GasGas History


Super Moderator
This following information is a collection of data submitted by various members of this forum. I have summarized the information below to help educate new people on the history of GasGas bikes in North America. Enjoy!

GasGas Off-Road Model Indicators:
  • EC – Enducross (2 stroke enduro motorcycle 125, 200, 250 and 300cc)
  • XC – Cross Country (2 stroke enduro motorcycle customized for US racing 125, 200, 250 and 300cc)
  • SE – Special Edition (2 stroke enduro motorcycle, custom built for specific rider requirement in US racing 125, 200, 250 and 300cc)
  • MC or MX – Motocross (2 stroke motocross motorcycle 125 and 250cc)
  • DE – Dealer Edition (2 stroke enduro motorcycle customized for the US market 200, 250 and 300cc)
  • FSE or FSR – Four Stroke Engine or Four Stroke Racing (4 stroke, fuel injected enduro motorcycle 400, 450 and 515cc)

History of GasGas in the United States:
  • GasGas started selling bikes in the US when Dale Malasek of GasGas USA began importing trials and enduro bikes into the US. GasGas parts were handled by Rising Sun Imports. Prior to this, the brand was only available in Europe.
  • In earlier years (1998/99), Both an EC and an XC model were imported and the differences between them was greater than most note today. The EC was a Euro street legal trail oriented bike with a counterbalancer installed in the motor and a heavier ignition. - this is the hump that used to exist in the cases. It is believed that 1998 was the last year for the counterbalancer. The '99s had the full round crank weight in place of the gear, and the cranks were said to be balanced very well. It still had marzocchi conventional forks and a less expensive ohlins shock. (similar to what we see in the 450 pampera today). Note that during this time period, the difference in exhaust was that a messico pipe was installed on the EC models (same pipe was used on the MC and EC during these years...).
  • In 1999, Don Knight at GasGas North America (GGNA) took over import and distribution of the enduro bikes (trials line was retained by GasGas USA) and building a dealer network from their headquarters in Cleveland, Mississippi. GGNA started customizing the EC model for the US racing market. The EC was built to European Union standards to be street legal in Europe and was loaded with features that were unnecessary for off road racing in the US, like turn signals and switch, speedometer/odometer/clock, mirrors, horn and button, catalytic converter, brake lights and head lights. The EC also had a heavier flywheel for the tighter European riding conditions in the form of a larger output coil for brighter headlight.
  • The XC was originally based on the 1999 European EC. Stripped down for racing, the XC eliminated the turn signals, horn, speedometer/odometer/clock, and all related wiring and cables. It kept the EC headlight and brake light. It had no handlebar switch for lighting or horn, only a kill button. The headlight toggle switch was located on the back of the headlight assembly. The XC was similar to the GasGas MC (motocross), only at the time the MC models had a 4 speed transmission which did not have proper gearing for enduro and hare scrambles racing. MC’s were also not available in the 200 or 300cc displacements. The EC/XC models were available in 125, 200, 250 and 300cc displacements. (Prior to 1999 the MC was known as the MX.)
  • GasGas North America had FMF custom design “Fatty” pipes for the XC, silencer choices included FMF Turbine Core II with USFS spark arrestor or the FMF Power Core, without spark arrestor, as options. The XC also had a higher compression MC head (claimed 14:1 compared to the EC 12:1), smaller flywheel weight for the relatively open terrain in the US, and smaller output coil. Note the higher compression MC head was only used on the XC250 model as no equivalent part was available for other models (200 and 300, etc.). It also had the same Kokusan CDI ignition as the MC which had a more aggressive timing advance for a quicker hit of power than the EC. The bikes were custom built for GGNA at the Gas Gas factory in Spain in a special manufacturing run each year.
  • Starting in 2000, the difference between a European EC and an XC wasn't as great. GasGas, like the rest of the industry, went away from conventional forks (towards upside down/inverted forks) and installed the better ohlins shock standard. In 2000 you could get either an EC or an XC, but ECs were fewer. In 2001, only XCs were available. They installed a concentric weight on the crankshaft to achieve smoothness in the motor. This achieved lower vibration, relative to a non-counterbalanced motor, and decreased weight. Note they targeted the XC model towards racing versus being an extremely effective trailbike (you could view the original Marzocchi forked EC’s with counterbalanced motor being like a 2-stroke XR...). Later, the round crank weight was changed to an eccentric for even better balance and less vibration.
GasGas History Continued...

