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Old 07-31-2010, 04:45 PM
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Berkyboy Berkyboy is offline
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Talking The view from the GasGas factory

As I sit here in my hotel room in Barcelona waiting for my flight back home to the US I can't help but smile.

Most of you know that I just spent the better part of this week at the GasGas factory in Spain and I can tell you and the rest of the world that GasGas is definitely on its way to being seriously considered as one of the best made enduro motorcycles brands in the world.

Since being reorganized in May 2008 and now completely purchased from the original founders Narcis Casas and Josep Pibernat, the company has spent the last two models years remaking itself where it is now a profitable company again making competitive trials and enduro motorcycles.

Under the direction of minority stock holder Ramon Puente the company appears to be on the verge of re-establishing itself again as one of the world's premier off-road enduro motorcycle builders.

While other European enduro motorcycle companies, namely KTM / Husaberg and BMW / Husqvarna, seemed to loose focus during the last couple of years by building sports cars and re-inventing the enduro motorcycle GasGas rolled up its sleeves and went to work on making itself a leaner, meaner off-road motorcycle company investing in and refining its proven technology.

Over the last decade all of the world's off-road motorcycle manufacturers seemed to be following each other down the path of spending most of their R&D money on emerging four-stroke technology, all but abandoning their already successful two-stroke machines.

KTM and BMW made mistakes along the way, both eagerly spending millions and millions of dollars chasing "cutting edge" four stroke technologies that they were sure the world's off-road market wanted, which have now left their warehouses and their dealer's showroom floors often overstocked.

GasGas had its share of problems chasing the four-stroke "Holy Grail" as well, namely by premiering the world's first production off-road EFI motorcycle, the FSE 400, which all but brought the company to its financial knees with reliability problems when it debuted in 2003. That basic design continued having "teething pains," tarnishing GasGas's overall reputation until the FSE it was completely phased out and redesigned in 2007 (FSR.)

The difference is while KTM / Husaberg and BMW / Husqvarna continued to bet big on four-stokes, GasGas cleaned house "cutting its operating overhead" and re-investing in refining it's already proven two-stroke enduro motorcycles. According to Puente that was the whole idea when he took over the reigns in 2008 of the Catalonian (Spain) based off-road motorcycle company.

Puente said it was obvious GasGas was going in the wrong direction when it prematurely put its financial future into four-strokes and so they've made an effort to reinvest in their most successful models, the EC two-stroke line up. Puente said, "We spent the first two years (2008 and 2009) cutting costs trying to be profitable again and last year (2010) we went to work on refining our two-stroke enduro motorcycles.

"While other manufactures start over with their designs every three or four years we went back to work making our already proven designs better." Puente's claim is easy to back up as historically a majority of its two-stroke enduro motorcycle parts are mostly interchangeable over the years with minor improvements and subtle fitment revisions being made every couple of years.

This year's 2011 enduro model's are a testament to that concept as the now distinctly red framed machines, following in the color scheme footsteps of the 2010 GasGas trials motorcycles, have been refined once again.

The 2011 GasGas enduro bikes (for the US market) now come stock with FMF Q-series muffler, re-valved 48mm Sachs front forks (as well as the more traditional 45mm Marzsochi's), a thermostat has been added to the cooling system along with a 1.8 radiator cap (gone is the 1.2 cap and coolant expansion tank), "a grip tape like finish" on all side graphics, new front fender, new headlight, new graphics, engine specific (125cc/200cc/250cc/300cc) power valve actuator assemblies and a two-stroke e-start model that will officially roll off the assembly line sometime in September.

While I may be biased to the GG brand, I've personally been involved with the brand since 1999, I'll have to say that GasGas the company has made an even bigger commitment to future sales this year as they pre-produced nearly nine hundred 2011 motorcycles prior to their three week August break.

That's a big step for a factory that historically delayed the debut of their "new models" by up to 2 to 3 months from the other manufacturers' new model launchings until after the factory opened after the summer holidays in late August.

