2024 GASGAS Enduro Range: 5 Standouts
So, how does the overhauled 2024 GASGAS six-bike enduro range stack up?
We got the chance to throw a leg over the new machines at the GASGAS International media launch in Città di Castello, Italy, and it’s safe to say there’s been a hefty shake up.
THE LOWDOWN ON THE MAJOR CHANGES:
- New frame
- New aluminum subframe
- New die-cast aluminum swingarm
- New bodywork
- Updated WP XPLOR forks with open cartridge (unlike the new closed-cartridge XACT forks seen on the KTM and Husqvarna enduro range).
- WP XACT rear shock
- New forged triple clamps
- Updated Braktec brake disc
- New footpegs
- New ‘TBI’ Throttle Body Injection with separate oil tank for the two-bangers.
- Updated motors across the range
- New unified motor position
Yep! How’s your frothometer sitting now?! With so much newness, it was a tough gig to narrow it down to just five standouts … but this is what we’ve landed on…
1. TWO ADDITIONAL MODELS TO THE RANGE – EC450F & EC500F
Exciting news if you are a desert fanatic or someone who’s been waiting for Gasser to pull the pin on some big rigs… the 2024 range welcomes the addition of two new bikes to the GASGAS line-up – the EC450F and EC500F four-strokes. Now, I’m normally one to think that more juice than a 350 in the Aussie bush isn’t necessary… but these new powerhouses really surprised me, and I think they’ve changed my tune! Both of these models were silky smooth all the way through the rev range, and the extra bottom-end lugability sure did come in handy when I buggered up a turn just before a hillclimb. If you’d like some extra mumbo without sacrificing any of the bikes agility, both of these new models should be on your radar.
2. THE FEEL IS MORE PRECISE
Now, I’m not going to spin shit here because, as a Clubman rider, it can be hard to really feel the difference between engine mount hangers and other frame “updates” at times, but these changes are far from that. The new frame from GASGAS is fresh from the ground up. Based on what the designers are calling a “stiff frame concept”, these new models have a very different character in the trees to the Gasser models we have previously known. The stiffer steel frame felt like it elevated the Gasser closer into the realm of a ‘race bike’. With the previous model, I found the front-end felt a bit vague at times, whereas this frame offers a much more rider feedback, especially when gauging where the wheel is tracking over the dirt, which was super noticeable in the shallow ruts. And to add to this point, the bike felt a lot more nimble overall when flip-flopping in second and third gear through singletrail. And out on the grasstrack, it gave me more confidence to push the bike harder and faster into a turn and still feel like I could trust it. Now there’s a whole lot of positives here, but I did feel these new perks come at the cost of a little bit of the comfort we’ve known with the previous generation? Whilst it’s not a huge gripe, I did feel it more through my hands and feet over chattery square edge bumps and tree roots on the new 2024 frame. But because the bike gave me more confidence on 80% of the other terrain, it’s worthy trade-off.
3. IT DOESN’T GET THE NEW FORK? NO WORRIES!
If you are a bit of a tech head, you would have noticed that the GASGAS enduro range didn’t score the new closed-cartridge WP XACT fork like the 2024 KTM and Husqvarna enduro bikes did. But is it a strike? Well, I reckon that really depends on your ability and what level of feeling you are chasing from your suspension. It’s no real secret that GASGAS is targeting their models at trailriders and social riders rather than racers. And that seems to be why they have continued to run with open-cartridge WP XPLOR forks on the Gassers. So if you aren’t counting lap times, slamming big holes and natural terrain jumps with pace, then I’d say you will probably be really happy with this updated XPLOR fork. With more hold-up and bottoming resistance compared to the previous model, but still a nice supple plushness in the first part of the stroke, it sure does give you the level of comfort you’d want in the rough and rugged terrain. Now… Yes, the XPLOR fork did dive under brakes more than the closed-cartridge WP XACT (featured on the GASGAS EX cross-country models also at the launch), but I found the front-end didn’t feel soft and unstable on the grasstrack like the previous Gassers. It did take me by surprise just how good the front-end felt , when comparing the EC models to the EX on the test loop. Overall, I found the WP XPLOR fork undoubtedly provided more front-end feel and connection to the ground 90% off the time. Jumping it off a ledge, and sending it deeper into downhill turns (aka, riding it more like I was racing it than trailriding and conserving energy) is what I’d consider the 10%, and the only time where I felt I was missing the performance of the closed-cartridge WP XACT fork.
4. ROLLING IN COMFORT
As you’d know, the rider triangle (the distance between the handlebars, pegs and seat) is one of those niggly things you could spend hours tweaking. As every rider is a different height and has a different riding style, it’s really a personal preference as to what’s going to feel just right. But it feels like GASGAS really hit the nail on the head for ‘24 and landed on a good combination to suit many riders. The footpegs are noticeably lower, wider and grippier, which removes the slightly cramped feeling I experienced on the previous model when seated in turns. And while the seat height has remained the same, the bars do feel a tad taller which makes the standing position a fair bit more comfortable if you’re a bit of a taller rider like me. I reckon that adjustment, combined with the sleeker, more refined bodywork, has created a really comfortable base for riders. As usual though, if it doesn’t quite suit you, it’s a pretty easy fix; just adjust your bar bend or go get some bar raisers and you’ll be as good as gold.
5. NEW TWO-STROKE MOTORS … WOWZA!
There’s no doubt about it, the topic of two-stroke fuel injection is known to divide a crowd. It’s made for a cleaner burn, smoother ride, and it’s almost four-stroke-like powerplant, but although it has had these benefits, I reckon the TPI (Transfer Port-Injection) system from KTM Group lacked a little bit of that two-stroke excitement and flair we all love. However, with these new Gassers, I’m happy to say that the all-new TBI (Throttle Body Injection) system does indeed bring back that two-stroke fun factor we have been longing for. With the new TBI motor, in combination with the electronic power-value, you really retain all the handy benefits that come with not needing to pre-mix fuel (which makes it unreal for long trailrides, allowing you to pop into a servo and not worry about carrying the right amount of two-stroke oil). And you still retain the slow speed/slow revs lugability of a fuel-injected two-stroke, but with the added bonus of the exhilarating on-the-pipe feeling like a carb-fed smoker. Take my word for it, it’s really bloody good!
WELL … ARE THEIR ANY DOWNSIDES?
You could say that riders like to pick and choose whether they run their handguards and skid/bashplates, but personally I find they are a must-have when riding in the Aussie bush! So, for these models to be launched with no handguards, it feels like they didn’t quite hit the mark on this call.
Aside from this, the only other thing that I feel was a bit of a miss was the new electric start/kill switch. Having both functions incorporated into the one button, while compact, is not a feature I enjoyed. And while it may sound a tad picky, the electric-start action of the switch seemed to require much more thumb force than any other switch I’ve used. Yet another personal preference, but I found myself hesitating every time I went to start one of the bikes, which was a bit off-putting.
But, hey, aside from these two points, I have no hesitation in saying that overall the new GASGAS 2024 enduro range is made up of six very high build-quality machines that have once again truly lifted the bar for trailbikes.