  • During the same time period, GGNA produced the XCO, which upgraded the EC and XC standard 43mm WP forks to 46mm Ohlins forks. They also produced the SE model, which were custom built XC models. The SE could be ordered with full 46mm Ohlins fork and Ohlins shock, gold anodized D.I.D. Dirt Star U-line rims, Enduro Engineering hand guards, WER steering damper and custom suspension set up specific to the riders specifications.
  • GGNA imported the XC into the US market along side the EC and MC from 1999 until the factory took over distribution in 2002, transferring exclusive distribution rights in the US to GasGas Motors of America (GGMA) half way through the 2002 model year.
  • After GasGas switched to 43mm inverted forks on the ECs in 2000 - an XC actually cost less to produce than an EC (cheaper ignition, no lights, less wiring, etc.). An FMF fatty pipe, although more durable and providing more low end power actually costs less than the messico that it replaced (and didn't perform as well either...). Note that a catalytic converter etc was never used during the years in question.
  • GGNA charged higher prices for bike "customization" and parts, but GasGas Motors America (GGMA) dropped both bike and parts prices when they took over importation. Given basic economics, the drop in prices should have led to higher sales. The president of GasGas Motors America, Juan Romero, had financial and legal expertise but initially lacked motorcycle industry experience. He was brought in to turn around the american market financially given that GGNA wasn't able to live up to financial obligations (a nice way of saying they didn't pay their bills to gasgas corporate). GasGas Motors America had large expenditures to set up warehousing & hire a full staff in florida. During this same period - the dollar was falling more than 30% relative to the euro - decreasing profit back to GasGas Corporate... Also, the new 450 4 stroke, was having some serious "teething problems"... All of this led to the budget for effective advertising and promotion (sponsoring a few top riders, etc.) being very tight and the sales volume fell. A few talented and enthusiastic sales reps became disillusioned and left during this period, which didn't help matters...
  • When GasGas Motors America (GGMA) took over import and distribution from GGNA in 2002, they eliminated the XC model and began importing only the European spec EC and MC models. The US EC models were not imported with signal lamps or mirrors included. During the transition, some of the EC’s were equipped with FMF “Fatty” pipes and silencers and some with Gas Gas branded pipes and silencers. MC models were equipped with Messico pipes and Gas Gas brand silencers. Dealers were upset with loss of the popular XC and petitioned GGMA for a return of the model. High production costs prevented Gas Gas from building the custom XC models so a compromise was reached when the factory agreed to leave off items from the European EC as it was imported into the US.
  • The EC “Dealer Edition” was created by GasGas Motors America early in the 2003 model year in response to the elimination of the US exclusive XC models created by GGNA for NETRA enduro and hare scrambles racing. The DE was created with US dealer input, hence the designation “Dealer Edition” or DE. Dealers had the option to add optional parts and accessories to the model as they, or the customer, desired. The EC “Dealer Edtion” or DE included many of the features of the EC – it had FMF “Fatty” and Turbine Core II exhaust, Michelin S-12 tires, D.I.D. U-line rims, signal lamps or mirrors, choice of 43mm WP or 46mm Ohlins fork, O-ring chain, Ohlins shock, six speed transmission, Chromoly nickel plated frame (until 2004 when they began powdercoating), oversize spokes, hydraulic clutch, and Boyesen reed valves. Beginning in 2004, the WP forks were dropped in favor of forks from Marzocchi and the Ohlins fork option remained as an upgrade.
  • DE specific changes included: simplified wiring harness without turn signal or horn wiring, two button handlebar switch – headlight and kill button, smaller flywheel and smaller output coil, no speedometer/odometer/clock – the cable was installed however, and MC ignition.
  • Options for dealers to install included: Dual sport lighting kit, MC front number plate, trial style tail light, taller seat foam, Hebo taper bars, high compression head, 4, 7, 10 or 14 oz flywheel weight, programmable MC ignition for 125, 250 or 300cc.
  • GGMA imported the DE, MC and FSE from 2003 through 2006 as the primary base motorcycles and the European EC available through special order. The FSE was the fuel injected four stroke model Gas Gas had been developing since 1999. In 2002/2003 they began importing the FSE400 later to become the FSE450. In 2006, the FSE was made available in 2 displacements, the 450 and 515. Both fuel injected and based on the EC models.
GasGas History Continued...

