MXA RACE TEST: THE REAL TEST OF THE 2024 GASGAS MC250F
Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2024 GASGAS MC250F BETTER THAN THE 2023 MODEL?
A: Most of our test riders would say yes. The new engine is stronger, and the chassis is more balanced; however, we loved the 2023 GasGas MC250F and wish that GasGas would’ve kept it around. Why? Because it was the last of a great generation. KTM and Husqvarna jumped to all-new bikes in ’23 with new engines, frames, swingarms, shocks, and electronics. GasGas was the red-headed stepchild that was given old technology, not receiving the new updates until one year later. It was genius on the part of the Pierer Mobility Group. They still had all the engine casing molds and systems in place to produce the previous generation bike for another year, and dealers still had plenty of parts for that chassis and engine, making it cost-effective to continue producing it. With this plan, GasGas models sold better than ever because there was a market for buyers who didn’t want a “first-year model” KTM or Husky.
We begged GasGas to lower the price and continue producing the 2023 bike for a few more years, just to further separate the three brands and give GasGas a more unique character. We were lectured on the manufacturing process and ultimately told that it would be more expensive for them to keep GasGas on the old platform, while the orange and white brands continued to evolve. The buying power that they have with three different brands using the same frames, engines, swingarms, wheels and so forth helps to keep the prices from going even higher than they already are.
Q: WHAT SEPARATES THE GASGAS MC250F FROM THE KTM AND HUSQVARNA?
A: The new MC250F shares the “bones” of a KTM or Husqvarna 250 four-stroke, but it has a healthy list of parts that are different to give the red bike a unique look and feel. Here’s a list of the differences:
(1) Suspension. The GasGas has softer suspension valving, tailoring it to riders who are lighter or slightly slower. The 42 N/mm shock spring rate is the same, but the valving doesn’t have the same hold-up as that of the KTM or Husky.
(2) Triple clamps. The clamps are new for 2024, but they are still made from forged aluminum, which offers more flex and a different front-end feel from the CNC-machined clamps of KTM/Husky.
(3) Bodywork. The plastics are completely proprietary to GasGas. The fuel tank is also slightly bigger and has its own unique shape.
(4) Subframe. The aluminum subframe is also unique to GasGas, with plastic panels that limit airflow into the airbox without completely blocking it.
(5) Electronics. The MC250F has the same ECU as the KTM/Husky with two maps—Quick Shift and Traction Control—embedded in it, but the bike doesn’t come with a map switch. GasGas owners are stuck in map one without access to QS or TC until they buy the $180 Power Parts map switch.
(6) Brakes. The GasGas comes with BrakTec brakes, which thankfully have been updated for 2024. KTM and Husky still use Brembo units.
(7) Clutch. BrakTec also takes care of the clutch actuation.
(8) Tires. Maxxis MX-ST tires come stock. They are the same tires that have come on GasGas bikes since 2021 when the Austrians first started platform sharing with KTM.
(9) Handlebars. The non-branded silver Neken bars are 12mm taller than KTM’s handlebars. The bend is similar to a Renthal 928.
(10) Hour meter. From 2021 to 2023, the red brand didn’t come with an hour meter. Now it does, and the hour meters are sourced from a different manufacturer from the KTM/Husky hour meters.
(11) Seat. The GasGas seat pushes underneath the plastic fuel tank cover and uses an 8mm bolt behind the left-side panel to secure it to the bike. KTM’s and Husky’s seats attach via an 8mm bolt at the front of the seat.
(12) Gearing. The GasGas MC250F comes with a 14/52 gear ratio, while the KTM and Husky both have 51 teeth on their rear sprockets.
Q: WHAT’S NEW WITH THE BRAKTEC BRAKES?
A: GasGas had some brake drama in 2023. Brembo bought the Spanish BrakTec brand, and we’ve seen these Spanish brakes come stock on select Husqvarna off-road models; however, due to supply-chain issues, the Pierer Mobility Group (KTM/Husky/GasGas) had to compromise and throw BrakTec components on random GasGas motocross models in 2023, labeling those bikes with a BT after the MC250F tagline to indicate that they didn’t have Brembo components. The 2023 BrakTec components were less than impressive, but they looked like Brembos, which made things worse, because that gave owners a false sense of security.
New for 2024, all the GasGas off-road, enduro and motocross models are coming with BrakTec brake and clutch components, but they’ve been updated. Here’s a list of the changes.
(1) New lever shape. They are slightly rounder. It’s not a big difference, though.
(2) New lever ratio. It was 17mm, and now it’s 16mm, which makes the pressure point plusher; it’s not the hard braking pressure that came on too strong last year.
(3) New channel geometry of the square ring. The new overlap affects the pressure on the piston, which has a changed chamfer to apply a different style of pressure on the piston.
(4) The brake pads have been updated.
(5) The discs have a new shape, but the 260mm front and 220mm rear disc sizes remain the same as Brembos.
(6) The main piston in the front and rear brake calipers is 25mm, which is the same size BrakTec used last year but different from what Brembo uses, which is a 24mm piston.
(7) The Brembo master cylinder uses a 10mm piston, and the new BrakTec piston is 11mm.
(8) Brembo is an Italian company that bought BrakTec, but BrakTec’s components are made in BrakTec’s Spanish factory.
Q: HOW DO THE BRAKTEC COMPONENTS WORK ON THE TRACK?
