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ENDURO TEST | 2024 GASGAS EC 500F | Bike Reviews

The addition of the 2024 GASGAS EC 500F enduro thumper tot he GASGAS lineup is very exciting, especially for us Australian riders.

Luckily I was one of the first few Aussies to get the chance to ride the all new 2024 GASGAS EC 500F on Italian soil at the 2024 GASGAS launch. Visually I am a huge fan of the cherry red chassis and plastics, and the simple clean GASGAS graphics look great and leave plenty of room for customers to customise the look once they own it.

On the spec sheet, this bike has the perfect foundation to be anything you want it to be. There’s sleek bodywork with large contact surfaces, rad shrouds shaped to help better grip the bike as you get on the throttle, and a grippy seat cover. One of my favourite features is that you only need a Torx 30 tool to remove the full plastics body kit.

Airbox access is tool-less, straightforward and designed to be no nonsense when changing air filters. The Neken handlebars (12mm taller than 2023 models) are clamped into adjustable bar mounts, and have lock-on style ODI medium compound grips with a strong impact-resistant throttle housing. The clear slim fuel tank has an integrated fuel pump allowing the tank to be emptied further before refuelling is needed. Foot-pegs are mounted inward on the frame making them less prone to catching the edge of deep ruts and the frame has anti-squat behaviour for maximum traction when exiting corners.

There is a durable red powder coating and frame guards to prevent wear, and forged aluminium triple clamps offer the right amount of calculated flex. The WP XPLOR open cartridge fork has new settings and is also longer for better balance and the new XACT WP shock can be adjusted by hand. GASGAS has gone with this suspension package for maximum comfort and for simple adjustability.

It might be GASGAS’ biggest and most powerful enduro bike ever as it also has all of the latest engineering techniques to make sure it has super smooth power. A counter balancer shaft, SOHC cylinder head, light weight crank cases designed to centralise mass, DDS clutch and a Pankl racing systems transmission. For those who don’t mind swinging off the tools, service and maintenance is easier than ever with new markers to show washer locations and torque settings.

As much as I enjoyed reading up and learning all about this all new machine, what I was keener to find out was how it rode.  Jumping onto the EC 500F and firing it up you instantly notice the new start/stop switch block, I like its dummy proof design and modern look. Out on the track it didn’t take long at all on the Italian enduro loop to feel this bike is nothing like any of the previous GASGAS models I have ridden.

GASGAS have not made anything over 350cc for the last few years, and I thought jumping onto this EC 500F would remind me in some way of the 2023 GASGAS range. Apart from looking down at the red front mudguard everything else felt different in some kinda way.

The ergonomics are very roomy, thanks to the new bend Neken handlebar that is 12mm taller than in 2023, the seat also feels longer or this could be from the seamless feel I got from the bodywork as it allowed me to move wherever I wanted. The foot pegs are easily the largest production version I have experienced and are 8mm longer and 5mm wider than in 2023. I really liked the cockpit on the 2023 EC range however this new cockpit will easily suit a wider range of terrain and body sizes thanks to the additional room.

The best way to describe the power plant is by saying “Don’t Poke The Bear”. Straight up this engine feels like the fastest standard spec enduro bike I have ridden. The mid to top-end power is very strong, and the bottom-end power has a nice free feeling that produces more than enough torque to always ride in a tall gear.

Either the Italian go-go juice is really good or the mapping and electronics are extra good on this bike, as I did not find flame outs as regular as I normally would on a thumper of this capacity. As smooth as the power delivery may be, you still need to respect the way you twist the throttle on this bike, as it can potentially get you into trouble really fast if you don’t. It really is like a big bear, treat it nice and nothing is a worry.

I am not going to lie, I was a bit concerned about pulling this bike up in a hurry. Up until now I have found Braktec front brakes to lack the overall power to pull up a bike with this amount of horsepower. The good news is the Braktec units that are on all 2024 GASGAS have updated ratios, levers and seals and they work really well. After googling that Brembo now own a large percentage of Braktec this is no surprise at all.

The rear Braktec just like previous models has great feel and power for all situations. I am a huge fan of the Braktec clutch, it has great feel and is so precise that I only needed minimal lever movements to achieve whatever I needed from the clutch.

The overall chassis/suspension feel GASGAS have achieved is very direct and positive. Up front the WP XPLOR fork holds up very well for an open cartridge fork and makes turning and navigating tight technical terrain a breeze. The rear end produces a feel slightly different to anything I have ever felt, it does not squat or move around much which takes a bit of getting used to. It does feel great accelerating out of the powdery loose sections as you don’t loose much weight off the front wheel.

Overall this bike feels like a hard edged race weapon at heart. However GASGAS have done a great job at softening the overall feel via clever engineering, enough so that the average weekend trail rider will feel right at home ripping through the Australian outback.

For the full story, check out issue #530 of ADB.