February 28, 2016 at 7:54 pm #11693
Thanks to Martin at @belamoto the only RX3 in New Zealand turned up in our garage today. Martin is allowing us to do a ‘warts and all’ independent review and assessment of the RX3.
Belamoto have bought in this RX3 to assess the bike’s quality and suitability for New Zealand. A retail price hasn’t been set but was estimated to be in the $8k area, including luggage and crash bars.
For the record we have no commercial association with Belamoto.
So first impressions, this is a nice looking bike! The paint depth and quality of fit of the tank and side panels is as good as any japanese bike, and Martin has just ridden from Auckland to Hamilton so it isn’t freshly polished.
Rear Shock adjustment
Attachments:March 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm #11703
Under the seat of the RX3 is pretty clean, the pillion seat is removed via a keylock in the left side panel and the riders seat requires removal of 2 10mm bolts. On the underside of the pillion seat is the usual factory basic tool kit and you could possibly squeeze a wallet or something under there but not much else.
The small square hole in the center is the air intake with the airbox directly below that.
Zongshen have gone their own way with the airfilter using a removable flat panel design. Accessing the airfilter requires the left side panel to be removed which is no more difficult than on any other bike, and then a small filter door removing to expose the filter. The filter then slides out of the airbox.
CSC motorcycles, the US importer cover this process on their website: http://www.cscmotorcycles.com/Articles.asp?ID=254
The filter can be disassembled by removing the centre screw which could be very handy for replacing or cleaning the foam filter.
Attachments:March 2, 2016 at 1:18 pm #11710
Getting in the saddle.
The RX3 has a seat height of 79.5 cm and the saddle is quite wide and well padded. At 177cm tall (5’8″) I can’t quite flat foot on the ground, this is mostly because the front of the seat is quite wide compared to other small bore adventure bikes, but not uncomfortably so. With the shape of the seat it’s a lot more comfortable than a lot of other single cylinder adventure bikes I’ve been on, especially the stock Suzuki DR seats of any cc.
The pegs to seat to handlebars relationships are pretty natural and nothing seems cramped, and all of the hand controls are in the expected places, there’s even a headlight switch to turn the lights completely off which is becoming uncommon.
As you turn on the key you can hear the fuel pump priming as the rev counter test sweeps through it’s range and each digit of dash gauges flash from 0 through 9 before displaying their respective appropriate settings
I love the digital dash, it’s well laid out, clear, and provides plenty of information with a large analog rev counter above the main digital display which gives you speed, gear position, temperature and fuel gauges, time and trip meter. On the right side are lights for full beam, oil, left and right indicators etc. I did find the side lights a little difficult to see in bright light but not unreadable.
Attachments:March 2, 2016 at 2:13 pm #11712
Riding the RX3
With a claimed 175kg dry weight you’d expect the RX3 to feel heavy but it doesn’t.
I’ve had to move the bike around the garage a few times and it didn’t have the top heavy feeling I was expecting. This was doubly confirmed when sitting on the bike and leaning it over, I couldn’t get to a point where the bike reached it’s tipping point and I struggled to hold onto it. If it is that heavy the weight must be fairly low.
Let the clutch out and the fuel injection is very positive from idle, great for learner riders still perfecting their clutch control technique and accelerating away from a standstill is smooth.
I suspect like most vehicles the speedo is a little enthusiatic. I need to confirm with a gps but I suspect at any given speed the speedo is reading somewhere in the range of 8% fast.March 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm #11735
Rank: 400cc Rider
- Bike: Dr350
Looking on the internet these have a pretty good write up, with only a few minor teething problems. My only issue would be that at 8k these compete directly with a large number of tried and tested adventure bikes, the drz dr650 klr650 to name a few, all bigger displacement bikes that have been proven over and over to be reliable and great bikes. These retail in the USA for $3500 which converts roughly to $5000NZD. I would think they would need to be priced closer to this to take off in NZ. It will be interesting to see how you find it on and off the road and if they are capable of doing high kms.March 8, 2016 at 4:28 pm #11737
I got out on the RX3 again and did Old Mountain Road and surrounds.
Waitewhena Road is generally wide and smooth but the corners get heavily corrugated due to truck use from a nearby quarry. The rear suspension was very overwhelmed on these corrugations but unfortunately I didn’t have any tools to adjust it at the time. Once I got home and checked the rear suspension setup I found the damping adjustment was only set on 3 clicks in out of a possible 10 and the spring preload was set to very soft, so there’s a lot of adjustment available to firm things up.
The front suspension also struggled a bit over the corrugations but nothing like the rear. The front forks do not have any adjustability but I think going to a higher viscosity fork oil would reap noticable improvements.
The performance of the Zongshen 250cc single motor has impressed me overall. The RX3 is designed and marketed as an adventure tourer rather than a rocketship enduro and as such is not in the same performance class as a WR250 for example but the performance is comparable to our DRZ-250, especially considering on paper it’s carrying a lot more weight.
With a top speed of ~120km/h (indicated 130) the RX3 will sit at NZ open road speeds. 100km/h is just under 7000rpm with a 9000rpm redline. Under 7000rpm the motor is smooth however once over 7000rpm you can feel a buzzing vibration in the handlebars. It’s not a bad vibration and unless you are speeding you are unlikely to be sitting constantly at those revs for any extended period of time.
