Six Day Enduro - 2007 Gas Gas EC250-ISDE Edition - Dirt Rider Magazine

For the 81st running of the International Six-Days Enduro in Lake Taupo, New Zealand, Gas Gas pulled out the stops, fitting its ISDE rental bikes with some of the same equipment that its factory bikes get. After riding a stock Gas Gas EC250 during last year's Slovakian Six-Days, I was stoked to see that some of my complaints about the '06 Gassers were addressed in the '07 models, which were fitted with a new subframe and airbox setup. Although the EC250 was already a strong enduro bike, the improvements meant the bike needed even less bulletproofing to make it through the punishing six-day event.With help from the Gas Gas specialists at GoFasters, we installed a long-wearing, stainless-steel Ironman rear sprocket and IMS Pro-Series footpegs. We set up the bike for my height with the help of taller Guts Racing seat foam and moved the bar forward. We also added a Scotts steering stabilizer and Fastway hand guards.As with the factory Gas Gas bikes, the stock 45mm USD Marzocchi Shiver fork was set aside for an optional 48mm hlins fork to match the stock hlins shock. Both front and rear suspenders got stiffer factory race settings, which, compared with stock, sacrificed a little cushiness on the trail for a more aggressive feel in the special tests. When trail riding the bike in the slower liaison sections, I noticed the original front end settings tended to deflect off the many roots, but this was easily tuned out with a couple of clicks less compression and a bit heavier steering stabilizer setting. In the racier tests, the harder suspension setup gave the bike a heavier-hitting feel, which was not as soft as the typical enduro bike but not quite as firm as a motocrosser. Unlike the stock setup, it could easily handle hard hits, which is good for a full-size guy like me.The ignition also saw some attention, with the heavier EC (enduro) ignition being replaced with the optional, lighter MC (motocross) ignition. The standard two-map ignition, which can be switched with a toggle on the handlebar, got factory curve settings, giving the bike a reported 5-peak-horsepower boost when switching from low to high. Trail riding in the liaison section was perfect for the low setting, with a smooth and mild nature to preserve the bike and conserve the rider's strength, which worked really well in the quagmire that swallowed up the majority of the course. In the few special tests that were remotely tacky, I flicked the switch to the high, or "aggressive," setting. It made for a fast-revving and snappy rocket ship that was manageable in fast, loamy corners. Slow the course a bit or add in some nervous gotta-go-fast twitches and arm-pump can set in like yellow fever from the yank and pull of the motor. It needs good dirt for traction. Either way, the '07 was much quicker and more responsive than the one I rode a year prior.The bike weighs in at just more than 240 pounds wet, complete with an O-ring chain, kickstand, headlight and taillight assembly. It has a fairly low center of gravity, which hides those pounds well and keeps the bike feeling nimble. Handling is neutral, balanced and always predictable, working perfectly when your brain has faded and you have to depend more on the bike to get the work done. It isn't light feeling like a KTM nor anywhere near what a four-stroke feels like, ever.At Six-Days, it's all about getting the work done and making it to the final motocross test on day six. My trusty EC never faltered; the only parts I needed to replace were a crash-damaged pipe and a bent shifter from when it snagged the side of one of the many seat-deep ruts. For the second year in a row, I finished the ISDE on a Gas Gas, and if I were to ride another ISDE, I wouldn't hesitate to do it on a Gasser again. Besides, Six-Days is the only way I will get to ride one of these almost-factory bikes again.See to set up your Gas Gas, ISDE style.