  • In 2006, Coller Capital Management acquired 36% equity in GasGas and put in place new management, streamlined costs, etc.. In the process, GasGas eliminated their direct rep in Florida and closed the warehouse, etc., and went with Dixie Sales (who was also importing Husaberg). Barrett Marketing/Dixie Sales took over importing and distribution rights from GGMA. The Gas Gas factory and Dixie Sales eliminated the DE model for 2006 importing the only the EC, MC and FSE/FSR models. The FSE was changed to FSR in 2007. Also in 2007, some EC models were equipped with a Sachs shock and some with Ohlins.
  • Dixie Sales import rights were short lived and ended when the company was purchased by Freeplay early in 2007. Freeplay/Dixie sales lost import rights for Husaberg in Summer 2007 (to KTM North America). Freeplay did not see off-road motorcycles as a fit with their environmentally conscious marketing plan, along with the motorcycle division being less profitable than others in their portfolio (they also distribute everything from lawn mowers to Philips TVs), drove them to get out of the motorcycle business completely.
  • This left Gas Gas without a distribution point in North America. After a scramble to find a distributor capable of servicing the US market, the current Gas Gas trials importer, and original importer, Gas Gas USA of Kansas City, MO was chosen to import and distribute the enduro bikes in the US market. Enduro parts and warranty service was given to GoFasters Powersports of Ortonville, MN. Trials parts are still handled by Rising Sun Imports.
  • In 2008, the EC, MC and FSR are the only Gas Gas enduro motorcycle models imported for the North American market (US/Canada). There are also some dealers still offering a DE version for the US based on customer's request.
  • In 2009, GasGas continues to gain in popularity in the North American market. The bikes have received only minor changes since 2007.
  • In 2010, GasGas will be releasing both 2T and 4T bikes that have many new upgrades. This will be the most significant model upgrade since 2007. Cosmetically, the bikes have a primarily black color scheme (different from their previous red heritage). They also are getting an improved frame, different suspension on some models, and a new 250cc 4T bike utilizing a Yamaha engine. Good times ahead!!!
•DE specific changes included: simplified wiring harness without turn signal or horn wiring, two button handlebar switch – headlight and kill button, smaller flywheel and smaller output coil, no speedometer/odometer/clock – the cable was installed however, and MC ignition.

are you sure about the mc ignition?? I was under the impression that it was an ec w/just a lighter fly wheel??

My 06 was a de, I thought the de's got dropped in 07??

quite the run down btw!!
I appreciate the time neccessary for the write up
The "DE or XC" has been the black sheep of the GG family. It really could be any combination of parts that the customer wanted. That description should be fairly representative of the DE/XC bike. The DE/XC bike definitely would have the smaller flywheel with less lighting output (about 35W)... this is what we call the Kokusan 2K-2. The EC is a heavy flywheel with more lighting output (about 70W)... this is what we call the Kokusan 2K-3. The MC bike would have a small flywheel with no lighting coil... I think this is a Kokusan 2K-1 (if I recall correctly).

