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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
But again, I digress. I just put 100 miles on the SG400 yesterday, and I had a total blast the whole time. I kinda ride like a hooligan on the thing, it just encourages bad behavior when the rpms get up there. And it's fun because I can ride it balls to the walls, and I'm not doing 120mph in a 55 zone like I would with something bigger. And it looks really sweet. I get heads turning and wondering what it is wherever I go.

Charles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
The 13 tooth countershaft sprocket really wakes the bike up and makes it a ton more fun. Now instead of it taking forever to reach 94mph it gets there quickly. But that’s all it’s got. Redline on the speedo is 10k, but the rev limiter kicks in at 9500. If the redline matched the tach that’d be 99mph, maybe the ton.

that said even though the top speed is only 94, it’s so much more fun around town that I’m keeping it this way. On the highway I’m above the little flat spot at 70mph and it’s just a more fun experience.

Really digging this bike.

Charles
 

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I'm hesitant to post again after the reception my last thread got. It blew up into anti-china political rhetoric and the mods closed it down: https://www.advrider.com/f/attachments/86973b16-a842-4c41-a5bb-b789a2f2cafe-jpeg.3498065/

Please refrain from bringing politics or anti-china sentiment into this thread, as it will just be shut down again.

For a long time I've been thinking about a bike to cafe. I was really into the Yamaha SR400, until I actually sat on one. It was SO tiny. I was mulling over the Royal Enfield 650s, and then came across the SG400 (Known as the RE3 Cyclone overseas). It was $5555 delivered, and it had some seriously radical cafe styling that I really fell for. The price was remarkable too. Not only would I not have to build it into a cafe racer myself, the purchase price was lower than either the RE or the Yamaha. So... I got together some play money and bought it in October 2021.

I wanted the blue one, but they didn't have it in stock yet. That container was supposed to arrive 6 months before and hadn't yet. (goddamn Covid) So I ended up with a gray one, and bought the blue tank and fender later. BUT, I didn't just buy it and have it shipped. I bought it, flew to LA, rode around california for 2500 miles, flew home, and THEN had the bike shipped to me.

So, you guessed it, this bike Chinese. It's a Zongshen RE3 Cyclone. Here it's branded as a CSC (California Scooter Company). CSC made their bread and butter on a 24hp 250cc adventure bike from 2016-2020, and have now started importing more interesting, modern, and advanced bikes. This RE3/SG400 is a 380cc parallel twin with 36 horsepower. Screw/locknut tappets, water-cooled, tubeless spoked rims, fuel-injected, 6-speed, and near 100mph top end with stock gearing. (98 indicated, 96 actual). It's geared for 115 at redline in 6th but can't actually make that, so a tooth or two larger rear sprocket should get it all the way to 100. It's got a remarkable amount of power for only 380ccs. It's pretty docile and meek until you crack the throttle wide open. Then it's still docile and meek, until the revs hit 7000 rpm. Then it surges forward and continues to gain speed all the way to the 10,000 rpm redline. When kept in the power band there is plenty of power for passing on backroads, even multiple cars at a time. There's also plenty of overtaking ability on the highway as well. The bike will cruise at 80 without vibration or any drama other than the wind and helmet-lift you get with any naked bike. It shifts smoothly and positively, the ABS works pretty well, and it's overall a pretty nice package. The only thing really wrong with it is the rear shocks. They're set up for a 90 pound asian man, and they have ZERO rebound damping. Stock the bike will pogo four times after hitting a large bump. In China there are 3 different specced versions with different shock configurations, and CSC unfortunately chose the cheapest shocks to import. Bad call on their part. I've replaced them with a quality pair of YSS shocks, and that made a huge difference.

Other than that, I can't say I've noticed any corners cut. I mean, it's a budget bike, but the fit and finish is excellent. The design is well thought-out and made for DIY maintenance. There's no voodoo necessary to adjust the valves for instance. Tank comes off, wires come off, and valve cover lifts straight out. Everything fits together well and looks good. I mean, there are some obvious hints it's a budget bike. The gas cap ring is plastic instead of aluminum and the handlebar switches are a bit plasticy. The shocks of course were a big problem for me, and exacerbated because I'm a fatass and the bike was overloaded with gear. But otherwise, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between this Zongshen and a Honda if you had no motorcycle knowledge at all.

Everywhere I went in Cali, this bike brought out curious people. Some thought I had restored an old bike, others instantly knew it was a production bike, but had no clue who made it. I had great conversations with sport bikers, harley riders, adventure riders, and everyone inbetween. I had the first oil change at a harley dealership in Fort Bragg, california and the owner and mechanic were astounded that I bought the machine for $5500 out the door, and impressed with the quality of the machine. Never once did I get bashed for buying Chinese. Everyone was curious and friendly.

This Zongshen RE3/CSC SG400 has almost nothing in common with the garbage Chinese bikes sold on Amazon, or the pitbikes sold for years by everyone from your local dealership to Jiffy Lube. The engine isn't a copy of anything, it's Zongshen's own design. It's a much higher level of quality. The metallurgy is better, the castings are beautiful, and the welds are done skillfully. Basically, the exact same thing that happened with the Japanese in the 1960s is playing out now with the Chinese, at a much accelerated pace. There's a mix of garbage and quality machines, and eventually there will be a few big players and the garbage bikes will be forgotten entirely, just like the shitty Japanese bikes from the 50s and early 60s were.

