2010 Gas Gas EC300 Euro
Over the years there have been a number of bikes that the manufacturer has claimed are race-ready straight from the crate. Some have been on the mark and some not. Take Suzuki’s PE250, for example. In 1977, the PE was advertised as an “all-out competition enduro” bike. But even for the time this was a bit of a stretch.
Gas Gas has had a brilliant 300 two-stroke on its hands for some time. In short, it’s one the best dingers you can buy.
Hot on the heels of the release of the EC300 Nambotin, which is the sort of machine that naughty dreams are made of, Gas Gas released the EC300 Euro. I spent two days on the Euro and, let me tell you, the race-ready tag has never sat so well on a dirtbike.
What’s it all about?
The basis of the Euro is obviously the EC300. Good start.
From there things go a little nuts. There’s an FMF Turbine Core 2 pipe, Öhlins 888 rear shock and revalved Sachs fork. For the Mr T fans there’s gold anodised fork caps, a gold anodised rear sprocket and, to top it off (literally), you get a set of sweet Renthal ’bars. But wait, there’s more. You also get a 12-month warranty (with conditions) and that ain’t bad.
What caught our eye?
It looks like a race bike. VOR kind of ruined the whole black bike thing but Gasser is bringing the black back, baby. The smattering of gold pieces stand out, as do the embossed Gas Gas logos everywhere you look. The Spaniards are proud of the Euro and they want you to know it. The sticker kit isn’t too in-your-face but it has a real factory feel to it.
The pipe hangs no lower than the frame, which is a clever design, and there’s so much room around the engine itself you’d swear you’d been gypped into buying a 125. Removing the spark plug isn’t the challenge to the laws of physics that you find on a KTM EXC.
The controls are all typical Gas Gas, which is to say they’re very good, and the air-filter access is via a single seat bolt.
What’s it like to ride?
Initially, I didn’t get it. It started first kick and I settled into the ergos in no time, but I didn’t feel entirely comfortable about the ride. After mucking around for a bit to get the blood flowing, I headed out to hit some laps and it all started to make sense.
You see, the Euro doesn’t want to wait for you to be ready. It doesn’t want you to fool about, go exploring or feel your way into the ride. The Euro wants to go flat-out from the moment the first gear engages at the slip of the amazingly light clutch.
From there on in, the suspension that feels too robust for leisurely trail riding goes to work with an engine that explodes early in the rev range to provide a ride that makes more sense the faster you go. This ain’t a bike you want to trail ride; it’s a race bike. The harder you hit things, the better it all works. Drop-offs and jump landings barely register while ruts in single track are dealt with dismissively.
I did find the front pushed a little on powdery surfaces and overall the ride becomes fatiguing to a trail muppet like me. But that’s not what the Euro is about. The standard EC300 has my name all over it while the Euro has the likes of Toby Price or at least a fast club racer in its sights.
The engine itself isn’t a torque monster like the KTM but it would beat it in a fight. There’s nothing subtle about the way the Euro throws its ponies down and all the action sits early in the revs.
I’ve got to take a moment to give the Nissin brakes a rap here, too. They’re strong with feel and give any Brembos a good fight.
Who would want one?
Anyone looking for a bike that can race and win off the showroom. It’s so well fitted and finished, you’ll just need to whack a bashplate on it and go disturb some earth. However, if big two-strokes make you nervous, this will put you in therapy.
Did we like it?
You can’t not like it. The finish on the bike is flawless, the look is aggressive and it has everything except a good bashplate.
There’s no denying a bike like this is a hell of a lot of fun. I’m not man enough, though; there’s just too much going on here. It’s for a fast rider and at that it’s one of the best outta-the-crate racers I’ve ridden. At a retail of $11,699 (plus on-roads), it’s competitively priced and if it wasn’t available in such limited numbers (only 20 were brought into Australia) the EC300 Euro would attract some sizable attention away from the Husaberg.