A: The MXA test riders could feel a difference between the BrakTek and Brembo brakes as far as stopping power. The initial bite was strong, but they felt like they had glazed brake pads. You can slow down quickly, but it’s harder to actually come to a stop. The brakes also don’t feel as precise as the Brembos. Whereas the Brembo brakes are completely predictable and confidence-inspiring, it can be hard to gauge how much or how little squeeze is required with BrakTec brakes.
Funny story: After riding a moto on the 2024 GasGas, one MXA test rider jumped on the KTM and went over the bars after grabbing too much front brake coming into a corner. He was quickly reminded that he didn’t have to squeeze so hard with the Brembo brakes.
As for the clutch, our pickiest testers felt the initial pull was similar to that of the Brembo, but it’s not the same when you fan the BrakTec clutch or hold the clutch to get the rpm up. You can feel the engine surge like it’s not sure whether the clutch wants to go in or out. The BrakTec clutch on the GasGas is not as precise as the Brembo clutch on the KTM and Husqvarna models. Of course, the clutch internals are the same on all three brands, only the lever, master cylinder, slave cylinder and plunger are different to engage or disengage the clutch.
If you’ve already tasted the finer things in life (i.e., Brembo brakes and clutch), it’ll be hard to downgrade to BrakTec; however, over time our test riders learned how to make them work.
Q: HOW IS THE 2024 GASGAS MC250F ENGINE?
A: The GasGas MC250F is a KTM clone that has been sabotaged by the muted airbox, restrictor in the muffler and absent map switch; however, it’s still a runner. On the dyno, the GasGas MC250F is just as strong as its orange and white siblings until 8,000 rpm when it starts to lose touch with KTM and Husky, staying 1 to 2 horsepower behind them until it peaks at 13,800 rpm with 43.25 horsepower. Of course, we should mention that the KTM and Husky both come with ventilated airbox covers and those were used on the dyno runs. Also, the KTM and Husky were both in map two, while the GasGas is stuck in map one until you buy a map switch.
On the track, the 52-tooth rear sprocket helps make up for some of the excitement lost without the map switch, but it’s not enough. The average rider will appreciate the GasGas MC250F. When compared to a KTM 250SXF on the track, it’s mellower on the bottom end and lacks the excitement on top at the end of a straightaway. Compared to the Husqvarna, the initial throttle response is similar, since both bikes have restrictive airboxes, but the Husky’s power pulls harder in the mid-and-up range.
Q: HOW DOES THE 2024 GASGAS MC250F HANDLE ON THE TRACK?
A: It’s great! Our testers were thoroughly impressed with the handling of the GasGas MC250F. Out of the three Austrian siblings, the Husqvarna is the only bike with shorter suspension travel and a lower seat height. Both the KTM and GasGas have the same suspension, only the red one is softer. From Pro to Vet status, our test riders liked the GasGas suspension. Of course, it was on the soft side for Pros when they were pushing 100 percent and/or riding on tackier tracks, but it was still manageable for the quickest orange helmets in our group.
We’ve mentioned in all our tests of the new-generation frames that the new chassis is focused on reducing squat under acceleration and reducing pitching under braking. The chromoly steel frame is stiffer now. The rear end sits taller in the pits and rides taller on the track, and the bike overall acts more balanced than before.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Detuned. This is both a praise report and a complaint. We’re glad Austria is making an effort to delineate the three different brands, but it’s still a bummer when you leave free power on the table by restricting the muffler and muting the airbox. You can get some of that power back by drilling holes in the airbox cover.
(2) Brakes. BrakTec may be owned by Brembo, but BrakTec is not in the same league as Brembo.
(3) Weight. The new 2024 GasGas MC250F is much heavier than last year’s 2023 model, which was the lightest bike in the class at 217 pounds. Now it weighs 225 pounds and is 1 pound heavier than the KTM and Husky 250Fs.
(4) Chain slack. It’s hard to get used to seeing chains so loose. The KTM/Husqvarna/GasGas new chassis likes the chain slack to be around 65 to 70mm at the rear of the swingarm buffer pad.
(5) Plastics. The new ultra-long GasGas airbox cover/side number panel doesn’t fit very well. We have had it fall off our test bikes on the track. Some test riders catch their boot on the front of the panel and pop it off the fuel tank as well.
(6) Push buttons. It’s a weird complaint, but the start and stop buttons are hard to press.
(7) Seat height. The 2024 GasGas is significantly taller now.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Chain torque. GasGas moved the countershaft sprocket down 3mm to reduce rear-end squat under full power. This is most noticeable in whoops, consecutive bumps and under hard acceleration in a rut.
(2) Frame backbone. The 2024 GasGas MC250F frame is stiffer than before, but once broke in, it is very stable in motion.
(3) Airbox. We love that it comes stock with a Twin Air filter and that it is ultra-easy to install, but since the airbox cover is included in a one-piece side panel that runs from the back of the bike to the front, it takes some effort to remove.
(4) Crossbar pad. Thankfully, GasGas replaced last year’s miniature bar pad with a full-size pad in 2024.
(5) Aesthetics. The plastics are unique; you’ll get attention in the pits. Our favorite is the red frame, though.
(6) Platform sharing. It’s nice that many modifications cross over from KTM and Husky to GasGas. If you switch between brands, most parts are interchangeable.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: In a weird way, it’s nice to see lower-level parts utilized on GasGas motocross models to further separate the three Austrian brands. It gives us more to talk about in our tests and requires consumers to do their homework before making a purchase. Of course, you can buy a map switch, Brembo components and stiffen up the valving in the suspension, but by that point you might as well just spend the extra $800 for a KTM.