Nope, the ride wasn’t mine, but wow, another nice note and a great ride report from one of our RX3 riders! Check out Jim’s email, his ride report, and his incredible photos!
I really enjoy reading the CSC blog and check it daily. Attached is a trip report and 10,000 mile update on my RX3. You are welcome to use it on the blog, if you wish. I think the Blue Ridge Parkway would make a wonderful CSC group ride, especially for us East Coast customers. I would be happy to help with the planning.
PS: When will you announce the price on the Cafe Racer?
And here’s Jim’s awesome ride report…
I just completed a 4-day ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. My brother and I started at my house in Simpsonville, SC on Thursday morning and rode to the Parkway at Milepost (MP) 423. Then we rode to his house near MP 86, North of Roanoke, Virginia. We took 2 days to go up, stopping for the night at a motel in Pineola, NC on Thursday. I rode back by myself on Saturday and Sunday, taking the same route.
My RX3 performed wonderfully for the nearly 1,000 mile, 4-day weekend (200-250 miles / day). I was a little worried that my 250cc adventure bike would have a little trouble on the hills and might slow down my brother on his big Harley. FYI, I am 6’1” and weigh 230lbs. When we came to the mountains on day 1 we had about 20 miles of twisty climbing roads (Hwy 178 in SC/NC and Rt 215 in NC) to get up to the parkway, gaining about 3,500 feet of elevation. When we got to the top on Hwy 178 my brother said two things, 1. “That was a great road” and 2. “I had trouble keeping up with you”. At that point I knew I was not going to have a power issue. The weather was great (60-75 degrees, two little showers) and the bikes performed flawlessly.
My only complaint on the trip was from my butt! Although I ride to work nearly every day, it is just 20 minutes each way. 5 hours in the seat for me was quite painful (after 2-3 hours). I just have the stock seat, maybe a cushion or Seat Concepts upgrade would help. I ended up standing, sliding back, sitting on the back seat, moving up on the edge of the tank, … anything to get a new pressure point. I survived.
I think the RX3 makes a great bike for the Blue Ridge Parkway! I was able to put all I needed in the stock luggage easily (we were not camping). It is light and easy to maneuver through all those glorious curves. It has plenty of power to get up all the climbs, some downshifting required on the steepest ones. The speed limit on the Parkway is 45mph so top end was never an issue. Even when we were trying to make up some time and my brother was leading (a little over the limit) I had no trouble keeping up. I averaged about 65 miles per gallon so I only spent about $35 in gas for the whole trip! My brother needed to be careful where he parked due the weight of his bike. I didn’t have to bother backing into spots since my RX3 is so light and easy to walk back out any parking spot. Although we did not take any gravel road adventures (due to my brother’s bike), I knew I could if I wanted to. There were a lot of opportunities to do so, I will have to go back and try some of them out. Overall I loved riding the Blue Ridge Parkway on my RX3, a great bike for a great road.
I have nearly 10,000 miles on my bike now, purchased in June 2016. I have done all the oil changes myself (conventional oil @ 2,500 miles) and paid a local shop to adjust the valves twice, change the tires at 8,000 miles, and adjust the chain tension. The only issues I have had were very minor. The shift lever tip broke off at about 2,000 miles. When I emailed CSC they responded immediately and sent me a new lever the same day. My battery died at 5,000 miles = 10 months old, CSC told me the battery only had a 6 month warranty so I was on my own. I found a good replacement on Amazon for $45 and it has been working for 5 months now with no issues. I have only seen 2 bolts work loose. One was on the rear protector / luggage rack. The other was on the rear brake lever. Actually that nut came completely loose and was resting inside the plastic cover. The bolt never came out, not sure it can, and the brake never stopped working. I got the torque value from CSC and put it back on with some LocTite.
Thanks to CSC for offering such a great product at a great value,
Jim, that’s an awesome report and we (I and our readers) thank you for taking the time to put it together and send it to us. We love getting these ride reports.
Allow me to answer your questions and comments.
A Blue Ridge Parkway ride is a real possibility. Thank you for offering to help with organizing it. I’ve never ridden the Blue Ridge Parkway (a character flaw I aim to correct). Everything I’ve heard about that part of our great country sounds perfect for a great motorcycle adventure. I had hoped to get out your way this summer, but I retired from teaching at Cal Poly in May and I have been busier than I’ve ever been. Let’s tentatively talk about doing a Blue Ridge ride next summer. I’m up for it if you are!
Regarding the issues of engine size and keeping up, like you, I have never had a problem keeping up with anyone on a Harley-Davidson. A lot of folks assume that a 250 is down on power and can’t run with the big dogs. It’s never been a problem for me.
On the seat: I’m an older guy and I’ve never found the perfect motorcycle seat. To me, they are all uncomfortable after a long day in the saddle, and I’ve ridden or owned most of the motorcycles out there. I had to give up riding Harleys after I tried to buy a T-shirt at a dealer one day and the sizes all started at 2XL. When I asked the sales guy if he had a medium or a large, he looked at me and told me I was too little to ride a Harley. I don’t much care for Starbuck’s, I don’t have a 35-inch inseam, and I get a cramp in my neck from looking down my nose at other riders, so that ruled out BMW. I am a degreed engineer so I thought I might have a shot at riding a KTM, but I’m a mechanical engineer and after reading the KTM forums I concluded that I really needed an electrical engineering/computer science degree to keep a KTM going. Some folks have told me I’m not one of nicest people they ever met, so that cut out Honda. I never believed that old slogan about loud clutches saving lives, so there went Ducati. I did like letting the good times roll and I rode a KLR for a while, but when the RX3 came on the scene I sold the KLR and never looked back (even though I miss having a doohickey on my RX3). Anyway, to get back to the seat issue, many of our customers like the Seat Concepts seat. I have a sheepskin cover on my RX3 seat and it’s worked well for me. I rode an RX3 6000 miles across China on the stock seat with an aeration-type cover and I was okay with it. It all depends on your individual shape, your pressure points, and your preferences. You might want to consider one of our Seat Concepts seats; I don’t know of anyone who’s purchased one and did not love it.
On fuel economy, 65 mpg is about right. I can typically get over 70 mpg on my bike if I ride to minimize fuel consumption (I’ve twice got over 80 mpg coming down from the Continental Divide at moderate speeds). Small bikes’ top speed, acceleration, and fuel economy are more sensitive to rider weight, headwinds, tire pressure, oil levels, and other factors that would have less of an impact on a larger bike.
Regarding the price on the Cafe Racer, we have not officially announced it yet. I know people in high places, though, and if you promise not to tell anyone, I’ve heard it’s going to be $2,495.
Jim, again, that was an awesome ride and an awesome report. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!