2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3

Editor Score: 83.25%
Engine 17.5/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.5/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.5/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 7.75/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score83.25/100

In 1959 we laughed at the small-displacement step-throughs Honda brought to America. It didn’t take Soichiro long, though, to establish Honda as the world leader in motorcycle production. Again we laughed when, in 1992, the Korea-based Kia introduced the Sephia to U.S. consumers, then in 1998 merged with Hyundai. Last year the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group was the 5th-largest auto manufacturer in the world. The moto world has been scoffing at motorcycles from China, Taiwan and other Pacific Rim Asian countries for years now. Maybe it’s time we stopped.

The reason behind the arrest is the soon-to-be-available 2015 CSC Motorcycles Cyclone RX-3, a motorcycle with a quality of construction, fit and finish to rival bikes from Japan. And let’s face it, many of the bikes produced by the major Japanese OEMs (who we regard with such esteem) are constructed in factories outside of Japan. Sure, it’s a motorcycle constructed to Honda’s specifications, but it’s still a Honda built in Thailand. Or a Kawasaki. Or a Ducati.

CSC Motorcycles is probably best known for its line of modern Mustangs – the 250cc versions of which are powered by a Zongshen Single. Like Honda, Zongshen is a motor company – producing in the neighborhood of 4,000 engines per day – and one of China’s largest motorcycle manufacturers. The company is also active in a diversity of business ventures in addition to motorcycle production, and boasts of its alliances with companies such as BMW, Harley-Davidson and Piaggio.

CSC constructs a variety of Mustangs in 150cc and 250cc sizes.

CSC constructs a variety of Mustangs in 150cc and 250cc sizes.

Zongshen is the name you’ll see on the fuel tank badge when your CSC Cyclone RX-3 arrives because CSC is not rebranding this bike, instead choosing to promote the Zongshen brand stateside. CSC is responsible not only for selling the bikes but also spare parts, accessories and warranty issues. In an attempt to maintain affordable pricing and streamline after-the-sale service, CSC is approaching the tasks in a very non-traditional format.

Cyclone RX-3 sales are consumer direct from CSC Motorcycles with either partly assembled or fully assembled bikes (optional) shipped directly to the purchaser’s address. Included in the purchase is a complete service manual enabling the home mechanic to perform all necessary maintenance as well as warranty repairs. CSC says it’s working to make available online tutorials for oil changes, valve adjustments, chain adjustments, changing the fork oil, suspension adjustments, etc. For those desiring professional mechanical services, CSC says it will contract with local independent businesses to perform maintenance or warranty work.

Wind protection is surprisingly good. No significant head buffeting even with the billed Arai helmet. It’s a short reach to the handlebars, but the rider triangle is dimensionally appropriate for a variety of different-sized operators.

Wind protection is surprisingly good. No significant head buffeting even with the billed Arai helmet. It’s a short reach to the handlebars, but the rider triangle is dimensionally appropriate for a variety of different-sized operators.

As the only one of its kind, the Cyclone RX-3 owns the 250cc adventure-touring category. Comparably sized competitors include cruisers, sportbikes, nakeds, standards and retros from Honda, Kawasaki, Royal Enfield, Suzuki and Yamaha, as well as some lesser known OEMs. But when it comes to a motorcycle resembling a BMW R1200GS or Triumph Explorer in size 250cc, the Cyclone’s the only game in town.

2014 Lightweight Naked Shootout + Video

Dimensionally, the RX-3 is a Goldilocks – not too big and not too small. Its 31.3-inch seat height is shorter than full-size A-T bikes but minimally taller than the 250/300cc bikes from the OEMs mentioned above. Looking at the photos, it doesn’t appear that my five-foot eleven-inch, 185-pound frame is disproportionate to the bike. At 386 pounds (claimed curb weight), the Cyclone isn’t the lightest 250 to be found, but it’s sub-400 heft is much easier to manage in off-road circumstances than traditional full-size A-T bikes.

Navigating the 386-pound (claimed wet weight) Cyclone through the deep sand of this dry river wash was much easier than the more powerful but much heavier (out of frame) KTM Adventure.

