Details: California Scooter Company to bring RX3 adventure bike to Canada

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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.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I like the concept. On the website it will sell for $3500US. That would be $4000CAN. If I was in the market for a bike like this I would probably look at a used KLR, which can easily be found for less than $3000 with low kms and extras. Plus the aftermarket is rich with what ever you think you need. I think this will be a tough sell.
    But if one absolutely wants a new bike then the Cyclone would be a good deal.

    • You’ve just summed up the Chinese motorcycle industry’s woes in a paragraph. Despite all the junk they manufacture, if you do your research you will find they are quite capable of making reliable, basic transportation. Look at the Konker 200 that Rob and I have flogged through the Dawn 2 Dusk and other events for years now. It receives minimal maintenance and still runs strong. But for the price that cost, most people would rather venture on a used KLR or (like I eventually did) DR, or even a Honda. Chinese still struggle to compete with the used Japanese market.

  2. I agree with the posts above but appreciate the fact that the importer is testing the bike themselves and putting it on their website for all to see, not like the teaser crap that most manufacturer’s put out. The number one trait of an adventure bike should be reliability and parts availability and its doubtful this bike will have either.

    • I don’t know. One of the most trouble-free bikes I ever owned was my Chinese Lifan GY-5. I suspect I would still be riding it today if I’d not sold it because I saw a sweet deal on my DR650. The Lifan would never have the power or the suspension of the 650, so I got rid of it, but it was a workhorse that always started when it needed to and got fantastic fuel mileage. When I was living in the city and only got out of town for trail rides, it was all I needed. It remains to this day the only bike I’ve ever gotten a speeding ticket on. Stoplight to stoplight, you were still faster than any cage in the city.

  3. I’ve read some of the ADVrider threads, and there seems to be some genuine excitement about this bike. Certainly from the looks and the projected price, its a potential winner.

    The word ‘potential’ is key. Will the quality and parts availability meet expectations set by current OEMs? I think part of the ‘Adventure’ will be the ownership experience. A whole new generation of riders will realize the joy of road side repairs ;). I’m sure most of us old guys grew up having to work on bikes that would constantly shed parts during a ride.

    If they follow past Chinese business practices ie dump-and-run, I don’t see much future.
    If they maintain a parts supply that will deliver anywhere within a day or two, and a decent service network then the future may be rosy.

    • CSC has been around for quite a while not, esp. when compared to the usual dump-and-run outfits. I think they’ll prove much more trustworthy than many of these importers/distributors have in the past. Only time will tell, though.

  4. The buy direct from the manufacturer model is what tesla does and likely the (distant) future of automotive retailing.
    As for the bike, “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.” So they don’t want to subject the machine to first hand scrutiny. Just send us your money and at some point we promise to ship you the machine and as for quality etc., don’t worry it’s fine, just send money.
    And I’m sure the transport Canada tests will be completed just as quick as they say they will. Bureaucrats ALWAYS make sure they complete their tasks quickly and efficiently so as not to inconvenience anyone right?

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