First of all, this was my first non-Japanese brand motorcycle - it was a big leap for me to put money down on something other than a Honda or Yamaha which have always been my two favorite brands over the 30 years I've been riding dirt bikes.
The quality of components and engineering on this GasGas is top notch. After 2 full seasons, there have been no problems that stopped me from riding, or leaving me stranded. I ride alone in deep forests of Northern Ontario, Canada and reliability was the number one item on my list of needs for a bike. (The population density in this area is less than 1 person per square mile - breaking down really sucks here) The only reason I looked at a brand other than Honda/Yamaha is that they don't make what I want - which is a very lightweight dirt oriented fully road legal bike - and the EC300 fit the bill to a T.' I tried the 4 stroke thing with 3 different bikes before the GasGas, but in my honest opinion, they just don't cut it for what I do. You either have a high strung, high cost, high maintenance lightweight 4 stroke, or you have a reliable tank. I didn't want either. I get on my bike, kick it once, and ride and ride. I change the tranny oil every 500km, lube the chain, check the bike over and that's it. I have so much work to do each day with just living in the woods (water, firewood, home maintenance), that I don't want some finicky high strung machine that needs babying BUT, I want the lightest machine I can get out there.
My riding includes paved roads, gravel roads, maintained trails, rough cut trails, logging roads and abandoned gravel pits. I really did need a bike that could do it all, and this one does it. I can cruise at 100km/hour going to town and back (24km total round trip) on the highway with logging trucks all around and then spend the rest of the afternoon playing on trails.
Here are the only things I found wrong with the bike. One, the kickstand design is just plain ridiculous in how it works. Thankfully, there is an easy cost free fix you can find out about by doing a web search. The second item was that the carb was miles out of whack new. It was so rich at low throttle positions that it gurgled, drank gas and fouled plugs. After getting that sorted out (#9 slider, #42 pilot, #180 main, air screw at 1.5 out) I'm getting around 50mpg on the road (Canadian gallons, which is = to about 40mpg to the American gallon) I have had the same plug for 1.5 seasons now.
Here is the icing on the cake: The suspension and handling are just so good I can't even explain. I got the Ohlins rear and Marzocci front forks - I didn't think I needed the Ohlins front, besides the Ohlins have a reputation as being harder to work on. I change my fork oil once per year.
I've hit 140km/hour on gravel, and there was plenty more to go, but I'm a chicken that wants to live, so who knows where the top end is?
Options to get for this bike are the Honda style chain guide and oversize tank. I use Motul 800 at 50:1 and premium gas. At 4200km, I still have full compression.
Other reviews mention 10,000 rpm - I don't know if it goes that high or not, but you sure don't need to. The low/mid is so fat when its jetted right that short shifting is the way to go, and you can break the rear tire loose on gravel in 4th gear with just a throttle whack.
Guess who is never selling a 2006 EC300?