t’s the antithesis of the typical heavyweight, high priced Adventure Bike that top manufacturers churn out so frequently these days. It’s the kind of bike that attracts younger riders on a budget looking to get started in the sport, and older riders that want something a little easier to throw their leg over. Smaller guys and gals want to be able to put their feet on the ground, without heavily modifying their bikes and some just want a simple, low cost adventure-ready motorcycle.
Many have voiced their opinions about the lack of small adventure bike options in the US, but their cries have gone unheard. CSC Motorcycles took notice and saw the huge gap in the market for an affordable, small displacement, fully-equipped Adventure Bike. Last August they made the announcement they would be importing the Chinese made Zongshen RX3 250 to the US under the name CSC Cyclone RX-3.
Earlier in the year, the Belarusian motorcycle manufacturer M1nsk took a similar path and became an importer of the Zongshen RX3 to Europe. However, any mention of the bike’s Chinese origin was noticeably absent from their marketing literature. It would seem people have more faith in Eastern European manufacturing quality than Chinese? CSC felt there was nothing to hide and were up front from the start about the bike’s Chinese manufacturing. Confident in the quality of the Cyclone RX-3, CSC made the significant investment to begin the process of getting the bike certified for US road and emission requirements.
After years of successfully importing small displacement motorcycles from China to the USA, CSC has a great deal of experience on the subject of quality. We spoke with Joe Berk, the Business Development Representative for CSC Motorcycles, and asked him what he would tell people with a negative view toward Chinese manufactured motorcycles.
“We recognize there is a perception that the Chinese produce low quality goods. The perception may have been accurate in the past; it is no longer accurate today. We are already large-scale consumers of high quality Chinese goods (iphones, computers, printers, electronic systems in cars and motorcycles, etc.). Most people just don’t realize it,” said Joe.
Outside of CSC, Joe works as an international manufacturing consultant and he is widely published in the field. He is also a professor in the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department at Cal Poly Pomona, so he knows a thing or two about manufacturing quality.
Joe spoke about his first visit to Zongshen’s manufacturing facilities to assess their operations, “I felt I could learn from them, rather than the other way around. Their factories were immaculate, they use statistical process control, they have automated test and inspection equipment and they post quality standards and manufacturing metrics throughout the operation. They are as good as or better than any manufacturing facility I have visited anywhere.”
According to Joe, Zongshen builds vehicles for both Vespa and Kymco. They also build complete engines and machined parts for many of the top motorcycle manufacturers, including Harley-Davidson. Joe advised everyone to take a look at the Cyclone for themselves before forming an opinion. We decided to take him up on the offer and made a trip out to CSC Motorcycles in Azusa, California to get a close up look at the Cyclone RX-3.