GasGas is a strong trials and enduro brand with a championship legacy. Now operating under the ownership of Pierer Mobility Group, the GasGas brand is bringing its unique specialties and attitude to a family of robust KTM and Husqvarna machinery. The 2020 range of GasGas TXT Racing trials machines are our first taste of the bikes under the new ownership. They certainly won’t be the last.
Photography by Kit Palmer
We met GasGas Race Team Manager Geoff Aaron out at a local trials hotspot here in Southern California (AKA, motoventures.com) for a quick introduction and test ride on the new TXT Racing 300 model.
2020 GasGas TXT Racing Updates
For 2020, not a lot has changed in the GasGas trials lineup apart from the brand ownership and some graphical upgrades. Oh, it’s also $300 cheaper, with a $7899 U.S. MSRP.
These bikes were significantly updated for the 2019 model year and the 2020s share the benefits of those improvements. For 2020 GasGas is bringing a full displacement selection of TXT Racing models to dealers including 125, 250, 280 and 300cc versions of the top-line trials weapons.
Last year, the entire rear swingarm, linkage and mounting configurations were updated including a premium Ӧhlins shock. New, better sealing bearings were added, and a new rear-brake master cylinder came on board to add more control. Clutch updates included a two-piece clutch cover for easier maintenance and higher performing plates for more consistent power delivery. Up front, a new fender/fork brace appeared, and a host of small hardware updates scattered about.
You can quickly tell from our 2019 review that the improvements across the board were very noticeable and appreciated (read the 2019 GasGas TXT Racing 300 First Review HERE). But the fact is very few 2019 GasGas trials bikes made it to American dealerships before the new ownership phase began. So, for many, today’s 2020 models will be their first chance to experience the gamut of GasGas updates.
For 2020, our testing repeats last year’s praise but with a new air of affection for a sport we still procrastinate to commit to. For 2019, we enlisted our buddy Eric Storz to ride and evaluate this bike. He’s an actual trials rider so that makes sense. This year, I did it because Storz was busy riding his mountain bike or working his real job at Thor, not sure which, maybe both.
I’m not a trials rider but if any sport needs new blood, it’s trials. I’m happy to be jumping in and I love mixing some pre-mix!
My first ride on the new GasGas TXT Racing 300 was ridiculously fun—as trials tends to be. But more than that, it was very humbling, again.
The skill level that trials riders have is absolutely bonkers. Their simultaneous clutch-brake-throttle control ranks as one of the most dynamic skill sets of any sport. Sure, I hopped some rocks, nervously, and made self-deprecating comments as I floundered around in a sea of awkward inability, but I could see a light at the end of the tunnel where I actually ride a trials bike over things sort-of on purpose in the future. That’s some serious progress for me.
My minder for the day, 10-time National Trials Champion Geoff Aaron, tried to hide his amused smirks but his open-faced helmet does him no such favors. He’s a legend. And I am grateful every time his gives me a couple tips (I’ve compiled a few for you deeper in this story) or witness his skills on display (see all photos in this story). Since he has such rich history in trials, when he laughs at me, it doesn’t hurt as much.
Even though I’m the poster boy for trials newbies, the GasGas TXT Racing 300 wasn’t really too much for me to handle. Sure, it has the potential to compete at the national pro level as it sits, but like a lot of 300cc two-strokes, the power delivery is a mix of massive and manageable. Would I be smarter to straddle a 250? Probably. But the 300 was a gentle giant since I’m a full-grown person.
Trials bikes resist stalling and love low rpm. The clutch is an important tool for skilled riders, but with the 300 on tap, I learned (thanks Geoff!) that I can basically drop it once I’m pointed at something and leave it alone. Learning to let the revs drop and the traction to come on is key at getting comfortable on the rocks and having someone with experience there to show me some tips was invaluable.
For 2020, trials should be on your list of new riding to start. It’s a skill builder, a helluva workout, and you might not laugh as much at yourself or your friends on any other motorcycle ride.
Geoff’s Top Three Trials Tips
I have a little trials experience. And that means I’ve ridden a trials bike very little. But every time I do, I have so much fun, and I desperately want to be better at it. I know trials riding is a great skill builder so I bluntly asked Geoff for his top tips for riders like me.
Get a Buddy
There’s nothing more fun than learning something with friends. And when it comes to motorcycles, riding alone is just boring. So, if you’re going to start riding trials, talk your riding buddy into it, too!
“When you start riding trials with your friends, you’ll push each other to try new things, challenge each other to get better, and have a lot more fun doing it,” Aaron said. “We have all been encouraged from a riding buddy to try something we definitely wouldn’t try on our own. And that’s perfect for building your confidence and skills around trials. Everyone will get better at the same time.”
Go Trail Riding
No, that’s not a typo. You should take your trials bike on a trail ride. And do it often. This is the perfect way to get familiar with the controls, ergonomics and feel of the new-to-you discipline.
“Riders are used to riding their local trails on their regular bikes, so I always encourage new trials riders to just go riding on their trials bikes,” Aaron said. “You’re not going to go out in the first rides and balance across boulders exceptionally well. So, go where you normally ride and simply practice riding the trials bike. Do some wheelies, hit some switchbacks and just use the first few rides to get comfortable with the way the bike feels. You can also find plenty of play obstacles on regular trails to get your confidence started.”
This isn’t a yoga or kung fu lesson; this is all about letting the trials bike do its thing below you, so it does what it’s supposed to do—stick to the ground. Trials bikes are very capable at not falling off of things if they’re positioned properly. You need to think about where your body is in relation to the bike, so you don’t drag it down like an anchor.
“If you watch motocross or other dirt bike racers, they’re usually gripping pretty hard with their knees, ankles or feet. That is perfect for going fast and staying in control,” Aaron said. “But for trials, you want to learn when to grip and when to let go to keep the bike centered below you. It will need to lean and pivot and use your body weight to squish it into the ground. The best way to practice this is to point your toes out a bit on the pegs and bend your knees out when turning on flat ground or just balancing. Let the bike lean over below you while you stay centered and balanced. This mimics situations that trials riders get in all the time through sections. And if you get comfortable letting the bike move around under you on flat ground, you’ll know when to let it move as you step up to rocks and logs.CN
2020 GasGas TXT Racing 300 Specifications
||Liquid-cooled, 2-stroke, single
|Bore x Stroke:
||79 x 60mm
||6-speed w/ GG 4/6 technology
||GG 1/3 hydraulic-diaphragm system
||Carburetor w/ reed-valve induction system
||Chrome-Molybdenum tubular frame
||Aluminum, progressive linkage system
||Tech, USD, fully adjustable
||Ohlins hydraulic mono shock
||Michelin Trial X11 2.75 x 21 in.
||Michelin Trial X11 4.00 x 18 in.
||185mm wave-type disc, floating, 4-piston, Braktec caliper
||150mm wave-type disc, 2-piston, Braketec caliper
|Weight (dry, claimed):