Navigating the 386-pound (claimed wet weight) Cyclone through the deep sand of this dry river wash was much easier than the more powerful but much heavier (out of frame) KTM Adventure.

Zongshen claims 25 crank horsepower at 9000 rpm and 17 lb-ft. at 7000 rpm from the fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, SOHC, 4-valve Single, which is in line with the power ratings from many of the 250s from other OEMs. Launching the RX-3 from a stop requires spinning up the revs and finessing the clutch lever. It’d be an easier process if the friction zone was a little wider and not positioned at the very end of the clutch lever’s throw. Throttle response is without issue.

For $3,995 the Cyclone RX-3 comes exactly as pictured including luggage and crash guards. The lockable hard bags don’t hold much and don’t have a quick-release function, but it’s better than nothing. Missing are handlebar brush guards, included are passenger grab handles.

For $3,495 the Cyclone RX-3 comes exactly as pictured including luggage and crash guards. The lockable hard bags don’t hold much and don’t have a quick-release function, but it’s better than nothing. Missing are handlebar brush guards, included are passenger grab handles.

Once underway, the engine exhibits decent mid-range and top-end power. Freeway speeds of 65 mph and above are attainable, but the further you crest 70 mph, the more buzz enters the handlebars. Considering the counter-balanced engine is spinning 7700 rpm at an indicated 80 mph with only 1300 more revolutions to go until redline, there’s not much to complain about in the vibration department. The RX-3’s speedometer seems to be highly optimistic, as the speedo of a Kawi KLR650 ridden alongside registered just 72 mph while the Cyclone indicated 80 mph.

The Cyclone’s pavement prowess seems up to the task considering the speeds its capable of attaining. The front is suspended by a 37mm inverted fork and the rear by a preload and rebound adjustable monoshock. There were no glaring suspension issues, although the firm setting are perhaps a little stiff for road riding, but you have to consider the demand for the suspension units to also perform off-road. Which they will until pushed too hard, such as bottoming out when landing from only a mild jump (front/rear travel 5.4 and 5.6 inches, respectively).

More crucial to the Cyclone’s performance is its 15-inch rear wheel, which negates any real selection of available tires. In stock trim the Cyclone comes outfitted with semi-knobby CST tires that balance the street/dirt performance ratio with a decidedly street bias. CSC claims it will be offering a range of three tires including the tires we tested along with a set of street-only tires as well as a set of street-legal knobbies. The tire manufacturer for these optional tires was undetermined at time of publication. CSC will also be offering a 17-inch conversion kit (rim and laced hub) for $258.95. CSC is also developing a selection of accessories for the Cyclone.

The digital speedo has a gear position indicator and a fuel gauge, however, the fuel gauge was showing empty with a half-tank remaining. Idiot lights are small and dim.

The digital speedo has a gear position indicator and a fuel gauge, however, the fuel gauge was showing empty with a half-tank remaining. Idiot lights are small and dim.

The Cyclone comes outfitted with a single twin-piston caliper, front and rear, gripping a 262mm front disc and 258mm rear disc. Stopping power from the front set-up is dull. A different brake pad could improve stopping performance, but as tested, it was weaker than what it should be. The rear brake was overly touchy, locking up with little provocation, but this could be the result of a rear brake pedal positioned too high in relation to the footpeg.

The six-speed transmission was easy to row, the only real complaint being its elusive neutral position. The Cyclone’s 55.1-inch wheelbase is close to other bikes of equal displacement, while its 4.2 gallon fuel capacity a little larger than other competing models.


+ Highs

  • Only 250cc A-T bike around
  • Sized right
  • Unintimidating
– Sighs

  • 15-inch rear wheel
  • Ownership requires some level of mechanical ability
  • Unestablished U.S. presence

If prospective buyers are confident in their mechanical abilities, can get past not having the traditional dealer network, and trust Zongshen to produce motorcycles commensurate to that of what we’ve come to expect from the Japanese, we urge further investigation into purchasing a CSC Cyclone RX-3. In our opinion, you could do a helluva lot worse.

