Quick Spin: 2015 CSC Cyclone RX-3
There’s a growing trend in the ADV community towards rethinking the meaning of “adventure bikes.” Although our genre of riding is relatively new in the grand scheme of motorcycling, it remains an ongoing experiment in the gear and the bikes we choose for the task.
Engine size includes the entire spectrum from tiny 90cc Hondas to the full-blown big enduros of BMW and KTM. While the reasons behind why one might choose a small vs. a large bike are many, it remains clear that the low-end options have just opened up a wee bit more by CSC’s soon-to-be available Cyclone RX-3 adventure bike.
Writers such as Austin Vince, Andrew Pain, Lois Pryce and Ed March have been touting the advantages of going small for years. Although under 400cc motorcycles are far different than their larger cousins, some argue that adventuring on small bikes offers more immersive and intimate experiences.
When it comes to RTWing, or adventuring around our own continent, for some a 250cc is perceived as “too small.” Well, that may be the case if requirements include dragging along 200 lbs of cargo, high-speeds, or non-stop off-roading.
But when you think about how going light and slow while poking around backroads and lesser highways, and how the economics of a small bike will affect your journey, it’s no wonder that so many riders are scaling down. On top of that, small bikes sell for almost “throw-away” prices.
International riders acquainted with the cost of cash bonds or insurance for a Carnet de Passage, know that it can be beaucoup expensive to get their bikes into some countries as their “import” is based on the value (or multiples of it) of the machine. Likewise, there’s also the associated issues that go with the possibility of a wrecked or stolen motorcycle.
Add in other factors, like the cumulative costs for fuel, maintenance, repairs and whenever the bike may need to be shipped, trucked or flown, and the savings make it possible for some who otherwise could never afford to travel. At $3,500 for a new Cyclone, the playing field is certainly a lot more palatable.
More advantages of going small include:
• Low octane fuel requirements
• Lightweight for easy maneuvering (easier to pick up, too)
• Forces rider to travel lighter (less gear)
• Easier and less expensive maintenance/repairs
• More miles per gallon (the Cyclone does about 70mpg)
• Cheaper purchase price
We’ve been tracking CSC’s 250cc adventure motorcycle since word first got out and went viral. CSC just happens to be “up the street” from our ADVMoto west coast office in California, making it more than convenient to check things out.
Joe Berk, the company’s marketing manager and consulting engineer, met with us a few weeks ago for a preliminary look at the prototype. Now that they’re almost through the EPA approval process, and the release date nearing, Joe asked us to join him for a press-only demo ride to see what it’s all about.
CSC only had one official demo bike that’s not quite the finalized version, but Joe said that they’re on the way to China next week to make a few tweaks and ready the first shipment. ETA is late winter/early spring. Additionally, CSC is preparing to equip the bike with a few optional aftermarket goodies.
Upgrades may include: bigger footpegs, aux LED wing lights, aluminum panniers, hand guards, an optional 17″ rear wheel, different tires (knobbies, etc.), handle bar risers, and other seats. A full shop manual will free with the purchase.
And a $350 diagnostic computer will be available for sale or on a weekly rental basis. They’re also busy readying YouTubes that show how to do common maintenance tasks.
In order to keep the price of the bike and its parts as low as possible, they plan to run everything from their plant in Irwindale, CA, with all parts in stock and ready for immediate shipment. They’ve had their own line of Mustang motorcycles for years, and they’re also an OEM for Yamaha and Kawasaki parts, so they’re well-equipped to handle this new endeavor.
Keeping everything under one roof is a strategy that an increasing number of businesses are adopting to combat high distribution costs. Given CSC’s customer service team’s excellent reputation, web support and the speed of shipping these days, this business model should work well for Cyclone owners. Maintenance and repairs will be relatively painless, no matter where you are in the world—especially North America.
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