I put the CSC TT250 through some serious abuse this weekend. I drove it from one side of the state to the other, right along the edge of the Adirondack mountains. I promised myself if the little engine made it home, I’d never abuse the cute little dual sport in this way again!
Recently I read an article that mentioned trail riding in Vermont. Apparently there are 4 classes of roads there. Class 1 & class 2 roads are the typical roads most of us drive on a daily basis. Class 3 roads are roads that are regularly maintained dirt roads & class 4 roads are roads that were once or still are on a map but are no longer maintained. Being a dual sport owner these class 3 & 4 roads really interested me. I also did a little research and discovered these roads are a mecca for dual sport and adventure riders. I was determined to experience these roads for myself.
I had planned on riding out over the weekend. I’d leave Buffalo NY Friday morning at dusk and ride country back roads all the way to Vermont. Camp out in the Green Mountain & Finger Lakes national forest, then ride across the state of Vermont on a bunch of these roads I’d researched. All the coordinates loaded into my phone GPS.
Well I woke up late and hungover Friday morning. Riding out at dusk, turned into leaving the house at around 10:30 AM with a stomach full of Ibuprofen, and a terrible headache. To make up for lost time I decided to hop on the I-90 and ride straight through from Buffalo to Albany, then cut over to Vermont.
Everything was going according to plan. I’d ride full throttle; the tiny 230 cc engine would just make it to the 65 mph speed limit. Most of the traffic past me like I was standing still but the little engine was doing great. Every hour or so I’d pull over in a rest area, add some fuel and let the bike cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
Syracuse is about the halfway mark to Albany. The bike was running great, I decided to push it a little harder. I rode non stop from Syracuse to just about the edge of Albany and suddenly the bike started to go through what can only be described as sporadic bogging out. The bike would spit and sputter for a moment or two, you could feel it lose power, then it would catch its breath and carry on. This only happened 5 or 6 times, but I was now close to 6 hours and almost 400 miles from home! Dear God Nooooo! You can’t break down on me now! There was no doubt about it though, something was wrong.
I pull over at the first exit and stop at Betty Beavers Fuel Stop in Canajoharie NY just outside Albany. I’m greeted by an image of the companies big breasted cartoon beaver and it brings a smile to my tense face. I shut down the bike at the pump and fill it up, then push the bike to the side of the building and enter the store for an iced tea.
I had read in a forum group that there’s a sensor that will shut down the bike before it overheats. I hoped that was the problem. The fuel gauge isn’t the most accurate, but it didn’t seem like it was a fuel problem. I sipped my iced tea and contemplated the problem while staring at the bike. Looking at my watch it was now around 6:30 PM. It would be getting dark soon. I came to the unfortunate conclusion that Vermont was not going to happen on this night. I found a nearby campsite using the freecampsites.net app, Vermont would have to wait.
I found a campsite that was about an hour away. As I contemplated what could of been wrong with the bike I came to the conclusion that it was either overheating or low on fuel. I made one of those mental pleas to ‘the supreme being of everything that is’ and said, “Dear God! Please let it start.” I turned the key, pressed the start button and the engine roared back to life.
Fueled up and cooled down, the bike showed no signs of the previous symptoms. The campsite was an hour away, and the bike performed well for the entire ride. I was at the edge of the Adirondack mountains, and the bike did have some difficulties climbing the steep mountain roads, but all in all it did well.
After setting up camp, I wrote a blog post, then went to charge my phone and realized I left the charger on my bed. I had intentionally placed it next to my pants so I would pack it before I left. That was it! I decided the universe didn’t want me in Vermont for some reason. The hangover, the late start (I can’t remember the last time I slept through an alarm), the first time I’ve had any problem at all with the TT 250 and now this! This just wasn’t meant to be! I’ll post the original blog post before I came to this conclusion tomorrow. I had planned on camping out in the Adirondacks instead.
So I wake up Saturday morning contemplating the Adirondacks without a phone or GPS and decide it’s time to pack it in and head home. I make some oatmeal on my alcohol stove then pack up camp with a full stomach. Once the bikes all packed, again, I plead with the supreme being, “Please let it start and let me get home.” I turn the key, press the start button and the tiny engine fires right up.
I take country back roads all the way to Syracuse with no problems. The bike does great for the most part, but for the first time I discover the limits of the tiny engine on some of the steeper mountain roads. A couple times I found myself praying that it wasn’t to much for the little bike to handle. I’ve talked to several people who live in mountainous regions who own these small dual sports, and they all say the tiny engines can handle the strain. It just seemed a little much to me. It made it up every hill it climbed, but a couple times I had it at full throttle in 4th gear to make it to the top. Could of been the 47 tooth sprocket I’m running too. Regardless I wasn’t comfortable running the bike as hard as I was. Almost made me glad I didn’t end up in the more mountainous regions of Vermont. Anyways i digress.
Once I get to Syracuse the last signs of battery life die on my phone. Without GPS to guide me I hop back on the I-90 and decide to see if I can recreate the problem, only this time not let the fuel gauge go under two bars on the dash, and I stop every hour to cool the bike for at least 20 minutes to a half an hour. I make it from Syracuse to Rochester with no problems at all and no sign of the “bogging” issue. I decide to push it a little harder from Rochester. Still no signs of the issue. I’m guessing the bike overheated. It ran perfectly for a 218 mile ride home.
With that said, I will say this about the CSC TT250. I definitely pushed it out of my comfort zone. The little engine really struggled on some of the steep mountain roads. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to get it back home without incident. It’s nothing against the bike, it just wasn’t the right bike for that particular task. Fun bike for riding around the city, and it rides just as good as any enduro I’ve ridden off road! I think it’s the perfect bike for riding local trails. I honestly love this bike, but it would probably be my last choice if someone asked me to pick a bike to ride through the Adirondacks, or the Colorado Rockies.Now that I see the bikes limitations I’ll never put it through that type of abuse again.
With over 3000 miles on the “little bike that could”, I’m going to write another review. Now that I’ve driven it from one side of New York State to the other, and every possible terrain imaginable, I think I can give it a really honest and fair review. Short summary, for a brand new bike under $2500 in my humble opinion it’s the best bang for your buck. If you’re looking for affordable transportation, or just something to putt around the trails it’s a really fun bike for sure
Till next time.. Safe travels everyone.
Bloggers Note: I’ll post the original blog post I wrote the night before I discovered my charger missing. I learned a lot on this trip. For the most part I had fun but I’ll make different choices next time around. Here’s the original post I wrote before I discovered I brought the wrong charger.