Italian marque Gilera is poised to return as a joint-venture between the brand’s owner, Piaggio, and its long-standing Chinese partner, Zongshen. We’ve uncovered evidence of Gilera’s imminent return via design filings registered in China for a rebadged version of the Aprilia Shiver labeled with the name “GLR900”.
After riding 5,000 miles through the Western States on CSC’s RX3 mini ADV motorcycle I figured the gig was up for me: Motorcycle manufacturers are usually left unsatisfied and hollow feeling whenever I butcher a motorcycle review. On that ride the RX3s ran fine and had nothing else to prove. So who’d be crazy enough to foot the bill for another long distance 250cc ride?
We were pleasantly surprised with the CSC RX3, a 250cc adventure bike, when we tested one back in December of 2014. Considering its modest displacement – and the fact it’s made by Zongshen in China – we weren’t sure what to make of the bike initially, but it’s changing the way we think about Chinese motorcycles. Joe Berk, a consultant to CSC, the North American Zongshen/CSC importer, is a diehard believer in the RX3, touting his numerous trips across China as proof of the bike’s ruggedness.
CSC Motorcycles has been very busy introducing new models to its U.S. lineup. Last year it was the adventure-touring-styled Cyclone RX3 (which won an Honorable Mention award in 2015 for Best Value). In 2016 CSC has already introduced the RC3 and TT250, and now comes the RZ3, a naked bike version of the RC3, and upping CSC’s selection of model from 0 to four in just two years.
What do you think of when you hear “Chinese motorcycle?” Cheap, ugly, and under-performing? Those observations would be largely correct, as the majority of Chinese motorcycles to come to these shores (that’s the United States, for our international readers) were exactly that. Let’s face it: the words “Made In China” aren’t held in high regard.
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.