Curbside Classic: 1972 Rokon Trail Breaker — The Two-Wheel Drive…

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Rokon Trail-Breaker

Curbside Classic: 1972 Trail Breaker – The Drive Motorcycle That’s Rocking On For Over Fifty

September 3, 2013

Californian Fehn first had the idea to and build a two-wheel drive in the late fifties, and was eventually a patent in 1963. It’s a long and rocky road for his Breaker”; the number of legal and plants that have his invention is long, but it’s being made today, and it changed fundamentally during all time. Sometimes a good just won’t quit, no what the obstacles.

Here’s Fehn with the the first demo “Trailmaker” (later “Trail Breaker”) on the dunes in

And here’s the patent from The one I stumbled into as it was being on the owner’s driveway is a 1972.

And now we the current Trail Breaker. it’s evolved a bit, but it has the same basic frame and system, even if it has acquired a engine, smaller wheels and a suspension.

There are just things only a Rokon can do, or at least do like being floated a river thanks to its giant aluminum wheels. Or if they’re up with fuel, be able to hundreds of miles of wilderness worrying where the next gas is going to be.

Let’s take a at what makes this goat so effective. Well, big 15″ tires borrowed a small tractor is a good The air valve is on the left; about 5 psi is

And the cap to convert them to a reserve tank is on the right. Realistically, are some downsides to using as fuel tanks, like a affect on the bike’s handling. And I you need to have an air pump too.

But let’s jump to turns them both, with the engine. A number of were used in the very few years, but it soon settled to a 134 cc West Bend mill. are descendents of the first popular outboard motors built by Bend for Elgin and Sears. It to become a the first really go-cart engine in the fifties, as as other applications. Chrysler took over West in 1965, so this is technically a engine.

In the eighties, Brunswick took marine division off their and today its descendent is still built by U.S.Motor Power in

But recent Rokons have to both Honda and Kohler strokes, which has pros and The four strokes meet CA regs and have excellent but climbing up radically steep has caused oil starvation in some bikes. That obviously happen with the two-….

A clutch takes up the power and it to the input shaft of the transmission via blue belt. That’s the for the transmission, like an old Harley.

That transmission caught my with that name on the case. Sound rather eh? Well so it is, a venerable three-speed unit dating back to the no less.

It’s withstood the of time, although more Rokons use a Salisbury torque similar to the ones used in

The output from the Albion is up to a jack-shaft via chain, that has the 90 degree take-off for the front I should have taken the off and gotten a better shot of it, but the a central shaft that forward through the frame

But I did shoot a close-up, so here it is. but I’m a bit of a fanatic about and showing these kind of And I’m always amazed at how it is to find good detailed of lots of details of cars’ and insides and such.

Rokon Trail-Breaker
Rokon Trail-Breaker

Someone fifty years now will thank me…hopefully.

Tony, the Rokon’s owner, did the seat off, to show me its origins as a scooter seat for or Lambrettas.

You’re looking at the power shaft meets the fork assembly. That both a CV joint as well as an clutch, a critical component. a bike is in a turn, the front traces a larger arc than the wheel, so it has to be able to roll a bit

The over-ride clutch allows that. The current Rokon has a clutch that automatically the front wheel drive  at handlebar lock, allowing the wheel to spin out a bit at will, can be helpful in positioning a bike in situations.

This is the front end of power shaft, and here it another 90 degree turn, for the drive to the front wheel. On the side of that shaft is the brake on this Rokon, a actuated disc brake. was the first bike to use a disc but at first glance it might odd to see it here on the front wheel.

But since the wheels are always it brakes both wheels It looks a bit feeble, but Tony it does the job.

It’s not it has to brake the Trail Blazer blazing speeds. Top speed is 25 mph, although newer can go somewhat faster. First is as slow as it needs to be, including over giant logs, up the of the Empire State Building, and obstacles.

Instead of talking the Trail Breaker’s capabilities, see them in action. But not a current rather one from the sixties, as is of this living dinosaur.

Now I haven’t really covered the Breaker’s long and convoluted and manufacturing history. It’s messy, and maybe a bit tedious. the best detailed history of the out there.

And let’s just say Rokons are being built in  a small family-owned in New Hampshire. And it wouldn’t surprise me if still are fifty years now. Some ideas are to improve on.

Rokon Trail-Breaker
Rokon Trail-Breaker
Rokon Trail-Breaker
Rokon Trail-Breaker

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