Moto Baja! No. 1 New Release for Amazon motorcycle books!

Yep, Moto Baja! hit the No. 1 motorcycle books spot on Amazon this morning!

Thanks very much, guys!

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She’s a shooter!

I promised I’d let you know how that new custom Howa 1500 barreled action in 375 Ruger shot, and in a word, it’s awesome.   I like a straight low power scope on these kinds of big bore rifles, and I had a very cool old Weatherby 4X I bought used a few years ago (the guy wanted just $25 for the scope, and I couldn’t get my wallet out fast enough).   I put the old Weatherby scope on the new rifle and I sent a few rounds down range late last week.  It sure was fun!

Big bore rifles are impressive. The 375 Ruger was a collaborative effort between Hornady (a components and ammo manufacturer) and Ruger.  The intent was a round that would work through a standard-length rifle action and offer a little bit more speed than the old 375 H&H belted magnum, although it wasn’t more velocity I was seeking.  I wanted this big bore for shooting cast bullets only.

I handloaded my first rounds the night before, with 275-grain bullets and the right powder charge to get about 1800 feet per second.  That’s not as fast as you can go with this cartridge (it will shoot copper-jacketed bullets well north of 2500 feet per second), but it’s more than enough for what I have in mind (which is chasing hogs in Arizona and beyond).

This rig is a shooter, folks, and it’s a big bore powerhouse…the recoil was just shy of being unbearable (stout, but manageable).  And it groups!  It’s my new favorite toy.

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A nice note from Gary…

One of the great things about being associated with the CSC team are the interactions we have with our riders.   This nice note from our good buddy Gary came to me yesterday…

Joe, Steve, Sara, Gerry (the Guru), and the rest of the CSC family;

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a memorable New Year!

It’s been well over 2 years now since I’ve associated myself with CSC and riding my RX3.  Every time I ride on it is such a pleasure.

Sure there were a couple issues that came about – broken skid-plate welds and stalling at idle, but you folks have always been there for support and have mitigated these problems while providing the best customer service possible.

At Gerry’s request I ended up bringing it in (June 2016) for service as my stalling problem were not producing results from the replacement parts that were mailed to me.  By doing so, I saw that as a positive thing to better CSC’s bag-of-remedies for future similar issues. A throttle valve adjustment was all that was needed and the bike’s been running perfectly since then!

What possessed me to write this appreciation on this early Sunday morning was from reading old web-blogs that were dated 3 years ago, all the slamming about Chinese-made bikes being unreliable junk (yada-yada-yada).

Got a laugh from that and thought how great, honest, and professional your replies were, and the support from the few that were willing to understand CSC’s point of view for a small ADV market.  Like you’ve mentioned numerous of times now, the negativities have since changed and the big dogs are jumping in to try and capture some of that magic.

So here’s looking at CSC on it’s continuing success – MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Gary, thanks for taking the time to write to us.  We’re glad you’re enjoying your RX3.  Ride safe and enjoy the holidays!

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A very cool photo…

My good buddy JBFLA posted a very cool photo on the forum yesterday, along with the following words…

I finally received Moto Baja.  Another good read by Joe Berk.  At 116 pages of light reading with lots of photos, it can probably be read in one sitting.  It took me 3 sittings, with time spent perusing the excellent photos, and my mind wandering…imagining a ride to Baja…..and being chased by wild dogs…..

JB, I’m super glad you enjoyed the book and I feel great about the words you used to describe it.  Your post was a grand compliment.  My intent was to emphasize the photography in this latest book, and your comments indicate to me I was successful.  Thanks for being a loyal reader and thanks for that awesome photo above…it really made my day.

For the rest of you guys who are riding into Baja with us in March, don’t worry about the dogs JB mentioned above…they were only a problem in a few towns when we were mostly on dirt roads, and I know the doggie domains to avoid.  We shouldn’t have any problems with the Baja barkers during our March expedition.

I’m having fun reading the comments on the story about our CSC Baja expeditions.  There are a lot of folks who are in awe of what we (you and the team here at CSC) are doing, and of course, there are a few naysayers.  Interestingly, the inputs from the haters are sparse and they aren’t really badmouthing Chinese bikes these days.  The few folks who have anything negative to say are down on Baja and on small bikes.  Ah, well, like that song goes, the haters are gonna hate.  What empty lives they must lead.  The vast majority of comments are positive, as well they should be.

That’s it for tonight, folks.   I’m up here in northern California visiting with friends and family, and I’m dreaming about heading south into Baja again.   It’s less than three months away!

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Getting ready for Baja 2018

Here’s an update to a blog I ran way back in 2015 for our first Baja ride.   I thought I’d post it again for the folks riding with us in Mexico next March.

An osprey in Guerrero Negro...we'll see a lot of them

An osprey in Guerrero Negro…we’ll see a lot of them

On all of our prior rides, we had folks arrive at the CSC plant in RVs, pickup trucks, cars with trailers, and this question always comes up:   Do we have a place to store your vehicle?  We have some space, but not a lot. If you will need a place to store your vehicle during the ride, let us know now.  We can accommodate a small number of vehicles, but we can only do so if you let us know now.

If you need a hotel in Azusa prior to our departure, the Stardust is popular with a lot of our riders.  It’s relatively inexpensive and only a couple of miles from the CSC plant.  You will need to contact them to make your reservations for any stays here in Azusa.

We always have a pre-ride briefing at the CSC plant the night before we leave, so you’ll want to be in Azusa on 9 March.   You have to attend this briefing to ride with us, as we cover safety and other issues.  The briefing will be at 5:00 p.m. on the 9th.

