Bikes 1 Aug 2023

Tested: 2024 GasGas MC 450F reviews the new 2024 GasGas MC 450F.

Anticipation was high surrounding the release of the 2024 GasGas MC 450F, which is an updated bike from top to bottom, including a brand new frame and swingarm, revamped 48mm WP XACT forks and an improved WP XACT rear shock. MotoOnline put the bike through its paces at Citta di Castello in Italy during the global press launch for this Tested review.

Starting off, I rode this bike as is straight out of the box. I didn’t set sag or touch anything to do with suspension, just a minor lever adjustment for personal preference. I wanted to see how this MC 450F in stock trim, which you can learn more about in this Detailed feature from its initial release.

Straight away I was impressed. The first thing that catches your attention has to be the amazing amount of torque this engine puts out – it’s insane. With the hilly circuit we were presented with, the MC 450F loved to rip up the hills. As satisfied as I was with the bottom-end power on this bike, I was equally as convinced with the top-end power. Once you start clicking through the gears on the straights, it really gets going.

Image: Supplied.

The track we rode was hard-packed and really slick, so I thought I’d give the traction control and quick-shift maps a try. It’s crazy how easy it is to select these options, because with a quick press of a button on the handlebars, these modes activate. They’re not really functions that I’ve been able to get my head around too much and I felt more comfortable riding without any of these maps, but I’m sure there’s a good use for them… my riding style just isn’t really suited for it.

I tried my luck with the green ignition map next, which is the more aggressive map. You’d think as a racer that this would be my choice of map, for sure, but I really found myself feeling more comfortable with what the mellower map produced. On the hard-pack, slick track, with tricky switchbacks and off-camber turns, I felt that I had more control of the power, which when riding these 450s, is essential.

With the more tame map, I just had a more controllable feel for the bottom-end. I felt as though when I switched to the aggressive map I almost lost my ability to control the throttle on the tricky surface. Different surfaces call for different styles, but on this track, I definitely felt more comfortable with the more progressive option when it comes to power delivery.

As well, I felt the gearing on the MC 450F was spot-on. It loves to be ridden in third and fourth gear. Even with 180 turns straight into steep uphills, if you ride this bike the way it’s meant to be ridden – meaning, carrying momentum and riding the taller gears – third gear has plenty of punch to get you out of the turn and up the hills. It’s usable and well-rounded, so you can make the most of it.

Image: Supplied.

Moving onto the WP suspension. After riding this bike standard to start with, I wanted to change the geometry just a touch to see how sensitive it was. We checked the sag after the warm-up and it was at 98, so with a few turns of the spring, we got it set to 102, meaning we’ve gone 4mm lower in the rear shock. With this change, straight away I felt the rear driving better on the exits of the turns.

Lowering the rear, you’d think maybe it would take away my ability to steer a little. But, personally, I think somewhere between 102 and 105 rider sag is the sweet spot. For more hard-packed tracks like we rode, that 102 number seems to be ideal, whereas if you were riding sand, maybe you’d want to venture closer to 105 to take a little more weight off the front.

One thing that surprised me a lot was the way this suspension held up for a standard setting. Being a racer, you always think, ‘oh, I can’t ride stock suspension, that’s too soft’, and while this track maybe wasn’t as rough as your typical national track, it definitely had its fair share of braking and acceleration bumps. Without touching anything other than sag, it really impressed me how this bike turned, as well as held up in the hard braking areas.

One thing I’m super-happy with on the new GasGas and that I wanted to mention is the new design of the footpegs. There’s a lot more surface area than the previous models and, honestly, I think the days of buying footpegs are gone. I can’t see a reason to change these. I know footpegs are somewhat of an odd feature to pick out specifically, but these are seriously that good.

Image: Supplied.

New for 2024 is the addition of Braktec brakes and updated calipers. Now, a lot of people have their opinion set before they even try these brakes and I always hear that ‘they’re not as good as Brembo,’ but honestly, the Braktec brakes and the Braktec hydraulic clutch were absolutely as good as Brembo. I could not for the life of me tell you the difference between Brembo and Braktec, other than the shape of the levers, that’s the only thing.

The Braktec lever has a more rounded feel to them, whereas the Brembo lever has a more flat face where you use the brake. This just comes down to personal preference, but I loved the rounded shape of the Braktec levers. Generally, the ergonomics are comfortable, yet familiar if you’ve had experience on the Austrian bikes in recent years, and the bold red appearance is unique in its own right.

The 2024 GasGas’ come equipped with Maxxis MX-ST tyres front and rear. I’ve used these in the past and they’re really solid – they worked perfectly on the slick conditions we rode and they’ve worked awesome on many surfaces for me in the past, so they’re definitely a nice addition.

Overall, GasGas has really hit the nail on the head with this bike. Straight out of the box the 2024 MC 450F presents a great package that will suit a lot of riders and it brings the brand in line with what KTM and Husqvarna when it comes to being the latest generation model. I’d like to think I was pushing this bike pretty hard, and it withstood everything I could throw at it, so super-impressed, to say the least.


Engine type: 449.9cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke
Bore/stroke: 95×63.4mm
Transmission: Five-speed
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Braketec hydraulic
Traction control: Yes
Launch control: Yes
Front suspension: WP XACT 48mm
Rear suspension: WP XACT shock
Front brake: Braketec 260mm disc
Rear brake: Braketec 220mm disc
Tyres: Maxxis Maxxcross MX-ST
Weight: 103.3kg (without fuel)
Availability: September 2023
Further information: