Reviews

GASGAS TXT 250 PRO

Not every farm bike is a working bike. Sometimes, after the work is done, there’s time for some fun on the paddocks. Stephen Ross had some of that on a GasGas TXT 250 PRO.

The GasGas TXT 250 PRO is not really a farm bike, but a surprisingly large percent of the people who buy them are farmers. And many are part of the growing fan base for Motorcycle Trials within New Zealand.

Many decades ago Trials was a bit of a “gentlemen’s club” where riders would smoke pipes and wear a lot of tweed. The riding didn’t require too much skill and the bikes were simply modified motocross or farm bikes.

Trials have come a long way through the years, and with the advent of arena style events such as the X-games the skill and stunts of the Trials riders is again attracting attention.

Also known as observed trials, riders compete by negotiating their way through a series of obstacle courses. With an indoor and outdoor series, the terrain can range from a more natural setting of logs, boulders and streams to industrial settings with lots of ramps, concrete pipes and even indoor waterfalls.

Because of the low speeds and confines of the course sections, and the immense skill and courage displayed by the riders, this really is a great spectator sport.

Competitors aim to clear each section with a score of zero. If at any stage they put a foot down they are penalized and given one point, if they fail to complete a section, fall off or go out of bounds they receive the maximum of five points. Spain’s Adam Raga is the current indoor and outdoor world champion and he has done so on a GasGas Trials bike.

Our test bike is the TXT 250 PRO which sits right in the middle of the product line up. There are 125cc and 200cc bikes available for kids and entry-level riders with 280cc and 300cc models for heavier people or riders who like to kick it up a gear and let the bike do the work.

The A grade riders tend to use the 250cc and 280cc in the Championships. However don’t think you need to be competing to justify owning a trials bike. The majority are owned by people who just love riding motorbikes in the dirt and perhaps enjoy the skill aspect of riding as opposed to the high speed stuff.

For the first timer, hopping on a trials bike can fell pretty weird, the most obvious factor for this is there’s no seat and the foot rests are positioned quite a way back towards the rear of the bike. Although the 250 PRO had quite wide handlebars the frame itself was so skinny it felt like you were standing over a mountain bike.

You tend not to get a lot of airflow at the lower speeds so the bike comes with water-cooling and has a tiny slim line radiator snuggled between the front frame tubes. Having the bikes water-cooled also keeps the temperature stable, which allows for a higher more consistent power output.

And there’s a lot of power to be had, especially when you take into consideration that it only weighs 69kg. The engine has a classic two-stroke feel to it with instant smooth acceleration. The controllability is incredible; it’s amazing how accurate you can be in getting what you want out of the engine.

The trials were the last motorcycling discipline to solely use two stroke engines. Manufacturers such as Montessa are now making smaller, lighter, more powerful four strokes that more easily adhere to emission standards so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the development in the near future.

On a bike that you generally putt around on, you probably wouldn’t expect to find that the transmission has six gears! The first four are really low ratio and there is a noticeable jump up in the ratio between fourth and fifth with the top two gears being quite long in the legs.

What feels strange on a trials bike is the position of the gear change lever in relation to the foot peg. To change up a gear you need to take your foot off the peg and move it forward to tuck under and pull up the lever. The idea behind this is you select the gear you’d like for the obstacle/terrain coming up then once you’re through it have a think, adjust your gear and get yourself ready for the next bit. Because of the three-disc hydraulic clutch there is a super light lever pull that you could literally pull in with one finger.

Some hefty brakes are required with the type of predicaments you can get into on these bikes so there’s disc brakes front and rear. The disc’s are quite small relative to motocross and enduro bikes in order to give better clearance, so to get good performance out of them four pot calipers are needed on the front and two pot on the rear.

GasGas have put their usual Marzocchi telescopic forks on the front. They’re adjustable 40mm and have a nitride coating over them which is why they appear black, this gives better performance by reducing the friction and giving lower drag. It has the typical trials suspension that gives the ability to rock hop with confidence. The suspension travel on Trials bikes is relatively short as that’s hopefully all you’ll need for the terrain you’re likely to encounter on one.

Bringing the package together on the 32 spoke aluminum wheels they’ve spared no expense and opted for some top quality trials tyres with the Michelins. The pressure needed in these tyres is only 4 -6psi to give the best grip negotiating the obstacles.

With the low center of gravity, low weight, big handlebars and smooth power delivery it’s really easy to maintain total control of this bike. These bikes are great confidence builders for regular motocross riders.

Several people can partake with just one bike and Trials can be quite a social event as you tend to hang around the same area within talking distance to your spectators as you tackle the set course. Although these days the only pipe smoking is on the bikes.

A 2007 model will be released in December with the price TBA. For more information contact your local GasGas dealer or visit www.gasgasmotos.com

By Stephen Ross

 

Specifications

GasGas TXT 250 PRO

Engine type: Two-stroke, single cylinder
Displacement: 247cc
Bore & Stroke: 72.5 x 60.0mm
Carburettor: Dellorto
Ignition: CDI digital
Cooling: Water-cooled
Starting: Kick start
Transmission: Six speed
Final drive: Chain
Fuel tank: 3.1 litre
Height at seat area: 665mm
Wheelbase: 1330mm
Weight: 69kg
Suspension Front: 40mm Telescopic fork
Suspension Rear: Variable progressive system
Brakes Front: Disc – 185mm, 4 pot calipers
Brakes Rear: Disc – 150mm, 2 pot calipers
Tyres Front: Michelin 2.75 – 21
Tyres Rear: Michelin 4.00 – 18

 

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