The RX-3 is the only 250cc adventure-touring bike on the market. So, unless you’re going to build your own A-T bike – keep in mind CSC offers a two-year unlimited mileage warranty – give the Cyclone your attention. You can stay abreast of future developments at the CSC blog site.

2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3 Specifications
MSRP $3,495
Horsepower 24.8 @ 9000 rpm (claimed at the crank)
Torque 16.6 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm (claimed)
Engine Capacity 249.7cc
Engine Type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single overhead cam, 4-valve single-cylinder with balance shaft
Bore x Stroke 77mm x 53.6mm
Compression 11.5:1
Fuel System Delphi EFI
Transmission 6-speed
Final Drive Chain
Frame 2mm thick polygonal steel
Front Suspension 37mm inverted fork, 5.1 inches of travel
Rear Suspension Preload adjustable monoshock, 5.6 inches of travel
Front Brake Twin-piston caliper, 262mm single disc
Rear Brake Twin-piston caliper, 258mm single disc
Front Tire 100/90-18
Rear Tire 130/90-15
Seat Height 31.3 inches
Wheelbase 55.1 inches
Rake/Trail 27°/4.58 inches
Curb Weight 386 lbs
Fuel Capacity 4.2 gal
Colors Orange, Blue, White, Red
Warranty 2 years unlimited mileage. The first year is parts and labor, the second year is parts only.

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  • JMDonald

    Can’t blame them for trying. Love those BMW styling cues. God bless em.

  • ted kolter

    Compared to what you can get for roughly $500 more, you would have to want “the look” awfully bad. I would rather have the much better bike with full dealership support
    (Just in case it’s needed). I would have thought this bike would have come in at a much lower price. Unless they overcome the typical china bike short coming’s listed above they won’t be around long, unless they really bring the price down. Nothing personal China. You just are not there yet in the ” western ” motorcycle world.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      CSC now has a 250cc dual-sport for only $1895.

  • Craig Hoffman

    A mix of interesting and awful. The engine, frame and inverted forks look decent. The instrument panel and 15″ rear wheel are awful.

    The direct sale model does not bother me. I order all my parts online and have not been to a dealer ever for service. Keep at it…

  • TalonMech

    I wouldn’t trust this thing to get me to the next county. Nevermind a real cross country adventure. I’ll have my bike in German, English, or Japanese. But the Chinese won’t be getting my motorcycling money. It’s hard to avoid Chinese products in every other facet of life, but I can still stay away from their motorbikes.

    • John Ferguson

      Actually, probably not…many “big 4” bikes ARE built in China now.

      • Bruce Steever

        Define “many.”

        Apart from a few entry-level machines like the GW250, it ain’t happening.

        Maybe you are confusing Thailand, Taiwan, or Brazil – those are different countries, dontcha know…

  • allworld

    This is a good choice for a first bike, you won’t spend a fortune and with the DIY manuals and tutorials you will learn a lot. As far as quality goes, I would not expect much better than what you buy at Harbor Freight. These are the types of bikes that young minds can explore their ideas and create the next generation of skilled riders.

    • dustysquito .

      It’s a decent option for a new first bike. Really the best option for a first bike is a lightly used bike. I like the styling on it, but all that bodywork that makes it look pretty also adds weight to an engine that isn’t making that much power to begin with. For $3500, the market for first bikes or small displacement commuting machines opens up quite a bit.

      • Steven Holmes

        On the flip side, you’re buying a spankin’ new machine with a warranty, and not potentially buying someone else’s problem. Could be a tough choice for a new rider, Especially if CSC offers any kind of financing options.

        Don’t get me wrong, $3500 will get you a great used machine but you’ve got to throw cash down at once (most cases) and you may not immediately see if the machine has been abused or not.

        Then on the other side of that, You may have a reputable used bike dealer in your area that would finance and warrant a lightly used ride at a reasonable price. .

        Could be a tough choice for a new rider (Was for me).

        • dustysquito .

