If you’re into bikes, you’ve probably heard of GASGAS. They’ve been around since the 1985 and won 15 World Championships. But the fact that all of those World Championships have been in trials, a fairly niche sector of motorcycle sport, means GASGAS hasn’t ever really been much of a household name. Even in off-road motorcyclist’s homes. But all that’s about to change. Because in 2019, KTM bought the Spanish brand and have since introduced a massive range of off-road bikes; 26 altogether, including trials, motocross and enduro bikes. They’ve even got a handful of e-mountain bikes, although they’re not available in the UK just yet.
To celebrate their new range of weaponry, GASGAS invited us along to sample some of their wares, at the UK leg of their ‘United in Dirt Tour’. It was one of those days that I was absolutely buzzing for. Because what could be better than a day riding a motocross bike, or a day riding a trials bike or a day riding an enduro bike? … A day riding them all.
After a frothy coffee, a sticky bun and a few quick words from KTM’S marketing boss, they let us loose on the bikes. To ease myself into the day I jumped on a 125cc trials bike, a TXT GP 125. I’ve got a GASGAS trials bike at home (albeit a lot older) so I was looking forward to seeing how much better the latest, all-singing-all-dancing model performed. I thought I was alright on a trials bike and I was quite impressed with what I could do on the little 125. But when I saw Jack Dance (reigning World 125cc Trials Champion), riding over boulders as though they’re pebbles, I realised my efforts weren’t very impressive at all. Still, I managed to beat him in the limbo competition, so I reckon I could teach him a thing or two.
I had a quick pedal round on the e-mountain bikes, of which there were 12 different ones to choose from. If I’m being brutally honest though, I couldn’t really get the hang of it. It was probably because I was trying to do it in my motocross boots; when you’ve got an ankle as weak as mine though you don’t take any chances.
After a few loops on an electric push-rod, I parked it up and went in search of something a little bit more ‘me’. And I found it. The GASGAS MC 450F. £8,249’s worth of motocross muscle. Perfect. I did a few slow laps to learn the track and then gave it the berries. And I’ll admit, I fell a little bit in love with it. I’ve done quite a bit of MX this year on my old Honda CR250 (two stroke), which is a lovely bike but quite aggressive.
The 450F didn’t seem aggressive. It was fast, but so much easier to ride, which meant I could do lap after lap after lap without getting (too) tired. In fact I went faster and faster and faster until I crashed it and snapped the brake lever off; that’s when I thought it was probably best to park it up and move on.
So I did. And then I found an EC 250 enduro bike (which is a two-stroke). I’m a big fan of two-stroke motorbikes, but the enduro loop was quite difficult, with some really slippery rocks. Whilst the EC 250 was well behaved for the majority of the time, there was a really little bit of snatchyness to the throttle that didn’t help me. And I had a few failed attempts at a couple of little hill climbs, because of it. I saw an opportunity to swap the 250 for a 250F (four-stroke), so I did. And I found the 250F much easier to ride. I was almost a little disappointed in myself, because I wanted to like the two-stroke better, but I didn’t. The four-banger was easier on the steep hills and the slippery rocks, and just seemed nicer to ride.
The GASGAS range, as you might expect, is very similar to the KTM and Husqvarna ranges. The MX and enduro models share engines and frames with their KTM and Husky equivalents. But they’re not identical. Different models share various other components with the KTM and Huskys too. But generally speaking, the GASGAS range are a slightly lower spec, and between £500 and £800 cheaper because of it.
There’s a video on it’s way to you as we speak with some jumps, skids, wheelies and lots of crashes; so keep a close eye on the YouTube channel for some major gassage.