When it comes to launching new off-road motorcycles, actions speak louder than words, so Spanish Dirtbike Manufacturer GasGas unveiled their new RC 450F at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. That’s why some manufacturers skip the fancy-sounding presentations and enter instead their newest models in the world’s most grueling off-road competitions. This is what GasGas is doing with the new 2020 model, and it didn’t enter just any competition: The Dakar Motorcycle Rally in Saudi Arabia is widely regarded as one of the most gnarly competitions in the world, making for a metaphorical Baptism by Dirt.
Any rider and motorcycle that can finish the Dakar receive some serious street (or should we say off-road) cred, even if they don’t make the headlines with a win. GasGas confirmed—two days before the 2020 Dakar kick-off—that it entered the all-new RC 450F with defending Women’s Class champion and former KTM crew member Laia Sanz in the saddle.
What about the bike? Aside from a few pictures, we know virtually nothing about it yet. The company seems to have taken a “The proof is in the pudding” approach. What we do know is that the RC nameplate introduces a new line of products to the GasGas lineup and that the 450 becomes the brand’s largest displacement current off-road model.
As for the specs, chances are they could be similar to the KTM 450 XC-F or the Husqvarna FE 450 and use the same 450cc, four-stroke single-cylinder platform. After all, GasGas is part of the family and KTM and Husqvarna have a habit of sharing their technology.
The forty-second edition of the Dakar Rally kicked off on January 5, 2020. Sanz and the RC 450F ended the first day in the twenty-first position overall, but leading the Women’s Class. She hopes to finish the rally and rank among the top 15. With KTM in 2019, Sanz finished the Dakar with a twelfth position in the overall motorcycle division.
As for the GasGas RC 450F, maybe we’ll get to learn more about it once the bike completes the rally. What better way to showcase what a new model can do than to put it through its paces for the entire world to see anyway?