WHY CAN'T WE ALL BE FRIENDS?
Hi there: I am a relative newbie to dirt biking, having only taken up the evil ones only in the last four years or so. After years of doing organised trips on rental bikes, my brother and I bought a Gas Gas FSR450 each in 2008. Terrific bikes, great handling, cool looking, tough as nails with an awesome support network by Solo Motorcycle Imports, and very low cost parts and replacement bits. How does $400 for a new slipper clutch sound? Less than $300 for a full set of original plastics? Frame straightened for less than $1,000? Steel frames, ya gotta love them. However, the attitude of other dirt riders toward Gassers is a real eye-opener. Most have never heard of them, and I have even been asked by a professional tour sweep who makes them! It appears from experience that there is an attitude that unless they are Katohuskyhusas or blue/red/green/yellow Japanese beasties, then they are crap? On our last trip (thanks David, Nikki, Amber, Jiff and crew of Mt Buller Adventres), we had a group that brought an entire spare Husky for parts! But they felt that it was OK to take the piss out of the Gassers, even though we made it up the hills and rocks of the High Country with less dramas than them, ate Husabergs on all terrain, swallowed DRs for breakfast, and had as much or more fun on the Gassers. We do not attack other riders' bikes, nor insult the company, but the other riders feel that it is OK to attack ours! This negativity starts from the minute you roll up, with stunned looks, snide asides, and a superior attitude that persists, even when you match or beat them on the track. Yes, our bikes look beaten up, scratched all over, rims dented, Barkbusters that look very second hand, but that is because we ride them hard and often. In all conditions. Rain, floods, desert dust, crappy mud, rocky terrain, heat, cold, frost and so on. I have done 12,000km on mine, my brother has done 10,000km on his, Ross did 20,000k on his first one in two years, and over 10,000 on his second. Our issues in 50k that were not crash-related? Two throttle position sensors (same one as fitted in Ducatis), one regulator rectifier (Ducati) and a throttle cable. That's it. Yet the attitude remains from other riders. Bah! We have ridden in Tasmania, the Coffs Harbour region, the High Country and all over south-east Queensland, yet wherever you are, negative attitude towards a fellow dirt rider seems inbuilt into the dirt rider's psyche if they are not the 'regular' dirt bikes. I hate to say it, but grow up guys and girls. Excessive and overwhelming advertising does not mean that the non-traditional manufacturers do not make a great bike, in fact, they make great bikes. Just look up the sales figures outside of Australia, and the race results from Europe. So dump the attitude, enjoy fellow bikers riding, and ask for a ride on my bike. You might just be surprised. I guarantee you will be.
-- Damien Stringer, via www.trailzone.com.au
Thanks for your email, Damo, it's an interesting read. Great to hear you've had such a good run from the Gassers, that's no surprise to us. Now onto the crux of your email: mate, dirt bike riders taking the piss out of one another for riding different brand bikes has been going on since Moses rode a Zundapp and Noah rode a Triumph! We all do it, especially Japanese owners versus Euro owners, and all us trail and enduro riders always do it in jest, with tongue firmly in cheek and a big dose of good humour mixed into the equation. And besides, wait until you start riding an adventure bike and all the trail and enduro riders start taking pot -shots at you! That's when you need to develop a seriously thick skin. Ride on mate and keep the dream alive ... and keep showin' 'em the red rear guard of your Gasser!
-- Clubby, www.trailzone.com.au