Cactus has it right based on my experiences, however the 400s "seem" to be less prone to the starter issues than the 450s. Apparently the greater compression on the 450 has been the root of some of the problems and perhaps answers why the 400s don't seem to have the same problems.
I've ridden a couple now, both the 400 and 450 (very little difference in actual use by the way). The handling, in the woods is excellent. The bike turns exceptionally well and feels MUCH lighter than it's actual weight.
Motor is smooth and tractable, no noticable "hit" and the EFI makes for incredable throttle modulation! Make no mistake, this is not an MXer like the CRF. The power is much smoother and is decieving for this reason. Feels slow compared to the CRFs and YZFs but seems to "hook up and go" better, particularly in nasty conditions.
I have a 2002 FSE400, so feel qualified to give some feedback. I love the bike, but the bike is not perfect. I bought the bike in early 2003 and it has suffered from the starter gear failure problem. Was fix
I have a 2002 FSE400, so feel qualified to give some feedback. I love the bike, but the bike is not perfect. I bought the bike in early 2003 and it has suffered from the starter gear failure problem. Was fixed by dealer under warranty (although out of six month warranty). This is a real probelm with the 2002 from what I understand. The bike can be hard to start...but always DOES start. As for kick starting...well I have done it succresfully three times, and I am not a 100lb weakling! So perhaps the overuse of the 'magic' button contributes to its early demise. Also the motor seems to emit a little more chain gear/top end noise than i hear from KTM's DRZ's etc. I think GasGas needs to pay more attention to smaller details..for example a weld holding the fuse block has failed leaving it 'twistin in the wind'. Battery connector gave way, speedo is inadequate, bit I LOVE riding it. Power is smooth, but not collosal.Having said that...far better riders than I have ridden the bike and think it is great. I ride it on and off road, the fact that it is road legal (with the right tyre is a bonus). There have been a few good reviews in magazines down here (NZ) if you reply to this post with email I will scan and send a copy.
Have just emailed the scanned test in PDF format..its about 3MB (6 pages in greyscale).
Hope it helps....Also check out the GasGas specific forums at http://www.smackovermotorsports.com/html/talking_smack.htm