Next year, the electric motorcycle market will get yet another affordable offering, and this one seems to be almost perfect at the job of scooting you to and from work for under $10,000. The CSC RX1E has a top speed of 80 mph, a range of up to 112 miles, and could even do some off-roading for just $8,000.
One of my favorite sensations on two wheels in recent years is riding electric motorcycles. I straddled the Harley-Davidson LiveWire when it first came out, and it resulted in me doing my first burnout while simultaneously doing my first wheelie. The instant torque of an electric vehicle translates to pure hooliganism when applied to a motorcycle. But on the other end, the slow stuff isn’t bad, either. Riding an electric motorcycle can be even more calming than taking a ride on a vintage Honda Helix scooter. Now that I finally have a place to charge an EV, I’m considering adding one to my massive fleet. And because I’m a serial cheapskate, of course I’m looking at the inexpensive end of the market.
If you want a cheaper electric motorcycle, there’s a lot of good news out there. Kollter is building a lineup of affordable EV motorcycles, as are Ryvid and Sondors. And who can forget the Kenyan startup aiming to punch out a $1,500 bare bones electric motorcycle? Another player in this field is CSC Motorcycles, and they’re about to release an option that sounds attractive.
CSC Motorcycles, previously known as the California Scooter Company, is an Azusa, California-based dealership that has been around for over 30 years. In 2010 it made headlines when it brought a vintage motorcycle back from the dead. The Classic looked like the 1947 Mustang Colt mini motorcycle brought back to life. After, the company shortened its name to just CSC since “Scooter” confused some about what the company actually sells. From then, CSC positioned itself as a provider of “Fun You Can Afford.”
Today, the company is known for importing Zongshen motorcycles from China and applying its own flair to them. In doing so, CSC has been able to offer some compelling motorcycles for aggressive prices. For $2,795, you could get a CSC City Slicker, an EV with a range of up to 50 miles, a top speed of 46 mph, and the looks of a Honda Grom.
And if you love the looks of vintage café racers, CSC will sell you the San Gabriel 400 for $4,895. That one looks like a 1980s Japanese motorcycle that’s gotten hacked up in someone’s shed. It gets a parallel-twin making 36 HP with overhead cams and liquid-cooling.
You can even get yourself a 450cc adventure bike for $4,995. Even BMW’s cheapest, the G 310 GS, can’t beat that. But if you want your adventure bike powered by electrons, CSC has you covered there, too. Hitting the road early next year is the RX1E, a motorcycle that CSC calls a commuter, but is styled like an adventure bike.
The RX1E is the electric version of the Zongshen RX1, an adventure motorcycle that would normally house a 204cc single making 21 HP. It has 6.6 inches of ground clearance and a 319-pound dry weight. The RX1E costs $8,495, or $7,995 if you pre-order it. So what does going electric get you?
The RX1E ditches the internal combustion for a liquid-cooled electric motor providing 8 kW of continuous-rated power and 18 kW peak power. That translates to 10 HP continuous power with a burst of 24 HP. How long it can run at peak power isn’t said, but top speed is listed at 80 mph. The motor delivers its power to the rear wheel through a belt drive. Acceleration to 60 mph is noted to be under 9 seconds.
That motor is fed by a 6.16 kWh lithium-ion battery and the motorcycle is rated for 112 miles on the New European Driving Cycle. I should note that NEDC simulates ideal conditions, so I would take that number to mean 112 miles maximum. You’ll likely get fewer miles on a charge. Sadly, it charges only from 110V, which means that it takes six hours to go from a flat battery to a full charge.
As I said before, CSC imports its motorcycles from China. Over there, this motorcycle is advertised as being able to handle different terrain. And indeed, even the U.S. version has 50/50 street and trail tires. You also get crash bars to protect the motorcycle. Going electric costs you a half-inch of ground clearance, and the weight goes up to 436.5 pounds before you add the crash bars or cases.
With the charge time and the range, I can see why CSC is marketing it as a commuter. This would be best to ride to and from work… but if there happens to be a dirt road or a few along the way this can handle it. And it should be a comfortable ride, too. The RX1E’s inverted front fork has 4.7 inches of suspension travel, and the rear adjustable mono-shock has 4.3 inches of travel. Bosch ABS helps provide stopping power.
There are other neat things, too. It has aluminum wheels and tubeless tires, a 30.9-inch seat height, and a reverse function. What I like most about this is that it has ample storage! You get cases to put your purse, tire repair kit, or anything else that you’ll want to bring with you. Hard cases are part of what I like most about my Triumph Tiger.
If you’re interested, you can preorder a 2023 RX1E right now. CSC wants a refundable $500 deposit for them, and your price will be $7,995 before document fees and shipping.
Readers will point out that $8,000 buys a lot of internal combustion motorcycle, and sadly that is true. This motorcycle has specs on the level of a 250cc model that’s half of the price. And it gets even worse if you go used. However, if you are a fan of EVs, it’s nice to see more and more of these sub-$10,000 machines hit the market.
