Things are moving along sharply on the new 250cc Dual Sport. We promised more information on this exciting new motorcycle, and this blog is the start.
First things first: We haven’t determined the price yet. We’re working on that now, and we will have a number soon. There are many things that determine a motorcycle’s price, including the cost of the bike, the cost of certifying it here in North America, freight, the advertising budget, insurance, and a whole bunch of other things. What I can tell you is this: The bike is a premium motorcycle, but we won’t gouge you. Our vision is to provide a superior product to you at a price that that will knock your socks off. We intend to own the small-displacement adventure touring niche, and this bike is the start. More to come on this, my friends.
Next question: When will it be available? The answer is by the end of the year. The bike is going through the certification process now. We’re experts at this, having done it on our Pro-One line of large custom V-twins, the CSC-150, and the CSC-250. The approval process is complex. It involves testing and evaluation by the US Department of Transportation, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Quality Management District. Our relationships and experiences with these guys have all been positive. It will take a few months to get through it, and we’ll have the bikes fully certified by the end of this year. Maybe sooner. We’ll see.
Folks have asked what we’re going to call the bike. It’s the RX-3. The R stands for “road,” the X stands for “explore,” and the 3 is the engine’s displacement rounded up. We like that name.
Another question: Where is it made? The answer is China. The company that manufactures the bike for us is Zongshen. I’ve been there. They are the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. I’ll do a blog about them in a few days.
Folks, you might hear uninformed comments by self-proclaimed experts about everything from China being junk.
I’m here to tell you it just ain’t so.
Here’s the deal…when I’m not riding and writing for CSC and Motorcycle Classics magazine, I’m consulting all over the world for all kinds of manufacturers, I teach manufacturing at the University level, and I’ve managed large manufacturing facilities. I was in Scotland last month for a precision machine factory, I’ll be in Turkey next month at an armored vehicle manufacturer, and…well, you get the idea. I’ve written several books on manufacturing and quality assurance (see, for example, www.ManufacturingTraining.com, and yep, that’s me!). I’ve been in the Zongshen factory, and their quality and process control are the best I’ve seen in any factory anywhere in the world. If you think the Chinese don’t produce quality goods these days, well, you just aren’t getting out enough.
Another tidbit…I know a little bit about adventure riding, too (take a look at www.MotoFoto.cc and you’ll see what I mean). I’ve had Triumphs, Hondas, Harleys, Suzooks, Yamahas, and Kawasakis. They are all good motorcycles, but this bike is the best combination of size, power, weight, comfort, and all the rest that goes into my idea of the perfect motorcycle. The RX-3 is made for exploring the world. It’s perfect, it’s the perfect size, and I’ve ordered the first one. Make mine orange, Boss!
Let me tell you just a bit about Zongshen. They make parts for a certain German motorcycle manufacturer whose blue-and-white emblem is patterned after an airplane propeller. They make machined parts for a certain US motorcycle manufacturer whose bike kind of makes a potato-potato-potato sound (you know…loud pipes save lives and all that). And that motor scooter known the world over as Italian…you know, the one in the famous movie with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn? Well, you guessed it….they are made in the Zongshen factory, too.
Like I said, I’ve spent time with Zongshen in Chongqing. The process control and quality I saw at the Zongshen factory are absolutely top flight. They make our CSC-250 engines and they will be making the RX-3 for us This is a high quality outfit, the bike is awesome, and it’s why we feel comfortable bringing the bike to you. We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t so.
So, on to some of the technical questions we’ve been getting about the bike’s specifications…okay, here we go:
- The displacement is 250cc, the engine is a single-cylinder with a counterbalancer, it has an electric starter, and she’s water cooled.
- The bike comes standard with front and rear guards, luggage (sidebags and a rear-mounted trunk), and a windshield.
- The bike’s wheelbase is 55 inches.
- It has hydraulic disk brakes front and rear.
- The dry weight is 359 lbs.
We’re going to do a Baja trip with this bike. We’ll probably time it for when the California gray whales are in Scammon’s Lagoon. You should buy one and ride with us.
There’s more to come, folks, but that’s a start.