydraulic disc brakes provide the meager stopping power needed to control this ride. Since the footpegs are collapsible, the rear brake had to move up to the handlebars. Plenty of room up there since there is no clutch.
Off-road bikes need ample clearance, and the Trail-Breaker comes with 15 inches, ground to frame. This has the unfortunate effect of pushing the seat height up to 32 inches, not too high, but it’s a wide bike so shorter riders may have to tiptoe the bike a bit.
This is neither a race bike nor a showoff ride, and the engine selection reflects the utilitarian nature of the Trail-Breaker. A fan-cooled, single-cylinder Kohler engine generates a whopping 7 horsepower at 3,600 rpm, and 9.1 pound-feet at 2,800 rpm – not very impressive numbers until you see them in action.
A fixed-jet carburetor, magneto ignition and electric or pull starter keep things dependable and easy to work on away from the house. The efficient little engine only burns 1/3 gallon per hour, so the 2.69-gallon fuel tank will likely keep the bike going longer on your outing than your backside will allow!
The transmission uses an automatic torque converter, and behaves like a CTV-style tranny in that it slips at idle, and changes ratio as the bike accelerates. One big difference is when stopped, you can shift the Trail-Breaker into third gear for top speeds up to 35 mph, or go with the low-ratio first gear capable of pulling 60 percent grades. One big advantage the Rokon has over four-wheelers is that it can not only climb steep hills, it can traverse them too.
Also worthy of note, especially considering its intended use, the exhaust comes equipped with a U.S. Forestry-approved spark arrestor.
While Rokon is sort of in a class of its own, and thus hard to compare, I had to pick something. I went with another bike that has power to the front wheel, designed for off-road environments and has seen military service – the Christini AWD 450.
The Rokon is a “two-wheel-drive” bike, because the front wheel gets the same power as the rear wheel, and it pulls all the time. With the Christini, you get the “all-wheel-drive” function that turns the front wheel at 80 percent of the rear wheel speed with a sprag clutch that allows the front hoop to freewheel, and only engage when the rear wheel slips.
The Military Edition AWD 450 E from Christini will set you back $8,395, while the Rokon comes in around a grand toward the thrifty side at $7,350. Both bikes have roughly the same capabilities in the wilderness, so the extra grand for the Christini really only buys you more speed.
The Trail-Breaker can be yours for $7,350, and that comes with a 12-month limited warranty. I was surprised by the color options available for such a mundane bike – you can get it in Olive Drab, Forest Green, Black, Yellow, Red or Orange.
“Definitely my kind of dirt bike! Two-wheel drive, tough, capable of climbing a hill but not so powerful that you could ever jump that hill, as if I would ever engage in such shenanigannery. I see this as a good alternative for hunters looking to ditch their big four-wheel ATVs.”
My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "Being a mechanic, I just love to see service documentation available from the manufacturer. No-fuss access to in-depth documentation including wiring diagrams, engine rebuild specs and comprehensive parts lists give me the warm fuzzies. Writing motorbike and scooter reviews, I rarely see "Fordable Water Depth" in the spec list, though I do wish Ural would include that in the Gear-Up and Patrol specs."
|Engine:||Kohler, single cylinder, four stroke, fan cooled|
|Piston Displacement:||208 cc|
|Power Output:||7 Horsepower at 3,600 rpm|
|Peak Torque:||9.1 Pound-Feet at 2,800 rpm|
|Drive System:||Full time, Front- and Rear-wheel drive|
|Power Transmission:||Automatic torque converter into a three-gear range selector|
|Speed Range:||1st gear 0-10 mph, 2nd gear 0-20 mph, 3rd gear 0-35 mph|
|Power Take Off:||7 Horsepower, speed proportional to throttle setting|
|Fuel Tank Capacity:||2.69 Gallons|
|Fuel:||Regular unleaded gas|
|Fuel Consumption:||0.33 gallons per hour|
|Brakes:||Disc type, hydraulic front and rear with dual handlebar-mounted controls|
|Starter:||Electric and pull start (automatic recoil with compression release)|
|Exhaust:||Muffler and U.S. Forestry approved spark arrestor|
|Carburetor:||Fixed Main Jet Carburetor|
|Air Filter:||Dry type, with foam secondary stage|
|Wheels:||12-Inch aluminum drums|
|Tires:||8 x 12 x 25 inches, tubeless|
|Wheel Base:||51 Inches|
|Ground Clearance:||15 Inches|
|Height Over Seat:||32 Inches|
|Height Over Handlebar:||41 Inches|
|Dry Weight:||218 Pounds|
|Fordable Water Depth:||24 Inches|
|Grade Capability:||60 percent|
|Warranty:||12-Month Limited Warranty|
|Colors:||Olive Drab, Forest Green, Black, Yellow, Red, Orange|