About 6 months ago I decided to buy a cheap Chinese dual sport motorcycle. I’ve been considering taking a cross country trip from Buffalo NY to Pacific Coast Highway in California. While I was researching the trip I came across some videos of dual sport riders, riding and camping in Moab UT, and on the mountain tops of the Colorado Rockies! As soon as I seen the scenery and the beautiful roads and trails these guys were riding I decided I wanted to add those stops to my trip!
Riding a cruiser like a Honda Shadow, or a Yamaha bolt was no longer an option for this trip. On top of that I haven’t rode a trail bike since my teenage years, and now pushing 50 years of age wasn’t sure if I’d still enjoy it. I started researching used dual sports like the Suzuki DRZ, and the Kawasaki KLR650. Used, these bikes run above the $4k price range. Pretty expensive to see if I still enjoy riding off road. While searching for cheap dual sports I came across a cheap Chinese dual sport for $1,500 USD. A brand new bike for $1,500. I was skeptical, but for that price I was more than curious. After looking at various manufacturers, and doing research I decided on a CSC TT250. The bike is built in California, the company had great online reviews, and a brand new bike shipped to my door was a little over $2300. Frankly at that point I just wanted to see how a brand new $2000 motorcycle ran!
Here’s a link of a Steemit I did when the bike arrived. https://steemit.com/motorcycles/@the-bitcoin-dood/my-experience-buying-a-csc-tt250-motorcycle-on-the-internet
I ordered the CSC TT250 over the internet and 4000 miles later I’m really glad I did.
My first impressions of the bike were good. It was delivered to me within 14 days. It arrives in a box and was delivered to my door in a truck. Outside of a little dust from shipping, the bike arrived in perfect condition. The only assembly I had to do on the CSC TT250 was screw in the mirrors. Easy Peasy! Unboxed the bike, screwed in the mirrors, put the keys in the ignition and the bike roared to life.
During the first 400 miles the bike had a slight pop on deceleration. Nothing major, but it was a bit annoying. At the 400 mile break in period I did the manufacturer suggested valve adjustment and the pop still persisted. Made a few carb adjustments, and got the pop under control. 4000 miles later and a little tuning the engines runs smoothly with a nice mellow tone.
This was the first new bike I ever had to break in. If you’ve never broken in a new bike I really don’t know how to describe it. The bike just feels weird. Every day after the 400 mile initial break in period the bike seemed to run a little smoother, and little better with each ride. Not that it originally rode badly, it just rode like a new bike getting broken in I guess. It feels strange!
By the 1000 mile mark, it ran smoothly and I was no longer concerned about opening it up on the highway, or revving it to high. The engine sounded and ran great. After driving a Honda Shadow with cobra straight pipes, it was nice having a quiet bike. Now at the 4000 mile mark, the exhaust is a bit louder, still quiet but with a nice mellow tone.
Six months later and 4000 miles I’ve ridden the bike all over New York state both on road and off. Technically the bike is a 230 cc engine. It’s not super fast, but it does have the power to get the job done. At only 230cc the bike climbs hills and gets you where you need to go. It is air cooled though, and the engine tends to overheat on longer trips if you stay on the main highways. The bike is pretty much wide open around 65mph, and will start to cut out when it over heats. Usually after about an hour to an hour and a half of wide open highway driving. I’ve never had this problem on country back roads however, and have ridden the bike 2 – 3 hours of straight driving before pulling over and giving it a break for a little while. On top of that, anyone who reads this blog knows I love riding country back roads. The scenery and the ride is far superior to boring main road highway driving! So for me, keeping the TT250 off the main highways isn’t really an issue.
In the city the bike is an absolute riot! It gets you through tight traffic no problem. Has plenty of speed and power to keep up with traffic in the 30 to 55 mph range. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy riding this bike more than my Honda Shadow in the city. It’s just easier to maneuver, and gets you in and out of tight places when there’s trucks in the middle of the street loading and unloading slowing down traffic. Easier to maneuver too when the cagers aren’t paying attention and decide to cut you off.
At the 4000 mile mark I haven’t had a single major problem with this bike. A lot of people told me I was crazy buying a cheap Chinese dual sport, calling them cheap peices of crap. That hasn’t been my experience. I haven’t been gentle with it either. The bike sees a lot of off road trail riding and has taken all the abuse I’ve thrown at it. I’ve gone through a couple shifters snapping them on rocks and downed tree trunks, but outside of that, the trails haven’t broken a single thing on the bike.The only things I’ve replaced so far are 2 shifters, and my tires. As far as handling, it handles about as well as any other trail bike I rode in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Sorry, I’m old and those are the only comparisons I can make.
Overall I’m really happy with the CSC TT250. It’s definitely not a bike for long distance travel. I also discovered when I took it to the Adirondack Mountains that it can struggle a bit on steep mountain roads. I don’t think it struggles much more than it’s Japanese counterparts for bikes of this size. Riding the bike from Buffalo to California is out of question, but for a fun bike to ride around town, or something to throw around on the local trails, I’d highly recommend it. For the record, you’re probably not going to get the same performance as a Honda or Kawasaki of similar size, but the bike is fun and gets the job done. If you’re not planning on racing it on the track, and just looking for something to have fun with, at $2300 this bike gives you a lot of bang for your buck!
The other nice thing about the bike is gas mileage. I haven’t really paid attention to it, and I only work a couple miles from my house. I’ve been using it as my daily commuter back and forth to work since October when I took the Honda Shadow off the road for winter. I’m now spending under $9.00 every other week on gas. I’ve never let the gas fall under a 1/2 tank, but I’m guessing I could probably get away with monthly fills for under $15.00 a month. That definitely helps the budget!
As far as a trip from Buffalo NY to California and riding through the Colorado Rockies and the Utah desert, this isn’t the bike for that. I’ve been looking at a wide range of dual sports and adventure bikes now though, and I’m really leaning towards the new CSC RX4 which is a 450cc adventure bike built by CSC. After my experience with the TT250, I’d be very comfortable pulling the trigger on the RX4 when I decide to take this trip. I’m still looking at other options, but the RX4 is a strong contender! Other considerations are the Royal Enfield Himalayan, and the KLR650 (soon to be discontinued by Kawasaki). If I buy a KLR it will only be because I want to own the last year model of this iconic dual sport legend!
Thanks for reading. Happy trails, and safes travels to you!