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ADV Bikes5,000 Mile Trip Answers Questions About Reliability of CSC RX-3

5,000 Mile Trip Answers Questions About Reliability of CSC RX-3

 300 miles a day at 7,500 rpm for 18 days straight tests this budget ADV Bike.

Published on 09.27.2015

The first crate full of CSC Cyclone RX-3 250s landed last April, less than a year after California-based CSC Motorcycles announced plans to import and rebrand the Zongshen RX3. While CSC’s pioneering venture is a story in its own right, the RX-3 is rapidly putting down roots in the adventure bike entry class.

Powered by a 250cc liquid-cooled engine, mated to a six-speed gearbox and fitted in a full-size frame, the RX-3 also comes with protective guards, panniers, top box and touring windshield, in short, an adventure-prepped bike out of the crate!


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The video above produced by Joe Gresh of Motorcyclist Magazine, shares highlights from a recent CSC sponsored tour of the Western United States. A group of Cyclone riders from the US, China and Colombia visited more than 10 different national and state parks on a 5,000 mile odyssey across 9 states. This trip, along with the inaugural 1,700-mile CSC Baja Run, demonstrate the capabilities of the little ADV bike for long-distance travel, it also leaves no doubt about the RX-3 making adventure riding more accessible.

5000 mile journey across us
CSC took a group of RX-3 riders on a 5,000 mile odyssey across 9 US states.

The value of hands-on ownership is also emphasized, in what may well coalesce into a cult mystique around the RX-3. The absence of a physical dealership network in favor of online infrastructure heralds a new way of servicing motorcycles, including a two-year unlimited mileage warranty on all RX-3s.

Concerns over reliability of this budget bike are discussed in the video, weaknesses mentioned include: faulty bulbs, worn chains, dead batteries, inconsistent brakes — the niggling details you might expect after a new motorcycle launch. And yet, there were no major failures, even after riding the bikes at 7,500 rpm for 18 days straight.

There’s also no quibble with the trusty, low-tech 25 HP motor that impresses with its 70 mpg plus economy, at about 300 miles daily and an average 75 mph for the duration of the trip. It’s true the SOHC over-square motor needs to be wrung out to get the full power, but getting into the powerband — and staying there — adds to the RX-3 lure.

CSC Cyclone RX-3
The RX-3 comes with protective guards, panniers, top box and touring windshield

Early accounts from owners speak highly of its handling. A lower seat at around 31” sits well with shorter riders without cramping taller riders, while the suspension is adequate without being spectacular. A 19” front wheel is offered as an option (instead of the standard 18”) to complement the standard 17” rear wheel, giving the Cyclone a wide range of dual sport knobby tire options to choose from. The standard Zongshen alternator has also been upgraded to push out 300 Watts of charging power, up from 220 W, and two 12-volt accessory ports have been fitted under the seat.

Stories from this trip are also included in a new book about the Cyclone titled “5000 miles at 8000 rpm.” The book also details CSC’s challenges on the path to bringing the Cyclone to the US and tales from their inagural 1,700-mile Baja Run.

The allure of the Cyclone RX-3 lies in the overall package, its DIY ruggedness and the promise of easy entry to adventure riding. At $3,495, the RX-3 represents excellent value, and with CSC’s new financing program, it’s even easier to own a Cyclone. Just $500 down and $100 per month gets you into the game.

For more information on the Cyclone RX-3, check out the CSC website.

Author: Derek Alberts
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15 thoughts on “5,000 Mile Trip Answers Questions About Reliability of CSC RX-3

  1. It costs more but my KLX 250 just reached 16000 miles, just swooped chain.. Other than that not even a bulb blown, or have I just been lucky?

    • Very good, Ade. The KLX is a good machine as are many others. The RX-3 isn’t for everybody, as it *invites* the owner to do their own maintenance being there will be no dealer network in the USA.

      Having said that, I’m enjoying my RX-3 mostly commuting at freeway speeds (rarely getting passed) with occasional short adventures. Little things I’ve noticed are the tapered handlebars are aluminum, a number of the bodywork fasteners aren’t magnetic (stainless?), but while the windscreen deflects air off the chest area it leaves my facial area right in the breeze which means I have to use my full face helmet, not my 3/4. So, I can’t smoke while riding it like I can my Gold Wing, so waiting 180-200 miles before topping off the gas makes my *Nicotine Low* warning light flash rapidly.

      One rider in Idaho has already exceeded 10k miles on his with no mechanical failures. At all.

  2. I’ve got a little over 2,500 miles on my RX-3 so far since I received the bike in July. Have not had a single failure yet. Did one trip fully loaded out that logged just shy of 1,000 miles with about 150 of that on dirt. So far, the best $3500 I’ve ever spent.

  3. Pingback: CSC Baja Ride - Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

  4. Excellent report. I’m very interested, having ridden Chinese-made bikes in Peru through some gnarly terrain and had an absolutely amazing 4-week trip there (look for ‘PERU: Unfinished Business on two Chinese bikes’ in ADVrider.com or check out my website motolara.com).

    Good to hear that they’re expanding their distribution in Canada, where I live 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this info ADVPulse! Cheers

  5. Pingback: Csc rx-3

    • I own an orange RX3 and live in Texas. I can confirm 75+ mph because any slower on most roads here and your toast. There are very few roads with a limit slower than 75, Most two lane roads are 70 mph and TX Highway 130 is 85 MPH. With a confirmed max speed of 84 mph it will do 75 easily.

    • Yea that’s my main gripe with the RX3. The speedometer has been tested to be around 10% off the actual speed and the odometer to be off about 6%. On my own bike my GPS said I was doing 61mph when my speedometer said I was doing 67. In order to get an 75mph avg speed you’d have to be doing an indicated 83ish mph.

  6. Why the discrepancy between the stated price in the article and the suggested price on their wed site. $3500 is a great deal, $7000 and I’ll look for something used from Japan.