Is It a Motorcycle Or A Camel?

CSC Motorcycles, in cooperation with the Zongshen Industrial Group, is looking to expand its lineup of imported rides with the addition of the RZ3. Similar to last year’s RC3, the RZ3 is all street/sport, but this all-new model adopts more of a naked look to carry the same, 24-horsepower mill. How will it compete in a market already dominated by the Big Four? We’ll just have to wait and see; according to Mr. Steve Seidner down at CSC, the first units should hit the floor sometime around the end of June. Even though it’s only available for pre-order at this time, I’m somewhat familiar with the brand and the RC3, so I thought I’d give the new model a preview based on the preponderance of evidence.

Continue reading for my first look at the CSC RZ3.

  • 2017 CSC Motorcycles RZ3
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-1
  • Displacement:
    249 cc
  • Price:
    3495
  • Price:

Design

2017 CSC Motorcycles RZ3
- image 716835

No doubt about it, the RZ3 fits the Naked-Euro mold to a "T". A triangular cyclops headlight rides in a minimal housing that supports an LED halo, turn-signal standoffs and a vestigial flyscreen. Inverted forks and a cut-down front fender lead the way with a racy look that is all business, and altogether less “Transformer-ish” than some current models.

Non-clip on bars mount the hand controls, and with very little rise they pull the rider into a bit of an aggressive stance with plenty of room to lean in over the humongous fuel tank that dominates and defines the flylines. Tank capacity pushes the RZ3 into fuel-camel territory with a total of 5.28-gallons on board, and when you consider the claimed mileage of 83 mpg the RZ3 suddenly becomes a commuter you can fill up on Sunday and ride all week long. A deep-scoop seat contains the rider fore and aft with room for English, and a small p-pad on the tail provides stadium seating for your passenger with grabrails for a bit of safety or a place to hook your bungee net.

An LED turn-signal/ taillight combo rides tucked under the tip of the tail for a very modern look that should be plenty visible, even in broad daylight, and keeps the rear end clean and trim. All-in-all a very Eurotrash look that has a bit of a Mad Max bent, mainly due to the exposed Trellis frame and chin spoiler, and more than a little MotoGP influence in spite of the eliminated fairings.

Chassis

2017 CSC Motorcycles RZ3
- image 716834

A welded tubular Trellis frame serves as the bones of the beast, and the factory makes sure you get a good look at it with contrasting, bright-red paint that makes it clearly stand out from its surrounds. It’s a stressed-engine design that uses the engine to replace a section of frame to lighten and streamline the unit. Nothing fancy at the swingarm; just a good, old-fashioned yoke-style assembly that works with the coil-over monoshock to manage the rear wheel. It seems the rear shock gets the only adjustability in the system with the obligatory spring-preload tweak, while the inverted front forks come with fixed values.

GP-standard, 17-inch rims mount the hoops with a four-pot caliper to bite the single, 300 mm front disc, and a 240 mm disc to slow the rear. This layout gives the RZ3 a 52.36-inch wheelbase with a 31-inch seat height, and that’s on the compact side of the mid-range, so I imagine smaller riders will be more comfortable than the folks who shop in the Big-n-Tall section. No matter who is on it, the 364-pound curb weight, moderate seat height and compact footprint should make for an easy bike to “Fred Flintstone” in the parking lot.

Drivetrain

2017 CSC Motorcycles RZ3
- image 716835

The RZ3 runs the NC250, the same mill as the fully-faired RC3. A water-cooled thumper, the 77 mm bore and 53.6 mm stroke makes for a total displacement of 249.6 cc with a warmish, 11.6-to-1 compression ratio. The four-valve head is timed by a single over-head cam, and the valve-adjustment mechanism is the good, old-fashioned, screw-and-locknut type that is, by far, the easiest to maintain.