          The warranty is a very valid point. I say used, simply because most people don’t keep their first bikes for very long. In most cases, it seems like riders either decide that motorcycles aren’t for them and sell their bikes after <100 miles or they put a couple thousand miles on a bike and decide that they want a bigger displacement, different styling, different usage, etc. Used bikes, especially beginner bikes, tend to hold their value quite well (at least where I live) when you do decide to move on.

          • Steven Holmes

            also a perfectly valid point. heck my first was a little GN400.. commuted on that thing for like 3 months and when i put it up on the market, it was gone in a flash. I got at least my base cost back (I lost out on the repairs but no complaints here). and If i had thrashed it with a crash or something, i wouldn’t still be stuck with the loan of a new bike. So I completely agree with you.

            both new and used have their merits. If i were a noob and absolutely had to have new this would be a good option. simple and affordable with lots of features… and not the worst POG out there.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          The warranty is parts and labor the first year and parts only the second year. But as there are no dealerships, you will have to find a local shop to do the repairs.

  • Yeah, I’m just not sold on this thing. This is like those “Superguy” dolls you can get in India that are knockoffs of Superman toys.

    I mean, if there are upfront questions about tires, what about the availability of all those other parts you’ll be expected to fix yourself? The savings you’ll make on this bike over an actual round-the-world do-all 250 like the Honda CRF250L is a false economy because you’ll be constantly replacing parts, spending days searching questionable parts websites, and waiting months for those parts to arrive from China.

    Equally, I don’t buy the “You’ll learn lots of things” argument. If you really want to spend $3,500 learning to fix bikes, go to a tech school and become a certified mechanic.

    • Joe Berk

      Chris, thanks for your comments. The bike and the approach to market are not for everybody, and it sounds like it’s not for you. I work for CSC and I can tell you we have all the parts for this motorcycle, just as we do with our other bikes. As for “constantly replacing parts,” I don’t know where that is coming from. On the air cooled engines we use from Zongshen on the modern Mustang, we are experiencing very high reliability. This motorcycle is already being sold in other countries and it is performing well.

    • thai-motorcycletours

      Have to say having owned an RX3 in Thailand , i have no problem reccommending them. We have some of the worst roads and some heavy trails and this bike inspires confidence and has now done 2,000km with me with out any problem . Oil change was easy and i like the fact that i get to know my bike personally when i get to work on it. We have 3 yr warranty on parts here in Thailand, and I have visited the factory just around the corner from me and plenty of spares believe me. We have been out in the rough terrain and kept up with all the Kwaks and Suzi’s. Yeah these are the real deal !!

  • Kevin

    Just what we needed, a $3500 disposable motorcycle

  • TDT

    Established manufacturers do have small displacement offerings in the adventure segment, they are just not offered in the US (I’m not gonna go into it, but from my experience most riders see 250 as learner bikes at best and despise them at worst).

    Honda offers the XRE300 that’s one wind shield away from being a nice adventure bike and Yamaha has the XTZ 250 Tenére.

    The XRE weights 332 lbs wet and is sold only in Brazil afaik while the baby Tenére tips the scales at 341 lbs and is sold across South America.

    • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

      Bring me the 250/300 Tenere!

  • priap1sm

    Knockoff brand and no dealer means no parts, and what if you can’t figure out something that ain’t quite right? I *might* trust it if it were a Honda, but from a Chinese manufacturer known for dodgy quality? Not the brand I’d want to take into the wilderness. And if it takes that much slipping to get it going on a flat, level street, I imagine it’d be a bitch to get up any real grades off road.

    The price is sweet, but you get what you pay for, unfortunately. I’ll take a used KLR, thanks.

    • Etnos

      Knockoff? Are adventure bikes trademark now?

      • priap1sm

        Most low cost bikes from China are copies of something else.

        • John Ferguson

          The Cyclone is not.

  • Rick Vera

    I think this is absolutely fantastic! I wish every motorcycle manufacturer would make online tutorials. I’d feel much more confident wrenching on my bike if I did. I know its sales approach won’t be for most people, but you have you appreciate their tenacity for penetrating this market if they’re willing to do this. Also, I just think the bike is freaking awesome.

