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A Visit to CSC Motorcycles

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IMG 2012

If you haven't heard of CSC Motorcycles by now, let me help you out here. It was my pleasure to get to spend a few hours at their Azusa, CA headquarters for a belly full of free coffee and donuts, and oil change and an hour or so chatting with Joe Berk.

They have a picture of me and the XLADV project bike getting an oil change on their blog here.

Joe Berk is a very interesting guy. He happens to also be a professor of engineering at Cal Poly Pomona and knows a few things about a motorcycle, industrial manufacturing and the industry in general.

CSC got its start as a pet project out of the slow down of the whole Harley/Roadster industry they played in came to a crash in '07 when folks could no longer get a fifth mortgage to put a shiny piece of driveway jewelry in their driveway. CSC's founder liked the old 50's and 60's vintage scooters and found an old "Mustang" scooter he wanted to restore. He realized hey wait a sec, we could make these! That's basically where it all started. They found these new versions of the old Mustang scooters were very popular with the older set who remembered them. Kind of like finally sticking it to the old man for not allowing it way back then! :)

This is that original Mustang scooter

IMG 2026

Their RX 3 has gotten most of the attention. It's essentially a $3499 Chinese-made (Zongshen) bike that's actually quite robust and getting quite a bit of positive feedback on the Interwebs lately. No, it's not "XL" at 250cc's but it is quite a capable adventure machine and we're not bike fascists here.

I passed their group back in Mar or Apr as they were headed to Baja then saw them again at the Expedition Overland Rally in Flagstaff, AZ. I know Rob Day owns an RX 3 too and he says he loves it.

CSC may owe part of their success to their fanboy legion they've developed by doing what you would guess? That's right, listening to their market. CSC went with a 17" rear instead of a 15" and many other cool electrical features (LED/accessory ports, bigger stators, better forks, etc...) based on rider feedback. "Finally! Someone who listens to us!" is how Joe characterized some of the early online responses.

These are not really "Zongshen" bikes either. They are made to CSC's spec and there's no other Zongshen bike out there with the same sets of features. This really reminds me a lot of what John Penton did with KTM back in the day. Lots of interesting parallels there.

Keep in mind, the US and world market were taken by storm by Honda, Yahama, Kawasaki, etc... in the 60's and that could very well be what's happening now. The Chinese already own the third world motorcycle market and that's all you'll see. That's the truth as far as my trip to Bolivia in '13 is concerned. And it's no peasants working on dirt floors either. That phone you're holding in your hand was most likely made in China. They are WAY ahead of where the Japanese were in the 60's, so that gives you an idea for what the potential quality is.

IMG 2007

Quite a substantial skid plate, too!

IMG 2008

IMG 2009

IMG 2010

Got some video too!


I look forward to seeing more of these bikes on the trail, as well as some CSC shop rides or them joining some of our rides.

This new TT they still have to get approved by CARB and EPA but it's a cool little 21"/18" very dirt-capable bike!
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