The Pampera Story
tuning, riding racing the pamp
Hafren Rally Pic
The 280: a brief report
Out of the blue in 2003 I got a call from Gas Gas UK we’ve got a one off 280 here do you want it? Only one answer the deal was done.
These were not imported officially into UK due to carb issues. But mine had the Keihin fitted straight off with 45/125 jetting and runs superbly. Boyesen reeds were fitted as I feel these give the smoothest engine characteristics.
Gearing. 11/41 for LDTs 10/41 for proper trials. Used non oring chains for less drag (but more running costs. ). Trials bars, sump plate rear set foot peg brackets complete the spec.
Its been ridden in countless LDTs, a few Sammy Miller rounds, the Bluebeards Greybeards trials and last year (2005) I rode some AMCA Group Club trials, whilst waiting for a new Beta trials bike to arrive. Its been totally reliable – only using the typical service items – tyres, chains, pads etc. And very soon its having its first MOT.
I often think about getting a Pre-65 Trials bike to ride LDTs etc – but then when would I ride the Pamp? These thoughts soon pass when I recall what fun these Pamperas are. Its a real shame they’ve been outlawed by the wonderful EEC.
Original text from 2001.
Prep Tuning the 250 Pampera: After six months of enforced inactivity (F M) I fancied a change of steed – so out went the DRZ400E in came a super lightweight Gas Gas Pampera 250.
In the past I’d tried the one bike does all idea with a TT600R KTM 640. Now I have the Pampera while its obviously a poor long distance tourer (!) and lacks the punch and character of a big thumper, it does lend itself to a bigger variety of off road competition disciplines.
Why choose a Pampera? Well there is no dispute that lightweight is a good thing when riding off road. The Pamp comes in at circa 90 kg. Its nice and low which is a good thing for shorties. It could be a laugh to ride enduros on a small, light bike, sort of underdog idea.
And, of course, I sell them, so a bit of promotion would do no harm!
My first task was to prep this for mainly competition use. There are a few drawbacks associated with the cheap retail price of this trail/fun bike. Non O-ring chain, cheaper rims steel handlebars. So I’ve fitted security bolts (tyre clamps) one in the front two in the rear wheel. Added an o-ring chain after the first outing.
Also Renthal bars Acerbis handguards.
Left the gearing stock. I fitted 2 split links (o-ring) this will allow rear wheel to be moved forward for trials use rearward for trail/enduros. Dropped the forks through the yokes so tops are level put one turn on the rear spring. To raise ride height a bit – the low pegs catch in ruts.
Richened the std carburation by lowering the needle clip one notch – to the middle groove.
Stock jetting: Main 122, pilot 35, Needle D36 clip 2 grooves from top.
Stock Gearing. 12/41
I have just fitted carbon Aktive Reeds. The reeds made a big difference – pulls much better throughout the rev range. Next I’ll try a Keihin PWK28 carb.
I’ve used these on the trials Gassers with good results. BTW the aim of my tuning is to get more of the same and not alter the power characteristics too much. I like the linear power – good for grip makes life easy when you get knackered!
The last thing I want is to turn it into a gutless revbox.
Also looking into the viability of fitting a 272cc (280 trials model) conversion.
Have now (18/11) fitted the Keihin PWK28 carb – it fits with a few minor mods. As expected it gives smooth clean running from idle to WOT and the best bit is that every small adjustment makes a difference. Much better than the std wooley Delorto. It will pull cleanly at part throttle on the road, no two stroke stuttering and almost no popping on the over-run. Seems to make the bike smoother, but I doubt it increases the power much.
Faster pick up and a lighter throttle pull. The Keihin came fitted with slightly bigger jets than I used in the Trials bikes and I doubt I’ll change them as it runs so well. A mod for the perfectionist trials rider, possibly.
Keihin jetting: 45 pilot, 125 main, needle clip in middle groove.
Not too sure of tank size/range (I measured it at – about 7 – 7.5 litres). Recently it went from Butser Hill to Midhurst via the South Downs Way on reserve and then took only 5.5 litres. So reserve arrives early.
( Note . latest bikes have been arriving with Michelin T63 trail tyres fitted front rear, the first bikes had Michelin trials rear Pirelli MT21 front)
I used several combinations depending on the events entered.
