Gas Gas Pampera Review from NZ (Red Nova)

17 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Gas Gas Pampera Review from NZ (Red Nova)

Gas Gas Pampera Review from NZ (Red Nova)

By NASH, Mike

WITH bikes specialising so much it’s easy to find a grunter of a

motocross bike, a workhorse farm bike, an entry-level traily.

But something flexible: a bike experienced riders can enjoy, or a

learner can grow into? Something with a bit of breadth? You’ll search

hard. But Gas Gas, better known in world trials circles, may have the

answer. And it’s also the answer to short-arse riders who don’t want to

lug a stepladder wherever they go, or take the running- jump route to

mount.

The Pampera is an astonishingly talented machine for one apparently so

small. This is a trail bike, but so light and well balanced that owners

have campaigned club trials.

Its gearing is low enough to plug slowly down gluggy trails, yet

stretches high enough to reach the open road limit. There’s a 248cc,

single-cylinder, two-stroke motor, but you can forget peaky response.

It’s exceptionally tractable and practically unstallable, as I found

when negotiating some deep sand.

Yes, I got the technique all wrong and flailed around at first, but

even when I stopped in the thick stuff it was just a matter of shifting

the weight back and pulling away. No bogging down, no spinning up and

digging holes: confidence-inspiring stuff.

And of course once I got it right, the engine’s just as happy to skim

across the sand at high speeds, the bike barely squirming beneath you.

The light weight–it tips the scales wet at just 99.5kg- -and low

(860mm) seat will be appreciated in harder-going.

The seat is low enough for a five foot-six short-arse to touch ground,

yet the standing position is also good for most riders.

The Pampera is beautifully balanced and the combination lets you go

further, for longer, before you get tired. Shame, then, that the fuel

tank’s only six litres. That severely restricts range unless you ride

short trails or with understanding mates (and a siphon), or work out

how to carry an emergency supply.

This would be a great bike on which to learn, yet it is skilled enough

for experts. That point was proven at the adventure ride (hence the

route sheet-holder bolted to the bars) on which I rode it.

Several expert riders–former top enduro aces–popped up to say they’d

bought one for club trials and fun on boggy trail rides, and they all

praised the bike’s engine, light weight and balance.

Most had worked around the restricted fuel range and were happy to

carry oil for each petrol top-up. And owners had overcome the minor

glitches: an over-long spring-back sidestand, which is easy to fix, and

a temperamental trip meter–buy an after-market clip on, is their

Buyers will fix those minor irritations because once the Pampera is

underway it’s so good at what it does that you can forgive these

foibles. Of course, my judgements were made after just a week with the

bike. Would the irritations eventually sour the relationship?

Former NZ Enduro Champion and trials rider Jack Beaumont has had his

Pampera 250 for 18 months, and has done over 6000km of hard riding on

it. That’s included extensive trail riding and bush- bashing, plus a

straight, observed-section trial. What does he think of it now the

Getting second in the Clubmans class after 26 years without riding a

trial went down well. You should have heard the comments when I pulled

it out of the van, as it still had all the road fruit on it.

He’s not bothered by the small fuel tank. I get 100 to 120km out of

it, and that’s ridden quite hard at open road speeds.

He’s not worried about the electrics either: They’ve proved very

GAS GAS Pampera 250

reliable and mine’s had a hard time: It’s the easiest bike I’ve ever

ridden in Maratoto, a notorious trail ride that’s swallowed experienced

riders whole.

The last time we rode the loop is the worst we ever remembered it.

Conditions were shocking, the ruts were deeper than rider and bike in

places, and massive boulders had been exposed by water caused by heavy

rain and 4WD damage; we were photographing it for DOC.

Were they up by morning tea? It didn’t take us long. It wasn’t

easy–we raised a sweat. A pure trials bike would have got up, but not

a trail bike. That gives you an idea of the Pampera’s ability.

Even when you’re half off it, it keeps going, it just doesn’t stop.

It’s just brilliant. I haven’t even changed a spark plug; it starts

immaculately even after sitting in the shed for a month or six weeks.

Any quibbles? I fixed the springback sidestand immediately, but though

the gear range is brilliant, it took the gearbox a wee while to settle.

It was quite notchy but it’s nice now, and the clutch drags a little in

these bikes but I haven’t fiddled with it, as it hasn’t been a

problem.

The only place it does fall short is fast riding over whoops. If

you’re trail-riding one, you can’t take whoops at 120kmh as you can on

a DRZ; the rear suspension isn’t designed for it.

But otherwise, the man who’s occasionally asked to put the hard

questions to cross-country bikes for a specialised bike magazine says


The Pampera is one of the best bikes of that type I’ve ever ridden, as

it covers such a range of things.

You can trial it, and ride it on the road at over 100kmh, and there’s

almost no bike that will do that. Ex-enduro riders love them, as

they’re super-light and the engine’s a gem.

It’s that light weight and flexibility that makes the Pampera such a

GAS GAS Pampera 250
GAS GAS Pampera 250
GAS GAS Pampera 250
GAS GAS Pampera 250

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