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2023 450 Shootout

450 SML Shootout In-Depth | 2023 GasGas MC 450F

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Gas Gas MC 450

Test Rider Scores: 7-7-5-7-6-5

The Gas Gas MC 450 returns in 2023 completely unchanged. In fact, the bike is exactly the same as it was when the brand was relaunched in 2021. Marketed as the most affordable option from the KTM Group, the MC 450 is a no-frills bike that offers amazing performance and an excellent platform for riders who are either not out to spend all of their weekends racing, or who are looking for a machine to custom build from the ground up as they see fit. In comparison to the Husqvarna and KTM, the Gas Gas is still on the previous generation chassis, boasts less aggressive suspension settings, and cuts cost with forged aluminum triple clamps, silver wheels, Maxxis tires, and also by not including the handlebar-mounted map switch. 

Even “stripped down” and one generation older than its Austrian brothers, the Gas Gas remains a great bike with solid performance. Testers all commented on how fun the bike is to ride and about how much potential it has with some well-placed modifications. What held it to seventh? As a race bike, the Gas Gas MC 450 is too softly suspended for most, and the mellow powerband leaves some riders longing for more. 

Pat Foster on the Gas Gas MC 450

“The low-end power delivery rolls on smooth and tractor-like, and the delivery is broad and easy to manage. I long for more snap and grunt.” – Foster

“The suspension settings are extremely plush, soft, and smooth. Way too soft for me. The excess movement in the suspension gives the bike a waterbed feel and it won’t settle in the corners.” – Foster

“To race this bike competitively, I would need substantial suspension work and the option of adding map two from the KTM bar control switch.”

“The chassis is soft and compliant, which is good for less-aggressive riders, but it moves too much for me.”

Rene Garcia on the Gas Gas MC 450

“The Gas Gas lacks bottom-end power, but the powerband is smooth and manageable.” – Garcia

“I feel like the Gas Gas handles best when you are riding at 60%. It is very plush and comfortable, but I don’t trust it enough to ride hard.” – Garcia

“The bike is very slim and comfortable, but I can feel the flex in the old-style chassis. I like the stiffer feel of the newer chassis on the KTM and Husky much better.” – Garcia

“If I were to race this bike, I would want some suspension work and some serious engine work, too.” – Garcia 

Donn Maeda on the Gas Gas MC 450

“I rode the Gas Gas MC 450 towards the end of the day when I was really tired and the track was at its roughest, and it made me appreciate the bike’s softer suspension and mellow powerband. When you’re not charging at 100%, the Gas Gas is easy to ride and very forgiving.” – Maeda

“I feel like the Gas Gas ECU settings give the bike a lighter feel than the other two Austrian bikes, mostly because it revs free and doesn’t have a high-friction feel. The Gas Gas is very easy to tip into corners and has a well-balanced feel when set up.” – Maeda

“In years past, I’ve felt as if I couldn’t ‘get behind the Gas Gas handlebars. Not because the bars are low, but because I felt like the bike had a tendency to ride front-end low. I’ve since always set my MC 450 sag at 109mm and found that it gives the bike a more stable and balanced feel without sacrificing cornering.” – Maeda

“I love the red of the Gas Gas as it just looks aggressive. We’ve yet to build a project bike out of a Gas Gas, but I can only imagine how mean it would look with black or red rims. Motocross is a fashion fickle sport, so why not comment on how cool it looks?” – Maeda

Kyle Puerner on the Gas Gas MC 450

“The MC 450 engine is very rider friendly. It has good power with a smooth, easy to ride feel. It is, however, slightly slower feeling than its competition.” – Puerner

“The suspension is very soft! It’s set up for comfort and not necessarily racing. If the KTM is the Ready to Race bike in the family, the Gas Gas is Ready to Play. The chassis also has a softer feel than all of the other bikes, with noticeable flex.” – Puerner

“Seems like an odd complaint, but I hate the handlebar on the Gas Gas. The bend is awkward and they are far too stiff. I feel a lot of unnecessary vibration and track feedback on the Gas Gas and I suspect that can be remedied with better bars.: – Puerner

“If I was going to race this bike I would for sure need suspension work. I’d change the bars to Pro Tapers and maybe add an exhaust to liven things up.” – Puerner

Brian Smith on the Gas Gas MC 450

“To be honest the bike is pretty slow and down on power when you compare it to the other bikes back to back, but when I ride it solo it is very easy to ride and it puts a smile on my face.” – Scrub Daddy

“I think the bike handles great and the suspension is ok for me right out of the crate. The bike corners well and it makes me feel confident. I trust it everywhere on the track.” – Scrub Daddy

“I love the way the bike handles already, so if I was gonna make this mine I would do something to make the engine faster. You can get the map button the KTM and Husky have for under $200 and I think that’s a good option.” – Scrub Daddy

“There’s something about the rear brake pedal that I don’t like. I feel like it is too close and cramped to the footpeg.” – Scrub Daddy

Kyle Vara on the Gas Gas MC 450

“The Gas Gas is very easy to ride. The engine is a little underpowered, but it is strong on the bottom and I like the way that it revs freely. I feel like the bike runs out of power in each gear too quickly…needs more top end.” – Vara

“The Gas Gas MC 450 handles amazingly well. It is comfortable through the rough sections and tracks extremely well. Overall the suspension is soft, but it is rideable. The cornering is predictable and. the bike is stable at speed.” – Vara

“Ergonomically, the bike feels the smallest in the group. The bar position feels low and it took me a lap or two to get comfortable on the bike. Overall, it is very comfortable and compliant.” – Vara

“I could see myself owning this bike but I would definitely need to stiffen up the suspension for riding hard, and I would find a way to add some power. Definitely ditch the handlebars.” – Vara

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Chase Curtis

Chase Curtis is an avid motocross and MTB rider, and he is the SML Video Editor. Completely self-taught, Chase is one of the best video editors in the sport and one of our biggest assets.

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