27 November 2014
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We’re getting lots of questions on the Baja Cyclone trip, with the two most frequent being:

  • When are we going?
  • What’s it going to cost?

When we go on the first trip depends on when the bikes arrive, and at this point, all indications point to sometime in January.   For planning purposes, we’re thinking sometime in February or March for the first trip.   That can move in or out, though, depending on when the bikes actually arrive, when you all want to leave, and maybe a few other factors.   As we know more, we’ll let you know.

Put yourself in this picture on your CSC Cyclone!

Put yourself in this picture on your CSC Cyclone!

On to the next question:   What’s it going to cost?  On this first trip only, we’re not going to charge you anything.   That doesn’t mean it’s going to be free; it only means that we’re providing the travel planning, booking, and guide service at no cost to you.   You’ll be on your own for fuel, insurance, lodging, meals, and the $35 travel fee the Mexican immigration service might hit us up for at the border between Baja California and Baja California Sur (the states of northern Baja and southern Baja).    Sometimes the Mexican immigration guy is there and charges the fee, sometimes they just wave us through with a big hello, and sometimes they are on siesta.   Things are kind of laid back down there.

We'll stay at Malarrimo's in Guerrero Negro...where they have the best whale tours

We’ll stay at Malarrimo’s in Guerrero Negro…where they have the best whale tours all works

Lobster…pineapple…lime…it all works

The Baja sanitation crew

The Baja sanitation crew

More lobster...the food in Baja is incredible

More lobster…the food in Baja is incredible

You will need insurance.  Or, stated differently, we hope you won’t need it, but you should have it.  It’s the law in Mexico.   I always buy a policy just for the time I’m down there from Baja Bound (a good insurance company; the one I always use when I visit Baja).    I’ve never had to use it.   The problem is if you get pulled over or have an accident and you don’t have insurance, you’re going to jail.   It’s not like it is up here where you can talk you’re way out of things.

The oasis in San Ignacio...that, my friends, is a real volcano in the background

The oasis in San Ignacio…that, my friends, is a real volcano in the background

The Jesuits introduced date farming to the San Ignacio oasis (one of our stops) in the 1700s

The Jesuits introduced date farming to the San Ignacio oasis (one of our stops) in the 1700s

You’ll need a passport, too.   Not to get into Mexico, but if you want to get back into the Estados Unidos, you’ll need it.

There are a couple of other things I should tell you about:  Drugs and guns.   Bring either one into Mexico and the above admonitions about insurance and a passport become peripheral to our discussion because you’re going to jail.    I don’t want to scare you away (I’ve always found the Mexican folks and the Mexican public safety officials to be real nice people), but I need you to understand this isn’t a topic for debate.    They take these things very seriously.

With the above in mind, I did a rough estimate based on being in country for 6 days with lodging for 5 nights.   I think that’s one more day than we’ll actually need, but I estimated everything on the high side just to be sure.   My good buddy J is going to go with us, and he’ll work his magic like he did on the CSC-150 Baja ride a few years ago.   That means he’ll probably be able to negotiate lower hotel fees in advance, lower insurance fees, and maybe a few other discounts (those predicted lower rates are not included here, though; I estimated everything on the high side).   I did the estimate two ways:  One figuring on everybody having their own room, and another based on you and your buddy doubling up.   That’s up to you.

Here’s what I’m predicting…

Single Occupancy
Item Cost Total
Lodging $80.00 $400.00
Insurance $125.00 $125.00
Food $60.00 $360.00
Gasoline $3.25 $55.00
Whale Tour $50.00 $50.00
Immigration Fee $35.00 $35.00
Total $1,025.00
Double Occupancy
Item Cost Total
Lodging $40.00 $200.00
Insurance $125.00 $125.00
Food $60.00 $360.00
Gasoline $3.25 $55.00
Whale Tour $50.00 $50.00
Immigration   Fee $35.00 $35.00
Total $825.00

The above doesn’t include an oil change in Guerrero Negro; you might want to include those costs in your computations.   We’ll be bringing along everything you’ll need in the support vehicle.