    I love adventure-bikes, but I can only manage to get on a small number of them a 5’6″. Also, as my off-road experience is very limited, I found it challenging enough to pilot XT225s and TW200s through the sandy trails of southern New Jersey; I couldn’t imagine piloting a taller machine with hundreds of pounds of extra weight. The dual-sports are cool, but they don’t have the kind of weather protection and storage I’d want for a daily (and my parking situation demands I just have one motorcycle). With all that said, I’ve always hoped for a ~300cc, light-weight and low adventure bike. Something with enough oomph to go touring on still but light enough to where I can take it on more adventurous single-track trails than I would a big one. Perhaps I always pictured such bike being a Honda or Yamaha, but I think I’d be happy with this — probably.

    I too share some folks resistance to purchasing yet another Chinese-built product as its so prevalent everywhere else. Nonetheless, I think this is a good effort and if the big makes aren’t making this genre bike, at least someone is, and that’s a good thing for everyone.

  • Gerard Gatineau

    15″ rear wheel size? Oh, that will produce some great tire options…NOT!

  • Big Daddy

    I’ve been shopping around for a second bike. Something that I can use as a daily commuter, rack up a ton of mileage and wrench on myself without shelling out a bunch of cash. I’ll have to give this RX-3 a serious look once they’re available.

  • DickRuble

    The perfect bike to commute through and fro your sheep grazing grounds in Mongolia.

  • Steven Holmes

    I say… Good for them. There are TONS of options here in the U.S. for every picky citizen I live around. That is after all the beauty of an open market. this will appeal to people.

    I expand on a point that Tom make with an example. Look at Kia, and Hyundai for that matter. When those companies entered the U.S. market, their products were viewed as vastly inferior, disposable, budget transportation. a couple of brilliant marketing strategies later and they both have a huge footprint here. I see them everywhere. They’re inexpensive, easy to repair (if i can fix one, anyone can) and have low operating costs. They’re still making an inferior product compared to some others, but then… other well known manufacturers have worse crap too.

    Zongshen will just need time to establish themselves, by being in the market and letting smart *cough* consumers decide weather or not Zongshen’s products are for them.in 3-5 years, we’ll know where they are compared to the rest of what’s out there in the market. Time will tell.

    • Bruce Steever

      Based on what i’ve seen, Hyundai has not traveled far from its roots of “inferior, disposable, budget transportation.”

      But YMMV.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Nobody mentions Yugo. It didn’t go anywhere.

  • Vrooom

    Now if they can come out with a 450cc version, same weight, and maybe another $800.00 they’d have their selves an interesting proposition. I do all my own work, so that part doesn’t scare me. Touring on a bike with a practical top speed of 72 would try my patience.

    • Speedwayrn@yahoo.com

      Yeah In Texas you have to do interstate time just to get out of the damn state in any reasonable amount of time so higher top speeds for sure.

  • EssSee

    It seems there is a lot of concern about the reliability and quality of this bike because of its country of origin. To assume the Chinese are incapable of building a good bike is being simple minded. Chinese products range the full spectrum from worthless to outstanding. Quality and reliability of a product are a function of a manufacturers operational management systems and how well the product was designed. I think it’s good to be skeptical. That’s being a savvy consumer. However if we’re concerned about quality, the questions we should be asking are focused on how well Zongshen’s manufacturing processes are managed. If CSC has done their due diligence and they’ve validated that Zongshen has the right process controls in place, the probability is high that this bike will be of sufficient quality.

    I’m more concerned about the bike being underpowered for North America. Everything moves much faster on American roads now versus when 250cc was popular and practical.

    • Joe Berk

      EssSee, you make some good points. Here’s a bit of info about Zongshen and their process control:


      Incidentally, if any of you are in the So Cal area and you’d like to see the bike, give us a call. I’ll be in the Zongshen plant this week and next, but when I return, let me know if you’d like to test ride the bike and I’ll take you up in the mountains and on the freeway. The bike will do 84 mph; running at 70-75 on the freeway is no problem. I once rode a 150cc bike to Cabo and back; I have no qualms about doing the same on a 250. In fact, many of the folks who are buying the RX-3 are coming along on our Inaugural Baja Run. We’ll be riding halfway down the Baja peninsula to see the whales and to take in the sights. Best riding in the world, in my opinion.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I don’t think people are skeptical only because it is a Chinese bike (even though Zongshen is virtually unknown in the U.S.). People are skeptical because it is a 250cc ‘Adventure-Touring’ bike with limited freeway speed and insufficient wheel sizes and suspension travel to go off-road. Plus lack of a dealer network and having to do your own maintenance and repair scares most people.

