2021 GasGas Models: A GuessGuess

2 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: GasGas Motorcycles GmbH, Kiska GmbH, Romero S. Campelli M., Schedl R.

What exactly will the 2021-model (KTM-owned) GasGas production bikes look like? Which components will they run? Should we expect them to simply be rebadged KTMs or Husqvarnas, or an amalgamation of the two? Or will there be genuine ‘divergence’ from the two brands they’ll share a design platform with?

All very good questions. But when we recently posed them to key personnel at GasGas – both in Austria and Australia – the replies we finally received were pretty short on detail, and sounded like they’d been heavily redacted.

What we did learn from that GasGas Q&A is that:

  • KTM appear intent on pitching GasGas – their “third brand” – as “a fun and approachable launch pad into the performance off-road motorcycle world”;
  • The new GasGas models will “share their engine platform with the KTM group’s other brands”;
  • GasGas will offer an “entry-level off-road platform at a lower price point than KTM”, achieved via a different specification; and
  • These all-new GasGas models are expected to launch in Australia “by the end of the year”.
Pre-production GasGas.

So, based on those parameters – and integrating the feedback and comments you’ve offered on our social media channels – we figured we’d have a stab at the component make-up of these new-generation 2021 GasGas machines*. ‪Here’s our educated guess at what they’ll run, and the rationale behind it:

WHAT: Distinctive Plastics & Graphics
WHY: Because it’s a no-brainer. The quickest, easiest and most cost-effective way to differentiate a motorcycle is new plastics, even if it’s only skin-deep.

WHAT: Cross-Country Chromoly Frame
WHY: KTM owns WP, who produces all the chromoly frames (in addition to suspension, exhausts and radiators) used for KTM and Husqvarna models. We can’t imagine the Gassers’ frames would be much different from the near identical frames used by its sisters’ brands, though it’s likely that GasGas’s enduro models will get the cross-country frame (rather than the slightly more compliant enduro version) because its design would immediately accommodate the linkage-type shock absorber and alloy subframe – both of which we expect the Gassers to come with (see below).

‪WHAT: Rising-Rate Shock Linkage
WHY: Because the link-less PDS (Progressive Damping System) shock is synonymous with, and exclusive to, KTM’s off-road range. Also, linkages are more widely accepted and embraced than the opinion-polarising PDS set-up, especially in the mass American market. So, just like the Husqvarnas, we’d expect Gassers’ enduro and MX models to run a linkage.

WHAT: Aluminium Subframe
WHY: Because the alloy subframe is cheaper to produce than Husqvarna’s carbon-reinforced plastic work of art, and available in larger numbers (as KTM’s production runs are much bigger than those for their Husky counterparts). That, and the fact the Polyamide subframe is exclusive to Husqvarna (well, Husaberg too, but let’s stay with the present), and they’ve experienced a few breakages on Husky’s 2020 FE and TE models.

‪WHAT: Cast Triple Clamps
WHY: Because, with the enduro models, black-anodised billet clamps are exclusive to Husqvarna. It’s one of a few key components that help Husqvarna justify a price premium over their KTM counterparts.

‪WHAT: WP Fork & Shock
WHY: Economies of scale. And cos it’s kind of obvious because, as is the case with the frame, KTM’s ownership of WP will dictate a change from KYB to WP suspension components for Gasser. With the widespread bad-mouthing of WP’s 4CS 48mm fork since it was discontinued in 2017 and 2018 for KTM/Husky’s enduro and MX models, respectively, we can’t imagine that it’ll be resurrected for the 2021 Gassers – despite the fact it could save on production costs. In other words, Gasser’s enduro models will likely get an Xplor fork, while the MXers will get the Xact air-sprung fork.

‪‪WHAT: Magura Brakes & Clutch
WHY: Because the brand is looking to grow their off-road motorcycle market share, and is likely to cheaper to purchase than the Brembo units used by KTM’s models.

‪‪WHAT: Different Wheelsets
WHY: The Giant rims on the KTMs and DID rims on the Husqvarna have both proved bulletproof; perhaps even over-engineered. Which means GasGas could use a cheaper wheelset to save costs without a noticeable impact – for a majority of riders, anyway – on durability.

‪‪WHAT: No Extras
WHY: There’s no way that GasGas could or would offer things such as fork spring preload adjusters, billet triple clamps, bar-mounted dual-map selector switch or traction control as standard equipment, and still be priced below their KTM and Husky counterparts (we’re hearing that the 2021 GasGas machines will be 5% cheaper than their soon-to-be parity-priced equivalents in the KTM and Husqvarna ranges).

By the way, don’t count out a detuned two-stroke GasGas enduro models with a lower seat height and cheaper suspension components. Based on the recent sales success of Beta’s X-Trainer 300 and (the former) Gasser’s ECRanger 200/300, a cheaper, non-intimidating, ‘stepping-stone’ model of this ilk would have to be firmly in GasGas’s sights.

*Just to be clear, this article’s image of a mythical, yet-to-be-produced 2021 GasGas was merely an artist’s impression. It was designed to be humorous and thought provoking. We’re not implying that the new-look Gassers will merely be a cobbled-together, Frankenstein-type collection of KTM and Husky components.

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