Regarding the MC ignition, some of the the DE/XC bikes had the MC CDI installed. Others may have kept the EC CDI. Also, the cylinder head for the DE/XC bikes often had the higher compression head of MC bikes. So yes, it is confusing to say the least. :)

The 2006 was a transitional year, you are probably right that the DE's ended in '06. How many were offered is questionable. The '07 bikes would have been more EC-based with a few DE-type bikes custom built from what I hear members discussing.
is there anything on the cdi to identify if it is MC or ec??
going to have to go take a look at mine ....

Seems like I remember the heat shrink was colored red and that was the mc CDI? I think that is how my XC250 is.
I'm curious, are the part numbers on the head differant EC vs XC/MC? Or is it the same head (part number stamp) machined for higher compression with no markings?

MattR, fantastic write-up. Where/when did the "Race" edition come in? I'm curious because seems I remember it was 2007-ish but I saw a post once with someone calling their '01 or '02 a Race edition
I think you are right about the CDI's being identified by the colored wire wrap. The earlier parts manuals from 2001-2003 show the CDI's being different part numbers for the 200, 250, and 300. Later years only show a common part number. No special part numbers have been listed in the manuals for the MC bikes, although I remember folks discussing the more aggressive mapping of the MC bikes. I believe CDI's were mapped differently and the wire wrap altered as an identifier for GG folks.

The "race" editions have been more recent... at least marketed that way since 2007. The earlier years had SE (special editions) that were more race oriented with Ohlins full suspension, gold rims, etc..

Regarding the high compression heads, they should have a unique part number such as MCxxxxxx while the standard heads would have been MExxxxxx (based on GG typical part numbering).
Going a little off topic, I believe some of the earlier Gas Gas EC models in Europe had TM engines. I'm sure I've seen a yellow EC 125 with a TM engine. I think it was a 1996 model. Or is my memory playing tricks ? Sorry, can't find any photos on the web.
Going a little off topic, I believe some of the earlier Gas Gas EC models in Europe had TM engines. I'm sure I've seen a yellow EC 125 with a TM engine. I think it was a 1996 model. Or is my memory playing tricks ? Sorry, can't find any photos on the web.

You're absolutely correct. The first Gassers in true Gas Gas frames had TM engines, all sizes. The first Gas Gas I ever saw was safety yellow in color, and I believe it was a '94 or '95 EC 250. It had a TM engine in it. The guy's name was Jack, and he had a toddler with a shirt that read, "my daddy rides a Gas Gas."
Just to note,, the 97's came over as the first year fully built by GG,, engine and frame.. this had the CB motor, and since the importation was so limited they did not get the dreaded "not for highway" stamping on the paperwork. Mine came through as a fully street legal euro model and the title work listed it as a street bike 250cc size. was nice to just go to the notary and get tags..
Looking for Positive ID on 99 XC forks

Any of you history buffs know for sure what forks were on the 1999 XCs?
I think the 99 had marzocchi conventional forks - there was a "six days" model that came with the WP Extreme fork (50 mm conventional).

Mike (roostafish) had one of the six days models with the WP 50mm conventional forks on it - I'll ask him what year it was....

Going a little off topic, I believe some of the earlier Gas Gas EC models in Europe had TM engines. I'm sure I've seen a yellow EC 125 with a TM engine. I think it was a 1996 model. Or is my memory playing tricks ? Sorry, can't find any photos on the web.

The '94 125 was red/pink, and came with the proven TM powerplant. Mid '94 saw the first 250 for GasGas, it was yellow (almost a flo green) and came with the brand new TM 250 powerplant. Both were good bikes. There are photos available for both models on the web.
All the GasGas designed motors were 6 speed except some MCs, which were 4 speeds.
Going Deeper into history. The first Gas Gas enduro bikes were Husqvarna's with Gas Gas graphics on them. I doubt any of those ever made it into the U.S.

Another note. I have owned two '99 model bikes. An EC 200, which had Marzocchi Magnum 45 forks on it, and a XC 250 Six Days with WP Extreme 50 conventional forks. The WP's were very impressive.