      • Etnos

        I mean call me crazy but 1200 cc bikes have very little “adventure” in them, they just not practical.

        People all over the world do actually go into adventure for thousands of miles in small CC bikes in wild terrain.

        The whole giant Adventure bike remain me of the SUV craze back in the late 90s, no one really “need” them for what they suppose to do, even worst they are not even that suitable for their intended purpose. Marketing as design criteria.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          OK, so we don’t need 1200cc bikes for adventure travel. What bike size do we need to go 80-85 mph on the freeway with enough luggage, food, water, tools and spare parts for 5 days in the wilderness, along with a passenger and enough extra gas to cover 500 miles?

          • Etnos

            People do that in the himalayas, here in south america, and everywhere else with 200cc – 400cc engines

            Heck, I crossed most of México in a 200cc indian Bajaj, and I have a GS800 I rarely use mainly for 2 reasons:

            1) Weight
            2)I don’t wanna get robbed 😉

            GS are all about luxury, brand, and marketing… don’t get me wrong they pretty awesome luxury machines, that’s why I bought one… I wouldn’t go into real adventure with one though, god forbid some chip burns in the middle of nowhere, or you get stuck in the mud in a +200kg machine

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Etnos (what is your real name?), I agree with what you are saying about adventure travel in the third world, but you did not talk about adventure travel in the U.S. which is a different situation with the extensive freeway system and long distances to cover in a short time (that is if you are working full time). Maybe you are not in the U.S. If a chip burns in the U.S. you have it towed to the nearest BMW dealership. No big deal. You can be anywhere in the U.S. without being in the middle of nowhere. Spot and DeLorme work everywhere. And the first rule of adventure travel is: you never travel alone, always with two, three or four buddies, so if you are stuck, no problem. If your buddies have 1200GSs, they will not tolerate your slowpoke bike.

          • John Ferguson

            Off the top of my head,m I can think of a couple bikes that will do that easily…none are over 800cc.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You didn’t say which couple of bikes they are.

          • John Ferguson

            Off the top of my head, a Honda Pacific Coast, a Suzuki Burgman 650, a Kymco MyRoad 700, a Honda GL650 Silver Wing. All are fine for long-distance touring and will happily run 85+MPH, even 2-up.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            This discussion is about adventure bikes which go both on-road and off-road. You are talking about bikes that only go on the road.

      • John Ferguson

        People are “skeptical” because they have been conditioned to think that they need a 1000+cc bike. Anyone else old enough to remember when 650ccs was a big motorcycle? Now, it’s a “beginner’s” bike.

        News flash, people: you don’t actually need that much engine!

        • Sayyed Bashir

          From the Grammarist: “Skeptic is the preferred spelling in American and Canadian English”. Where do you live?

          • John Ferguson

            New Hampshire.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Why did you highlight “skeptical”? Besides, the size of motorcycle depends on the people you ride with. If you ride with Harley groups, you would ride a full size Harley. If you ride with BMW Adventure riders, you would ride a 1200cc or at least a 800cc bike. You have to stay with the group and be able to do the same things they are doing otherwise you cannot be part of the group. If you are going to ride alone, you can have any bike you want.

          • John Ferguson

            I do not ride with bike snobs, regardless of what they might ride.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            It has nothing to do with being a snob. It has to do with keeping up with the group. If you cannot keep up with the group, you cannot be part of the group. As I said before, if you ride alone, you do not have to keep up with anyone else.

          • John Ferguson

            I have had no trouble keeping up with the people I ride with on my Burgman. I had to get them to slow down once…we were on the highway, and the guy leading (on an ST1300) just kept going faster and faster. It had nothing to do with what I ride…he was just going WAY too fast.

