View Full Version : Rokon Trailbreaker?

07-11-2011, 01:11 PM
Just wondering if anybody has experience with these? I know they aren't for everyone, but I've been lusting after one for a while. I'm definitely going to need to throw a leg over one to make sure I don't hate the way they ride before committing, but I can see certain advantages for getting to and riding around my remote property, plus I won't necessarily need to use a trailer, since I can put a hitch carrier on the back of my truck/jeep. I think I'd even be able to use it year round unlike a 4 wheeler, since there are normally packed down snow machine trails (made by my neighbors) going to where I need to go. I'll eventually want to get a snowmachine, but I doubt I'll be able to afford both a wheeler for summer, and a snowgo for winter for a few years.

Of course, the big disadvantages are slow speed and rudimentary/no suspension. I'm past the age where I find a lot of value in hauling ass down the trail, and I'm still riding a totally unsuspended 1981 Honda 3 wheeler. It definitely reminds me that I'm not 20 years old anymore, but a 2 wheeler is better able to pick a less jarring trail, and Rokon recently started making front suspension available, and offers a suspended seat, so I'm not so worried about that as I once was.

Another reason I'm looking at them is because I'm totally non-plussed with the direction the ATV market in general has gone... Pretty much all the available 4 wheel quads are huge and heavy... We used to have a 300 honda that was a good balance of capability and lightness, though I thought it was a bit on the heavy side, and you've got to have a winch. My 3 wheeler is light enough that I can usually lift it out, or failing that use one of the small folding come-alongs to unstick it. Been kicking myself for years that I didn't buy a pair of Yamaha Timberwolves while they were still making them; that was a light, agile 230cc 4x4. Wish Honda would make a 4x4 version of their Recon 230cc quad.

Just wanting to hear from people who have direct experience using the Rokons, if possible.

07-11-2011, 01:40 PM
The Ole man had one of the first to hit the area when they came out, even had the sealed wheels you cold fill with gas and float the whole thing across the river, for the ruff county think of it as riding a billy goat, the damn things will flat climb and go over stuff, never saw use for the side car, but have packed out several pigs and small deer on the rear luggage rack

Dave Sauer
07-11-2011, 01:50 PM
Had one and loved it. Wish I still had it. Got it used and refurbed it. Mine had the tractor tread tires. If you could hold on it would climb it...with a load. I took it deer hunting a lot. I had surplus canvas bags I used for saddle bags and rack up front I strapped stuff to. I played with it in the snow too. Drug my kids behind it on a saucer. With the big tires you just run low pressure for the "suspension". A friend had one and had a set of shorter, wider knobby tires that were even better as far as the ride went.

07-12-2011, 12:13 AM
I've got a '73, with the Chrysler 2 smoker. Works pretty well for what it is. It's not something that you'd want to spend hours on, or do long distances with. Pretty simple system, not economical on gas though, but the newer 4 strokes (factory uses Kohler), are much quieter and better on the pocketbook. Even better is either buy or build a Hondakon - Rokon frame and drive system powered by a Honda CT or Chicom clone. Good thing about the 2 stroke is that they're light, so you can drag or lift them out of tough spots. Pretty minimalistic too, no safety guards, open chain and sprocket and lots of it hehe. These bikes are for those guys that can keep their boogerpickers to themselves, otherwise they'll get ripped off pretty fast.

As far as how they ride, like you mentioned, they came out with leading link suspension a while back as an accessory.

If you want lots more info, the place I hang out for Rokon info is over at Bob Gallagher's forum.

I like mine. For longer trips or faster ones I have a Honda XR.

07-12-2011, 05:02 AM
Thanks for the replies. My brother is a high speed quad guy and has been trying to talk me out of it. Probably be at least a year or two before I can swing a new machine anyway.

07-12-2011, 06:51 AM
Where's Jack-O? He was the one that turned my attention to the ROKON when I first joined here and has some good info. I too have lost all desire to go a gazillion miles per hour and would much rather go slow, steady and down the untraveled trail. It seems like one of the best solutions for having your off-road vehicle with you all the time as opposed to hauling a trailer.