I can’t over-emphasize the importance of bringing a camera with you, too.  You might want to factor that into your planning.   These trips are epic, and for me the photos make the adventure last.

If you’re even remotely thinking about going, my advice is to do it.    I’ll show you a whale of a time.

A whale of a time

A whale of a time…

I’ll keep you posted as we get closer.


Happy Thanksgiving

27 November 2014
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We hope everyone enjoys this beautiful Thanksgiving day.


I woke up this morning trying to remember if I had ever shot a photo of a turkey, and I remembered that I had.  It was at the La Purisima mission using an old Nikon film camera on a ride up the Pacific Coast Highway with my buddy Paul from New Jersey.  It’s the photo you see above.

That was quite a trip.   It started out as a trip into Baja.  Paul flew out from New Jersey and rented a Harley, and I was on my old Softail.    My Harley died somewhere south of Ensenada, but to its credit, that turkey made it back to California.  I switched bikes (from the Harley to my Suzuki TL1000S), and we pointed the bikes north this time instead of south.


The photo of the TL1000S is somewhere along the Pacific Coast Highway before we rode up through San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and back home through central California’s agricultural region.   One thing I had not counted on were the bugs in that area…


That was a great trip, bugs and all, and I sure remember it well.

So, enough of this stroll down memory lane.   We’re headed out on the RX-3 with J, Tom, and Steve this weekend to make a few more memories, and I’ll have a few more photos for you.

Enjoy the holiday, my friends.


ADVPulse Rides!

26 November 2014
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The good folks at ADVPulse magazine wasted no time in posting their CSC RX-3 Cyclone review, and you can read it here!

Folks, this is good stuff, and just a hint of the fun that lies in store!


The Russ rack!

26 November 2014
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Hey, boys and girls, check out this dynamite car carrier our good buddy Russ designed and built for his CSC-250!


Your P-51 is a serious touring machine, Russ.   We really like the way you have it equipped.   Nice job, and thanks so much for sharing this photo with us!


Look Ma, no chicken strips!

26 November 2014
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Watching the experts from ADVPulse and ADVMoto magazines wring out the CSC Cyclone last weekend was fun, and let me tell you, those boys know how to take a bike to its limits!  I know all of you are eager to see their reports, and so are we.

Steve put the Cyclone up on the lift today and I got a good look at the Cyclone’s rear tire.   You can usually judge how hard a bike has been pushed in the corners by the width of its chicken strips.  That’s the unused area of the tread on the sides.  Check this out, boys and girls…no chicken strips whatsoever!


While the magazine guys were pushing the Cyclone hard into the corners, I was gingerly picking my way through the turns because I lost the rear brake on my Kawasaki KLR 650.   I guess I can use that as an excuse for being on a 650 and not being able to keep with a 250, but the fact of the matter is that the difference between rider skills and the nimble handling of the RX-3 are what really made the difference.


You know from reading the blog that the caliper bolts on my KLR fell out, and you also know that I had to order them because none of the local dealers had any in stock.   On the way into the plant today, I stopped at a specialty bolt store and they had 6×18 socket head bolts in stock.   I bought two sizes because I wasn’t sure which one the Kawasaki needed.  They were only $0.30 each.   I had to pay almost $4 per bolt from the Kawasaki dealer who’s shipping them to me, and another $11.99 because “that’s the minimum we always charge” (typical dealer stuff; it will be interesting to see what the actual shipping charges are when they arrive).  Speaking of which, the bolts were supposed to arrive yesterday and they didn’t, which is why I stopped at the specialty bolt store.

The delinquent delivery of the Kawasaki bolts notwithstanding, this was turning out to be a good day.   I like hardware stores, and the specialty store I visited this morning was no exception.   But things got even better.   I have this Olympia motorcycle jacket in fluorescent yellow I really like.   Well, that’s not quite true.  I like the look and fit of it.  I don’t like the jacket because it started to fall apart the first time I washed it.