This test bike could only be described as rattly at idle but its smooth when moving. The gearbox could be described as clunky in feel but this gives it a very positive feel when engaging a gear, there’s no guessing whether you’ve got it right or not or found a mystery neutral, you KNOW it’s in gear, moving between gears was very smooth and effortless.
In regards to the weight I’ve found the RX3 to be well balanced with a low center of gravity.
The RX3 on Old Mountain Road
The Zongshen single cylinder 250cc motor and the factory standard crash bars
Beside the Toothbrush fence.
These retail in the USA for $3500 which converts roughly to $5000NZD. I would think they would need to be priced closer to this to take off in NZ. It will be interesting to see how you find it on and off the road and if they are capable of doing high kms.
The $8K was a highball guesstimate and by no means any sort of final price. Bear in mind also that the RX3 comes factory standard with full engine and front fairing crash bars along with luggage racks fitted with a topbox and hard panniers.
Also due to volume purchasing differences, shipping costs and local taxes and duties a foreign price to NZ price comparison is rarely even when comparing any bikes local and foreign prices.
Attachments:March 11, 2016 at 10:26 am #11750
Continuing on from my reply above. the RX3 also comes with a bash plate fitted as standard. It really is a machine you could jump straight on and start your adventure tour without any further mods.
As long as long term reliability isn’t an issue, and owner reports out of the US indicate they are long term reliable with owners reporting 30,000 MILES without issue, I could see them as being a potential option for a rental fleet. (@belamoto…..;)…)
The brakes were the first point of the RX3 I wasn’t immediately won over by. The front brake on this bike is easily strong enough to pull the bike up from speed however it lacked initial feel and bite. This wasn’t a problem on the road where traction is abundant but on loose surfaces they didn’t have the subtlely required.
The rear brake was stunningly effective, one of the strongest back brakes I have ever experienced. This allowed excellent braking on the road but was actually too strong on loose surfaces meaning I locked up the rear wheel a few times when I hadn’t intended to.
I don’t immediately these as huge issues or failings as the brake behavior could potentially be altered by something as simple as different brake fluid and bleeding but it’s something I’d want to look at as an owner.
Wheels and Tyres
The factory unknown brand tyres didn’t give me any cause for concern, they stuck to the road just fine at all speeds within the RX3’s ability and didn’t squirrel around on the gravel. The rim sizes were interesting however as this RX3 runs a 15″ rear rim and an 18″ front, meaning it’s unlikely you could pop into any motorcycle shop and grab an adventure tyre off the rack.
I know that since this RX3 was bought into NZ a 17″ rear rim option has become available from Zongshen which would give access to the same tyre range as the DR650 and various other bikes, I’m not sure if other options exist for the front yet. This means that any further bikes from Shongshen could be spec’d with a 17″ rear rim and there may be other rim options for the front coming.March 22, 2016 at 8:58 pm #11821
So I broke it.
Cruising along at 90-100km/h and a car pulled pulled out of a driveway a hundred metres or so up the road so I throttled off and all of a sudden I have no power to the rear wheel, the motor is running fine but nothing happening at the rear wheel.
I coasted to a stop and called Jennifer who bought the trailer out to carry me home.
The next day I found the front sprocket cover was cracked so started my investigations there and found the sprocket had slipped off the output shaft.
The RX3 front sprocket is attached as below and it appears the washer tabs weren’t bent up enough and over time things unwound.
While this is a failure I definately consider it an assembly issue, not a design or manufacture issue.
Attachments:November 8, 2017 at 4:59 pm #20060November 9, 2017 at 11:29 am #20077
Rank: 125cc Rider
- Bike: 2015 Zongshen RX3
I did, the best money I’ve spent in a long time. I’ve covered 4 000km since February without a single issue.
The bike is solid rewarding to ride and economical too.
I did a lot of reading online before taking the plunge. Even if it hadn’t come with two sets of luggage spare tyres, screen and an oil filter it would still have been the bargain of the century.
My son has an X5 Hyosung and it is easily as well made and performs as well too. The motor is smooth and gutsy enough for any legal riding situations and I have to admit I like the fact that I’ve got the only one in the country.
Sure it will be a hassle getting spares, just like it’s impossible at the moment to get the necessary spares for my Fiat, even though it is a current model sold from showrooms across New Zealand.November 9, 2017 at 12:03 pm #20090
I loved it overall. It was a good bike to ride and I rated the build quality, especially for the price, it got along well too, probably a bit better than the DRZ-250 we had at the time.
The one issue I did have at the the end was an assembly/pre sale check issue and not a fault with the manufacture of the bike.November 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm #20091
Rank: 125cc Rider
- Bike: 2015 Zongshen RX3
You’re absolutely right, not the way to introduce yourself to a potential market! Years ago I remember a friend of my dad’s buying a new Renault 5. the motor came apart after a day or so because the conrods only had one bolt on each. Funnily enough Renault went bust in South Africa.
I think the upcoming 400cc RX3/4 would really be a fabulous bike, but I don’t have the faintest clue how I’d get one. It’ll just have to be a nice idea.
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