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Old 11-06-2012, 09:34 AM
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phoenix phoenix is offline
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK
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Default New Gas Gas Owner - Oklahoma City, OK

Hello all. I am new to the fold here. I've been lurking around this forum looking for a Gas Gas and happened on a great deal on a 2013 300 from Greg Guy in Meridian, MS. The bike arrived well setup and ready to rip. For reference, I've only owned four strokes (my last bike being a 2010 Husqvarna TXC 250), but decided that I wanted to try a smoker. I narrowed it down to a Gas Gas, KTM or Husaberg 2 stroke and went round and round about 200-250-300. I, of course, received tons of opinions, most of which pointed me at the orange bike. We have at least 3 Gas Gas owners in our racing club, though, and their opinions stood out the most because it was apparent how much they LOVED their bikes. I ended up getting test rides on 2 2011 300s and 1 2011 200. I had my finger on the trigger for a leftover 2011 250 e start until I ran into Greg's 300 on this site. Sold! I posted this little initial impression report on our local racing site, and thought i'd copy it here (I have a few other updates too that i'll post as well):

We started on Friday night by setting the sag. We had tried once before, but didn't have the proper tools to get the job done at the track. Here is a gripe...the preload adjustor on this Ohlins shock is made of plastic. :/ I made a quick jog around the garage and saw that both of our Huskies and the KTM have aluminum adjusters. Needless, to say, the ring looks like crap now, but the sag is set at 107.5, which actually let the bike sink a little under my weight. All clickers were still in the middle. We also slid the forks up to the second line and robbed the 110/100 rear tire off the KTM. The height is now a non-issue as it is about the same as my TXC 250.

The first day of riding was at nearby Crosstimbers Riding Area (site of a National Enduro next year). The location has lots of red dirt, roots, ruts (a little torn up from the last enduro there) and plenty of sand. We started on the easy loop, which is open to ATVs so is very wide. I was very slow at first, but the sag adjustment had made the bike much more comfortable to me and I was already riding less "squidly" than at race practice the week before. We got to the part of the trail that we call the grass track. It is pretty wide open with lots of turns and whoops and sand. We went through it once and I felt like the suspension was too bouncy. Made some adjustments and went back around the grass track again. Handling seemed much more stable and the suspension actually performed really well. The forks are very good at absorbing impacts and do not seem to get disturbed by roots and rocks. Unfortunately, I'm really not very good at describing what I'm feeling with the suspension, so its still going to take a lot of work. After the grass track, we did part of the blue trail, which is fairly tight and single track. My improvements from the grass track disappeared and I was once again riding like a squid. My "coach" Barry told me to just stick it in third gear and try to ride it that way. Turns out that was the magic ticket! After that, my riding just got better and better. By the end of the day, I think I was nearly riding to my level on the TXC. This was quite shocking to me, as I figured it would be a much greater learning curve. It turns out that the way I was riding my TXC (on and off the throttle, constant clutching) actually lends itself well to riding a two stroke. I'm still riding the Gasser in "rainy" mode, but the power is very easy to modulate with throttle and clutch work.

Weight

I did have to pick the bike up a couple of times over the weekend due to stupid tipovers and found that it really isn't an issue. The instant-on electric start more than makes up for the minor extra effort required to pick up the bike. Somebody stronger than me probably wouldn't even notice. I do plan on trying to shave some weight off with a Shorai battery and removing some extras like the headlight and taillight.

Brakes

The brakes on this bike are pretty decent but not great. They are Nissin. Our Huskies have left me with very high expectations for the front brake, so I'm probably going to have to try to improve the front brake on this Gas Gas. Heck, maybe I'll try the MC from the Husky on the Gas Gas. That little switch worked for my KTM. The rear brake is excellent and the pedal is just the perfect length and distance from the case cover for me to get to it easily and accurately.

Ergonomics

Here is an area that I am having some trouble, though I think it can all be easily resolved. I LOVE the shape of the bike. For some reason, this bike is really easy to grip with your legs and steer with your body. I feel like I really flow with the bike. In fact, the ergonomics feel almost exactly the same as my TXC 250, which I think helps with my comfort level. I added some Fastway F3 pegs right away and that also helps with the grip. Those pegs are a must-have for any bike I own now. The part that I am having problems with is with the handlebar area. My hands (mostly my throttle hand) is cramping really badly and my fingers are falling asleep. Its bad enough to the point that I actually have to stop every so often and shake my hands out. I think this is all just a matter of setup as I never had this problem on my Husky. I'm going to take the risers and CR Hi bars off the Husky and try those. I'm wondering of the throttle is also rotated differently. I feel like I'm putting a lot of pressure on the pad of my hand under my thumb. Anyway, I think this can all be worked out, and is just a setup problem.