Matthew Sweeney
07-12-2011, 08:35 AM
From what I have heard of them they are pretty awesome...not real fast...but they can get into the rugged terrain.

07-12-2011, 09:35 AM
Never heard of them, so I went looking. OOOOh I want one...

07-12-2011, 11:42 AM
Well, they're unique. Good load bearing capabilities too, if you need that. Lots of mods out there too, everything from suspension to engine to muffler upgrades. There are some reliability upgrades that are must haves, but those're also model dependant, so until you get one doesn't make much sense to start buying stuff. I personally like the real old ones, the 2 smoker version, just for the simplicity. Having to do pre-mix isn't a big deal, especially since I'm not going very far on the bike, and always stay within range of camp or the truck, unlike with the XR, where I can be 200 miles from camp at the end of a day.

If you look at used ones, and it's your first purchase, stay away from non-runners, or parts bikes. The parts to complete them are still available out there, but the more major assemblies can be tough to find, and will be a bit costly. Especially the three speed trannies, the Albions. IAC, get a runner, and keep it maintained, don't abuse it, and it'll last a long long time.

As far as capabilities go, in extremely rough terrain they're a bit better than a regular dirt bike of the same weight. I can manhandle an XR80 just like a TB, and go pretty much the same places, even faster actually. Where the Rokon shines is in soft, level stuff - mud, sand, and the like. The other thing I like about them is a low footprint. When I go out to Arizona with it, I can go across desert pavements with little trace compared to the XR. A real tracker would still have no problem, but the average person wouldn't see a trace of where I've been. Which can be a good thing.

07-12-2011, 01:33 PM
When the time comes I'll probably just get a new one, unless I can find a near-new one in good condition at a good price. They come up for sale around here once in a while, but not very often and you have to keep watching for them. I hate 2 stroke engines with a passion... I don't think I'd bother with the side car, just a trailer hitch so I can use my existing wheeler trailer and maybe get their single wheel narrow track unit or build something similar on my own. Not sure if I want the hollow wheels for carrying fuel/water. I'd be afraid that much surface area on the sides would be a real liability for crossing fast streams; the spoke wheels would allow for more flow through of water, and therefore a safer crossing. If I want to float it across somewhere I can bring a couple inner tubes, some 550 cord, and a pump, but I doubt if I'd ever have reason to do that. Be nice to be able to mount a rifle scabbard on the front forks like I had on my 3 wheeler for a while. I don't like having to totally dismount to be able to access a long gun.

07-12-2011, 01:44 PM
I think you will like it, I think they do better then dirt baikes in the woods, never could convinec the Ole man to get the side car for it, I have talked to one PH who works in Az that has one and hauls out his hog takes.

Just for grins if I wanted a side car version that was trail worthy I would look the Russian Ural

Just my extra two cents

07-12-2011, 08:19 PM
Jacko was booted off from here but he loves his, just rode like 30 miles on it on some serious trails, hope to go ride with him with my Arctic cat 700's.

07-17-2011, 09:32 PM
I saw a man and a woman riding one down main street in Deadwood last week, it had a sidecar and a leather saddle scabbard strapped to the front fork with a levergun in it. Pretty cool.

07-18-2011, 10:20 AM
Made a long post on the Rokon & Ural both...
Hopefully it is merely delayed in transmission and not lost into some cyber black hole.
It'll take awhile to re-write if it is "gone".

07-18-2011, 12:25 PM
"Once more unto the breach...."
Rokon 1st:
There's quite a few things wrong and alot right with the MOTOTRACTOR.
I have run one for several years now, hauled wood and gone alot of places I used to travel hossback and a few where I'de be afraid of bogging a caballo down.
They are expensive.
Aircleaner is fragile trash that would not last on a lawnmower.
Seat is poorly-made/low-bidder thing dictated by bean-counters, no doubt. (The milk goat had a higher opinion of it and ate some of the poorly stitched and staple onto a warped/delaminated interior plywood base, cover & too flabbly foam rubber stuffing.)
New leading link front end is not that great...As long as you have the balloon tires you'de be better off with the simpler, stonger, more reliable GIRDER, un-sprung front end than the peculiarly named "auto-grab" one.
Kohler engine has the poorest factory helpfulness I have ever heard of.

