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Proven Reliability of the Zongshen Cyclone RX3
The Cyclone RX3 distributed by CSC Motorcycles was introduced with a first group ride through Baja Mexico in April 2015. This ride took 15 adventure riders on a 1,700 mile round trip across the Baja Peninsula and from back to CSC’s offices in Azusa, CA. In total, the 15 new Cyclone RX3 motorcycles racked up 25,500 miles with only minor issues.
This first promotional outing was followed by the “Western Adventure Tour” in July 2015. Here, 10 riders from Colombia, China and the United States racked up 50,000 total miles on 10 new bikes. This epic ride inspired the book, 5,000 miles at 8,000 rpm by Joe Berk, CSC spokesperson. Again, there were no major mechanical issues with the new CSC Cyclone RX3 motorcycles ridden hard for 18 days at speeds of up to 75 mph, and at times over 400 miles a day. Tour riders (and machines) encountered freezing temperatures of over 100 degrees and sea level rises of 9,000 feet at the Continental Divide.
These rides have conclusively proven the durability of the RX3 adventure bike. But the rides also pointed out some improvements that would be needed in later CSC Cyclone RX3 shipments, including upgrades to the standard 12-volt batteries. The rides further helped finalize the recommended maintenance schedule for North American bike owners.
But the RX3 motorcycle proved its worth even before it was available for sale in North America. The bike has been sold in China for several years and is also sold in many other countries under several brands. For example, the same base bike is sold in Belarus as the M1nsk TRX300i and in Central America as the AKT Moto TT250. In fact, Zongshen’s biggest motorcycle market is in Colombia. Motorcycle sales exceed 700,000 units per year in Colombia, compared to less than 500,000 total motorcycle sales in the United States.
It is also worth noting that the most popular motorcycles in Colombia are only 100-125 cc. A 250cc motorcycle is considered huge! The best-selling machine is a 100cc motorcycle made in India. The Zongshen/AKT Moto version sold in Colombia is called TT250 and is considered a high quality upgrade and exudes prestige.
What is an M1nsk?
The M1nsk motorcycle company was born in 1951 when the USSR took control of German DKW motorcycles as part of WWII repairs. The company moved to Moscow and built motorcycles under the M1A brand. Eventually the factory moved to Belarus where they built bikes under the Minsk brand. From the earliest years, the Minsk brand was actively involved in motorsport, in particular, in motocross and circuit racing. The Minsk-Pamir (1969) and Brest-Vladivostok (1971) rallies have become iconic milestones in the history of the Minsk brand. Based on this reputation, Minsk motorcycles became known for their durability and were exported to other European countries.
In 2007, the company went private and started using the M1nsk brand name. Today, the M1nsk company produces retro-styled snowmobiles, ATVs, scooters, dirt bikes and bicycles based on their older 1950s models.
How does the M1nsk TRX300i fit in? M1nsk does not manufacture the TRX300i adventure motorcycle. Instead, the TRX300i is a renowned Chinese motorcycle, the Zongshen RX3. Zongshen is a modern manufacturer, founded in 1992, which builds over 1,000,000 (yes, that’s 1 MILLION) engines and motorcycles per year. Many of these models are now sold worldwide under various brand names by master distributors.
The US and North American distributor is CSC Motorcycles and sells the CSC Cyclone RX3 directly to the public. To connect the past with the present, M1nsk entered three production TRX300i motorcycles in the 2013 Brest-Dushanbe rally with a total length of 6,200 miles (10,000 km). The rally traveled through the rugged terrain of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and all three bikes completed the journey. This rally had already been the subject of an article by ADVPulse in February 2014.
Please note: this “rally” is not the Baja 1000 or the Dakar Rally. Think more of Ewan and Charley traversing the rugged countryside of the same region in Long Way Around. A video of the rally (in Russian) can be viewed on the Minsk Motorcycles YouTube channel.
Again, it was an impressive endurance stage as Zongshen’s three production motorcycles covered 30,000 km of cumulative distance without mechanical problems.
The CSC Cyclone RX3: proven reliability
The M1nsk TRX300i is nearly identical to the Cyclone RX3 marketed by CSC Motorcycles. However, another unique attribute of Zongshen is that each domestic distributor has the flexibility to make changes to the final motorcycle specifications to comply with their continent’s regulations and the demands of their target buyers. In his book, 5,000 Miles at 8,000 RPM, Joe Berk explains how CSC made changes to wheel size, alternator capacity, wiring harness, battery, and more. components before finalizing the model that would become the Cyclone RX3 for sale in North America. Additionally, CSC Motorcycles has also assembled a comprehensive catalog of aftermarket parts, accessories, options, and special editions to meet the demands of adventure riders in the United States and Canada.
The net result is that the North American Cyclone RX3 is even BETTER than the original Zongshen model. Remember that tens of thousands of these original models have already proven themselves in Asia, Central America and Europe. (The INITIAL order of the AKT Moto model by the Colombian distributor was for 6,000 motorcycles!) Since 1992, Zongshen has produced tens of MILLIONS of engines in many sizes. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility tests EACH of these engines before assembling them into a complete motorcycle, then EACH of these complete motorcycles is dyno tested for quality control.
While adventure motorcycles are a growing recreational niche here in North America, Zongshen motorcycles have earned a strong reputation for quality and durability in the rest of the world where motorcycles are the primary means of transportation and are integral part of the trade. These motorcycle owners demand inexpensive operation and reliability. In some of these countries the average annual income is less than the cost of a set of fancy aluminum panniers found on many European “adventure bikes”!
In addition to this, CSC Motorcycles is committed to continually refining the base bike and selection of parts and accessories for sale to North American motorcyclists. CSC Motorcycles includes a comprehensive service manual with every Cyclone RX3 and also produces an extensive catalog of tutorials that cover all aspects of routine maintenance. Finally, CSC backs the Cyclone RX3 with a warranty that covers parts and labor for one year and all parts for two years with UNLIMITED mileage.
Is the Cyclone RX3 the right adventure bike for you? This is a very personal decision since everyone’s requirements are different. However, the reliability of the Cyclone RX3 is unquestionable. Not only has CSC Motorcycles put the bike through torture testing on real world tours, but tens of thousands of adventure riders around the world have also proven its reliability. There is a growing and devoted “cult of the Zong” linked to this bike because it not only performs, but it outperforms bikes that cost two to five times as much for a comparable fully equipped touring package. Further proof of the Cyclone RX3’s reliability is that two national motorcycle rental and travel companies now offer this model for rental and in tour packages.
Now available: the CSC RX3-P Police motorcycle – a specially equipped variant of the Cyclone RX3 Adventure model that has been used (and abused) by law enforcement in Asia! Stay tuned to the CSC blog for more information.
CSC Motorcycles (cscmotorcycles.com)
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