In the 450 class, GasGas and KTM are offering the same Factory Edition with different bodywork. Same bike, same accessories, same price, different color. That’s not true in the 250 division. What GasGas offers is nothing like the KTM version because there is no KTM version. For 2023, the only 250cc special edition offered by the Austrian KTM/GasGas/Husqvarna cartel is the GasGas MC250F Factory Edition.
The Troy Lee race team benefited from the work done by The Rockstar Husqvarna team and the Red Bull KTM team last year. Those two teams had to develop new bikes in 2022 while the GasGas was unchanged. Now the 2023 GasGas team has a new race bike with all the kinks worked out. This development process has nothing to do with the motorcycles that the public gets, even if they are called Factory Editions. They are just the starting point for the bikes that get raced by the factory team.
This bike looks new and exciting, but once you get on the track, it feels kinda familiar. We’ve tested this bike (or something like it) before. Several times. The 2022 KTM 250SX-F Factory Edition, 2022 Husqvarna FC250 Rockstar Edition, 2023 KTM 250SX-F and 2023 Husqvarna FC250 are all very similar. The good news is that this might be the best of the lot.
The new motor is faster than ever. It gained significant power on top and just before peak. Accordingly, the Husky and the KTM were the fastest bikes on our 2023 250 shootout. With the Akrapovic pipe that comes on the Factory Edition, it gains just a little across the board. This is in stark contrast to the standard GasGas MC250F in that shootout, which was noticeably detuned.
Also in contrast to the standard edition, the Factory Edition has suspension that’s oriented toward intermediate/expert level motocross. It still uses the WP Xact air fork, but the valving is more aggressive than that of the standard version. The rear suspension is set up just like the 2023 KTM 250SX-F–no complaints there.
The new platform has a more rigid feel that transfers some small choppiness directly to the rider. That gets less noticeable over time for two reasons. One, the frame breaks in. Two, the rider breaks in. You get used to it. As it turns out, the last generation GasGas frame was so flexy it interfered with the job the suspension was supposed to do.
The 250 class is due for a big shake up next year. The KTMs and Huskys have been announced with considerable emphasis on suspension, Yamaha has something coming and we might even see some news from Kawasaki. The GasGas MC250F Factory Edition serves notice that GasGas will be in the mix. It’s going to be fun.
BUD IN BAJA
Bud Feldkamp, the founder of Glen Helen Raceway, has recently returned from an incredible adventure motorcycle ride through the Baja Peninsula. The trip, hosted by Malcolm Smith Adventures and in its 30th year, saw Bud and 80 other riders take on the challenging terrain over the course of a week.
At 78 years old, Bud has defied the odds by continuing his love and pursuit of off-road riding. His dedication to the sport has earned him the 2023 Ironman Award, an honor bestowed upon two riders each year by their peers. It comes as no surprise that Bud was chosen as one of this year’s recipients.
Bud rode his son’s KTM Dual Sport throughout the journey, which began in Ensenada on a Sunday and finished in Cabo the following Saturday. Along the way, the riders stopped at various restaurants and hotels to take in the stunning coastal views and beautiful scenery that the Baja Peninsula has to offer.
One of Bud’s favorite parts of the trip was navigating the Boojum Forest, a unique landscape filled with cacti and trees unique to the central Baja area. The ride covered a total of 1800 miles, including 50 miles of beach riding and another 90 miles of rough terrain through straight sand.
The trip also included a special tour of the San Ignacio mission, which was a highlight for all of the riders. Bud navigated the ride as part of a 3-man team, accompanied by his best man at his wedding, Peter Nelson, and his son-in-law, Dr. Cotton M.D.
Bud has a special connection to Malcolm Smith Adventures, having been racing teammates with Malcolm in the 70s. They have remained close friends over the years, and their bond has only grown stronger through their shared love of off-road riding.
While ‘The Baja Ride’ has taken place for 30 years, this was Bud’s first time participating in the event. Bud’s completion of this ride serves as inspiration for all to see and has proved that age is just a number. You still have it Bud!
Congrats on the Ironman Bud, you’re a true legend!
WHEN LIVE FEEDS GO DEAD
Last week, we hosted a live feed of round 6 of the NGPC Series Pro race on our Youtube channel. The project was underwritten by the NGPC organization and the program was presented by Jack Karpela and Mark Tilley. They did a great job of providing play by play commentary, and Ross Fitts’ camera crew did likewise with the camera work. Unfortunately the live feed went down just before the real action started. If you want to see a great show, with ALL the footage, click on the image above. It was a truly great race!
See you next week!
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