When it was unveiled last year, the CSC RX1E joined a select group of electric motorcycles that could reach highway-capable speeds yet at an affordable price. Now the bike is joining an even more limited category: those bikes that are actually shipping.
There are plenty of low-cost electric motorcycles and scooters out there, but most are designed for city use and thus can’t reach highway speeds. Then there are high-performance, high-speed electric motorcycles designed for racing or sport riding yet that cost well over $20,000. The RX1E became one of only a few electric motorcycles debuted in the US that could reach highway speeds while maintaining a budget price.
Reservation holders that got in line late last year for the sub-$8,000 motorcycle are finally seeing their motorcycles ship this week. Even after the promotional pre-order price ended, the bike’s new $8,495 price tag puts it well below the cost of most other highway-capable electric motorcycles in the US.
CSC Motorcycles, the Azusa, California-based motorcycle dealer that brought the bike to the US, launched the CSC RX1E as a similar-looking bike to the company’s gas-powered RX4 and RX3 adventure bikes. The RX1E may look adventure ready, but it’s really more of an urban bike with adventure flavoring.
That means the bike gets a tall riding stance, long travel suspension, included cargo boxes, and crash bars from the off-road world, but comes with street-ready tires designed to turn your car commute into a fun, more adventurous ride to work.
But commuting isn’t the bike’s only use, as I discovered during some fun canyon carving just outside of LA.
With multiple power levels and a maximum speed of 80 mph (130 km/h), the CSC RX1E is equal parts peppy and comfortable, helping it live with one wheel in the commuter space and the other wheel in the Sunday riding world.
The max range of over 100 miles (160 km) certainly won’t allow anyone to go touring on a cross country ride, but it should be plenty for navigating any city with some highway riding thrown in as well.
The bike gets its power from a mid-mounted electric motor that puts out 8 kW of continuous-rated power and 18 kW at its peak. That’s a max of 24 horsepower but with a torque profile that will likely have you thinking it is significantly higher. The liquid-cooled motor is able to run at higher power levels for longer than air-cooled motors.
The CSC RX1E can hit a maximum speed of around 80 mph (130 km/h) with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of under nine seconds. Again, that’s not going to leave a rubber tire snake on the road, but it will still feel like plenty of power for recreational rides or slicing through traffic on the way to work.
Supplying that motor is a 6.16 kWh lithium-ion battery that is rated for 112 miles (180 km) on the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle), though faster riding with more time spent on the highway will drain the battery more quickly.
Charging is performed from a typical 110V home wall outlet. A full recharge is said to take six hours, but it will usually be faster in real-world conditions when you’re starting from a partially charged battery.
A Continental belt drive connects the motor to the 17″ rear wheel, which wears a 120/80-17 tire to match the front’s 100/80-17 tire.
The CSC RX1E sports Bosch’s dual ABS brakes and a combined braking system for safety. While many bikes in this new wave of mid-power electric motorcycles use the left-hand lever for the rear brake, the RX1E sticks with convention by activating the rear brake with the right foot pedal.
Another nod to convention is the speedometer, which has an actual physical needle. I haven’t seen needle gauges on an electric motorcycle in years, but I much prefer them. They’re easier to read at a quick glance because the physical location of a bright orange needle will always be more legible than small digital numbers.
There’s still a digital readout on the display as well for the rest of the important information, but lovers of tradition will surely enjoy the return of a needle gauge speedometer.
The CSC RX1E’s inverted front fork offers 4.7 inches of suspension travel, while the rear mono-shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping is nearly there at 4.3 inches of travel.
The RX1E has a curb weight of 436.5 pounds (198 kg), though the included crash bars and luggage cases add another 32 pounds (14.5 kg) to the bike.
The bike’s trio of luggage cases increases the storage already found in the faux tank, which looks like a gas tank but is actually a glove box.
The 30.9-inch seat height is fairly low and easy to manage, though throwing your leg over that top box may take some practice.
The SONDORS Metacycle became the first highway-capable budget e-moto to begin shipping when deliveries began late last year. But the promised 80 mph (130 km/h) top speed turned out to be more like a sustained 60 mph (96 km/h), with a turbo button that allowed brief sprints up to 80 mph. The range of the Metacycle also turned out to be significantly less than the promised 80 miles (130 km).
The CSC RX1E, on the other hand, can sustain its 80 mph top speed and offers over 50% more range than the Metacycle thanks to an over 50% larger battery.
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