Welding brackets on so as to mount my spare Ural solo seat this afternoon in place of the "thing" perpatrated by Rokon's bean-counters.
Made my own air-cleaner with a K&N and a UNI foam filter over it routed up under the lower front of the fuel tank(less dust and better water fording ability.)
I routed it there on a piece of radiator hose run from a right angle adaptor I made to bolt onto the little Mikuni carburetor where the bogus, eggshell-delicate, plastic airbox previously was.
It is stout and I have kicked it repeatedly with some stout brogans and it has not gone "bust".
I had to make an over-size main jet set since Kohler basically told me to poop in my hat when I wanted jet sets or a source from the manuf. of the carb. (tiny Mikuni) They would sell you all the "high altitude" jets you could afford at $35 to $40 apiece :-( Thanks ALOT, Kohler.)
The game carrier is a good accessory and hauls boxes left at the County Rd. by UPS or US Mail for us back to the place when I don't have the sidecar mounted.
The sidecar attatches with only ONE wing-nutted bolt, and amazingly WORKS.

The log-hauler from Rokon is a poorly-engineered, over-priced flop.(It now has a metal box on it to haul 800 to 1,000 lbs. of crushed rock to fill in potholes.)
I have ordered a log arch hauler from Northern for $200 that looks near the equal to the Ben Meadows forestry cat. one for near $600....All I'll have to do is weld a 1 7/8" hitch on the tongue of the log arch.

The Rokon will hill-climb like a slow mtn. goat up places I could not have gone when I was a kid with a large displacement Brit. single cyl. bike....At a slow walk instead of an all-out full throttle CHARGE.
You can cross logs that it would take a really talented trials rider to cross on a one wh. dr. motorcycle.
It will also cross boggy places that would probably stop an ATV and surely bog a horse down so bad you might have to shoot the poor sucker before he drowned.

The fan-cooled motor (get the Honda, NOT the Kohler! Better aircleaner on the Honda and they cannot be any worse to deal with for parts than Kohler) will not over-heat at low-speeds when rock-crawling.
The belt-drive torque convertor and 3 speed transfer case can provide decent road speed in 3rd.(25 mph+) to serious load hauling, log skidding power in 1st.

The Rokon is UNIQUE.
The Rokon is expensive.
(I'll let'chal know how the Ural solo seat works out on the Rokon, hopefully after I get home late afternoon today. :-)
The Rokon is expensive.


07-18-2011, 12:31 PM
Davo - that's pretty much the reasoning that I used when I went with my older '73. It's got the old Brit sprung leather saddle, which is actually pretty comfy. Two stroke works well for me, is very light and plenty of power. I run a Uni filter on it. Like you say, looks like the beancounters have been at it. I'll stick with the older design. Still haven't managed to break it, and one of these days I might even spring for new rubber (yeah, still has the original tires from '73 on it, rofl...on the plus side, I can use them as anvils if I need to shape anything)

07-18-2011, 04:58 PM
Really intersting feed-back on the OLDER model Rokon.
Practically having to arm-wrestle the welder fabricator to make a seat mount for the old style solo seat on my newer Rokon.
Today got wrecked by family catastrophe in wleder/mech's family, so new seat bracket is on "hold" for a day or two..(What the heck...I've put up with the factory abomination in ti's original and it's re-built form for long enough, I can wait another day or two ;-)
People mistake these things for a motorcycle...
They are as akin as a big riding burro is to a over-bred, pasture-raised horse.
Pretty hard to "improve" on the originals.
My modifications are kind of retrogressing :-)
New Rokons are EXPENSIVE...(Or did I already mention that? ;-)


07-18-2011, 05:58 PM
Russia acquired "thru a neutral country" 2 or 3 BMWs just before the war really got rolling.
It's really a shame they were not able to get the big Zundapp KS750 as that was a super rig for it's day.
External frame like a modern sportsbike, cyl. heads canted upwards from true 180 degree "Boxer" engine to a very slight V-twin to give better clearance to cyl. heads and exhaust header pipes, engageable sidecar wheel, but the real improvement over the BMWs, Russ. Dneipers and Urals was a hi-low transfer case allowing speed to match Wermacht marching speed of 3 mph. w/o lugging the low-end or rod bearign out of it. (or metric equivelant.)

