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Common Tread

Wrenching your own ride: A look at the CSC RX-3 Cyclone

Apr 07, 2015

I have been enamored with tools and "fixing" things since I have been old enough to walk. Shortly before my fifth birthday, my grandfather gave me some simple tools, including a miniature hand saw, to encourage my curiosity. I promptly set out to "fix" my parents' coffee table by sawing through about a third of it before my mother caught me and stopped me from finishing the job. I lost my rights to use tools unsupervised for a while after that.

Here's a motorcycle for people like me who enjoy working on things, even in this age when most manufacturers go to great efforts to dissuade you from wrenching on your own machine. Enter the new CSC RX-3 Cyclone.

CSC Cyclone
Photo by Joe Berk, CSC Motorcycles.

CSC (which stands for California Scooter Company) is a small firm located in Azusa, Calif., focused on building affordable, two-wheeled transportation for the American market. With the RX-3 Cyclone, CSC steps away from the scooters the company is known for to produce a 250cc dual-sport motorcycle that comes fully loaded with luggage and crash bars for the “ride it like you stole it” price of $3,495.00.

To cut down on costs to the consumer, CSC has no plans to use a traditional dealer network. Instead, you purchase directly from the warehouse and have it delivered to your home or you can swing on in and ride on out on your new bike. Instead of dealer support, what you get with the purchase of a Cyclone is a full factory service manual and a detailed maintenance tutorial page on their website that walks you through valve adjustments, fork rebuilds, replacing the clutch and everything in between. There are detailed pictures and specific instructions to help you complete each job on your own.

CSC Cyclone
Checking the valve clearances on a CSC RX-3 Cyclone. Photo by Joe Berk, CSC Motorcycles.

Now, some will argue that they are doing this because their 250cc Chinese engine probably requires more service than other bikes and there is no large dealer network to supply the needed support for the Cyclone. To those folks I say, "So what?"

CSC Cyclone
Photo by Joe Berk, CSC Motorcycles.
I am not so young that I can’t remember a time when owning a motorcycle meant that you were required to have a little bit of knowledge about how it worked and how to fix it if it broke. I remember the first time I rode my Triumph Bonneville across the country almost 10 years ago and a guy came up to me at a filling station in Wyoming and remarked that to his knowledge there was no Triumph dealership in the state. Clearly, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore; and come to think of it, I don’t think there was a dealer in Kansas at the time, either.

Do I think the Cyclone is for everyone? Nope. Do I think it is going to take the motorcycle community by storm? Not at all. However, I do think it’s great to see a manufacturer encouraging its customers to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty instead of instilling a fear of self-servicing one’s own bike.

CSC Cyclone
CSC RX-3 Cyclone. Photo by Joe Berk, CSC Motorcycles.

The Cyclone looks like a bike that would appeal to the kind of guy who would take a hand saw to his folks' coffee table at age 5. At least you won’t have to worry about your mom taking your tools away this time around.