Choosing an off-road motorcycle is about balancing pavement manners with dirt performance. The Triumph Scrambler and modified Indian Scout Sixty can venture off-pavement, but they’re heavier and more expensive. Dual sports can freely transition between gravel and asphalt, but their designs skew more towards dirt bikes than street ones. And the Ural’s 2WD and old-school design is balanced out by its sidecar dynamics. But, if ultimate motorcycle off-road capability is what you’re after, you should consider the Rokon Trail-Breaker.
The Rokon Trail-Breaker
As VisorDown reports, the original 1958 Trail-Breaker prototype was actually the world’s first all-wheel drive motorcycle. Since then, the Rokon Trail-Breaker has stayed remarkably close to its roots as a utilitarian workhorse.
The front disc brake is now hydraulic, and the front suspension has been updated for increased comfort, Car and Driver reports. And, in 2012, the engine was upgraded to a 208cc air-cooled carbureted single-cylinder that makes 7 hp and 9 lb-ft. That’s not much more than a Honda Grom, and even with a weight of 218 pounds, the Rokon’s top speed is 35 mph. Not exactly Paris-Dakar-winning speed.
However, as Rokon president Tom Blais told Motorcyclist, speed was sacrificed for torque and carrying capacity. The frame alone can carry 600 pounds, and the Trail-Breaker can dead-drag 800 more. Or, if it’s on a wheeled trailer, 2000 lbs.
Then, there’s the two-wheel drive and off-road features, which make the Trail-Breaker into a two-wheeled version of the Sherp ATV.
How good is the Rokon Trail-Breaker off-road?
In addition to permanent 2WD, the Rokon Trail-Breaker has 14” of ground clearance, with 8” of front suspension travel, and 8”-wide tractor tires. The bike can climb a 60% grade, and wade into water 24” deep. And to make riding easier, it actually has a CVT, Cycle World reports. There are gears, but they function as range selectors, something like 4Lo and 4Hi.
The wheels are actually hollow, and let the Rokon Trail-Breaker float somewhat. But they can also be filled with water or gasoline. Each has a 2.5-gallon capacity, potentially increasing the bike’s range from 200 miles to 600 miles. There’re also some additional accessories, including cargo racks, log carriers, tow hitches, a survival kit, and even a sidecar. Also available are trail maintenance kits and rescue trailers.
These accessories come in handy for some of the Rokon Trail-Breaker’s notable owners. Rokon claims the bike has been used by the US Armed Forces, Forest Service, as well as Fish and Game officers. And Motorcyclist reports the Trail-Breaker’s been ridden through the Chilean Andes and even the Darien Gap.
The Rokon Trail-Breaker is like the Sherp in another way: it’s not road-legal. However, at $7775, it’s significantly cheaper than the Sherp.
There are cheaper and faster dirt bikes, but they’re arguably not as capable, especially when it comes to towing. And although some ATVs cost less than the Trail-Breaker, they’re less maneuverable on tight trails.
Luckily, Rokon does have alternative bikes. The Scout is basically a slightly stripped-down Trail-Breaker: same 2WD and off-road capabilities, only $800 cheaper. And for those who want to venture beyond the mud, the $8575 Ranger is DOT-approved in all but California. It’s also faster, topping out at 37 mph.
So go ahead, trail riders, and Rokon.
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