The old flat-head bikes of WW2 had a low top-speed that was bettered by URal 650cc OHVs despite 100 cc drop in displacement, BUT I'll bet the OHVs don't have the low-speed torque and lugging power.

I have a 2010 Ural Gear Up, and I LOVE it!!!
I've had more than my share of problems, but the warrantee is an honorable one.
The main flaws are:
Only ONE tire really suited to dual-use, the K-37 4.00x19.
You don't have clearance to swing even cable chains on snow/ice/mud, but you can screw in Kold-Kutter ice-racing studs.
It is a 4-speed, but if the 4 that are already there were the same ratio with a FIFTH gear as a compound low, you could crawl over things you have to take a bit too fast, or abuse the clutch to get over/thru.
It has a high C.G....This is the price you pay for the 2wh. dr. and enough clearance to make bad road/mild off-road practible.

Good things about the Ural Gear Up:
It may not be the kind of off-road machine the Rokon is, but you can go most places an ATV can, plus you are street-legal and can cruise at 50 or 55 mph once you hit a good stretch of road.
Dave Hooker/"Mr.COB" on ADVRIDER makes some really fien modifications and parts liek skid-plates and WAY beefed-up L.crashbar/footpeg as well as a R.hand footboard.
He also modifes stock clutchplates so they are way less apt to warp and vents the bellhhousing to dissipate heat.

I made a post about sidecar outfits on some forum & was taken to task by some oaf who started his opinion thusly, "I'me not a motorcyclist, but a motorcylce/sidecar could not outrun a loaded mailtruck."
Well I didn't say anything about outrunning another vehicle, but I believe I did make the point that a passenger in the "hack" has a nearly 360 degree field of fire, interupted (hopefully! only by the "driver" and windshield if you have one. (I like mine, particularly in the winter and during hailstorms :-)
As to possible speeds...
Keeping in mind that if you are old and you crash hard it may be your death or put you in a wheelchair, mebbe even one like that Hawking guy has.
You can "drift" corners on sand/gravel/dirt roads much more securely than you can go at speed on an insecure surface on a two-wheeled machine (IMO)
I am deeply aware of this because if I bring a solo machine down on my re-built knee(s), I'll likely be using a walker or in a wheelchair.
When my TW200 would have the front wheel slide out on curves on the logging roads around here, I was able to stomp down and keep the bike from falling(barely)
(TW200 is a fairly light bike ham-strung by a narrow-ratio gearbox.)
Dave H. was a mech/advisor to a team wanting to run an Ural Gear Up in the Baja...They hired Joe-Go-Fast, some 4 whl. hotdog who burnt-out because of a lack of condition (he'de been warned that it was not the same as driving a 4whl vehicle, but knew too much to listen...), after the 1st day. (It takes some muscle as well as skill to really push a big hack FAST.)
So, they asked gray-haired Dave H., APC driver during Viet war and about my age to drive...
Dave was passing stock-engined Baja Bugs and dune buggies and really gaining ground when put out by a freak mech. accident.
So much for the "mailtruck" metaphor and eejits who know nothing of motorcycles much less sidecar outfits.

IF you get after market shift levers you can take a run at a hill and get more power to the groudn in one wh. dr. and then shift into 2 wh. mode when you hit loose stuff where one "pusher" tire will spin.

MPG on the road is 30 to 35 mpg. and there are NO damned computers or throttle body injectors where carburetors should be.