It was a busy week, Zero also announced their ADV Electric Bike the DSR/X. Im interested in electric bikes but more for commuting in the city. The battery cost and technology isn’t quite there for me. Looking at the new BDR X in PA the CSC wouldnt be able to do sections 2, 3 and 4 in one shot. The Zero DSR/X looks like it can do the job but at 3 times the price is it worth it?
One big benefit is the noise. These should be really quiet, which makes leaving the house early much easier for that long commute.
This is a weakness to me. I am not a fan of obnoxiously loud bikes but the prospect of a hyper torquey fast accelerating electric motorbike that doesn’t make any noise sounds like an utter deathwish. Look at the size of new trucks and SUVs with their 4 foot tall grilles…how the hell do I get their attention without just laying on the horn all day?
Electric bikes is an interesting proposition, if you are riding a commuter ICE bike you probably are already saving a lot on gas, so you would have to really hate spending money on petrol to buy for that reason. Haven’t ridden one, so don’t know how good or fun they are to ride. I guess if you are intrigued by the idea of an electric vehicle, want new, and are on a low budget you could dip your feet in the water with one of these. I have ridden an electric bicycle, they have more oomph than I expected, so I suppose an electric motorcycle with much more oomph could be pretty fun. Last thought, if loud pipes save lives an electric bike saves…the earth…your eardrums…the goodwill of your neighbors?
Even though I’m not a motorcycle guy myself, I’m sold on the practicality of the electric power. Very rarely is a motorcycle your primary/only vehicle so the concerns with range that people have with EVs is essentially solved.
It’s great for your commute or weekend cruising but you can lean on your car for long trips or anything outside of the range of the bike
I’ve looked at the RX4 as a first bike for myself, but I think I’m just going to get an F650GS. Older, sure, but indestructible. While the RX4 reviews well and has absolutely amazing customer service stories, I want to know I can get parts for my bike a few years down the road. I think the same thing about this electric bike. It’s a great price…but for the money that price point is about to get very crowded I bet.
I disagree. For a commuter it should be lightweight, have a low CG, and step through. Swinging a leg over giant cargo boxes on the back is not going to be fun unless you’re a gymnast.
I’m in the market for my first bike and it would be nice to make it my first EV as well, but I am looking for a dual sport that is far lighter. I wish I could find something street legal a little closer to a Sur Ron Light Bee. The Storm Bee is the closest thing I can find but its too much money, too heavy and doesn’t offer enough range. Im asking for too much I know. I want something 250 lbs or less and 50 miles of usable range on and off-road.
They make big batteries for the sur ron. They aren’t usually street legal though.
In the ICE motorcycle arena these don’t look bad when I looked at them in person and I’ve heard mostly favorable reports.
They would not be my first choice, but they are priced right.
I find it easy to conceive a Chinese EV of decent quality could be available.
Remember when “Made in Japan” was something to be avoided?
Yep: first Japan, then Taiwan. I quit worrying much about it when I found a Made in Turkey label on an oil filter (or maybe it was Italy?—Turkey might have been iron pipe a few years later). Shoddy build-quality can come from almost anywhere-and I have to remember I’m posting from a device assembled in the PRC.
That seems like it could be a nice commuter bike, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable spending $8,000 on a budget electric motorcycle from China. From what I’ve seen about cheap bikes imported from China, quality is highly variable (I’m not criticizing China or Chinese made products in general, but the budget bikes from there seem to be of poor quality). I might be willing to risk $2,800 on the gas powered bike shown above, but $8,000 is more of a risk than I am willing to take. I would feel more comfortable paying $15,000 for a Livewire Del Mar. It is obviously much more expensive, but it seems more likely to reasonable transportation over the long term.
Also, 112 miles out of a 6.2 kwh battery is nuts. I average around 7.5 miles per kwh on my Livewire, and that does not include much highway driving (I’m closer to 5.5 miles per kwh at highway speeds). Even if the entire 6.2 kwh capacity was usable, 112 miles would be 18 miles per kwh. I figure this bike will get closer to 50 miles in real world use.
I’ve never seen any kind of Chinese-built two-wheeled conveyance that wasn’t the powered equivalent of a Walmart bicycle—built as cheaply as possible, sure to break, and frustrating to repair. That’s not to say that China can’t make perfectly good stuff, I just have never seen it with a scooter or motorbike. Maybe these rebadged Zongshens are excellent, but I’d want to let some other people find out first before I bought one.
What is your guess, better or worse than an Ural?
Far better, even with Ural’s major upgrade from Russian-standard production quality.
I’ve ridden a number of zongshen rebrands in South America. Quality isn’t equal to Honda, but it’s not far off. Frame isn’t going to break at the first or hundredth pothole. The biggest factor is the quality of assembly as these bikes ship in a much more disassembled state than most Japanese, European or American manufacturers. Resellers also tend to be merchants first and mechanics fifth, sixth or last.
CSC, hopefully, addresses the final assembly issues, but it’s hard to make a compelling argument that new Chinese is better value than used Japanese at CSC’s price point.