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Review: CSC RX4 – Best Value Dual Sport Motorcycle

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

The CSC RX4 is the adventure motorcycle riders have been waiting for. Powerful. Economical. Modern. And Affordable!

CSC Motorcycles introduced the RX4 as an all-around versatile dual sport motorcycle for real-world riding - including highway cruising, adventure touring on and off road, or simply commuting to work. If you have shopped for a dual sport motorcycle, you have found that what once was the low-cost entry segment has become the high-priced trendy market niche.

“Dual sport” is generally defined as a street-legal motorcycle, capable of highway speeds but also designed for riding beyond the end of the pavement.

This versatility means value and explains why dual sport sales continue to climb. At the same time, motorcycle sales continue to stagnate or decline for the opposite ends of the spectrum – huge highway cruisers and dirt-only motocross bikes.

This is not just an American trend. Dual sport motorcycles dominate sales around the world. In many parts of the world, what would be considered a “small” dual sport cycle in the U.S. may be the largest affordable option. This motorcycle may be the sole means of transportation for a family. In many countries, larger motorcycles are impossible to afford. Motorcycle registrations outnumber autos. This is why motorcycle sales in countries much smaller than the U.S. (Columbia, for example) have greater motorcycle sales.

Beyond dependable everyday transportation, dual sport motorcycles in the United States have created the sub-niche of adventure bikes, those models outfitted for extended travel in the backcountry. We buy expensive motorcycles to enjoy vacations! Not only are most motorcycle brands now marketing an “ADV bike” but there are many companies supplying aftermarket parts, including touring luggage, riding gear, and components designed for the added abuse of loaded off-road touring. There are also many forums and websites serving the enthusiastic adventure market, along with published tour routes like the Trans-America Trail and Backcountry Discovery Routes.

best value dual sport motorcycle

best value dual sport motorcycle

What are the BEST motorcycle values for adventure riding?

This sales background helps to define the huge market that CSC Motorcycles competes in. This California motorcycle brand has identified gaping holes in the adventure motorcycle market. Working closely with one of the largest motorcycle factories in China, CSC has become the sole importer of dual sport motorcycles designed to fill the gaps in equipment and the price points overlooked by the “big name brands”.

For example, most motorcycle brands try to impress American adventure riders with a “bigger is better” emphasis. There are multiple options if you are in the market for an “adventure bike” in the 900cc to 1100cc or larger range - and with a price tag of $25,000 or more. (This is BEFORE completing the sale with thousands more in parts and accessories.) MANY adventure motorcycles now cost more to buy, insure, and maintain than economical and dependable autos.

On the other hand, there are also several "dual sport" options that are simply street-legal versions of powerful motocross motocross bikes. You can spend $10,000 to $12,000 and more for these aggressive motorcycles in the 500cc to 690cc range. Then you can spend at least another $1,000 adding ADV accessories like luggage and touring necessities. (I once spent nearly $10,000 outfitting the Yamaha WR250R for my Trans-America Trail adventure. It was painful to ride day after day.) If racing and gnarly single-track riding is your goal, check out these expensive options. If hundreds of miles of comfortable and capable travel is your goal - read on.

The innovative CSC RX3 Adventure – the FIRST bargain dual sport motorcycle.

Back in 2015, CSC bucked these trends by introducing the RX3 Adventure to the North American market. The RX3 is a full-featured adventure motorcycle with a 250cc engine. The engine manufacturer in China, Zongshen, manufactures more than 3 MILLION engines per year, mostly for private label brands around the world. This single-cylinder 250cc fuel-injected motor has been proven in dozens of brands and hundreds of applications – including class victories in Zongshen’s own MotoGP factory team.

I have ridden the CSC RX3 over thousands of highway and dual sport miles. With a 6-speed transmission, it easily cruises the speed limit on the highway. The 250cc counter-balanced motor is “butter-smooth” on backcountry trails. And it delivers upwards of 75 miles per gallon with excellent rider comfort and ergonomics. (For more information about the CSC RX3 Adventure, see the related Review article: CLICK HERE. For a testimony of the dependability of the CSC RX3, see Joe Berk’s account of the promotional ride around the U.S., “5,000 Miles at 8,000 RPM”. Ten new RX3’s accumulated over 50,000 high-speed, loaded touring miles with no mechanical issues.)

best value dual sport motorcycle

CSC further broke with tradition by eliminating the middleman. CSC Motorcycles are only sold directly to the buyer. Low-cost shipping delivers the motorcycle to the owner after CSC preps the bike at its California headquarters. The savings in dealer mark-up and added fees make the CSC models the lowest cost motorcycles in their segments – by THOUSANDS of dollars!

But America is a unique market. We have limitless expanses for motorcycle travel. We are also, as a general rule, larger humans than our Asian and Central American counterparts. While the 250cc RX3 continues to be a favorite of CSC owners, there also were many customers who would not consider the small dual sport motorcycle.

Deliver what ADV riders were asking for – MORE power, MORE features, SAME value!

After several years of development and testing, CSC Motorcycles and Zongshen have successfully introduced the RX4 Adventure model. This larger dual sport cycle features a 450cc single-cylinder, 4-valve, overhead cam, counter-balanced engine. The motor produces 40.2 horsepower and achieves a top speed over 95 miles per hour. The RX4 is water-cooled and equipped with Delphi fuel injection and electric start. The bike features a six-speed transmission.

