A few weeks back, we told you US-based California Scooter Company was going to be selling the Zongshen RX3; now, we’ve got confirmation they’ll be bringing the bike to Canada.
In case you’ve forgotten, the RX3 is a 250-class adventure bike. While there are plenty of quarter-litre dual sport motorcycles around, there hasn’t been an adventure bike in that range since Honda’s NX250. The RX3 is made in China, and has already been sold in other markets for a while under various names. We’ve covered it before here and here. There’s a long thread on the bike here at ChinaRiders.net.
The RX3 has a liquid-cooled 249 cc motor, with SOHC and four-valve head. It supposedly makes about 24 hp and 16.5 ft-lb of torque, and has a six-speed transmission. It has a 16-litre fuel tank and dry weight is supposed to be 175 kg. Seat height is 795 mm.
Other touches include LED lighting, standard hard bags and USD forks.
According to CSC employee Joe Berk, they’ll be using a bit of a different distribution model. Instead of a dealer network, they’ll be selling directly to consumers. You can either pick up the motorcycle at a central depot, or they will ship the machine to you at actual shipping cost (read about how the process works in the US here; it’ll be similar in Canada).
It’s an interesting model; so-called “grey market Lifans” and other Chinese motorcycles were sold across North America this way about 10 years ago. In the Internet age, it’s not as if you need a local salesman to help you make up your mind on a purchase, after all. However, regulations and problems with fly-by-night operators spelled an end to most drop-ship sales.
It appears CSC plans to sell parts for their bikes through the same method, removing the customers’ dependance on a dealer network. No doubt this will worry some buyers – parts supply is always a big of a concern for Chinese motorcycle owners. However, should the CSC parts supply dry up, replacement parts will likely still be available through eBay or other outfits like China Parts Canada.
CSC plans to have the RX3 in our market in 90 to 120 days; currently, it’s going through the approval process necessary to get it on our roads. If all goes well, customers will be able to buy one next year, although red tape is always an issue when it comes to bikes like this.
The MSRP for the RX3 is $3,495 in the US, but that will be rising for 2015; expect an even higher price tag when it comes to the Canadian market. That will be the biggest issue the RX3 has to face. Berk says “We believe 600lb+, 36-inch seat height, $20K+ adventure bikes are going the way of the dinosaur,” which is partially true. There certainly are a lot of riders who want an alternative to the behemoths currently foisted upon us by the motorcycle manufacturers. However, if the price difference between a 250 cc Japanese duallie and the RX3 is minimal, expect customers to go with the Japanese product for peace of mind.
For more details, check out the California Scooter Company’s website. At the moment, they don’t have any plans to bring the bike on the show circuit or attend any Canadian adventure rallies with the machine, so the Internet is going to be your primary source of information on this machine.