I’ve always been fascinated by the Rokon Trail-Breaker. It’s got charmingly oddball looks, and it’s two-wheel drive. But there’s a surprising dearth of information about these curiosities on the interwebs. So I was overjoyed when Robert Galbraith of Rochester, Minnesota, emailed me with images of his own Rokon.
Galbraith’s interest in Rokon was piqued in the mid-90s after he read an article in the Old Bike Journal. “Like many others, I had occasionally seen pictures of the Trail-Breaker in motorcycle magazines when I was younger—but gave them very little thought. I was amazed to find that the machines are still being made today.” Galbraith promptly bought himself a new 1996 Rokon.
The beautifully-restored Rokon we’re looking at here, however, is much older—a 1972 model. The story starts when Galbraith was tipped off by a work colleague, who had seen an older Trail-Breaker being ridden nearby. “The next weekend I went knocking on doors trying to find the owner. I not only found the owner, but also discovered that he wanted to sell the machine. It was running and complete, but with the blemishes of decades of service.”
The bike was just asking to be restored, so Galbraith bought it and set about the task. He sandblasted and powder coated the frame, restored all the chrome, recovered the seat, and laid on fresh paint. “The most time consuming part of my effort was the endless wet-sanding and polishing of the aluminum parts to bring them to a mirror finish, including the hollow drum wheels,” says Galbraith. “This Rokon looks better than any factory fresh example.”
Rokon Trail-Breakers only have around eight horsepower. But thanks to the super-low gearing, they’re almost unstoppable. “It’s particularly fun to come up to a tree, give it some throttle, and simply walk up the tree trunk,” says Galbraith.