STEPPING ON THE GAS (GAS)
I arrive at this beautiful estate overlooking Sansepolcro in the province of Arezzo (Tuscany, Italy), 380 hectares of fenced woodland, an incredible place. As soon as I get there, I see the new Gas Gas 300 2018 and I immediately start checking out the final version of the new Spanish enduro which I already saw at the EICMA 2017 exhibition and on various websites. At a first glance, the bike looks well made with top notch technical partners, Kayaba forks and mono, Magura clutch system, Nissin brakes, Excel rims, V-force 4, good quality combination of seat, tank, plastic bodywork and a pleasant look that is unique even if it takes after various motorbikes.
ON THE BIKE
As I sit on the bike, I note the good riding position with everything at hand, and the nice feel of the bike under me, the seat height, the footpeg-seat distance; I can move from the tank to the rear mudguard without interference from any superstructure. The handlebars are nice and straight and not too high, just as I like them - a “true” enduro rider would probably prefer them higher but this isn’t my case – the feeling with triggers, levers and buttons is excellent, the bike is slim and transmits a sense of lightness that I will also find during the dynamic test. It is time to leave.
RIDING THE BIKE
As soon as I place my finger on the magic button to the left-hand side of the handlebars, the motorbike starts, a few seconds and I shift to first gear: clutch lever engagement is excellent, the Magura command works very well as usual. I start riding the motorbike in the woods and it immediately transmits a sense of familiarity, it’s like I rode it a thousand times before but it is not so: the engine has a nice progression, is always powerful and with a lot of pickup even at low rpm, it is an easy engine that never gets you into trouble. It is an engine that wants gear shifting to give its best, if you insist in keeping the same gear the engine will pull back and it won’t make way; it is better to kick it into gear taking advantage of the constant and pleasant pickup. You have this feeling especially when riding along wide and fast roads, as soon as I go off-road again this feeling is lost and the engine never reaches the redline except in second gear when I insist in driving over an obstacle.
The motorcycle handles curves very easily, you only need to slightly lean the bike and it turns by itself then acceleration excellently takes you out of the curve with a lot of traction, also thanks to the setting of the suspensions that verge on soft. Riding on faster racks, you always have a feeling that it is too soft but, even when accelerating, the bike always responds well and you appreciate the efficiency of the suspensions that become harder from half-travel on. In my opinion, an amateur enjoys it just it is, the expert rider will find his own setting based on his weight and pace.
The breaking system quality is excellent, very modular, when traveling with your hand on the lever it never locks up unexpectedly and when you pull the lever harder it immediately responds with the aggressiveness needed; Nissin is always the reference, the rear brakes are also good.
All in all, it is an excellent motorcycle, well made and fun, very easy to handle but also stable when speeding; it has components of quality, as already stated above, and it definitely is an excellent alternative to the 300s already on the market: welcome back GAS GAS!
- EASY TO USE
- FRON BRAKE
- ENGINE THAT PULLS BACK TO SOON
Tester and text: Alessandro Mengozzi
Photos: Luca Pucci