Spanish off road motorcycle manufacturer Gas Gas has filed for bankruptcy, unable to meet its debt obligations. It’s been a torrid time for the company in recent years, having ceased all production of bikes in February while continuing with the operation of its spare parts division and sports side of the business in an attempt to stay afloat.
Gas Gas was hit hard by the economic downturn in Europe. Sales plummeted at a time the company had large amounts of debt. The perfect storm saw the company unable to service the interest payments on its loans which had lead to attempts to restructure the business. Unfortunately with the company now insolvent, this didn’t happen in time.
The following is a statement from Yariv Gilat, President of Gas Gas Motos:
To all Importers and Dealers Gas Gas Today, we have filed in court documents to the insolvency of Gas Gas Motos. Unfortunately, all our efforts to find a solution that will allow the continuation of the company so far were not enough. We are confident that with this new scenario, the company will be able to attract new investors and continue to produce excellent products, while continuing to lead the market of the Trial, producing big Enduro bikes and providing a better service to all our fans the whole world. The company was surrounded by people who are passionate, who have done their best to the company’s growth, in order to commercialize the best bikes.
In the coming days we will notify the name of the trustee that the court will appoint to ensure that the company will continue to provide after-sale (mainly spare parts), as long as there be a permanent solution. At that point, I would like to thank each and every one of you, all those who expect a lasting solution is found. The potential new investors in the company will find great people competent and passionate, who are constantly working to improve our bikes and many partners who strive to promote and market the most of our bikes everywhere.
We have not exhausted our efforts to find sufficient funds for the company, but the probability of finding a solution in the next few days is not very high. It’s very sad for us to take such a decision, given the 30 years of our great brand, but it is my duty, as President of the company, to think about the good of the company and decide accordingly.
According to the UK importer of Gas Gas motorcycles, there are several interested parties in the background who have begun negotiations to buy the company.
Perhaps realizing people were quickly tiring of their teaser campaign, Honda have today announced the official return of the Honda Africa Twin and it looks fantastic. Officially named the CRF1000L Africa Twin and it will hit Europe as soon as Autumn of this year and the US early in 2016.
Honda hasn’t released much in the way of technical specifications at this stage and most of what we have already report on has been confirmed. It will be powered by an all new 1,000cc parallel twin engine – output at this stage unknown as is overall weight and dimensions.
As was heavily rumored it will feature an optional (phew) dual clutch transmission that has been specially developed for the new Africa Twin. For the purists, the manual transmission will remain as standard.
You can see the full press release below as well as the first pictures of the new machine which are absolutely gorgeous. No doubt Honda will now provide a steady supply of new information over the coming months up until the bikes release. There’s also a new video in the true adventure series, though unfortunately no actual footage of the bike is shown.
Honda is delighted to announce the return of one of motorcycling’s most celebrated and evocative names—the Africa Twin. Having clearly shown the direction of its development and intent with the reveal of the True Adventure prototype at EICMA in November 2014, American Honda can now confirm that the all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin will be in U.S. dealers early next year.
Some motorcycles encapsulate perfectly what an adventure motorcycle is all about. The original XRV650 Africa Twin—which debuted in 1989 after Honda’s four successive wins in the Dakar Rally—was one such machine. Its go-anywhere ability, rugged durability, agile handling and all-day comfort made it the perfect partner with which to explore. And it helped to define a motorcycling segment that has now grown into one of the most popular worldwide. The new Africa Twin remains true to all the attributes and abilities of the XRV650 and its successor, the XRV750, while adding the benefits of everything Honda has learned on and off-road over the last decade, including Team HRC’s return to the Dakar in 2013.
Furthermore, in a first for the category, the Africa Twin will feature the option of a new evolution of Honda’s Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) technology, which remains unique to Honda in motorcycling. This latest evolution of DCT has been specifically developed and programmed to provide the off-road ability with which the Africa Twin is synonymous.
The all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin is set to redefine expectations of just what a large-capacity adventure motorcycle can and should be capable of, both on and off-road, and it opens an entirely new chapter in Honda’s illustrious history of dual-purpose motorcycles made for true adventure.
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About Honda Powersports
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. was established in 1959 and is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides in the U.S. The American Honda Motorcycle Division is responsible for the sales, marketing, and operational activities for these products through authorized Honda dealers. For more information on Honda products, go towww.powersports.honda.com.
Background Notes: Honda and the Dakar Rally
THE AFRICA TWIN AND THE DAKAR RALLY
The NXR750V, a full HRC race machine, faced stiff competition in the grueling Dakar Rally through the late 1980s but won in 1986 and 1987 in the hands of Cyril Neveu, in ’88 with Edi Orioli and finally in ’89 piloted by Gilles Lalay. The road-going XRV650 Africa Twin was produced in 1988 and ’89 by HRC in tribute to their efforts, and it laid the foundation of what would become a legendary machine.
In late 1989 the XRV750 Africa Twin was launched and quickly became an adventure touring benchmark. It featured a 742cc, 6-valve liquid-cooled V-twin engine (producing 60 hp and 46.2 lb.-ft. torque), long-travel suspension, a large fuel tank, chain final drive, a 21-inch front wheel (widening off-road tire choice) and dual front disc brakes. Revised twice and in production until 2003, it remains a sought-after machine today, with good examples commanding premium prices.