Regarding the hotels in Mexico, we’ll get the hotel reservations (in Mexico) squared away…you’ll have to pay for your rooms, but we will contact the hotels so they will hold the rooms for us.   Double versus single occupancy is up to you.  I’ll be sending out the list of people who are going to the folks on this trip and you can contact each other if you wish to double up.  The hotels in Mexico aren’t fancy and they most definitely are not the Waldorf Astoria (as an aside, I’ve stayed at the Waldorf and I like the hotels in Baja better).  If you’re expecting 5-star luxury, you might want to lower your sights a bit.

A typical Baja breakfast

A typical Baja breakfast

I’m often asked:  How much money should I bring?  Not many places down there take credit cards, so don’t plan on that.  If you leave with $800 in your pocket, you’ll probably come home with change.

People often ask what other stuff they should bring. Here’s what I’m bringing:

  • Digital camera with charger and spare SD card, and my laptop (so I can post to the blog if we have Internet reception).
  • Motorcycle gear (helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, and the jacket and pants are rain-proof).
  • Two pairs of jeans (one I’ll be wearing on the way down, and an extra pair).
  • Two extra pairs of underwear, two extra pairs of socks, two T-shirts and one sweatshirt.
  • Deodorant, toilet paper, disposable razor, Immodium, toothbrush, toothpaste and my cholesterol pills.  On that Immodium thing, I don’t get sick down there, but I’ve traveled a lot in Mexico and my stomach is used to their flora. If you haven’t been in Mexico before, you might want to bring the Immodium just in case.  This isn’t a slam on Mexico; folks from Mexico get the same thing when they come to the US.  It’s just different bugs that your stomach takes time to get used to.
  • Passport, driver’s license, and BajaBound insurance policy (printed proof of Mexican insurance).  Your regular insurance won’t cover you in Mexico, and if you get stopped down there and you don’t have proof of Mexican insurance, you’re in for a heap of trouble.  I’ll post where to get the insurance later.
  • Toolkit (beyond the RX3 toolkit), including 8, 10, 12, 17 mm sockets and ratchet, Allen wrench combi-tool, reversible (slot and Philips) screwdriver, an adjustable spanner, my Gerber pliers combi-tool, duct tape, and tie wraps.
  • One spare clutch cable, one quart of oil, one can of chain lube, one mini air pump (we sell these), tire irons, a countershaft sprocket nut, and two tubes (one for the front, one for the rear).  I never use that sealant goop you put in your tires to fix a flat.  All of the other times I’ve seen other people use it, it hasn’t worked.
  • A positive attitude (that’s probably the most important thing on this list).

If you are picking up a new RX3 prior to the trip and you plan to change your oil as part of the break-in process while you are in Mexico, you’ll need to bring two quarts of oil, an oil filter, a tray to catch the oil, and the tools you’ll need.  Take a look at our online maintenance tutorial if you’re going to be doing this.   I’ll be there to help you, but I’m not bringing extra stuff for you. You’ll have to pack what you need.

One on the cave paintings at Sierra San Francisco

One of the cave paintings at Sierra San Francisco…these are over 10,000 years old

You’ll want to pack light.  My observation is that most people pack way more than they need to.   We’re not on an expedition to Mars; we’re going into Mexico for 8 days.   The more stuff you pack, the more stuff you’ll have to load and unload every day, and the more your bike will weigh.   Travel light, folks.   On these trips, I fit everything I need in the RX3’s two side cases and the top case; I don’t have any other stuff strapped to the bike outside these cases.

This is not how you want to pack your motorcycle!

That’s it for now.  If you have any questions, let me know.  You might want to pick up a copy of Moto Baja! prior to the ride; it has a lot of good advice on traveling by motorcycle in Baja.

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Our latest press release…

Our latest press release is on the upcoming March 2018 Baja trip, and you can read it here:

The good folks at already ran a story on the Baja adventure tour (you can read that one here), and the comments from their readers are intriguing.   Some of you guys and gals may want to weigh in, especially if you’re one of the folks who have ridden with us.

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CSC website down…

You probably already noticed that the CSC website has been down for about a day.   The web weenies are working the problem and we expect the site to be back on the air soon.  You might be wondering why you’re able to read this if the CSC site is down.  The reason is that the blog is actually on a separate URL (it’s different than the CSC site’s URL).   Hang in there; the server folks tell us it won’t be too much longer.

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Answering the mail…

A couple of our friends asked us about shipping charges on smaller items and asked that we take a look at this area of the business.  We did, and we made a few changes:

  • Anything you buy over $50 we’ll ship for free (if your shipping address is in the Lower 48).
  • We reduced our shipping charges on orders that are below $50.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 909 445 0900.

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From CSC to Shining Baja….

Folks, check this out…

From CSC to Shining Baja

Great story, and right on the money!  Thanks very much, and John Burns!

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A free report from the luminaries…

Interesting stuff….I mentioned in a blog a few weeks ago that a group of industry execs got together during the Long Beach Moto Show to commiserate on the state of the industry and devise a plan on how to bump sales north again.  To give you an idea of what’s been happening, here’s what the Motorcycle Industry Council shows as the sales figures for the last few decades…

The reason for this blog is the above group’s report is available for free, and you can download it here:

The above reports are an interesting read.   The group and the above report(s) got some of it right, I think (especially the part about the dealers), but I also think they missed a big part of why new bike sales are down:  Most bikes today are just too damn expensive (except ours, of course).

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