Proven Reliability of the Zongshen Cyclone RX3

TheCyclone RX3 distributed by CSC Motorcycles was introduced with an inaugural group ride through Baja Mexico in April 2015. This ride took 15 adventure bikers on a 1,700-mile round trip through the Baja peninsula and back to the CSC offices in Azusa, California. In total, the 15 new Cyclone RX3 motorcycles accumulated 25,500 miles with only a few minor issues.

This first promotional ride was followed by the “Western Adventure Tour” in July 2015. Here 10 riders from Columbia, China, and the U.S. accumulated 50,000 miles total on 10 new bikes. This epic ride inspired the book, 5,000 Miles at 8,000 RPM’s by Joe Berk, the spokesman for CSC. Again, there were no major mechanical issues with the new CSC Cyclone RX3 motorcycles that were ridden hard for 18 days at speeds up to 75 mph, and sometimes over 400 miles per day. The tour riders (and the machines) encountered freezing temps to over 100 degrees, and elevations from sea level to 9,000 feet at the Continental Divide.

These rides proved conclusively the durability of the RX3 adventure bike. But the rides also pointed out some improvements that would be required on subsequent shipments of the CSC Cyclone RX3 including upgrades to the standard 12-volt batteries. The rides further helped to finalize the maintenance schedule recommended for the North American cycle owners.

But the RX3 motorcycle was proven before it was ever 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 multiple brand names. For example, the same basic bike is sold in Belarus as the M1nsk TRX300i and in Central America as the AKT Moto TT250. In fact, Zongshen’s single largest motorcycle market is in Columbia. Motorcycle sales exceed 700,000 units per year in Columbia – compared to less than 500,000 total motorcycle sales in the United States.

It is also interesting that the most popular motorcycles in Columbia are only 100cc to 125cc. A 250cc motorcycle is considered huge! The best selling machine is a 100cc motorcycle manufactured in India. The Zongshen/AKT Moto version sold in Columbia is named the TT250 and is considered to be a high-quality upgrade and exudes prestige.

What is a M1nsk?

The M1nsk motorcycle company originated in 1951 when the USSR took control of German DKW Motorcycles as part of WWII reparations. The company relocated 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 early years the Minsk brand has been actively involved in motorsport, especially in motocross and circuit racing. Minsk-Pamir (1969) and Brest-Vladivostok (1971) rallies became iconic milestones in the Minsk brand history. Based on this reputation, Minsk motorcycles became known for their durability and were exported to other European countries.

In 2007, the company became private and began using the brand name M1nsk. Today the M1nsk company produces snowmobiles, ATV’s, scooters, dirt bikes, and retro styled bikes based on their old 1950’s model designs.

How does the M1nsk TRX300i fit in? M1nsk does not manufacture the TRX300i adventure motorcycle. Instead, the TRX300i is a rebranded Chinese motorcycle, the Zongshen RX3. Zongshen is a modern manufacturer, founded in 1992, that builds over 1,000,000 (yes, that is 1 MILLION) engines and motorcycles per year. Many of these models are now sold worldwide under various brands by master distributors.

The U.S. and North American distributor is CSC Motorcycles, and sells the CSC Cyclone RX3 direct to the public. To connect the past with the present, M1nsk entered three stock TRX300i motorcycles in the 2013 Brest-Dushanbe rally with 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 was previously covered in an article by ADVPulse in February 2014.

Note: this “rally” is not the Baja 1000 or the Dakar Rally. Think more along the lines of Ewan and Charley traversing the rough countryside of the same region in Long Way Around. A video of the rally (in Russian) can be seen at the Minsk Motorcycles YouTube channel.

Again, it was an impressive endurance milestone that the three stock motorcycles from Zongshen covered 30,000 km cumulative distance without mechanical issues.

The CSC Cyclone RX3: Proven Reliability

The M1nsk TRX300i is nearly identical to the Cyclone RX3 marketed through CSC Motorcycles. However, another unique attribute of Zongshen is that each national distributor has the ability to make changes in the final specs of the motorcycle to comply with regulations for their continent and the demands of their target buyers. In his book, 5,000 Miles at 8,000 RPM’s, Joe Berk outlines how CSC made changes to the wheel size, alternator capacity, wiring harness, battery and other components before finalizing the model that would become the Cyclone RX3 for sale in North America. In addition, CSC Motorcycles has also assembled a complete catalog of aftermarket parts, accessories, options, and special editions to suit the requirements of adventure riders in the U.S. 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 been proven in Asia, Central America and Europe. (The INITIAL order of the AKT Moto model by the Columbian distributor was 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 assembly into a complete motorcycle, and then EACH of these complete motorcycles is dyno tested for quality control.

While adventure motorcycles are a growing recreation 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 integral to commerce. These motorcycle owners demand inexpensive operation and dependability. In some of these countries, the average annual income is less than the cost of a set of the fancy aluminum panniers found on many European “adventure bikes”!

On top of this, CSC Motorcycles has made the commitment to continually refine the base bike and the selection of parts and accessories for sale to North American riders. CSC Motorcycles is including a full maintenance manual with each Cyclone RX3 and is also producing a comprehensive catalog of tutorials that cover all aspects of routine maintenance. Finally, CSC is standing behind 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? That is a very personal decision since everyone’s requirements are different. However, the dependability of the Cyclone RX3 is without question. Not only has CSC Motorcycles subjected the motorcycle to torture tests in real life touring, 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” related to this motorcycle because it not only works but it outperforms motorcycles that cost two to five times as much for a comparable fully-equipped touring package. Further evidence of the dependability of the Cyclone RX3 is that two national motorcycle rental and tour companies now offer this model for rent and in tour packages.

Now available: the CSC RX3-P Police motorcycle – a specially-equipped variation 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.

References:

ADVPulse, 02112014

CSC Motorcycles (cscmotorcycles.com)

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