HONDA’S CURRENT DAKAR RALLY EFFORT
After a 24-year absence, Honda returned to the Dakar Rally in 2013 with Team HRC. For that edition of the race (now run in South America) they developed the CRF450 RALLY—a motorcycle based around the enduro-spec single-cylinder CRF450X—and entered three riders; Team HRC reached their primary target of all machines reaching the finish line.
In 2014, with a completely new CRF450 RALLY, Team HRC brought a five-man squad to the event; Spaniard Joan Barreda went on to take five stage wins.
The 2015 event saw Team HRC come even closer to their ultimate goal, with Portugal’s Paolo Goncalves finishing runner-up in Buenos Aires. Team HRC scored the greatest number of stage victories and Joan Barreda proved an unyielding leader throughout the first week of the rally, collecting more stage wins than any other rider in the 2015 edition. Laia Sanz, in ninth, surpassed all of her own objectives and made history by finishing higher than any other female in the history of the Dakar Rally.
Little known outside of the trials and enduro communities, the Italian off road motorcycle manufacturer Beta has this month started deliveries of the XTrainer 300 – an incredibly lightweight enduro bike that is sure to send some shivers up KTM’s spine. The Beta XTrainer 300 is designed to be a “All-Around, Entry Level” enduro bike that’s just at home with casual riders wanting a smaller bike or experts looking for something to hone their skills with.
The specifications of the bike are pretty mouth watering. Dry weight is only 99kg (218 pounds) which is incredible given that it’s powered by a 293cc single cylinder, liquid cooled 2-stroke engine. Other features include smaller deltabox frame which provides a lower seat height and a low center of gravity, 43mm front fork (with rebound, & spring preload adjustment) and a dedicated rear shock (adjustable rebound and compression).
In order to make the bike as user friendly as possible, electronic oil injection (no need to pre-mix) is provided as well an electric start and an adjustable powervalve should you want to quieten things down a bit. The engine is actually the same as used in the more hardcore 300RR model, but retuned slightly to be more liner and progressive in its response.
The Beta XTrainer 300 no doubt has KTM’s new Freeride series in its sights. The irony probably isn’t lost on KTM, who provided engines to Beta’s first range of enduro bikes back in 2005. The Beta XTrainer 300 will retail for $6,999 in the United States and £5,395 in the United Kingdom and should be available any day now.
Honda is getting serious about the adventure and enduro space with the unveiling of a new CRF450 rally race bike inspired concept, the Honda CRF250 Rally. While basically a CRF250L in different clothing and some potentially minor mechanical differences, it looks the goods.
Differences between the actual CRF250L and this concept include the tall windscreen with headlight protection, hand guards and improved sump and exhaust protection – something endurance riders pay close attention to. The concept also includes a Gathers M GPS navigation system with integrated handlebar controls.
The CRF250L currently uses a 249cc single cylinder engine which it would appear that this concept borrows from. It’s relatively light at 145 kg and the only potential performance difference between it and this CRF250 Rally concept is that the Rally appears to have a slightly larger fuel tank.
Between this and the return of the Africa Twin, Honda appears to be making great efforts to retake some of the gains made by KTM and the like with regards to enduro sales. Given that Honda has a production bike in the form of the CRF250L that can be so easly transformed into this CRF250 rally concept, it’s quite likely that this is a bike that will see production at some point in the near future.
A number of spy shots have recently surfaced on the internet of Husqvarna’s 701 model, both in supermoto and enduro form. While we’re not exactly sure the reason for camouflaging the supermoto version as it’s final appearance was shown at EICMA last year, it is the first time the production version of the enduro bike has been spotted.
One lot of photos comes courtesy of a Spanish motorcycle forum while the other lot are from the latest issue of MCN.
The 701 machines were first shown as concepts in 2013 and then become a reality late last year although heavily ‘normalised’. While it’s exciting to see Husqvarna bringing street legal machines to the market, the 701 enduro and supermoto are basically KTM spare part specials. There’s nothing wrong with that – it will keep prices down and it’s not like KTM’s need a great deal of improvement anyway, but there’s nothing really new here.
In fact, the 701 on paper is nearly identical to the KTM 690 SMC R. Same frame, same 66hp 690cc engine, same suspension, brakes and so on. The only real differences will be the badge and styling, plus the fact that you won’t be able to buy one in orange.
Given the Husqvarna badge doesn’t carry the same weight as KTM however, expect pricing to be slightly cheaper.
Over the weekend KTM announced a range of new factory edition bikes to celebrate the company’s successful enduro racing season. For the most part, these factory models are just a pretty new paint job and some fancy graphics, but if you’re an enduro fan maybe that’s enough to tempt you.
Compared to the standard versions, these special models have received various visual upgrades with parts and accessories from the KTM team. They include factory graphics, orange CNC triple clamps and a factory seat with SDV logos. Additionally, the bikes are fitted with an orange rear sprocket, engine guard and probably most notably, newly developed Metzeler FIM tyres. To complete the factory look, the Factory Edition range also receive a KTM orange frame, with orange radiators and fork guards.
The EXC Factory Edition model range for 2015 is available in the following models:
KTM 125 EXC Factory Edition
KTM 250EXC Factory Edition
KTM 300 EXC Factory Edition
KTM 450 EXC Factory Edition
KTM 250 EXC-F Factory Edition
KTM 350 EXC-F Factory Edition
Factory Edition models are available for immediate order.