Pirelli MT21s (rear 110/80 – 18), Michelin Enduro 4 front Pirelli MT43 rear.
I removed the original Michelin sticky trials rear sold it to a trials rider. These are wasted on a Pampera not so good on the road.
Fitted a rear Duro MX Excellerator for the Tidworth event a later trail ride.
It was a nominal 100/100 80 size but measured more like 120mm width.
No probs with swing-arm clearance but it rubbed on front edge of rear silencer, when suspension compressed. So watch the tyre widths or move silencer out a bit. The Duro is a very cheap tyre and showed hardly any wear griped well in the snotty stuff.
But it has a very stiff sidewall is not so good on roots rocks. Rode OK on the road, but legality on road dodgy.
( Of course, I’m happy to supply and/or fit any of the above)
Heres one they made earlier – Camozzi GLC bike: Could this be the inspiration for the Mk3 Pampera? Bruno Camozzi (French Trials Ace works Gas Gas rider) rode a highly modified Mark 2 Pampera in the Gilles Lalay Enduro (known as the World’s toughest event) and finished 11th. Scans from the French magazine Moto Crampons (big files though) Camozzi Rep1
If any kind reader could translate.
First do was the Witley Long Distance Trial – a 70 mile loop of very wet Surrey/Hants green lanes with 9 observed sections a special test.
This was right up the Pampera’s street – soft power gives huge grip. I was running an MT43 Pirelli trials on the rear at 4 psi – thats why you need two security bolts – and thats why it held its grip. It was a doddle to ride in such wet conditions, most of the time just using a steady throttle and just giving it a burst of power to bite through the slime now then.
I could see there is scope to trim the lock stops back to gain a better turning circle – but nothing encountered on the Witley LDT was that tight. We rode from home to this event and the bike kept up 50-60 mph and returned about 50 mpg too. Result. 4th place
These rallies are fast events – all forest firebreak blasts with just a hint of real off road thrown in. Ideal for an XR650 or similar. Only the trail bike class allows two strokes so I was in. If any event would show up reliabilty probs this was it.
The poor little bike was screamed flat out from the off over a 40 mile lap with two pretty deep river crossings. It ran perfectly over both days (5 laps total), only stumbling once coming out of that deep water.
You know its deep when it all goes quiet. (note: the Pamp has a trials type airbox with small inlet therefore more waterproof than the open enduro/mx design) Later in the event the course got rougher this showed up the limits of the relatively short travel suspension (and my abilities). that aside it coped well. Again the soft power helped – rather than the fishtailing out of corners a powerful bike exhibits, the Pamp digs in, grips and makes the best of its modest power. Result 88th out of 200+ entrants.
Warsop Trophy S.E. Centre Enduro
This was a time card enduro in forestry near Basingstoke, around a 9 mile lap. I was on Clubman B schedule and the club fearing rain set slack times. Most of the entry could clean the time checks and so the result came down to the Special Test.
Going was slippery tree roots, muddy and in and out of 1001 trees. Again it was suited to the Pamperas nimble handling. Every lap there were two bombholes to ride every lap riders of more unwieldy tackle were queuing to fall off! So each lap I nipped past the queue, past the fallen riders carried on, c/w smug grin! Had to use a trials tyre on rear – SE regs, used an old michelin ran at about 7 psi.
Fitted Renthal Enduro bend bars – give a more comfy riding postion a tad lighter. Result: 5th in class/silver.
Autumnal trail ride (well it is a trail bike) A lap of Surrey/Hants Sussex lanes was planned – Plaistow, Devils Punchbowl and then out to Alton for Water Lane, a pint in Selbourne back via Butser hill along South Downs Way. It was almost going to plan (the plan. get back before dark) until we tried the infamous Butser Hill – the Pampera went up with lustyfoot work, gripping most of the way. My mates XR400 would not get even a third of the way up.
He blamed the tyres (MT21s). JR on the Beta Alp got two thirds of the way up only to have a rest on a barbed wire fence for a while. We were watched by some other trailriders who didn’t seem so keen to try the hill. I rescued the Alp it impressed me with its climbing abilities from a re-start.
By now darkness threatened and conveniently the Pampera hits reserve.
