Gas Gas 250EC (March 2007)
Ride Imperssion: 2007 GasGas 250EC. Bazz and Dr Dan from Dirt Bike Trader mag ride the first ’07 Gas Gas EC250 to hit our shores. This is what they think
Gas Gas took a big swipe at the opposition in ’06. The little manufacturer from Girona punched out a line of bikes that showed its big name opposition that they were serious about making high performance enduro machines, and everyone noticed. They notched up a few race wins, a lot actually, received great reviews in all the magazines and gained recognition as a brand to be considered when buying a new bike.
With all this in mind, we were anxious to see what the new year would hold for the Gas Gas line-up. Would they sit on their laurels, or would they make wholesale changes to ensure they stay in front of the chasing pack?
We’ve made no bones about the fact that we’ve always thought Gassers are attractive bikes, but they’ve picked things up a notch this year.
The most noticeable change is the one piece side/rear guards which are much more angular than their predecessors. The radiator shrouds have also become more angular, to match the new styling, while the neat little LED rear light looks very modern and is small enough to stay out of harm’s way. The colour scheme for the entire ’07 range is red, now the official Gas Gas factory colour.
The side/rear guard is not just a cosmetic update. The entire airbox and rear sub-frame have been redesigned. This was to address two major areas that needed attention. First, the airbox access on previous Gassers was below par.
Cleaning the air filter is the most common maintenance task on a dirtbike and it doesn’t take long to get annoyed with a system that has poor filter access (Dr Dan will attest to this). We’re happy to say that the new airbox design allows much better access.
Second, the round section sub-frame has a reputation for being easily bent in a prang. The new square section frame is reported to be more than twice as strong as the round one.
The attention to quality componentry is typically European. That is, it’s first class. You won’t find a European bike that doesn’t come with alloy everything, digital speedo, quality grips and Hi-Fi stereo system.
If they didn’t, we’d whinge like a pom at the Ashes series. (Well, maybe not the Hi-Fi). The triple clamps have two bar positions which allows some rider personalisation in the set-up. We favour the forward position as it helps get your weight further over the front for cornering.
The rear frame isn’t the only physical update on the EC250. Here are more:
The power valve has been modified to provide broader torque
The counter balance weight has been changed to complement the change in the torque curve
The engine has a Vertex piston with a new anti-friction coating
New larger radiators keep the engine cool
That year, and in 2005, the power was smooth and tractable. Last year they went to a much peakier and faster motor. This year they’ve tried to do a Dr Frankenstein, stitch the two motors together, and the result is a damn good bit of surgery.
The power doesn’t start from idle but does come on early and a little clutch-work helps in the tight stuff. Once you’re on the pipe it comes on strong and the beefy bottom end develops into a huge mid-range and eye-popping-wheely power. This is the motor you want after burning down the nursing home. The top end is useable but not as strong as the mid-range, but who cares? With a mid-range this strong you don’t even need a top-end.
You can’t help but grin as you blast out of a corner and rip down the straight towards your braking point. This motor is hell fast!
The engine setup comes with a dual ignition curve, activated by pressing a button on the switch-block. There’s a sun symbol, the power setting, and a cloud symbol, the torque setting, and it does make a difference. The torque setting flattens out the power delivery down low.
It was a stinking hot dry day so we rode for a few kays on the torque setting, then changed over to the power setting and spent the rest of the day spreading shrapnel everywhere.
Gas Gas have stuck to their winning formula from last year. The bike is slim and flat. The seat height is listed as 945mm but it didn’t feel that tall, most likely a side effect of being so thin. The ergos are good and the bike is easy to move around on.
Being a two-stroke it has a nice light feel to it.
Straight out of the box the suspension is noticeably firmer than last year. We ended up with 25 clicks out on the compression and 11 on rebound on the fork, while the shock was 8 clicks out on Hi Speed comp, 15 on Lo Speed comp and 22 on rebound. This is all academic but it shows that the clickers do work and that there’s a good range of adjustability.
These settings gave a firm but compliant ride. Both the front and rear behaved impeccably through the rough stuff. There were no nasty spikes or sidesteps.
We’d like to make some knowledgeable comments about the fork and shock action but we’re just boofhead trailriders. Still, even a boofhead can tell that this suspension works and works very well. So corners are where Gas Gas shines, and it’s the sum of all the components make it so good.
The chassis is set up so there are no head shake or (lack of) grip issues. The bike is easy to move around on when you put your weight where it’s meant to be, and it feels light and responds quickly to body English. All this adds up to a bike that corners as well as anything.
It’s at home carving up the inside line or blasting around the wide line.
But maybe this is a good time to mention the seat. It has a nice, flat profile, which makes sliding forward easy, but it’s made from recycled concrete. For the first 10 minutes we loved it but after that we were cursing the thing and reaching for the Anusol.
We had monkey butt that would have made King Kong grimace.
Braking? No big problem. The brakes are more than up to the task of hauling the beast up. Both front and rear have nice feel but we’d like a smidge more power from the front.
It’s not weak by any means but it’s not as strong as the magnificent front stopper on the KTM250EXC.
If Gas Gas have made a bad bike then we haven’t ridden it yet. They’ve punched out another bike that is everything that a trail rider needs, and more.
The EC250 is fast, light, and above all it’s extremely well mannered. It’s not a bike that we’d throw a novice on but anyone looking to expand their skills, or simply shower their mates with yonnies, should look very hard at this baby. At $10,650 (+ORC) we think it’s great buying on the grin per dollar scale.
Published. Thursday, 1 March 2007
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