An electronically-controlled fuel-injection system helps the engine meet CARB and EPA emissions standards while delivering the impressive, 83 mpg economy, and operational range that will far exceed a rider’s ability/willingness to stay in the saddle without a break. In short; it’s good for the commute and for longer trips.

You can expect to get something around a 90-mph top speed out of the 24 ponies and 16 pounds of grunt, plenty for hitting the superslab and/or grabbing some cheap thrills. A six-speed gearbox and chain drive make the final connections to carry the power to the pavement.

Pricing

2017 CSC Motorcycles RZ3
- image 716834

MSRP in the U.S. looks to be $3,495, and that price gets you the assembled bike with a one-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. You can pre-order now with a $500 deposit, or wait till they hit the store, and if you have it shipped, additional fees and taxes may apply depending on where you live.

Competitors

2017 - 2018 Benelli TNT300
- image 717911
2017 CSC Motorcycles RZ3
- image 716836

The more I look at the RZ3, the more Benelli’s TNT series comes to mind, so I picked the 300 from that family for my head-to-head. Lookswise, both rides toe the naked line with similar features across the board from the headlight housing to the underslung taillamp. Even the exposed Trellis frame on the TNT comes shot in red to draw the eye.

One notable difference is in the position of the rear shock; the TNT carries it offset to the right side with a red spring that visually ties it to the frame members. Preload adjustment at the rear shock is a constant across the board, as are the inverted front forks that come sans adjustment, but that’s not really a surprise at this price range. Benelli takes the brakes a step further with dual, 260 mm, wave-cut front discs versus the single conventional disc on the RZ3. Granted, neither have much in the way of heft. The RZ3 weighs in at 364-pounds soaking wet while the TNT tips the scale at 432-pounds, and this explains away the difference in brake capacity.

Benelli powers the TNT 300 with a twin-cylinder mill that measures out right at 300 cc with a 65 mm bore and 45.2 mm stroke, and that’s just a tad larger than the 249.6 cc mill in the RZ3. Over-head cams and water-cooling systems are constant across the board, as are the six-speed gearboxes, but at the end of the day, the displacement difference makes the TNT a more powerful ride with 37 horsepower over the RZ3’s 24, and 20 pounds of grunt over 16 from same. That’s a difference that will definitely register on the heinie-dyno.

At $3,999, Benelli’s TNT 300 rolls for just a skosh higher than the RZ3 at $3,495, but that really isn’t a significant difference, even to a tight budget.

He Said

“Interesting little bike, and I expect the fit and finish to be on par with the RC3 which was better than I expected but still just a little shy of the quality you get from the Big Four, for instance. That said, if you’re hard up against a budget or just want an inexpensive learner’s bike that could be used to commute, the RZ3 may be worth a look.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I was like okay...it’s a nice little 250 cc bike, until I saw the size of the gas tank. "Really? At over five gallons and with over 80 mpg, this would be an awesome commuter. I wonder if you put knobbies on it, how it would be as a scrambler. When I can take that much fuel on the road, I’m starting to think what I can do with it where there aren’t any gas stations."

Specifications

Engine: NC250
Engine Type: Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke, 4-Valve, Water Cooled, Overhead Camshaft, Balance Shaft Type
Displacement: 249.6cc
Bore & Stroke: 77mm x 53.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.6 : 1
Starter: Electric
Fuel System: EFI
Max. Power (Kw/rp/m): 18.5/9000
Max. Torque (N.m/rp/m): 22.5/7000
Transmission: 6-Speed
L x W x H: 78.74" x 33.46" x 44.02"
Wheelbase: 52.36"
Seat Height: 31"
Mini Ground Clearance: 5.5"
Fuel Capacity: 5.28 Gallons
Curb Weight: 364 lbs
Fuel Consumption: 83 mpg
Brake: Front: Disc; Rear: Disc
Tire Size: Front: 110/R17MC, Rear: 140/R17M/C
Colors: Black, White
Price: $3,495

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: cscmotorcycles.com, usa.benelli.com

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: