MotoOnline.com.au reviews the all-new 2021 GasGas MC 250F.
Words: Mike Sleeter
The 2021 GasGas MC 250F continues the ‘fun, fun’ theme of the newly-acquired KTM Group brand and we were fortunate to complete this test with GasGas North America at Fox Raceway to begin the new year.
While you can view this Detailed post for a more complete rundown on its technical features, the general mission of KTM with these all-new GasGas models is to have a lower barrier to entry for customers and the MC 250F hits the showroom floor about $800-$1000 cheaper than its Austrian counterparts.
We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this bike for two main reasons; 1. How did the group get the GasGas models cheaper than the KTM and Husqvarna brands?; 2. Do these changes affect the overall performance of the bike?
Once we arrived at the track and did a quick walkaround, we noticed right away how clean the lines of the ergonomics and simple, but bold, the sublimated graphics are. They’re very appealing (as are the silver rims for a point of difference). I also noticed that the bar-pad was small, so that’s a quick upgrade that you would want to do before leaving the dealer.
Let’s talk power. The 2021 GasGas MC 250F comes with the same base powerplant as the other 250F models in the KTM Group and we all know horsepower is the name of the game in this category. However, the GasGas doesn’t have the dual map switch, but that – to me – is just fine.
The MC 250F comes standard in the aggressive setting, the way it should and you don’t want to reduce the power anyway. It’s all about that first impression and it can be as early as riding from the truck to the track while cracking the throttle, feeling that ECU tune.
If it is slow-revving and unresponsive, it will give the illusion there isn’t much power, but although there isn’t a map switch, the ECU immediately felt clean and responsive. Once I hit the track, I found the motor is arguably the easiest to ride in the class with a very linear power curve that picks up early and revs to the moon.
However, I did feel myself wanting a little more character to that power. That lack of character could be from the straight-forward header and mid-pipe that this model is fitted standard with because even though the MC 250F makes good power, I struggled to find the right place in the curve to ride it.
In my opinion, this comes down to the gearing used as I found myself in between gears at times, so I would like to see the gearing being a little taller, which would mean I wouldn’t be shifting so much and I could allow that peak power do its thing. Overall though, it’s a really strong and competitive option that provides a solid base to work with.
Not to be overlooked is the chassis on the 2021 GasGas MC 250F and most notably, there’s a forged triple-clamp that’s used and it adds flex, therefore comfort. The WP 48mm Xact fork has been a work in progress for years, having its positives and negatives. I like the technology that WP brings with the air-fork though.
For example, I’m a little heavy and fast for the target set-up on the MC 250F, but with the WP Xact technology, I can bump the spring rate up very easily to get the bike more suited for my weight and also speed. I went from the recommended 151 to 153 PSI.
The thing to note is this a cold fork setting and that it will build around three PSI when the fork heats up while riding. With that being said, my on-track fork pressure is 156.5 PSI and after I adjusted the fork and got it to handle sufficiently, I had to address the shock because the bike was now out of balance and hard to turn.
To do this, we went in a half turn on the high speed of the shock and one click faster on the rebound, so after these changes, I was much more confident in the bike and was able hit my marks with ease. Together, the WP Suspension package is great and I would say the European-spec set-up (rather than typical US settings) is right there where it should be for this market.
It’s the little things like the controls on these bikes that are overlooked at times. The MC 250F is equipped with the leader in class, Brembo brakes front and rear, as well as a hydraulic clutch that’s also from Brembo.
The ODI Lock On grips are some of my favorite grips on the market with a great diameter and feel in my hands. Ergonomically, as referenced above, the GasGas is good as I don’t catch my leg on anything in deep ruts or adjusting the bike in the air, plus I want to point out that the seat foam is dialed even if the cover seems a little slick.
In addition, the team at GasGas took a leap with using Maxxis tires and I honestly think it was a good call because these latest Maxxis MX-ST tyres are exceptional. Although they may wear out quickly, you are getting a true soft compound tyre, so they hook up and absorb square edges better than most rival brands.
Some final words: The 2021 GasGas MC 250F genuinely surprised me. I was nervous that the cheaper price-point was going to hurt the bike’s performance, but, the changes the brand made to save money were spot-on and didn’t hurt the launch of this brand new model.
If you are going to build a full-blown race bike, you are probably going to upgrade the wheels, exhaust and possibly the ECU, however, the bottom line is if you are looking to make the switch to the KTM Group platform, I’m confident that you’ll be more then pleased with what you are getting from the MC 250F. For more help in your decision-making process, watch our Overview edit or listen to our Feedback podcast.
Engine type: 250cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke
Clutch: Brembo hydraulic
Traction control: No
Launch control: No
Front suspension: WP Xact 48mm adjustable air fork
Rear suspension: WP Xact shock
Front brake: Brembo two-piston caliper, 260mm disc
Rear brake: Brembo one-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Tyres: Maxxis MX-ST
Weight: 100kg (without fuel)
Availability: Out now
Further information: www.gasgas.com