GasGas gave us a quick sample of its complete lineup of 2021 off-road bikes
Photography by Kit Palmer
GasGas, the Spanish motorcycle manufacturer that was recently acquired by Pierer Mobility, the parent company of KTM and Husqvarna, is now on the move under its new ownership. The first batch of new-generation GasGas motorcycles is here. We recently got a chance to take an in-person and close-up look at all five of the company’s red- and white-colored off-road models (versus the all-red GasGas motocrossers). We even got a chance to throw a leg over each one, albeit short stints, but they were long enough to pass along our initial thoughts.
GasGas’ off-road lineup arrives in two categories—EX (cross-country) and EC (enduro). The EXs are no-holds-barred off-road racers, and there are four versions to choose from, one two-stroke (EX 300) and three four-strokes (EX 250F, EX 350F and EX 450F). There is just one EC model, the EC 300 two-stroke. All models are closely related to their KTM (and Husqvarna, for that matter) cousins, including their steel frames. The electric-start GasGas two-stokes use similar TPI fueling systems as their KTM and Husqvarna two-stroke counterparts.
2021 GasGas EC 300
The easiest way to distinguish the EC 300 enduro from its EX cross-country brothers is by the EC’s head and taillights—the EXs don’t have them. Look a little closer and you’ll notice that the EC 300 is fitted with a 48mm Xplor coil-spring fork, whereas the EXs come equipped with WP’s pricier Xact pneumatic AER forks. Both the EC and EXs use the same Xplor shock that rides on linkages. None of the GasGas off-roaders employ KTM’s PDS (non-linkage) rear-suspension system.
Further inspection reveals an oil tank for the EC’s oil injection system, which means not having to manually mix gas with oil, as you have to with the EXs. It also means a little more weight, however.
Look even closer, and you’ll also see that the EC 300 uses Braktec braking components versus the EX’s higher-grade Brembos. Braketec also handles the EC’s hydraulic clutch system, versus the EX’s Brembo system.
Rubber is different, too. The EC 300 comes fitted with Maxxis MaxxEnduro tires, while all of the EXs come with Dunlop Geomax AT81 tires.
At a claimed 248 pounds, the EC 300 weighs approximately 12 pounds more than the EX 300.
For comparison within the Pierer family of motorcycles, model-wise, the GasGas EC 300 ($9599) matches up closest to KTM’s 300 XC-W ($10,199) and Husqvarna’s TE 300i ($10,299), but, as you can see, sells for significantly less.
During our short riding session on the EC 300, we can confirm that it is indeed another fantastic option for those looking for a true off-road-capable bike with a headlight. The EC 300’s power delivery is very smooth, but, as we noted in our previous tests with the 300cc KTM and Husqvarna fuel-injected models, the GasGas, like the KTM and Husky, is not as exciting or as spirited as some of the comparable carbureted bikes in the market. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but something worth noting. Other important items, such as clutch and brakes, provide excellent feel and performance.
2021 GasGas EX 300
As mentioned, the EX 300 is more race-oriented than the EC 300. It is tuned more aggressively than its EC 300 enduro brother and comes with higher-quality Brembo brakes and hydraulic-clutch system. Regardless, the EX 300 costs the same as the EC 300 at $9599. The EX 300 is most comparable to KTM’s 300 XC and Husky’s TX300. However, it is priced considerably less than both of them—$600 less than the KTM and $700 less than the Husky.
This bike is a bargain and is visually appealing (though we must admit that we prefer the all-red MC motocross bikes). If you are planning to do some racing, you will like the EX’s stiffer suspension settings over the EC model. Power-wise, the EX 300 and EC 300 share the same engine mapping and perform similarly on the trail.
2021 GasGas EX 250F
The GasGas EX 250F cross-country isn’t much different than its GasGas MC 250F motocross brother. However, there are a few distinctions between the two, most notably the gearbox. The EX gets an extra gear in the transmission, making it a six-speed and more versatile on the trail. Compared to the motocross version, the EX holds more fuel, has a smaller-diameter 18-inch rear wheel, a kickstand, and a suspension system tuned for off-road use, i.e., softer. Tires are different, as well. As mentioned, all EXs are fitted with Dunlop rubber (the MCs and EC 300 Maxxis tires).
The GasGas EX 250F has a significantly smaller price tag than the comparable KTM 250 XC-F—$9699 versus $9999. (Husqvarna does not offer a similar model in the U.S.)
If you’re an off-roader at heart but still need your moto fix on a regular basis, then the EX line of GasGas motorcycles might be an excellent option for you when it comes to all-around fun. As with all of the EXs, the EX 250F is a blast to ride. The extra gear in the EX 250F’s transmission and its larger fuel tank make this an appealing closed-course off-road race bike that we feel is still very capable on the motocross track.
2021 GasGas EX 350F
Want a little more power and torque than the GasGas EX 250F can dish out? Then you might be interested in the GasGas EX 350F, which is a more pocketbook-friendly (by $600-$700) version of KTM’s 350 XC-F and Husqvarna’s FX 350, but you don’t get as much of the good stuff. Compared to the KTM and Husky, the GasGas EX 350F (as do all EX models for that matter) comes without handguards, more generic components, and a different exhaust system (no resonance chamber) to help keep price low. Like the EX 250F, the EX 350F comes with a six-speed transmission.
The EX 350F’s power leans more towards 450 than 250. It has impressive grunt, and we feel that for most, it offers more than enough power overall. Like the 250, the extra fuel in the tank and gear in the transmission make it a much more versatile machine. The EX 350, with its impressive performance and attractive MSRP, will, we predict, fly off the showroom floors.
2021 GasGas EX 450F
The EX 450F is the big dog in GasGas’ fleet of off-roaders. It closely resembles its MC 450F motocrosser brother, but its claimed 62-horsepower engine and chassis are tuned for the trail yet still designed to go fast on the track. It gets most of the usual off-road mods from the factory: an 18-inch rear wheel, a larger-capacity fuel tank (up 0.4-gallons to 2.24 gallons, as with all of GasGas’ off-road bikes), plusher suspension settings, off-road Dunlop AT81 tires, and a kickstand. The EX’s five-speed transmission, however, comes right out of the MC 450F motocrosser. They are one and the same.
The GasGas EX 450F is most comparable to KTM’s 450 XC-F and Husqvarna’s FX450 cross-country bikes. At $10,499, the GasGas EX 450F is priced $300 less than both the KTM and Husqvarna.
With the EX 450F’s slightly softer suspension, which is still plenty stout for aggressive riding, and its extra fuel capacity, which will allow for further exploration in the desert or on the trails, we feel the big GasGas will be another excellent option for the serious off-road rider. In contrast, less experienced or older riders will love the EX 450F’s semi-plush suspension and overall friendly demeanor on the motocross track. This bike does both—off-road and motocross—well.CN