First ride review of the all new Gas Gas XC300 enduro bike. There is plenty to report about the rebirth of the Spanish marque!
I’m not quite sure why, but I find myself in the somewhat unique position of being widely considered the “Gas Gas Enduro Guy”. It has been 15 years since I worked for the company and just about as long since I regularly raced the Spanish enduro bikes. But I got that reputation when the company was just getting rolling in the US and it has sort of stuck to me.
2018 Gas Gas XC300
If you know anything about Gas Gas, you probably know that the company and its US distribution have been through more incarnations than can be counted. After many years of strife, the original company finally ended up in receivership two years ago. It was then bought by Spanish electric bicycle maker Torrot. The Gas Gas we see today is an entirely new organization.
For the first time ever, the Gas Gas factory manages its own US distribution for both trials and enduro models. The company is making a major commitment to the US market. This should give encouragement to anyone looking at the brand.
I have had the unique opportunity to test and race every generation of the Gas Gas enduro line since 1999. There have always been strong points to enjoy, as well as a few rough spots. The motors are known for being very easy to ride and thrive in nasty terrain. Although, over the last few years they seemed to lose a bit of peak power for some reason. The chassis excelled in nasty terrain too, but seemed to get overwhelmed in faster conditions.
Gas Gas 300 in Action
Love it or not, the Gas Gas has always been a very unique bike, but not necessarily one that suited the American market perfectly. In recent years suspension choices also hampered the bikes. Not that the components were bad, but the stock set up was not the best. I suspect Gas Gas lacked the time and resources for proper suspension R&D for their bikes. The parts always felt “off the shelf” rather than specifically suited for the bike or a particular riding style.
New For 2018
The big news this year is the all new chassis design and philosophy. Almost nothing carries over from the previous model. The long time Gas Gas design hallmark, the perimeter frame, is now gone and replaced by a very traditional looking backbone frame. The design is lighter and claims to have less torsional stiffness.
2018 New Gas Gas Backbone Frame
KYB suspension is now standard on both ends. The AOS air/oil separated 48mm spring fork is up front. This is a closed cartridge design not to be confused with an air fork. The shock features both high and low speed compression adjustment.
KYB AOS Fork
The swingarm construction is now very modern looking, that is to say it looks like a KTM. There is a new linkage configuration for the KYB shock. Chain guide and rollers are updated also. The chain guide mounting is identical to KTM, so it will accept the same aftermarket parts.
Gas Gas Swingarm
The new fuel tank is narrower and is no longer confined to the restraints of the perimeter frame. The left number plate snaps off to allow air filter access. The cover is held by four large grommets. It is easy to remove and closes securely. The air box space is very open and the filter is easy to reach. The same spring style pin holds the filter in place. The sub frame is narrow. The body work does not protrude anywhere. The exhaust pipe and silencer are from FMF.
Side Access Air Filter
The motor gets some updates. The cases and cylinder design are immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with the Spanish bikes. Cylinder porting gets modified as does the head stay. The XC models feature a lighter flywheel to add some bark to the enduro motor. The electric starter is slightly redesigned and is more compact.
Gas Gas XC300 Motor
The 300 comes in either the standard “EC” enduro model or “XC” cross country race version. The primary performance differences are the flywheel and exhaust. The racier XC’s do not have lights and get a much simpler wiring harness. The EC wiring harness is typically a full dual sport style. The six speed transmission remains the same.
New foot pegs are much larger and substantial looking. The hydraulic clutch is now by Magura instead of the long time supplier AJP. Brakes remain the same, Nissin with NG discs. Wheels are black Excels with Metzler Six Day tires. The side stand works well and has a large foot. A plastic skid plate comes standard as well as handguards. Click Here…