M1nsk TRX 300i – Ready for a 250cc Adventure Bike?
The first lightweight "True" Adventure Bike with an affordable price tag.
The release of the new M1nsk TRX 300i 250cc Adventure Bike is exciting news for the Adventure Touring community. Clearly, there is a gap in the market for lightweight Adventure Motorcycles with low seat heights. If you are a smaller rider and you have a dream of traveling the world, you are probably frustrated with your current choices.
You could try the low seat height version of the BMW F650GS, but you still need to have the strength to handle a 400 lb. motorcycle. You could also modify a 250cc Dual Sport motorcycle like the Yamaha XT250 for long-range travel, but that will require a lot of aftermarket customization.
There is no shortage of Adventure Bike models in the 1000cc category now. In order to continue expansion of the Adventure Touring Segment, manufacturers need to begin developing new areas of the market. With the average height of 5’4″ (1.63 meters), most women find it challenging to ride any of the Adventure Bikes currently available. There are plenty of smaller men that would rather be touching both feet on the ground as well.
With the increased popularity of Adventure Touring, there are a lot of new Adventure Riders entering the market. Even if you are averaged height, learning to ride off-road on a middle-weight Adventure Bike (650cc-800cc) can stunt the development of your dirt skills. A low seat height, lightweight Adventure Bike is a more desirable choice for gaining off-road skills and an affordable price tag will attract more new riders.
The newly released M1nsk TRX 300i, may be the perfect solution for this untapped market. The TRX 300i is the first “True” Adventure Bike with a 250cc engine and affordable price tag to appear on the scene. Another small Adventure Bike that recently entered the market is the British built CCM GP450. But at roughly $11,000 USD (based on UK price before taxes) you could buy almost three TRX 300i’s.
Dual Sport bikes in the 250cc range are available, but they don’t have the long range travel capability. The TRX 300i incorporates essential Adventure Touring equipment like a windscreen, large tank, electronic fuel injection, LED headlight and comfortable seating. This is a real Adventure Bike, not a converted Dual Sport, and even includes panniers, top box, crash bars and wire spoked rims as standard equipment.
With any 250cc motorcycle, your first concern is lack of power. How would this bike handle touring duties with a full-sized adult and luggage? The TRX 300i appears to have good power output for a 250cc. At 26 HP, the bike is more than a match for Honda’s new CRF250L (20 HP). Claimed top speed is 86 mph for the M1nsk which would have it nipping at the heels of a Kawasaki KLR650 in a speed race. Those numbers should be adequate for riders that are not seeking a high-performance motorcycle.
The TRX 300i weighs in at 342 lbs (155kg) dry. That may be a bit heavy for a small Dual Sport, but it’s a featherweight for an Adventure Bike. For comparison, the M1nsk is 44 lbs. (20 kg.) less than Kawasaki KLR650 and 50 lbs. (22.7 kg.) less than the BMW F650GS.
Seat height is also low at 31.3 inches (795 mm.)*. This puts it at around the same seat height as the low version of the BMW F650GS (but with a significant weight advantage). With an accessible seat height and low weight, the TRX 300i should provide good confidence for new Adventure Riders off-road.
|Adventure Bike Models||HP||Torque|
|M1nsk TRX 300i||26.0||16.6*||342||86||31.3*||$4.4k-$4.8k*|
*** Based on UK price before taxes
So what is a M1nsk?
The M1nsk motorcycle company has been around since 1951 when the USSR took control of German DKW Motorcycles as part of WWII reparations. They began building a version of the DKW RT125 in Moscow under the M1A brand. Eventually, the factory moved to Belarus where they built bikes under the Minsk brand. Minsk motorcycles were successful in motocross competitions and were a popular export to other European countries.
In 2007, the company became private and began using the brand name M1nsk. Today the M1nsk company has a modern production facility and R&D center. They produce snowmobiles, ATV’s, Scooters, Dirt Bikes, and retro styled bikes reminiscent of their old models.
So how did M1nsk pull off such an impressive new model design? Well actually they didn’t. The TRX 300i is a rebadged Chinese motorcycle, the Zongshen RX3 (ZS250GY-3). It’s the perfect cover for a Chinese motorcycle hiding behind the prestige of a historic European brand. Chinese motorcycles may get a bad rap, but there is no denying that their quality is improving. Zongshen, founded in 1992, claims to have a yearly output of over 1,000,000 motorcycles and is known to have decent build quality for a Chinese brand.
Reviews of the Zongshen RX3 (currently available in China) have been hard to find. This article from China Motor World states that the bike is biased toward on-road usage. The short suspension travel can give a harsh ride on bumpy roads and the bike could also benefit from lower gearing during off-road use. However, the review praises the bike for its power and durable design.
The M1nsk company has also put the TRX 300i to the test by entering three bikes in the 6,200 mile (10,000 km) Brest-Dushanbe Rally. The rally traveled through the rugged terrain of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and all three bikes completed the journey. The Jury is still out on the reliability and performance of the M1nsk, but initial reports are promising.
M1nsk Enters The 10,000 km Brest-Dushanbe Rally
The M1nsk TRX 300i is an attractive and modern styled Adventure Bike that could open up Adventure Touring to a whole new group of riders. No doubt a 450cc version of the M1nsk would be more appealing for Adventure Travel, but this bike was designed to keep costs down and efficiency high. You can expect gas mileage in the mid-50’s to 60’s, giving you a range of 220-240 miles from the 4 gallon (15L) tank. The bike is expected to sell in the $4,400 to $4,800* range, which is a price point no other Adventure Bike comes close to.
So where can you buy a M1nsk TRX 300i?
Unfortunately, there are no plans announced yet for the TRX 300i to be distributed outside of Belarus. We have no information on M1nsk’s future plans for distribution of the bike, but it appears the company has their eye on the world market.
With the sales success of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Honda CBR250R, the market has shown that there is demand for smaller bikes. We’ve seen more exciting designs recently from motorcycle manufacturers as the economy has begun to rebound. Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before the TRX 300i arrives on American and Western European dealer floors, or at least a bike like it.
The Zongshen RX3 is now being imported to the US and Canadian markets through CSC Motorcycles under the model name Cyclone RX-3. The RX-3 has now been approved for sale in all 50 states. Read more about the Cyclone RX-3 here.