The Questions You Really Want Answered.
Photos by Drew Ruiz and Jimmy Lewis
The rebirth of Gas Gas has been very quick and efficient thanks to the parent company KTM and its platform built approach to creating a more diverse model portfolio. In just a little over a year the Austrian brand has taken the Gas Gas name and color and applied it to a range of 12 models that are essentially all new. One Enduro bike seven motocross bikes including an electric mini and four cross country bikes.
So the big question is are they just Red KTM‘s? That is a tricky question but more or less yes. To be honest it is a blend of the KTM we know the Husky we have learned about in adding a couple of unique features that are designed to be a little more cost effective if not fitting of a wider variety of riders. The quick answer is the Gas Gas is a Red KTM with Husqvarna swingarm and a few cost concisions features.That means it has the aluminum rear subframe so the back of the bike is its own breed. Not only is the plastic Red it is different in shapes (including the gas tank) from the orange or white brands. Additionally each of the gas powered bikes gets a familiar looking clutch side cover that resembles the ones that came on the Spanish built Gas Gas bikes.
Will break down the bikes and tell you a little about each range from our one day riding impression at Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California. We did procure an EX 350F for a full test which we are conducting now.
Here is the info about the enduro bike in the lineup, the EC 300:
The only Enduro bike in the Gas Gas lineup is the EX 300. It is based off the TPI two-stroke technology and is probably the biggest stand in differences from the KTM is it platformed after. It has some unique features that are not on any of the other Gas Gas bikes for 2021 and may be a sign to the future of where things will head. That being the use of Braktec hydraulic systems in the brake and clutch activation departments. This bike also uses a linkage system instead of PDS for rear suspension and upfront the WP explore fork. We are told the suspension settings are unique to the bike as well. Some of the changes you will see on the Gas Gas model line going forward are designed to make the bikes a little more affordable and the pricing structure even this year reflects that.
If you have any time at all on a KTM or Husky 300 TPI bike the 300 will seem very very familiar. In our quick ride it was noticeable that it shared a little more of the engine characteristic with the Husky likely because the airbox tube is different then the one on the PDS KTM which gives it just a little more hit when it comes on the throttle. You get that perfect spot on jetting and incredible resistance to stalling that fuel injection brings to a two stroke. There is all kinds of power and the tractability is really good. See any of our reports on KTM 300 TPI bikes and you get the picture. We’d have fiddled with the powervalve adjustment to get a little less flat feeling on over-rev but it was a quick time on the bike. Electric start was quick and awesome and we’ll get to the big difference, the clutch, later.
As expected the bike handled very much like the Husqvarna TE 300. The setting is supposed to be unique but it felt just like an Enduro bike should. It was really good initial bump compliance and then it moves through the stroke with not a lot of progression but resist bottoming better than you would think when being pushed. The forks needed a little bit more break-in but there was little to complain about aside from this. It was soft enough for extreme enduro type action and we could run laps on a smooth MX track without issue.
The one area we really push the bike was testing out the Braktec components. We were a little abusive on the brakes to see how they held up and they passed the test. Compared to the Brembo parts we are very familiar with there is not as much initial bite or overall strength so a high-level rider might notice this. But for most riders the little extra pressure you need to get the same power is offset by a more forgiving initial application. We stressed the brakes with some added dragging and then abuse on the long down hills at Glen Helen and did not see any sort of fade or power reduction. So for average to use these components should not be an issue. The clutch has a slightly lighter pull feeling and it takes more lever movement to achieve the same amount of disengagement in the clutch. It was similar to the difference between a Brembo and a Magura clutch set up but taking an even longer throw than the Brembo– which seems to be preferred for most riders. Our high-level tester thought it might be a little too much lever throw but then he also prefers the quicker Magura feel over the Brembo. Other than the activation components the clutch internally is all exactly the same as we are very familiar with on the KTM. Likewise we did not experience any clutch fade. The adjustment at the levers was through a spinning knob to allow quick and very precise adjustment settings which is something we really like. If these parts are cheaper, they do not feel that way. They feel different and summarized in two words, less aggressive.
The price point is $9599.00 which is $600.00-$700.00 less than the KTM or Husky.
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