Gas Gas go again, this time with a bike for ‘every rider’. It’s quite good.
GAS GAS MOTORS’ comeback from bankruptcy two years ago has been measured. Trials bikes – the bread and butter of the business – came first, before development of an all-new 250 and 300cc enduro bike range which arrived last year. Those new bikes are great: excellent chassis and strong engines – almost blueprint enduro bikes. The trouble is sales are slow because people lost faith in Gas Gas after years of financial difficulties. At the 2019 model launch near Girona, Gas Gas unwrapped a bike to change all this. The all-new EC ‘Ranger’ model is a trail friendly, easy to live with ‘bike for everyone’. The design brief was simple: make a cracking enduro bike then detune the chassis and engine, then use this as an opportunity to fit selective cheaper parts in order to deliver a softer performing and easier on the wallet version of the original. Two years ago Beta pulled off this same trick with their hugely successful X-trainer and Gas Gas are not shy about admitting the Ranger is following that lead. The Ranger’s trick is to copy the X-trainer but be better. The 40mm lower seat height is only part of the story as it drops more comfortably on softer springs than its racier siblings. A different exhaust system and tweaked cylinder head give the established EC 300cc motor more user-friendly torque and less top-end power too, making a simple but significant difference in character. If you put 100 people on this bike most will enjoy the ride. If you put 100 people on a full-blown Gas Gas EC300 Racing model chances are many will be put off by fierce power and focused chassis. Hobby riders, club riders, trail riders and Sunday riders are the many, not the few, which means ignoring them is missing a big trick if your business is selling motorbikes. Nipping out into the tight wooded test area, the Ranger proves to be versatile and I’m quick to get a feel for the softer brakes and suspension. I run up and down a bank, then over a log which it soaks up nicely. It is clearly happy at low speed. A few faster laps later and, though the suspension has greater movement, I have no shortage of confidence braking hard and turning into the hard-pack, flat turns. Having a smaller, 120 section (not 140), rear tyre helps because it is narrower and so helps the bike to steer. Gas Gas haven’t got many things wrong here but no
‘The design brief was simple: deliver a softer performing and easier on the wallet version of the original’
kickstart for some means you’re going to get stranded with a flat battery miles from home. Chance are you won’t with Gas Gas’s stronger 2019 battery and you can easily retrofit the kickstart mechanism.
The Ranger: exactly what Gas Gas should be building