Gas Gas Review
Intended to take on the International Six Days Enduro, the 2010 Gas Gas EC 250 Six Days Edition is as serious as the race itself. Although four-stroke motorcycles are the configuration of choice these days in America, two-strokes are enjoying a European renaissance. Powering the Six Days is a brutal two-stroke motor that is untouched by compromise.
Gas Gas touts the kickstart EC 250 Six Days as a take-no-prisoners motorcycle, and the motor best embodies the Spanish company’s focus. Despite its power valve and undersquare design (66.4mm bore and 72mm stroke), the EC 250 is anything but a torquer. With a powerband that reminds one of a 125cc two-stroke motocrosser, the EC 250 eschews low-end torque for blistering acceleration once in the powerband.
While timid low-rpm power may seem counterproductive for off-roading, this is a racing machine. The ISDE is won or lost in the motocross-like special sections, and the six-speed EC 250 Six Days delivers the high-performance needed in those closed-course quarters to deliver the gold medal to those who can harness the power it has to offer.
To help the EC 250 stay high in the rev range, the Six Days receives a lightened flywheel. Yes, this makes the bike even more difficult to manage for the casual off-roader, but that is not who this demanding enduro bike is designed to please. Even Gas Gas describes the engine setup as "razor-sharp," so there is no confusion about what you are buying. Yes, there is a "wet weather" powerband option, but that does not add torque down low–it only softens the midrange hit.
Even our A-level test rider, Jess McKinley, got spit off of the EC 250 Six Days. If you are not serious about riding, the Six Days does not want you in the saddle–go big or go home. For the rider capable of riding the EC 250 to its potential, the chassis is there to assist. From the ground up, the Six Days is properly equipped.
Learning the lessons of mass centralization, the EC’s fuel tank fills an empty spot between the cylinder and the rear shock. This allows the EC 250 Six Days to have amazingly narrow ergonomics, while still offering as much tank capacity as possible. Of course, the top of the tank rests between the chromoly frame’s perimeter rails.
Handling is as sharp as the engine, as the 223-pound (claimed dry weight) can be thrown around at will. FIM-approved Michelin Enduro Competition tires (M12 front, S12 rear) are employed, with a de rigueur 18-incher on the rear, offering good traction, especially considering they are "eco-friendly" meats. They assist the rider in both turns and when accelerating at a high rate out of corners.
The Sachs rear shock fitted with a remote reservoir with easy adjustability, and controls 11.6 inches of travel, helped along by aluminum progressive linkage. In the front, upside-down Sachs forks are 48mm units. The forks have 12.2 inches of travel, and are only adjustable for damping, while the rear adds spring preload adjustment.
The suspension is initially plush, yet ready for big hits. We had a motocross track handy to evaluate the EC’s special tests prowess, and it reminded us that you must be a serious rider. If you cannot keep the bike buzzing in the powerband, you must shift down to tackle any serious jumps. The torque that can be friendly to the regular guy is not available–no quarter is given to the rider, but this is for a rider who gives no quarter.
On tight trails, the engine demands much of your attention, as you must manage it carefully. This means the chassis must be neutral and intuitive, and it is. If you can hold on, the Six Days will go wherever you point it. But, ultimately, that is the question: Can you hold on?
The Gas Gas EC 250 Six Days is as serious as the event it is named after. When it comes time to decide if the bike is right for you, make sure you aren’t fooling yourself.
Jess McKinley contributed to this review. Test bike provided by LewisportUSA. Photography by Don Williams.
Off-Road Riding Style
Helmet: Shoei VFX-W
Goggles: Utopia Slayer Pro
Jersey, gloves and pants: Shift Assault
Boots: Sidi Crossfire