First Impression: 2022 GasGas EX250F

More Of The Same

Story and Photos by Trevor Hunter

Rounding out the last of our crop of 2022 250F off-road racers, we put a full day of riding and racing in on GasGas’s EX250F at Cahuilla Creek MX and the SRA GP. Unchanged for the new year, the red Austrian machine is similar to that of their MX bike, but off-road features like a big tank, softer suspension settings, a sixth gear, specific ECU mapping, an 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand and an o-ring chain make up most of the differences to call if a cross-country racer.

The power on this bike is interesting. It has torque, a fair amount actually, it’s just harder to find and use. Additionally, the top end is more than impressive. Everything in between is good but not great.

The torque put out is very smooth and effective, though it isn’t a standout feature that all of us can feel or use all the time. We found ourselves relying on it more when the speeds were very slow like in singletrack and tighter trails. The bike would lug and chug along good without stalling out and could pull nicely. However, in a faster MX/GP type setting, it was rarely found or relied on. From the bottom to mid, and even into the top, the bike is slower to accelerate, but it hooks up and likes to make traction. It doesn’t always feel fast, but you’re moving forward when some bikes may be spinning and losing traction while giving the feeling of “being faster.”

The power is linear and slower revving for most of the powerband, but once you get way up high into the upper RPM ranges, the bike surges like a boost of nitro. Most riders would never even know it’s there unless they come upon it by mistake, but once you figure it out, you envy it and try to ride just under the rev limiter at all times. 

The transmission is good in gears 1-5. They’re well spaced and we didn’t find ourselves in between gears today. The sixth gear is a tough pull and we never once found ourselves needing it or using it today, but speeds weren’t super high either. The clutch is good and what we expect out of the Austrian clutches.

Onto the suspension, the WP XACT components are set up for off-road use and it shows. On the trails, the air fork and coil-spring shock soaked up rocks and provided a level of plushness on flowing singletrack and slower two-track trails. As the speeds increased, the softer characteristics showed both front and rear. At Pro level speeds on rough race terrain, we found ourselves blowing through the stroke on both ends with a sort of empty feeling in the last ~⅓ of the stroke. We played with clickers quite a bit and bumped up fork air pressure from stock 9.8 bar to 10.4 bar and that helped tremendously in getting the fork to ride higher up in the stroke and resist bottom better, but it’s still valved on the soft side. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as softer suspension has its place and appeals to a lot of riders who ride and race in more “real off-road” like conditions and less motocross style off-road terrain.

Handling, the GasGas chromoly-steel chassis soaks up rough edges and small chop well, offering comfort through the pegs and bars more so than some of the other aluminum framed options out there. It turns well, goes in a straight line well, and is very nimble/agile when needed. A few of our riders today noted how easy it is to control the bike when it gets out of hand and out of shape. The light bike gives a feeling of the rider riding the bike, not the bike riding the rider. 

Overall, the GasGas EX250F is a good package all the way around. The motor has potential with good torque down low and a high revving, overdrive like powerband up top. The suspension is highly adjustable with the air forks offering another way of tuning for different riders and conditions. The chassis is the standout to our riders today and offers a lot of comfort and confidence in the off-road terrain.

Stay tuned as we stack up all of the 250F cross-country racers for a DBT Shootout/Comparison with the Yamaha YZ250FX, Honda CRF250RX, and Kawasaki KX250X.

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