That commitment, and the continuing refinement to their two-stroke enduro lineup, now seems to have the Girona based motorcycle brand, with the funny name that repeats itself, ready to establish itself as a leader in off-road motorcycles again.

Over the next couple of months you'll hear more official announcements coming from the GasGas factory that are going to get noticed. In confidence I've learned of some very exciting upcoming news that's soon to make off-road headlines worldwide.

And as far as GasGas and their future four-stroke models, don't worry GasGas plans on continuing their popular Yamaha powered FSR250 and their refined FSR450 for another year. Puente assured me that GasGas is planning competitive four-stroke models in the 250 to 450 displacement classes as well but wants to make sure those models are ready before committing to producing them.

When asked about two-stroke direct injection technology, that seems to be just a model year away from the other manufacturers, Puente just smiled with a grin which only caused me to wonder what GasGas is up to.

So what was the view like from the GasGas factory? I would have to say I came away with the same size grin that Puente used when he tried not to respond to my question in the paragraph above.

Steve Berkner

I've attended 21 Six Days as a working Photojournalist

Last edited by Berkyboy; 01-22-2011 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:54 PM
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Sounds good.
Makes you proud to be a part of it doesn't it?
Cheers Mark
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:57 PM
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Brian Brian is offline
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Thanks for the write up. Truly exciting times for GasGas and the sport.
2006 Gas Gas EC250
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Old 07-31-2010, 06:17 PM
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nambo-trev nambo-trev is offline
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hey great write up steve well done, im very excited to see the company emerge as a 2 stroke leader as ive been pulled into the gasgas fray after experiencing what a great motorcycle they truly are. great to see someone keeping us all in the gasgas loop. thanks!!
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Old 07-31-2010, 06:37 PM
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Great write up Steve!!

Spill some more beans.
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Old 07-31-2010, 06:37 PM
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nhrider nhrider is offline
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Nice write up!

Can't wait to see what happens.

Originally Posted by Berkyboy View Post
When asked about two-stroke direct injection technology, that seems to be just a model year away from the other manufacturers, Puente just smiled with a grin which only caused me to wonder what GasGas is up to.

So what was the view like from the GasGas factory? I would have to say I came away with the same size grin that Puente used when he tried not to respond to my question in the paragraph above.
My Etec Ski Doo starts with one pull every time. It does not matter if it is cold or hot...every time. Can't wait for DI bike!
2005 YZ 250F
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:18 PM
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blitz11 blitz11 is offline
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When I visited the factory in 2007, i asked about Direct Injection, along the lines of ETEC (I don't even own a boat, but almost bought one after I saw my first ETEC commercial in 2005).

At that time, the response was, "motorcycles aren't motorboats." I found that odd at that time, and saw no evidence of any 2T fuel injection work there.

Maybe the new ownership sees things differently.

I think DI on a GG would give them a head start. I STILL don't understand the fascination with 4T dirt bikes. I am glad GG is now focused on the 2T.

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Old 07-31-2010, 10:18 PM
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three cheers for the company that has been held together with chewing gum and duct tape is once again on its feet and standing tall! thanks for the write up. makes me proud to own one. (though i must admit my 03's chewing gum and duct tape is holding up pretty darn well.)
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"what? it seemed like a good idea at the time!"
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:09 AM
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biggstr6 biggstr6 is offline
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Sounds like good times ahead.

Am I doing something wrong ? THe factory photos say need a password.
08 EC300 Six Days Graphics & 2011 Six Days 300
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Old 08-01-2010, 03:13 PM
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Good stuff. From what I saw there are not a lot of KTM 2-strokes at the dealers, at least so far. An early release of the '11 GGs will be perfect timing.

As far as DI, I read an article awhile ago where one of the big problems the marine industry had was oil retention in the top end. Yamaha eventually solved this with a new piston ring design.

The DI concept on a dirt bike is very exciting as you can eliminate the traditional expansion chamber, and still have a shorter (lower) motor than a 4-stroke. This opens up all kinds of possibilities to motor geometry. Perhaps that is what he was smiling about.
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