Long, long ago I promised a review ofthe RX3, CSC’s 250cc adventure bike, as an actual overlanding machine. I’d begged off making any comments right away because,well, I hadn’t gone anywhere on it. If you are going to say a bike is good for traveling, you have to travel. Spend a couple weeks living out of the bags. Take it camping. Ride when it’s too hot or too cold or too wet.
You know, like what happens when you are traveling for a long, long time on a motorcycle.
I know, from watching Facebook pages and reading forums, a lot of owners are using the bikes more as dirt bikes or dual sports than for long term travel. Given that is a common practice for some of the “Big Duelies,” I am not going to say whether it’s right or wrong. I know the new TT model is probably a better choice, even though it doesn’t have the luggage. Who doesn’t like luggage?
Since I just mentioned it, lets start with the luggage. The RX3 comes with plastic side and top cases, with crash bars for the side boxes. On a ride to Virgina for the Horizons Unlimited Meeting, I used these stock bags for about 10 days on the road (I think if you can survive for a week with what you’re carrying, you can go forever – it’s just doing laundry after that). They were tight for a solo rider. I don’t pack very much, but I am used to having space left over and there wasn’t as much as I’d like. I also decided on that trip to stop using the top box. I just didn’t need the space and it made the back of the bike feel crowded with my camping gear.
The bike handled both interstate and local highways with ease. It’s a little buzzy, but most singles are. While the servicing is more complicated than my SR250, it was still doable on the road, though I was annoyed that the stock tools did not have the stuff needed for basic maintenance. I was able to add the things that were missing, but I really don’t get why they would have only half a tool kit. Why bother putting anything there if it’s not enough to do anything? (This is less than completely true, since the stock tools are enough to assemble the bike out of the crate CSC ships the bikes in.)
The seat. Well, there was a lot of talk about how uncomfortable the seats are, but I didn’t upgrade mine when I ordered it. I usually don’t mind stock seats, and in my experience seats seem to loosen up some after the first thousand or so miles. If mine did, I didn’t really notice, and 300 miles was a practical limit on how far I could ride in a day. Even after a couple days of that I think my daily max would start to drop and I wanted to rest my bum. Sheepskin helped, and I’ve recently put on an Airhawk which helped more, but I think if you are planning high daily miles you are going to want to change the seat.
For the ride out to Arizona for Overland Expo, I had the upgraded luggage. This was because of our planning ride to Alaska this summer, and carrying a passenger and their stuff meant we wanted to have more space. Remembering my Virginia trip, I left the topbox off. My camping gear when on the rear rack with some Rox straps and I used the two side cases for my stuff. There was more than enough room for everything I wanted to carry. No, I haven’t put any stickers on them yet.
One other thing that is a common question is about support in the form of parts or technical help for owners. With no dealer network, any problems can leave you feeling very, very alone. CSC has always said they would stand by their machines, whether owners did their own work or found a local mechanic to handle the repairs. I had a chance to try that out on my Arizona trip and, glossing over the details, will admit that I am floored by the level of effort CSC put into getting me back on the road.
So, how is the bike as an overland machine? Okay – it’s rides large for a 250, but that’s the dirt bike influence. It doesn’t look small, but I don’t know how important that is to people. It is nimble, so that’s good. I’d like a little more range before the fuel light starts flashing, but it’s okay. It’s high-strung enough for long highway cruises but can still handle rough terrain. All and all, I am still happy with the bike and plan to take it places.