It made it to Midhurst after riding most of the South Downs Way in the dark, oh what fun. The Pampera’s headlight was sort of okay off road but next door to useless in the bright halogen world of modern traffic. 25 measly watts!
I’ve now fitted a 45 watt bulb and its a big improvement.
Winston Grove Downland Trophy Trial
This was one of the Sammy Miller British Bike Series trial – pre 65 trials with a class for trailbikes.It was going to be the hardest trials test for the Pampera so far. When signing on I found there were two routes through the sections on offer, I opted for the hard route JR (Beta Alp) took the easier sidecar route – as intended for trailbikes. I’d fitted a trials tyre on the front, but had left the old trials michey on the rear (a mistake as I found out later).
Running out of prep time I bunged the nice new Keihin carb on (see above) but really should of fitted the near new Pirelli rear I had. Also this was the first event trying the rearwheel in its forward position – short wheelbase turns tighter you see. A really super event.
38 sections in 13 groups over 40 miles of green lanes and backroads, only spoilt by the dark grey weather.
So how did the Pamp make out – well only three times did I run out of steering lock, but three or four times I wanted that newer tyre. The bike sumped out a couple of times too, but I blame the nut on top of the saddle for that! There is scope to get more steering lock easily. The gearing was okay – first did for all sections.
If you were keen on using the Pamp for more trials, lower gearing would give a better choice of gears, at the expense of top gear cruising speed. Trim those steering stops and fit trials bars. I was still running enduro bars handguards. The soft suspension works well on trials hazards.
Festering in the corner of my garage is a Tiger Cub trials which I’ve not used for four years or so. I found the prep and maintenace too time consuming and even then you were not guaranteed a fault free day. The Pamp makes a good alternative to ride this series – good fuel range, comfy, handy enough in the sections very civilised running with the new carb fitted. It would give a very easy ride on the sidecar route and copes well with most of the hard route sections.
Assuming the rest of the series event are of a similar standard, I’m keen to try more next year. Result: 5th in class
Sitting on the start line, 30 secs to go. Squeak Squeak, whassat? Oh great, that new tyre I fitted yesterday fouls the silencer on half bump of rear suspension. Not a good start. I’d ridden this Tidworth Super TT multilap enduro once before, on the DRZ, so I knew it was a tough course.
Ditches. bumps, ruts whoops, as I believe you young people call them, everywhere. No rest for the rider – just stand and ride man. To do well you need a a fit MX bike fit MX bike rider with the speed nerve to skip over these hazards.
So, not me or my bike then. Its a real good test of the riders stamina. The Pamp gave a much less tiring ride than the DRZ, due to the light weight as much as anything. (Although I couldn’t do the DRZ justice really, I’m not strong enough for 3 hours on that).
After the first lap, I was signalled into the Special test. A short, tight wiz around trees on a chalky bank. Too lazy to get off the bike walk I asked for directions – up there was the reply. So I caned it round the first bend only to arrive back at the start! Given a re-run.
I paid more attention to the markers and thrashed round, hoping I’d found the right route. On lap 3 the rear brake faded out. Mud had moved the hose fluid was lost. Now this added to the fun on downhills every corner – no fourstroke engine braking to rely on. For a while I was overshooting corners, until I remembered tempered entry speeds.
Managed to keep going until the end clocked 8 laps in all.
Result: Best Trail Bike 10th fastest in special test (out of 150 riders).
Some conclusions . The Pampera will do service as a handy enduro mount for the discerning Clubman or Sportsman class rider. It can be made into a half decent trials bike easily a competent rider could ride normal club trials (easy route) with some sucess. I hope to ride mine in the Greybeards trial next year. For Long Distance trials its so good its like cheating!
And of course it is an excellent trail bike easy to ride for all levels of rider.
Thats enough event reports for now, so I will only update this page when new technical info or mods come to light. Or the bike gets put through a particularly tough event. The intention is to ride more Enduros in 2002 probably a few Long Distance Trials too.
- Rekluse Automatic Clutches, Revloc Dyna Ring & Watchdog Enduro Computers…
- Gas Gas SM 400
- Test Gas Gas EC 125 Racing 2014: the 125 2-stroke is back! Bikes Doctor
- Gas Gas EC250, EC300, FSE450 – Cycle Torque Magazine
- GAS GAS Pampera 125 manual, review