When I called Olympia, their help consisted of recommending I take it to a tailor.  The thing was just out of warranty and it kind of annoyed me (I have a Joe Rocket jacket that’s 12 years old and it’s still in good shape).    But I did what Olympia suggested and paid to have the thing repaired.   The next time I washed it, the jacket really fell apart.   Basically, Olympia used an inadequate edge distance when they sewed it together.  The jacket has been sitting in the back of my Subaru for some time, and when I left the bolt house, there was a tailor shop right around the corner.   The nice lady in there told me I could have it next week and it will only cost me $25.

Incidentally, that photo of me in the yellow jacket was shot by none other than Carla King, the famous motojournalist who wrote American Borders.  We were on a ride in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just outside of Tahoe a couple of years ago.   I love that photo and I love the look of that jacket.    One thing about fluorescent yellow motorcycle jackets, though…the color drives dogs nuts.   But that’s another story for another time…

Okay, back to the bolt story…there may be a reason Kawasaki gets $4 per bolt, because the smaller of the two bolts I bought this morning was too short, and the longer of the two was too long.   We learned that when we attempted to attach the KLR caliper to its mount.  Lupe grabbed the bolts that were too long and fixed that problem real fast…


Steve and Lupe buttoned up the KLR for me, and like they say in France, oila!   Yours truly and the old KLR were back in business.   I played around in the parking lot a bit and when I pulled back into the service bay, whaddaya know, even more good news…my new Tourmaster jacket had just arrived  (unlike the Kawasaki bolts, the jacket actually did arrive the next day, just like the company we ordered it from promised).

The new Tourmaster is a near-perfect match for the KLR.   Lupe grabbed this shot of me.   I think I make the jacket look good.


What do you think?


What we’ll see in Baja…

26 November 2014
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A few quick photos…what we’ll see…just to whet your appetite for the scenery and the excitement of the inaugural Cyclone Baja run…

Fish tacos at Mama Espinosa's in El Rosario

Fish tacos at Mama Espinosa’s in El Rosario

Quentin Tarantinula in the Vizcaino Desert

Quentin Tarantinula in the Vizcaino Desert


Near a mission somewhere in Baja

Along Bahia de Concepcion, and yes, the water really looks like that!

Along Bahia de Concepcion, and yes, the water really looks like that!


The remains of a burro who didn’t quite make it

The mission in San Ignacio

The mission in San Ignacio


The real deal…Mr. and Mrs. Moby Dick…up close and personal!

If you don’t have a camera, that might be an accessory you should consider for this trip!


Changing the KLR 650′s oil….

25 November 2014
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So, last week we posted a pretty comprehensive blog on changing your CSC Cyclone’s oil.   I just found this YouTube video, which provides similar information for the KLR 650…

I know some of the folks who are researching the RX-3 might own a KLR, so I thought I would include this for your information…


Good stuff happening….

25 November 2014
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Whoa…I just found out I’m getting an opportunity to visit where they make parts for Harley-Davidson, Vespa, BMW, Kymco, and CSC motorcycles next month!

No, I’m not traveling to Milwaukee, Italy, Bavaria, Taiwan, and California…I’m going to Chongqing!


Located at the intersection of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers in western China, Chongqing is where Zongshen (manufacturer of the CSC RX-3 Cyclone) is located.  I’ve been there before, and you can bet I am very excited about my return!


We’re finalizing the details on your motorcycles, and it is going to be a blast.   I may get a bit more seat time on the RX-3 while I am over there, and it’s always good to meet face-to-face with my friends in this little town of 30 million people.   Susie’s going with me, so this trip will be tons of fun.   We’re going to see the Three Gorges Dam while we’re there and many of the other attractions in and around this dynamic town.   I may even buy a new camera before I go (that Nikon D-810 is looking pretty good), and you can bet I’ll be posting lots of photos.   I knew I wanted to return to Zongshen and Chongqing for more photos, and that’s just what I’m doing!