Here are some pics from my california travels:

View attachment 106122

View attachment 106123

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And here's how the bike sits currently. The saddlebags and hand guards were just used for the trip, I much prefer the naked style here.

View attachment 106124

I'm waiting on a tank logo and the OEM stripes (in white instead of black) to finish out the tank.

This machine is great fun, and completely worth $5555 OTD and delivered. There's nothing else quite like it, and I enjoy having an underdog of a machine. Especially since it's such an eye catcher and draws people into conversation. In Covid times, I need all the social interaction I can get!

I know I could have gotten something japanese and used for about the same price, but I really dug the looks of this bike, and after buying it I have no regrets at all. It's a great bike, suitable for beginners or any experience level right up to "old fart", which I almost qualify for. (I've been riding for 25 years). There's really nothing in the same category and price point. The next closest is the Royal Enfield GT650, which has an MSRP $500 more than this bike cost delivered, and I've never met a dealership that didn't add $600-$900 worth of extra fees. The Yamaha SR400 is a tiny 3/4 scale motorcycle and also retailed for $500 more (plus fees) than this bike cost delivered. Other than those two, the only other bikes with the retro look are Triumphs and the Kawasaki W800. All of which are many thousands of dollars more costly.

Overall I'm really pleased with my purchase, and I must say that other than the rear shocks, the bike exceeded every expectation I had, and blew my mind on how downright GOOD the thing is. I really was expecting something more... chincy... and was happy to be proven otherwise. Even the Chinese tires stick great and are lasting pretty long. My V65 Magna eats rear tires every 3000 miles. My Benelli eats dual sport big block tires every 3500 miles. I already have more than that on the SG400 and the tires still look new. I'm not babying it either, I'm riding it balls-to-the-walls pretty much everywhere.


Love them or hate them, the Chinese are coming, and they're bringing really cool niche motorcycles that nobody knew they needed. Next they'll start racing, and then we'll have Chinese superbikes to contend with. This is a wild time to live in, motorcycle-wise.

Charles.

Charles.
Charles...I am impatiently waiting on mine to arrive. I was wondering about the rear shocks you have on yours. Any info would be awesome. I'm a old fart fatass..200lbs ...too. Thanks for the great review and pictures. Shes a beautiful bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Tire Wheel Fuel tank Motorcycle Vehicle


This is the latest setup. The stock windscreen was poorly aimed, and I got a lot of helmet lift with it. This one was raw aluminum when I purchased it, but I painted it to match the yellow on the rest of the bike. It's actually an exact match, but in the photo it's reflecting the sunset and looks slightly off. It doesn't do much to protect me, but it did eliminate the helmet lift.

I used YSS shocks, part number RE302-380T-04-X
I'm nearly 300 lbs, and I use just a little preload on them. 200 lbs probably no preload. These have a lot of rebound damping and many would call them harsh. They're perfect for twisties and mountain roads, and less than perfect for commuting and highway travel. The bike however handles like it's on rails with this setup, even with the stock tires. I can't wait to wear these out and put some sporty radials on it.

TEC also makes some shocks that work great on the bike, and are suitable for lighter riders. Just make sure you get 15"/380mm. (Stock is 14.5", but it handles rather slowly and the 15" gives it noticeably better cornering clearance when making left-hand turns). Check the ADVRider thread for more info.

Honestly, before I ordered the YSS shocks I ordered the cheapest, crappiest $45 pair of remote-reservoir 15" shocks I could find on eBay... RFX, which is a clone of RFY, which is itself a clone of Ohlins. I had zero expectations..... and they were WAY better than stock. Still too little rebound damping, but WAAAAAY better than stock.

Charles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Also, I forgot to mention. I snagged a 13T countershaft sprocket, and the bike has completely changed demeanor. It's fast and responsive and much more fun. Unfortunately, my top speed is now rev-limited to ~95mph indicated. This is because the rev limiter kicks in right at 9500 rpm, instead of the 10k rpm the redline is printed on the gauge. Since 9500rpm = 95mph with the 13T, if it really did top out at 10k my top speed would be 100 indicated (or 98 actual. The speedo is quite accurate)

Every other bike I've owned has had the redline printed 1000-1500 rpm away from the peak horsepower rpm, and most don't kick in the rev limiter until you're 500rpm beyond that. Having a hard rev limiter only 500 rpm past peak hp is annoying. I've downloaded the ECU and I'm going to see if I can't modify it and re-flash it without the rev limiter. Poking along because I don't really know what I'm doing yet with ECU Hacker :)

At any rate, cruising at 70mph, the bike is now in the power band. Passing no longer requires a downshift. It's just a shitload more fun all around. With stock gearing, it took a long time to get to 95mph, but with this gearing it's pretty much instantaneous. No difficulty at all. But that's all she has now. I think it's worth it.

Charles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Those saddlebags didn't work out. They sagged and touched the exhaust and caught fire. They also scratched up the sidecovers and wore a shiny spot on the black shocks.

These bags are decent, and they're quick-release, with brackets custom-made for the RE3. I have a set for my Benelli, and they're decent. e.

There are several sellers of these. The pair is the most expensive option ($254), the others are for a single side. Bags are synthetic and the bottle holder is useless, as any weight in it stretches the securing loops. But the hardware is good, and you can always transfer the hardware to whatever bags you find in the future.


Chinahao is just as reliable as aliexpress for me so far.


Also, 4300 miles and not a single problem. This has become my favorite of all the bikes in my garage.

Charles.
 
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