    • Karl-Peter Ebner

      Everyrhing moves faster on American Roads ? I had just a 200 km ride on this Bike – believe me it will be very easy to be on the fast lanes in USA !
      By the way, my other Bike is a 170hp BMW k1200r and i had anyway fun with this rx 3 on Patagonian Roads !

  • frankfan42

    Interesting bike and proposition. I own a Zongshen 200cc dual sport bike and it has been reliable and fun. Cheap and always ready for fun is good. I’ve had the bike for several years and replaced an intake manifold, not leaking but cracks visible, and a battery and inner tubes. I had NOT been gentle on this bike and it keeps ticking along. Not a bad deal imho.

    • Bruce Steever

      How’s your Zongshen business going these days?

      • frankfan42

        LOL, I have no “Zong” business, I just ride one and its been reliable . Keep the rubber side down.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      What kind of riding have you used the bike for?

      • frankfan42

        Off road as well as commuting duties.

      • frankfan42

        The wost part of ownership is that small parts, such as the rubber carb manifold tend to crack. The engine and trannie however, have been sturdy as all get out, and have taken the flogging without complaint or breakdown.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I think it is the 10% ethanol in U.S. gasoline that is rotting the rubber. Not a problem elsewhere in the world including China. Thank your Midwest farmers lobby in Congress.

          • frankfan42

            You may well be right. I did not consider that possibility.

  • benchikh

    A primitive bike,still to prove it that will take at least 40 years of wrong concepts ,laboratory equipements to test the bike before it goes to the owner(BMW),a bike isn’t a simple construction ,I could say riding a bike is riding an airplane ,it needs a perfect well-balanced,anyway,this bike is made for Chinese.

    • John Ferguson


  • benchikh

    the first year is parts and labor ,the second year is parts only ,typically primitive company it sounds that this bike will eat a lot of parts be ready to change them..you will learn mechanics on it.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Yup, good bike to learn on how to repair a bike.

  • snowden

    I wish cars would go back to the simple days of being able to work and build them and included a manual. It will be interesting to see if they can build the brand here. Reliability and cheap is the name of the game while be available with parts and customer service.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Not everyone wants to spend all their free time working on their car or bike. They would rather be riding their car or bike and enjoying life. Cars and bikes have come a long way and don’t have to be worked on all the time to keep them running.

  • JT

    All this talk about low quality coming from cheaper less established manufacturers really interests me.

    Move the subject to cars and check out the dashboards of Mercedes Benz automobiles. They are insanely cheap crap. And yet people are spending a lot of money to get these cars.

    Value for dollar is going to become more and more of an issue and I think that the big name manufacturers are going to get burned because of this.

  • Kenneth

    Every few years, an American decides he can make a sizable profit importing Third World vehicles to the U.S. Now, here we are again (until the turnaround comes, when the Chinese inevitably start building desirable, top-quality cars and bikes, and the next entrepreneur decides he can make a bundle importing cheap stuff from… Africa?).

    • Karl-Peter Ebner

      Each of you Guys complain about Chinese cheap stuff ?! Every apple phone is made in China, and and and and

  • EcoMouse

    This might be my new favorite bike. Love the way the bike looks! I can’t wait to get a couple of these added to my stable.

    If you are a Cyclone RX-3 enthusiast or want to learn more, check out: http://cyclone-rx3.com/forum/index.php

  • Bug Spattered Jacket

    I have to admit, I love that they have the step by step instructions and pictures to work on the bike yourself. I wish more companies did this. I wonder if these bikes are more reliable than Royal Enfield’s? However, that being said, at least the price point for these bikes are realistic compared to the Royal Enfield’s. Overall, an interesting bike. Would happily try one out.

  • newrider

    I just can’t get pass the similarity of the boxes compared to the BMW GS’s Vario. Was BMW involved in the development of this bike? I hope they did’t just steal Vario design without consulting BMW.I’m sure it cost BMW to develop the pannier system.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The CSC RX3 is designed to look exactly like a BMW R1200GS. So when you go to the local bike hangout, everyone asks you what it is and how much you paid for it. But don’t join your coffee shop buddies on a real adventure ride.