JCBMore good news…we’re getting the RX-3 out in the dirt again this weekend.   It will be a fun ride.  My good buddies J, Tom, Steve and yours truly are heading up to Sheep Canyon and points west in the San Gabriels.  Looks like we’ll have at least a couple of KLRs, Tom’s big Honda thumper, and of course, the trusty (and soon to be dusty) blue Cyclone.   You’ve sort of met all of these fellows, and I’ve ridden all over Hell’s half acre with them.   They are always a hoot.   That’s J in the photo on the left (you can just see me and my hi-viz Olympia jacket reflected in J’s visor) when we rode on the Tahoe Tour a couple of years ago.   Steve, of course, is our CEO…he’s the guy who’s bringing the Cyclone to North America.   And you know Tom, too…he’s the guy we featured a few blogs down in a set of ”then and now” photos (the “then” photo reached back 55 years to show Tom with a Powell scooter; the “now” photo showed Tom with his Triumph Tiger).  Good times coming up, boys and girls…it will be a fun weekend!

WineTransitionI ordered the 6-18 rear brake caliper bolts for my KLR yesterday.   I had to call three dealers before I found a dealer that had the parts in stock, a problem you’ll never have with us on the RX-3.   That’s because we are building our inventory, and by the time your motorcycles arrive, we will have 100% of everything it takes to make an RX-3 on our shelves here in California.   We’ll keep it that way, too.  Our intent is that you’ll never have to wait for an RX-3 part.   We’ve done that on our other bikes and we’re doing the same thing with the RX-3.   So, back to the Kawasaki KLR:  I should have the caliper bolts tomorrow, and when I get them, it will be torque wrench and Loctite time.

I also ordered a new TourMaster Transition 3 riding jacket this morning.  I’ve been looking at these for a while and I really like this riding jacket.  All of my other jackets are short jackets (you know, the jacket ends at your beltline).   This one is more like a coat because the lower portions drop down further.   It’s got zillions of pockets and it fit me really well.   I wanted one in bright red or hi-viz yellow, but this jacket is so popular no one had those colors in stock, so I’m going with the wine colored one (like you see in the photo on the right).   It should be pretty and it will match the KLR.

_DSC0024-650-250All of this jacket business and the riding I’ve been doing lately has me thinking anew about what color I want my new RX-3 to be.   I was pretty sure I wanted the orange one, but I’ve been putting miles on the blue Cyclone and I’m getting to where I really like that color.   The red Cyclone is stunning, too, and it will match my new jacket.   But then again, the blue Cyclone really photographs well, and with my blog duties and all, that is important.   And I already have a blue jacket that goes well with the blue RX-3.    But the red RX-3 takes a nice picture, too.   Or I could get the hi-viz jacket when they come in and paint the RX-3 to match…I always thought a hi-viz motorcycle paint job would look great.   But is hi-viz yellow really yellow, or is it green?   I always heard that green was an unlucky color for a motorcycle, so maybe that’s out.   Or maybe I could shop around more and find a jacket that matches the orange Cyclone…

Ah, decisions, decisions…


Cyclone shots…

24 November 2014
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Last blog for today, folks….these are my personal favorites focused on yesterday’s CSC Cyclone adventure…

Facing the Sheep Canyon descent...

Facing the Sheep Canyon descent…


Rob on the Cyclone…

Racing east on a graded road...

Racing east on a graded road…

Running west, kicking up dust, with I-15 way in the background...

Running west, kicking up dust, with I-15 way in the background…

On Angeles Crest Highway at about 8000 was cold up there!

On Angeles Crest Highway at about 8000 ft…it was cold up there!

Another Angeles Crest Highway shot...

Another Angeles Crest Highway shot…

One last shot in front of Newcomb's of So Cal's famous moto spots!

One last shot in front of Newcomb’s Ranch…one of So Cal’s famous moto spots!

Whew…I’m about out of photos…time to get out and create a few more!


Running with the Big Dogs…

24 November 2014
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Here are a few miscellaneous photos of the other bikes on our ADV Moto and ADV Pulse  ride yesterday…





These guys were serious about their riding.   When we were close to Sheep Canyon Road, they pulled over to drop the air pressure in their tires to 24 psi.   The idea is that the lower pressure gives more control in the rough stuff.  I’ll confess…I’ve never tried this.   Next time.


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