Unlike their Austrian cousins KTM and Husqvarna, GasGas does not have an off-road model in their lineup that is specifically built for distance. Yes, that’s correct, the Pierer Mobility Group made the decision not to include this type of model, so we took that as a challenge and teamed up with Travis Brock from Every Single Sunday to create such a machine.
Travis Brock is always in the middle of planning or actually doing some kind of trip, and the journey this GasGas EX450F was originally supposed to be a part of started in Tijuana, Mexico, and made its way down the peninsula, ending in Cabo San Lucas. This trip was inspired by Cameron Steele and his Desert Assassins crew’s Rip to Cabo event that is absolutely amazing. As you can imagine, when traveling over 1000 miles on two wheels, there is a laundry list of items needed. Trying to find the line between want and need is the hardest part.
At the top of the priority list is fuel storage. Without gas, everything comes to a screeching halt. A white or natural-colored Acerbis oversized tank was installed, giving us over 3 gallons of fuel capacity. Using the natural color options allows us to see exactly how much gas is in the tank at a glance. Just like a shortage of gas can stop everything, so can a shortage of air. On the EX450F, air plays a key role in the tires and the front suspension. Instead of guarding against this, we decided to eliminate air from the equation altogether.
Installing Nitromousse foam inserts that are designed to handle tons of abuse in the Dunlop 606 rear and MX33 front tires, getting a flat was virtually eliminated, but we didn’t stop there. WP Suspension makes a Pro Component kit for the OEM air fork that replaces all the internals, making it a spring-fork design similar to what the GasGas professional SX teams use. Unlike the Nitromousse foam inserts, we needed professionals to install the WP6500 Cartridge kit, so we turned to the crew at Schmidt Performance, where they not only handled the fork work but they also dialed in the rear shock to match.
Although it’s commonly overlooked, a comfortable seat is key to enjoying a long trip; if your backside is not happy, the rest of your body can’t have fun. Seat Concepts has our backside taken care of on this build with their complete standard-height Comfort seat that features a softer foam than stock, slightly wider design and a backside-friendly gripper material. There is a fine line between gripping and ripping!
Knowing where you are at is also high on the priority list; after all, if you get lost traveling to the desired destination point, it can be tough. A Trail Tech Voyager Pro mounted on a MotoMinded Rally Tower was installed to keep us headed in the right direction. The Rally Moto kit from MotoMinded was also equipped with dual LED lighting that plugs right into all EXC/FE models, because our GasGas didn’t come stock with that wiring. It was purchased from AEO Powersports and the stator was modified by Ricky Stator, allowing us to run the dual lighting system. The last priority item that needs to be addressed was the drivetrain. A gold X-ring chain from ProX and Dirt Tricks sprockets were installed in partnership with a TM Designworks legendary all-black Slide-N-Glide kit.
With any build, bolt-on items play an important role. They can offer bling, protection or even performance, and in some cases all three, but aren’t necessarily crucial to the overall build. On this project the addition of bling-onlytype items didn’t happen. Power- and performance-wise, a complete FMF 4.1 exhaust teamed up with a Vortex ignition tuned by the crew at Twisted Development was installed, and the Hinson clutch system helped transfer it to the rear wheel. When it came to protection, a few companies like Fastway, Bulletproof Designs and Acerbis played key roles with items such as handguard systems, radiator guards, and skid plate and braking component guards. All these items protected our EX450F from damage that could kill the overall fun factory of the trip.
In the magazine world the staff literally has deadlines to meet every week, so as you can imagine, getting away for an extended trip is always in the back of our minds. This bike build is perfect to calm those thoughts. It has everything needed to get away for pretty much any length of time needed. Only days before Travis Brock was supposed to leave on his Mexico adventure, he injured his ankle, so it was up to the Dirt Bike Magazine staff to handle the testing duties.
After putting a significant amount of on-road and off-road miles on the GasGas EX450F, we haven’t really found anything that we don’t like. It turns heads everywhere we go, and people really look at us funny when we fly past them on the moto track. Yes, this thing rips on the track. Schmidt Performance did a great job on the suspension, and the WP spring conversion might be a little pricey at around $1200, but when you are on the bike for many hours at a time, the upgrade is worth it. The Rally Tower from MotoMinded not only looks cool, but it’s lightweight, easily removable, and the lights are extremely bright. This doesn’t happen with many projects but all the modifications made the overall build come out better than we expected. The only issue we have now is Travis is going to want the bike back when his ankle is healed up.