  • Paul Lucas

    Is this 250cc engine in this bike a clone of some other engine or is it a unique Zongshen engine design?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Everything made in China is a copy of something made elsewhere. Anyway there is nothing complicated about a single cylinder four cycle engine. This one is making the same hp and torque as other similar sized engines. Now if it was a KTM 250cc engine, there would be something to talk about.

      • John Ferguson

        Out-and-out lie. The CSC engine is a clean-sheet design, not a copy of ANYTHING.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          And how do you know that?

        • Sayyed Bashir

          It is in fact a Piaggio and Zongshen collaboration. Piaggio of Italy owns Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Gilera and other brands.

  • Craig Freger

    While the basic bike seems okay, and the business model does not scare me, I am still skeptical. To me, the sales pitch that this is a $3,400 adventure tourer is kind of a gimmick, as the standard bike strikes me as inadequate for the job. To be really useful as an AT, a motorcycle like this should have at least a 19″ front wheel and a 17″ rear wheel (not to mention, knobbies), electrical ports, hand guards, a center stand, and real luggage (not the toy boxes that come standard on this thing). Sure, you can add all of this stuff — CSC will sell you all of these items as “options” — at which point the price is over $5,000 (plus $500 delivery charge). Now we are in the price range of lightly-used and well-farkled KLR650’s DR650SE’s, and XR650L’s. Those bikes weigh LESS than the Cyclone (albeit with farkles, they probably weigh the same or a little bit more), have more suspension travel, and unlike the Cyclone, they can run all day at 80-85 mph, which is sometimes useful when you need to make time or outrun bad weather. The lesser highway capability I could live with, but the level of standard equipment on the Cyclone leaves me with the feeling that this is not so much an adventure tourer as it is a $3,400 “novelty” bike.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You can’t do long distance ‘Adventure-Travel’ on a bike that only goes 65 mph. Redlining the engine constantly will kill it. But don’t worry, you get to rebuild it yourself (over and over again) using the free service manual. Tire sizes and suspension travel are not sufficient for off-road riding. So if you can’t do highway travel, and can’t do off-road riding, the only ‘A-T’ this bike will do is to the local coffee shop.

      • John Ferguson

        You must have missed the run to Baja that CSC did, then?

        • Sayyed Bashir

          No, I have read all the test rides CSC has done. One 5000 mile trip will not kill the engine. The revs do not have to be that high in the dirt. They say the bike will do 84 mph, but in the reviews it is only happy doing 65-70. If you have been riding on the freeway, you know you can get run over doing that. Redlining the engine all the time will certainly reduce its longevity. Riding alone or with other CSC riders could be OK, but you cannot go on a adventure trip with full size ADV bike owners. They don’t even like people with less off-road experience than them, let alone people with bikes that cannot do what their bikes can.

          • John Ferguson

            I ride a Burgman 400…it runs 7500-8500RPM on the highway. They all do that…and they are designed to do that, it doesn’t hurt anything.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yes, but what is the redline on your bike? How far off are you from the redline? This is what Cycle World had to say about the CSC RX3: “And as with any 250, you’ll be spending a lot of time flirting with that redline. At freeway speeds – an indicated 78 mph but a verified 70 – the bike is turning 8,000 rpm; redline is 9,000, and the rev limiter cuts in around 10,500. CSC claims 25 hp at 9,000 rpm; our observed top speed was an indicated 82 mph (actually 74), but a steep hill or a headwind takes a bite out of that pretty fast, as does running at altitude”. So the top speed is 74 mph in perfect conditions, 65-70 under normal conditions.

          • John Ferguson

            Redline on my Burg is 9000. I’m 500-1500RPM short of it. Mile tops out just short of 90…limited by gearing, not power.

  • muddaholic

    Ya… uhhh … no. No way will I recommend Chinese anything that would carry my ass into the back country / mountains. QC, decent engineering etc… are all elements of business that seem to be missing on a wide range of products. Hey MOTO. com… how much did they pay you for this article ?