CSC has the marketing strategy to simply overwhelm the motorcycle shopper with features and benefits. Then shock them with the sticker price.

CSC's motto is "Fun you can AFFORD!"

The CSC RX4 includes standard features that are options on the competition. These include niceties like an adjustable windscreen, comfortable touring seat and foot pegs with removable rubber inserts. The CSC RX4 includes a 300-watt alternator to power accessories. Also included are USB and 12-volt charging outlets as standard equipment.

It also features a TFT digital dash with speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip odometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, gear indicator, neutral light, and clock. You can link your Bluetooth phone to monitor incoming calls. It also includes tire monitors for pressure and temperature.

The CSC RX4 is outfitted with spoked wheels and TUBELESS tires. The standard tires are long-wearing 80/20 CST radials. CSC also offers a variety of optional 50/50 or 20/80 off-road tubeless knobbies.

Instead of standard lights, the RX4 is delivered with LED turn signals and brake light plus LED daytime running lights. The headlamps are controlled by an automatic light sensor – as is the display of the TFT dash. The RX4 has a standard 5.3-gallon gas tank with locking cap. With fuel consumption exceeding 60 miles per gallon, the RX4 has an honest range approaching 300 miles!

One of the trademarks of CSC Motorcycles is the inclusion of engine guards, mounting racks, and touring luggage on the RX3 and RX4. It is possible to spend thousands on these accessories, plus more for installation on other brands. (I know – I’ve done it several times at an added cost of THOUSANDS.) The hardware and luggage are standard features included with these CSC models. CSC also offers upgrades in both a set of deluxe aluminum luggage and lightweight soft luggage options.

best value dual sport motorcycle
CSC RX4 shown with optional aluminum touring luggage package

The current RX4 price is $4,995.00, with a reasonable documentation fee of $65.00, plus an incoming freight, assembly, and inspection charge of $345.00. Shipping to your door adds another $500.00 for a grand total (dealer prepped and delivered) of only $5,905.00. CSC Motorcycles maintains these low prices by selling directly to the customer. Compare the RX4 to other models – similarly equipped – for $8,000 to $10,000.

The CSC RX4 is the unquestioned Best Value Dual Sport Motorcycle. The powerful and economical 450cc motor is paired with a huge list of standard features that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to ride dual sport motorcycles from coast to coast, to Key West, Florida; from the Mexican border in Arizona to above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. I have logged thousands of off-road miles on the Trans-America trail and the BDR routes in Colorado, Arizona, and Utah plus over 1,000 miles of unpaved dual sport riding in Alaska and the Yukon.

Take it from me: most dual sport riding is under 40 miles per hour, with many miles under 20 miles per hour. If the 250cc CSC RX3 is smoothly easing along, the 450cc RX4 is loafing at one-quarter throttle.

I recently completed a three-day, 1,015-mile dual sport loop around Wisconsin. Most of the off-pavement riding was on county, state, and National Forest roads. It would be foolhardy to ride faster than 40 miles per hour since these same curvy, wooded public roads are also used by locals in trucks, loggers hauling 100,000-pound loads, and side-by-side drivers cutting the inside of the corners. Why would you stress yourself riding an 800-pound, 1100cc monster?

Here is a walk-around video of my CSC RX4 adventure cycle in the middle of the Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Trail:

Compared to the 250cc RX3, the CSC RX4 is LARGE! Compared to the “average” adventure motorcycle, the RX4 is small. Remember, many of the flagship ADV bike brands also have “small” dual sport motorcycles in the 650cc to 800cc range. I have tens of thousands of miles of experience on these mid-size motorcycles – on and off the pavement. I remember receiving sneers when I showed up for a fun ride in the hill country – riding double – on my “little” 650cc dual sport. But my Wife and I never lost the pack and enjoyed every hill and curve as much (or more?) than the riders on their 1600cc tractors.

I have also dumped my loaded dual sport in the mud and sand at sea level and off ledges in the snow high in the mountains. Believe me – you will NOT wish for ONE extra pound when you are sweating to get back on the trail! (I have seen some behemoth “adventure bikes” with winches installed!)

Take my advice and embrace Less is More in both your dual sport motorcycle and your packing list.

If you are in the market for your first dual sport motorcycle, do yourself a favor and check out the CSC RX4 Adventure. It is a bargain dual sport and adventure motorcycle. (If you are a smaller, lighter, and/or an older rider you need to give serious consideration to the 250cc CSC RX3 Adventure.) You can literally spend FIVE times more and get less equipment and fewer features. You will enjoy the SAME miles, scenic vistas, and sunsets as riders who have taken out second mortgages to finance their overpriced ADV bikes.

CSC Motorcycles is a small company that treats its owners like family. They actually stock 100% of the parts for their models – meaning you don’t need to spend more and wait days or weeks for parts from the other brands. When – not if – you break something in the backcountry, you will also be pleasantly surprised how reasonable parts are for CSC models compared to any local motorcycle dealer. CSC offers warranties that are honored nationwide, extended warranty options, along with tutorials and service manuals for the owners to perform all routine maintenance themselves.

My advice may be counter-intuitive to many current and prospective dual sport riders. Don’t buy the CSC RX3 or RX4 if you are a wannabe motocross rider. But if you are looking for the best VALUE in an all-purpose, all road dual sport motorcycle you need to seriously compare the CSC models to the competition before you spend more for less! I did – and am now a THREE-time CSC owner!

best value dual sport motorcycle


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