Suspension

With the exception of the plastic preload adjuster, the suspension components on this bike seem to be top notch. After two days of trying to dial it in, though, I still do not feel like it is quite right. At about 145 pounds, I'm probably lighter than the bike was designed for from the factory. I feel like I spring off of everything and whoops are truly a pain. I might need to seek the help of a professional to get this thing dialed in for me. As it is, the bike is totally ridable, though, and the suspension feels pretty similar to the Kayaba/Sachs setup on the Husky.

Engine/Power

It really only took about 15 miles of riding to get comfortable with the power delivery of this bike. It certainly has the capability to be a holy-cow-this-bike-will-rip-your-arms-off kind of bike, but in reality is is compliant enough that you can ride it however you want. On day 2, we went to a different riding area with lots of rocks, logs and elevation changes (some of those changes with rocks in them. lol). We spent most of the day here on the ATV trail (which is still harder than anything we did the day before at Draper) but did do our favorite section of the Red (single track) trail. This section has tons of hill climbs and descents, embedded rocks, logs to cross, etc. I was simply stunned at how easy it is to ride this bike up hills. Holy cow...if you screw up a hill on this bike, it certainly won't be the bike's fault. It will chug-a-lug up just about anything in second gear and your odds are even better in first. This section of trail gave me a really good opportunity to evaluate the bike as it will fit me because this is the type of riding we do 90% of the time. I was very impressed. The 300's power delivery was perfect for the tight stuff and allowed me to easily flow through the trails. 3rd gear was sometimes a bit too high for some of the really tight stuff, but second was really manageable too when picking through trees and rocks. This bike has a lot of manners (granted its still in "rainy" mode, has a FMF Q muffler and I'm generally not an "on the pipe rider), but I feel like there is a lot of power in this engine to entertain a rider more aggressive than myself. Another thing that impressed me about this bike was that it was nearly impossible to stall. I made a few errors that would have flamed out or bogged out my 250, but with a blip of the throttle the Gas Gas was back to life. In fact, you really have to be careful to hold the "off" button long enough to get the bike to actually turn off as it just does not want to die. This is all coming from someone that had a Rekluse in her last two bikes. While I will probably get a Rekluse in the future, one could EASILY ride this bike without it even in some tough stuff.

Gripes

Other than a few design details, I really don't have any. I don't like that the battery is attached to the seat. I don't like that you can't remove the taillight plastic under the tail without exposing a hole to the airbox. The seat is kind of hard. There really is nothing that is a deal breaker.


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2009 Husqvarna TXC 450
2013 Husaberg TE 300
2014 Gas Gas XC 200

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  #2  
Old 11-06-2012, 09:39 AM
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phoenix phoenix is offline
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK
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And here are the updates after two more solid days of riding:

I'm getting more comfortable with the suspension and think that I may be able to get away with using it with the stock springs. We'll see.

I am also getting used to the brakes. Probably the more time I spend away from the Husky, the less I will notice the brakes. I'm still going to back bleed them and see if I can get a little more responsiveness out of them.

My hand cramping issue is pretty much gone now. I took the CR Hi bars off my Husky and rotated the throttle so that the cable is behind the brake master cylinder. I'm thinking that the sweep of the stock bars was one problem and the other problem was that the closed position on the throttle was so far down that I was putting pressure on the pad of my hand. If I can find some risers I think it will be a perfect deal. Unfortunately, the risers from the Husky would work because the Gas Gas bolts were too short.

The height of the bike is great. I pushed the forks up in the clamps to the second line, set the sag and ditched the stock rear tire for a Motoz. I'm 5'6" and can get one foot fully on the ground or both feet touching tip toes. That's in my comfort zone.

I did have something break on the bike this last weekend - the kickstand bolt. The kickstand was getting harder and harder to put down and wasn't springing back up. I put it down one time and SNAP...off it all came. It looks like the paint started to come up behind the kickstand and gum everything up. I think its going to need to be sanded. The paint in general is kind of soft and chips easily.
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2009 Husqvarna TXC 450
2013 Husaberg TE 300
2014 Gas Gas XC 200

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Old 11-14-2012, 10:33 PM
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ShelbyJohnson ShelbyJohnson is offline
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Default Great Review

Thanks for taking the time to really review your experience with your new bike. Really well written. I'd like to hear more on your experience after you've ridden several more times. Thanks
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:50 PM
roverhybrids roverhybrids is offline
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I've got a 4.8 rear spring if you're interested
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:38 AM
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Jakobi Jakobi is offline
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Nice review. Glad to hear each session you are bonding more with your new best friend
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