The world of extreme, or hard enduro, has had a dramatic effect on the world of off-road. Potential riders are enthralled with the skill sets of Graham Jarvis and Cody Webb, who dominate the sport. Nearly 100 percent of the top hard enduro racers have a trials background, and this has been instrumental in their success. Trials is a sport of precision, patience and, most important, balance. You learn more bike control in one day on a trials bike than an entire week at a motocross track. The clutch and throttle control alone from practicing trials will make you a much more precise rider. With that said, we’ve been spending some time on the new 2020 GasGas TXT Racing 300.
INSIDE THE MACHINE
Trials bikes are designed to be as light as possible, and this bike certainly has that box checked. The engine is extremely compact and small, and details like the clutch slave built into the clutch cover save both weight and room on the bike. The engine cases are designed using gravity casting, which is claimed to attribute to weight reduction while maintaining strength. Its gearbox uses a 4/6 system—six speeds with just four gears internally. The clutch is compact, uses three friction plates, two steels and a Belleville spring, and is hydraulic. TXT exhaust systems target proper power but also enhance the handling by providing a slimmer, more ergonomically sound machine. A map-select switch offers two settings that alter the bike’s preferred engine character. It can also be used to fine-tune performance related to variable weather conditions (dry/wet). And, to keep it cool, the TXT uses an inverted-aluminum U-flow radiator with a waterproof electrical fan and thermostat.
On the chassis side of things, the GasGas TXT is all about lines, weight and balance. The chromoly frame weighs in at 13.2 pounds. The cast-hollow swingarm is made from high-grade aluminum, the linkage has new setting for more progression and improved handling. A tiny .63-gallon fuel tank integrates with the frame and bodywork, the wheels use black aluminum rims and are laced to CNC-machined hubs using lightweight spokes and zinc-plated steel nipples. Brakes are by Braktec and target serious trials needs for strong power, action and feel. Front suspension is a 39mm Tech fork with hydraulic adjustability, and the shock is a two-way adjustable Ohlins unit.
SEAT TIME (NICE TOUCH)
Here’s a smattering of tech talk and field input about the TXT Racing 300.
The GasGas is carbureted and is fed by a 28mm PWK Keihin. The bike ran flawless and was incredibly crisp. It never felt like it wanted to “load up” or hesitate at any throttle openings. On a few occasions the bike would be a bit difficult to start, warm or cold. It would take four or five kicks cold or three good strong kicks warm. This is something not normally seen on two-strokes. Nevertheless, it ran flawless the entire time. The TXT 300 has a dual-map ignition with a Rain or Sun mode (mounted on the front bodywork covering the fuel cell) to suit the day’s conditions. The Sun mode is very lively and snappy, making this the go-to mode for large rock hits or splatters where the bike needs to rev as aggressive as possible. The Rain mode isn’t docile by any means, but the bike felt slower-revving and would be suited for conditions where making traction is a must.
On trials bikes, since you are riding at such slow speeds, you aren’t mixing fuel at heavy ratios like 40:1 or 50:1, more like 70:1 or 80:1. It sounds crazy, but the speeds of riding actual trials are so slow, you can get away with such little oil. The bike has SKF closed main bearings in the lower end, and these are said to reduce the amount of lubrication needed and increase reliability. We love that the bike had zero vibration and was incredibly smooth; that’s a good indicator that the crankshaft is extremely well-balanced!
It comes with a six-speed gearbox, and some people may wonder why a bike that is ridden in first or second gear all day has a six-speed tranny. At trials competitions there are transfer sections through the day that you use to get to each specific section. So, it is needed to be able to get up to speed and stretch the bike’s legs. First and second are your main gears for trials. It’s nice to be able to use second gear for large rocks or logs that are undercut and massive walls that need to be “splattered” where first gear would be too low. In that case the bike would be spinning way too many rpm and would break traction. So, it’s nice that second gear is well-spaced and tight to first gear.
The suspension on the GasGas is covered by two brands. Up front a 39mm Tech fork uses a progressive adjustable spring for end-stroke adjustment in the left leg, and the right fork features a rebound adjustment. All adjustments are made on the top of the fork caps. Out back the bike uses an Ohlins rear shock that is adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping. We found the set up to work great for trials. It had plenty of rebound for doing all the hopping necessary to place the bike exactly where it needed to be, but had enough bottoming resistance to accept the large drops-off of rocks or logs.
For the chassis, the GasGas uses a chromoly steel tubular frame, which is powdercoated red, and the entire bike weighs a claimed 149 pounds dry! The Gas Gas felt incredibly light, especially when you are riding the bike on the rear tire. When riding expert- or pro-level trials, you encounter obstacles that are to be tackled by hopping the bike on the rear tire. This was incredibly easy on the TXT Racing 300. The balance point on the bike was very easy to locate while rear-tire hopping and when needed to hold pressure on the rear tire over large obstacles.
The swingarm is incredibly trick and sano, but one thing that was annoying was the snail adjusters for the chain; they are mounted on the inside of the swingarm. This makes it incredibly hard to find the correct mark needed to align the wheel.
Top marks go to the bodywork, which is incredibly sleek and smooth. The nicest feature is the compound they used for the fenders. In trials, it’s very common to snap fenders on rocks or from looping out testing your skills, and GasGas came up with a great combo that let the plastic bend and twist manically and not snap off. The gas tank is small, being a 0.63-gallon tank, but has a reserve fuel petcock. We were able to get numerous hours of trials riding in before hitting reserve. Hitting dirt bike trails at a higher speed will have a much different effect on the fuel economy.
The bike uses Braktec hydraulics all around, and they worked amazing through the testing. The brakes need to be very sensitive, strong and grabby for trials. This is important, as you need to basically stop on a dime and give back change when you’re dropping off an obstacle or doing a nose wheelie to pivot around an obstacle. One very trick feature on the rear brakes is the patented magnetic neodymium brake pads that keep them open while changing or removing your wheel. The Braktec hydraulic clutch uses mineral oil instead of brake fluid, and it was incredibly smooth to pull and had zero fade even when abused. The clutch action was the best we’ve felt and was super consistent, which made being precise that much easier.
We do not have a staff full of trials experts. We have a glug of guys who love them and one guy with talent. Whether you’re a top-level trials pro or an enduro rider looking to improve on their bike skills, we believe the 2020 GasGas TXT Racing 300 has a huge amount to offer. They have taken the technology of their bikes to the next level, the attention to detail is stunning, and the competence of this machine—be it for an expert or a journeyman—is off the charts.