Gas Gas EC250, EC300, FSE450 – Ciclo revista xanab

5 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off ti' Gas Gas EC250, EC300, FSE450 – Ciclo revista xanab

A Three Gasser Lineup

Test by Ray Macarthur. Pics by Nigel Paterson

Gas Gas has gone back and done more work on its Enduro lineup for 2006. The new EC250 and 300 two-strokes have received some minor tweaks for ’06, but the impressive FSE450 four-stroke has had major surgery on its engine, with bore and stroke changes gaining a claimed 23 per cent extra torque and more top end power.

Attention to detail and technical innovation make these bikes real “off the showroom floor” winners, particularly the FSE with its slipper clutch and fuel injection. It’s obvious this company, which has been predominantly two stroke orientated, is throwing real money at developing its four stroke engine. But a good bike ain’t just an engine, and this is where the Spaniards show us their true European bloodlines.

The engines

Utia'al 2006 a new catalyzed exhaust, a V-force reed block and longer kick-start lever are the only real changes to the 250 ka 300 two-stroke engines. Both use the same stroke with a larger bore size on the 300, both fed by a Keihin PWK carburetor and delivered through a six-speed gearbox. There is a CDI double mapping switch on the left hand controls which when activated takes the edge off the power delivery to make it more tractable in wet conditions.

There is something very pure about the Gas Gas EC250 and 300 machines. Le 250 has a definite two-stroke hit while the 300 is much smoother, making it a quite a bit easier to ride. Without good clutch control most riders will struggle on the 250 as it will bog at lower rpm.

But when ridden properly it is light, agile and very responsive. Some people think that all 300 two-strokes were put on this earth to scare and maim, but the EC300 is proof this is not the case. With more bottom end it can lug up obstacles at low revs, the mid range is strong and the powerband is smooth and predictable.

I was hoping it had a more aggressive top end for those times when you want to get a full on two stroke rush, but this is not the case.

The new four-stoke engine has been redesigned from last year with a shorter stroke giving significantly more torque you can really feel at the seat of the pants. I was impressed with last year’s engine package, but this year it’s even better. Gas Gas’ engineers have gone back to using a wet sump with a finer and 20 per cent larger oil filter, and have updated many internal parts including the camshaft.

Power is plentiful and very usable from down low all the way through to the top, transmitted through a beautifully spaced six-speed gearbox. The bike comes with a restrictor in the exhaust, but once this has been removed to let the horses out, it gives a deep and strong – but not excessively loud – exhaust note from its polished aluminium muffler which replaces last year’s stainless steel unit.

The clutch is the same APTC slipper unit as last year, designed to allow the back wheel to keep turning for better bike control during heavy engine braking. This is achieved using a spiral spline design in the clutch hub that tightens down under acceleration and loosens off when you back off, so it only requires three springs to tension the clutch plates, resulting in a feather light lever that can be easily operated with one finger. The Magneti Marelli fuel injection system with its proven functionality and reliability is just another one of the technical advantages of this engine, allowing compensation for different conditions which eliminates the need to re-jet as you would a carburetor.

The electric high pressure fuel pump is mounted in the tank, delivering fuel directly to the computer controlled injector on the throttle body without the need for a fuel tap. The whole system is closed and pressurised, so there is no fuel bowl to loose fuel or flood the engine if the bike is dropped. It’s got to be the way of the future and I really don’t know why more manufacturers aren’t using fuel injection on dirt bikes now.

Air filter services are easy with a hand operated cam-lock on the side cover access door on all the bikes, and the FSE exhaust header pipe comes with a guard fitted and has new radiators with a thermo fan for when things get hot under the collar.

All the bikes have a chrome-moly Deltabox frame carried through from last year using a linkage type Ohlins rear shock and fully adjustable 45mm inverted Marzocchi forks which have revised valving. We didn’t find any need to adjust the suspension on either bike during the test as they felt great on their standard settings.

Stiff enough to eat up big bumps and sensitive enough to keep the tyre tracking in the small bumps, which combined with precise steering made the Gassers feel fast in the twisty sections and stable at speed with no signs of headshake. Nissin hydraulic disc brakes front and back are powerful and give good control through the DID Dirt Star rims.


The seats are fairly soft and the FSE’s has been lowered slightly to give a comfortable seating position behind the tapered alloy handlebars, which have plenty of adjustment for individual preference. There is a new large multipurpose digital display unit up front with an easy to read tacho and hour meter – which will be handy for monitoring oil change periods. The colours stay the same this year but with different graphics – red for the 250 ka 450 and blue for the 300.

The bikes come with the long rear guard attachment for ADR compliance, but they are also supplied with a smaller neater replacement unit for the tail light and number plate. Fuel tank capacity is 9.5 litres and dry weight is 102kg and 103kg for the 250 ka 300 respectively, while the FSE450 hits the scales 118 kilos and only has a 6.7 litre fuel capacity which is claimed to give it a range of about 100 kilómetro, on par with the competition due to the extra efficiency of fuel injection. For those that feel the need, a larger tank is also available for the 450.

The verdict

The EC250 and 300 didn’t seem to do any one particular thing outstandingly, but it was the combination of quality, detail and doing everything really well that let these bikes shine. The suspension let the tyres do their job and didn’t give us any nasty surprises. This, the great chassis and plenty of power combine to create two neat packages.

The only complaint I had with the two-strokes was the position of the gear change lever which I found a little low and with the coarse spline, it would make the next adjustment too high. The chassis’ are well balanced and easy to move around on. The suspension is good, but I think lighter riders might look for a bit more plushness in the first bit of the stroke.

All in all, great all round machines for tighter, technical trail riding.

Le 250 retails for 10,699 + ORC; and the 300 at $10,995 + ORC. The FSE seemed to out shine the other bikes with its powerful and controllable engine matched with the gearing, great suspension and handling, the convenience of electric start, functionality of the slipper clutch and fuel injection which all combine to make it the star player in the lineup. Gas Gas is showing us it knows where the future of motorcycling lies.

Le 450 retails at $12,699 and all the enduro range come with a six month parts-only warranty.

Word has it there is a new FSE500 arriving soon as a stable mate and big brother to the 450 using a larger version of the same engine. Le 450 is an awesome machine. If more is better, I can’t wait to ride the 500.


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