I am trying to adapt a Kubota tractor cyclonic two-stage air cleaner to my big Ural. (I am kind of fetished about clean air for my steel ponies ;-)

Great machine...You can pack three people and small ammount of gear weapons/two people and a fair ammount of weapons and supplies, spares, tools etc., or one person and LOTS of gear :-)
There's a DVD/Utube movie of a Gear Up and passenger being flung around fst & HARD in the dirt and on dirt roads complete w/PKM LMG, and another segment where they deploy a belt-fed grenade launcher quick, fire chunk-chunk-chunk, throw it back in the rig and take off. Also AT rockets. (If you were on the receiving end, "Don't you hate it when THAT happens?" ;-)
Militarily, sidecar outfits were better as scouts and in the advance than in retreat...
So the Germans found out after Stalingrad and Kursk, and concentrated more on manuf. Kublewagons with their depleted resources since these worked better for running in front of the Russians who were after payback for the 600 villages and occupants burned by the nazi freaks, in addition to their other tircks and atrocities.

If you are interested you can find LOTS on Youtube, ADVRIDER.com and others....(also my previous post "My Russian Troika")

Urals are expensive, but extremely COOL, and there is nothing else like them outside of WW2 museums.

I'll be happy to corresspond with anyone who is interested in Urals or Rokons. ( dave3220@mac.com ) (Please do not fwd. any viagra ads or messages from mid-eastern/n.african fraud artists who want to "give me" a million dollars if I'll just send them enough $s to grease the wheels :-) (So they can buy more semtex for their islamic bum-buddies to make IEDs with after they pluck a few more suckers :-(

Davo/journeyman curmudgeon, subsistance hunter & sidecarist

07-19-2011, 03:30 PM
Got the spare Ural solo seat mounted in what I hope will be the right position....
MUCH better looking....Like the"classic" Rokon rather than the low-bidder-built abomination foisted on buyers of NEW Rokons.

I have just cut-out and inserted 5/8" foam pad cut out of sleeping bag pad in place of the Russian faom rubber in the seat cover that compresses to the thickness and padding same as 2-ply paper towel.

An Ural seat w/suspension & mount is $200 plus (Obama funbucks don't go very far :-(

The machine is pretty good once you and brushguards to protect the brake levers and juice brake reservoirs, re-place the tacky, easily broken parts(seat, aircleaner, tail light....), weld the eyes on the lower bracket legs of the front rack SHUT so if you crash you won't spring them off the thru-bolts.

You also have to use compressed air to blow the dust and crud out of the centrifical clutch/torque convertor on a regular basis.

It is raining now, and while I am not made out of sugar, I AM still getting over dbl. pneu. , so test ride will have to mebbe wait until tomorrow, if it is not still coming down like a cow widdling on a flat rock.....

I went to alot of trouble and expence to finally get saddles fromy horses that fit them and ME, and was a great deal ahppier once I had done so.
A better saddle on the Rokon will make a big difference, at lest to ME. (Hope I got it right! :-)


Craig R
07-19-2011, 04:10 PM
I have ridden one several times (slowly) and loved it. It's no Honda CR 500 but that's appealing too. The factory is about 10 miles from my house in New Hampshire and there are several people that own ROKONS in my area.

07-20-2011, 05:28 AM
Thanks for the replies. I'm a big fan of Honda engines anyway; looks like you lose a little speed on the top end (ha!), but it would be worth it for the reliability plus Honda parts are all over the place up here. The model that comes standard with the Honda engine (Scout) has the spoke rims, which are what I would want anyway. If it turns out I need the extra fuel capacity I could always order the drum wheels later on, but I doubt if it will be necessary. I probably won't be able to get one for another year, but I definitely need to try one sometime. Bummer about the seat, but it might just give me an excuse to make one out of temperfoam or something like that. It'd be expensive, but easy enough to do.

07-20-2011, 09:57 AM
Ural solo seat w/rubber-block suspension is a BIG success!
I went for a ride and deliberately did not rise on the footpegs and aimed for the rocks and potholes in the trail, small wind-thrown trees, went over steep kelly-humps and torn-up skidtrails and the Ural seat is GREAT!
It may be a sort of mediocre MOTORCYCLE seat, but it is first-rate on a MOTOTRACTOR.
My butt and my low-back did NOT pain me even tho handlebar shock has left my throttlehand a bit sore this morning.

