2018 CSC San Gabriel Café Racer | First Look Review

2018 CSC San Gabriel
The 2018 CSC San Gabriel is a 250cc café racer that retails for just $1,995.

CSC Motorcycles has announced the release of its latest model, the 2018 San Gabriel, a café racer with an air-cooled, 16.1-horsepower (claimed), 250cc, single-cylinder engine, a 5-speed transmission, spoked wheels and four color options (white, black, blue and mocha). Weighing just 270 pounds, the San Gabriel has a low seat height and full instrumentation including a fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer and gear position indicator.

Available direct from CSC for just $1,995 with free shipping in the lower 48 states, the San Gabriel comes with a one-year warranty, a complete shop manual, extensive online maintenance tutorials and full parts support from Azusa, California-based CSC Motorcycles.

Read our 2016 CSC RX3 Adventure road test review

“We built the CSC brand based on offering exceptional value to our customers and the San Gabriel is based on the same approach we’ve used with the RX3, the RC3 and the TT250,” said Steve Seidner, CSC’s President and CEO. “Our customers love our direct sales approach and our pricing. We’ve built a rider-friendly approach with our online maintenance tutorials, our parts availability and our one-year, unlimited mileage warranty.”

2018 CSC San Gabriel
CSC says the San Gabriel weighs just 270 pounds and has a low seat height, making it ideal for new riders.

“When we first offered the RX3 motorcycle nearly 4 years ago, people questioned the quality and reliability of a Chinese motorcycle,” Seidner said. “That perception is no longer an issue for us. Our bikes are built to our specs by Zongshen, one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. We and our customers have ridden these motorcycles across America, up and down the Baja peninsula, across China and though the Andes Mountains. Our quality is great. Zongshen builds parts and sometimes complete motorcycles for many of the more-well-known motorcycle manufacturers. Our motorcycles are great machines.”

“With the San Gabriel, we’re doing several things to bring even greater value to our customers,” Seidner continued. “The San Gabriel has a low seat height and it’s a very light motorcycle, which makes it ideal for new riders. This is the bike that’s going to bring more people into motorcycling.”

Seidner explained that the bike relies on proven technology and offers great performance. “The San Gabriel uses a CG engine, which is a simple but very reliable overhead valve engine designed with reliability and low maintenance in mind. It’s quick, too. We ride in the San Gabriels, and I knew that’s what we had to call this motorcycle. With its light weight, short wheelbase and torquey 250, the handling is fantastic.”

“CSC will emphasize personalizing the San Gabriel for customers who wish to do so,” Seidner said. “We are encouraging our riders to personalize their bikes. We’ll have an extensive line of custom parts and accessories, and we’ll sponsor custom San Gabriel bike shows.”

2018 CSC San Gabriel
The San Gabriel has classic café racer features like low bars, spoked wheels and a humped seat.

Riders can pre-order a new San Gabriel motorcycle for $1995, with free shipping (a $500 deposit is required with order placement). Seidner explained that CSC encourages the camaraderie inherent to motorcycling, and the company will actively support clubs based on the new San Gabriel. Seidner added that CSC will organize rides like they do with the RX3 and TT250 motorcycles, including both multi-day and single-day rides. “We’ve done multiple customer rides now through Baja and the U.S., and our friends love them,” Seidner said. “Our objective has always been to not just sell you a motorcycle. We want to bring you into motorcycling. We want you as customers and friends.”

The pre-production San Gabriels are on display now at CSC headquarters in Azusa, California. CSC will host events later this summer to show the motorcycles elsewhere in the United States. For more information, visit cscmotorcycles.com.

Check out more new 2018 motorcycles in Rider‘s comprehensive guide


  1. Maybe you’ve done this elsewhere on the site, but if not, I think it would be a great idea to put these CSC bikes to at least one long-term test, and see what the reality is about their reliability and day-to-day livability. If Seidner & Co. have built a better mousetrap, I’d sure like to know.

  2. I agree with Paul Maverick. I’ve seen a few sites essentially publishing the press releases from CSC. How about a long term review where someone actually rides it for a few thousand miles and tells us if these bikes actually hold up or not?

  3. I suspect the 26″ seat height = not for 6 footers. Shucks, looks like a great errand bike. I suppose I’ll just have to keep my eyes on the RX3

  4. I have one of the TT250’s this new bike is based on, I’ve had no real issues with it. It’s not very fast, and the gear ratio isn’t so great for road use, but I’ve got over 3000 miles on it with no problems.

    • Glad to hear it. I appreciate your perspective as someone who lives with a CSC bike every day. I posted my original message—about testing the truth of the company’s claims—over three months ago, and no one from the editorial staff has responded. At another top moto site, the editors are Johnny-on-the-spot about answering reader feedback. I guess that’s not the Rider way. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

  5. TT250 owner here.

    Around 1500 miles on mine and I have not had any issues with the bike at all. I did install a new EK 428 O-ring chain right off the bat, since the OEM chains that Zongshen uses are not very good. The RX3 suffers from the same issue. This problem was highlighted by CSC on a blog post, so I knew going in that the bike would need an upgraded chain to start with; I suspect the San Gabriel will suffer from the same. Otherwise, I just ride it, mainly on the street, with some gravel roads thrown in to the mix. The suspension travel is similar to the RX3, but compliance is much softer. It brakes much better than my RX3, which has identical components up front. Probably due to the fact that it is 100 lbs (45 kgs) lighter. For the engine, which is identical to the San Gabriel’s; reliable and very easy to work on. Valve adjustments literally take 20 minutes, start to finish. Engine runs very smoothly, due to being counterbalanced. Most of the vibes in the bike stem from the knobby tires; the San Gabriel should be a lot smoother, due to the street rubber it wears.

    At $2500 or so, shipped to my door, I’m sorely tempted to pick one of these up. Mainly to see what the engine can do in a bike that is 50 lbs lighter than the TT250.

  6. I have over 2000 miles on my tt250, and have had Zero issues. Still running the original chain, seems fine to me, tires are half done. Other than change the motor oil once a year, and clean and adjust the chain every 600 miles or so, that’s it, it’s been great and a true joy to ride. I’m 6’6″ 260lb, and I can run over 60 mph easily, as long as there is too much head wind!

  7. As I get older I find I need less. Thus no HD or Connie in my garage. I sold em all before I moved, and my replacements so far are a 04 M40 Savage as I always wanted one and at under 400 # wet and packed it works just fine. Then I have been watching China Bikes for a few years as I want something small and light to bumper on my Cagger as I travel. So far I ended up with a Lifan KP Mini 150 – Think Grom but 150cc and a 5th gear, and only about 150 # wet. I know those 12″ fat tires don’t really like going in a straight line at over 55, but all I want out of it is an honest 60 mph loaded, and it looks like with a little tuning this spring I Got It.

    I know some are saying China Junk, well trust me HD has not spoke the words 100% made in The USA for years. I think Rider would be wise to watch and report on what China is doing here in our USA, and remember when the UJM was considered a flash in the pan junk……………….


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