I also replaced the eastern European "foam rubber" lining in the seat cover with closed-cell 5/8" sleeping bag pad foam.
Just don't allow your tailbone to rest on the fwd. pointy pit of the seat that is directly over the hinge of it's suspension!
Keep your hip pockets against the low "cantleboard and you will get a comfortable ride.

I may still put a tractor two-stage aircleaner on the Rokon, and expanded metal mesh floor in the sidecar (so the sawdust, chips, bark, mud & snow will drop thru, and it will give good traction to boot soles even when wet or frozen, unlike the plywood floor), and I think I'de prefer the girder front end over the complicated "auto-grab" leading link one.

If you get the spoke wheels, you may have enough clearance with the narrower tube-type tires to wrap rope around the tire, thru the spokes to "chain-up" like on old spoke-wheeled autos. (I believe the ballon-type tubeless tires give a better "ride".

Re. the new seat: 'Bout time the "blind hog found an akern"! :-)

07-20-2011, 11:57 AM
They list a 15" spoke wheel now, which is what I would get. I'd be using the standard tires for clearance, and the 15" spokes should minimize the side area for safer stream crossings.

07-20-2011, 01:01 PM
"Doing Amazing Things, Slowly, (& Expensively)".....(Mebbe a new motto for Rokon? ;-)

Two-wheel drive is something un-needed for "normal" trail-riding or backroads 99.9+% of the time.
Where it is really appreciated is deep mud, snow, clawing your way up out of an arroyo or steep-banked creek.
Also for REAL "off-roading"....(Over logs and blow-downs, crawling over and out of "kelly-humps"/"tank-traps", etc.)
The Rokon will amaze you, particularly if you have had experience with regular motorcycles.

Just make sure you REALLY need all that ability before you sell-out your $obama-fun-bucks$ (tm)


08-03-2011, 01:07 PM
Hello! Please tell me how to find Bob Gallagher's forum. Considering buying a Rokon Trail Breaker and would like info/thoughts/opinions about the auto grab, and anything else anyone can share. Thanks for the help.

08-03-2011, 01:23 PM
If you do a google search on Bob Gallagher's Rokon Forum, this'll pop up: http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=rokon&nav=start&prettyurl=%2Frokon%2Fstart

Google's amazing, eh? (yeah, sorry, smart comment...I know. Hehehe...welcome to the forum in any case!)

If it were me, I wouldn't bother with the autograb, just more weight, cost, and complexity. If you want a smoother ride, air down and that'll work fine. But then again, I'm a neanderthal with a two stroke rokon made about forty years ago, hehe. You might not want to listen to me LOL. The Kohler and Hondakon versions are much quieter, but also more expensive, heavier, and higher maintenance. The Power Bee is basically a chainsaw motor, not much you can do to quiet it down. Even if you get a better muffler/exhaust on it there's still tons of engine noise...but if I want stealth I'll use electric. Animals don't really care about the noise when you're going hunting, but shut that engine down and watch them haul off....

That being said, if you're looking for quiet, I'd go with a Honda CT engine. Possibly a Lifan, but I haven't had FNV with that, other than hearing folks like them. If I ever fry this power bee, I might go for a Honda CT transplant, but I'll keep it a 70cc or 90cc. Still plenty of capability with the two speed tranny on them. Probably have to ditch the albion though, don't think it could handle the additional torque unless it's modded.

08-03-2011, 01:52 PM
Uh-huh, I guess I deserved that. If I were smart and savvy enough to know how to use those emoticons, I'd use the one that's slapping his hand on his head. Heck, I'll try it: :facepalm2: Did it work?? Just so it's clear, I laughed when I read your Google comment. Maybe I should have opted for the DOH emoticon . . . .

Anyway, I am but the designated typist for the brains of the partnership; Jim's the guy who's looking at the Rokon, but he doesn't type. :) However, he understood everything you wrote. (I didn't.) You gave us exactly what he were looking for -- and we appreciate it. Thanks for responding so quickly and giving us the benefit of your knowledge and experience.

(Any actually, both of us enjoyed the smart alec comment.)

Might be back with more questions. Hope you won't mind helping if you see us here again.