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Beta Xtrainer – suspension

Out of the crate? BOUNCEY!

The suspension on this bike is baffling… I weigh 72 kilos (approx. 159 pounds) with full gear and backpack, so very light. Even for me, the stock settings are way too soft. Maybe I’m not riding the bike in the scenarios it’s designed for, but it feels so much like a ‘proper’ enduro bike that you can’t help but push it.

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Who the hell is R16V Suspension? A bit of chatting up Google got us some answers… The suspension is made by a Spanish company called Ollé, who seem to concentrate on budget bikes and trials, and the Xtrainer suspension does feel like a bigger version of trials suspension.

43mm forks, ppfffffttttttt!

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The forks look like toys compared to the KTM (and do kind of handle like toys too). Only one fork has a spring with the other offering rebound only damping settings (there’s no compression damping adjustment on the forks).

The rear shock uses a linkage setup, and again the shock looks tiny compared to the KTM.

BUT, probably the most shocking (pun intended) thing with the suspension is the choice of fonts used… Comic Sans on the shock… really?

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And god only knows what’s on the fork (let us know in the comments).

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Playing with the clickers

With stock settings, chasing the local Spanish lunatics at high speed on rocky terrain was pretty terrifying, with the bike deflecting off of pretty much every rock and bouncing out of depressions with enough force to nearly make your day end very badly indeed.

But, and it’s a big BUT, once we had really hardened up the suspension by something like 5 turns of spring preload, and 18 or 20 clicks of rebound damping on the forks, and a shit load of spring preload and damping on the shock, all of a sudden we had a beautiful lithe skipping mountain goat (not that we’re into livestock – although we’ve been know to try anything twice…).

What’s next?

We haven’t even put 10 hours on this bike yet and so the suspension probably isn’t fully broken in yet, I think we’re just going to get some more hours on it for know.

We’ve have been doing a bit of reading online though, there’s a huge Beta Xtrainer suspension post over on the Thumpertalk Forum,  but to be honest, for the technical single track riding we’ve been doing in Spain (where the bike lives) the suspension is really feeling pretty good… maybe we’ll try some heavier 15w or 20w oil to give it a bit more of a damped feel?

Have you nailed the Xtrainer’s suspension? Got some great tips for us, or just have a question? Let us know…

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Beta Xtrainer – brakes & clutch

Holy shit, this budget bike has got real brakes!

Coming from KTMs, we’re usually trying not to crash by pulling really hard on Brembo brakes… but we do have plenty of experience trying not to crash with Nissin brakes too. We had them on our Mondo Sahara XR400s and a few of the team ride Hondas out of choice (pfffft) – Gabriel ‘The Vicar’ Bolton and Joe ‘Chidders’ Chidley both smash the hell out of the environment on CRF450X’s.

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They all really like Nissin brakes, and these don’t disappoint, riding this back to back with our KTM 250-F, the KTM’s Brembo’s feel soft, almost spongy – you really need to watch the Xtrainer’s front brake on downhill leafy, muddy, slippery stuff though… very sharp – you really do just need one finger feathering on the Nissins – in contrast we’ve got used to quite how hard you can yank on the front anchors on the KTMs.

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The Brembo/Nissin difference is going to take a little bit of getting used too. From what we hear the brakes on the Freeride really aren’t up to all that much… but don’t quote us on that.

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Pleasantly surprised to see decent Galfer brake discs too, this bike really doesn’t feel like a budget model…

Even more holy shit, this budget bike has got a decent clutch too!

So the brakes are good, and the hydraulic clutch is pretty good too…

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No surprise really as it’s the same Brembo model as the KTMs use, but it is a bit heavier to pull compared to KTMs of the last few years – it must be down to the Beta using traditional springs in the clutch assembly instead of the KTM DDS (damped diaphragm steel) clutch (which is super light – great for pussy boys like us).

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We’ve since swapped out the levers for Zeta 3-finger CNC’d unbreakable versions (Honda Nissin style for the front brake, and KTM Brembo for the clutch, part numbers are ZE42-3283 for the clutch and ZE41-3206 for the brake. We stick these on all our bikes and they’ve done us proud so far…

Next up… Suspension (or lack off?)… Want one? Got questions? Got one? Got tips? Leave us a comment…

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Beta Xtrainer – first impressions

Wow, this bike is lush, remind me why we’re riding full size Enduro bikes again?

Big disclaimer right from the off, I’m a 5ft 10″ rider who weighs 72 kilos in gear, so probably smaller and lighter than you reading this right now? I definitely think the bike makes sense for a rider of my size and weight, but I can’t say whether it would cut it with an ‘average size’ or bigger rider.

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Size & Weight

Compact ergos… the bike is supposed to be 10-15% smaller than the Beta RR but a similar layout, it definitely still feels like an Enduro bike, just more manageable. At 99KG without fuel it feels incredibly light – like a 125 (but with torque coming out of the eyeballs) and is lovely to pivot turn on hairy single track in the mountains of Spain.

Looks

Obviously subjective, but it’s really grown on us over the last few days… Our 2016 KTM EXC plastics look positively lardy in comparison!

Everyday 4-Stroke practicality

The Oil injection system is very, very good. No more choking on 2-stroke smoke as you sit behind one at low speed… this system is ace, only adding the oil it needs based on the throttle position sensor… this IS the future. We haven’t had any smoke from the bike at all?!?

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Plus, when was the last time you forgot to add oil to your refuel before ragging the tits off your bike? Oil tank under the seat means no more of that bollocks, and apparently the oil lasts approx. 3 refuels, so a pretty long ride before you’re going to run out of oil.

Build Quality

Totally on a par with KTM out of the crate… with decent brakes and hydraulic clutch, and a sweet seat removal system and integrated plastic handles. We’ll see over the coming weeks how she holds up though.

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One minor niggle already though… first wash of the bike and the (Trailtech rebranded?) speedo is full of water? And no, we didn’t jet wash it!

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Suspension and Brakes

The suspension is a bit of a weird one… it just doesn’t hold up next to the rest of the bike… definitely budget with a capital B. In contrast the brakes are very good – we’re going to go into more detail in later posts…

Engine/Power

Really smooth, nowhere near as vibey as 2-stroke KTMs, and it has torque, torque, torque! You really cannot stall this thing. Feels more powerful/faster than our 2016 250EXC-F?!? I definitely wouldn’t give this bike to a frail elderly relative who ‘fancies a go’ at riding a motorcycle.

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All this torque combined with the super linear power delivery makes it incredibly tractable in wet slippery muddy English conditions… it just chugs and chugs.

We haven’t had a chance to really open her up yet, but she’s due to leave drizzly, muddy England in a few days, for the warmer, drier and rockier terrain of her new home at the Dirtpunk training camp in the Spanish Pyrenees, so it’ll be very interesting to see how much go she has tapped out on the fast stuff, and just how nice she handles in the technical single track madness.

So, apart from the suspension, first impressions are very good… next posts we’ll be looking at brakes and suspension in more detail. Want one? Got questions? Got one? Got tips? Leave us a comment…

 

 

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Beta Xtrainer – background

Beginners bike or extreme enduro secret weapon?

Dirtpunk have bought ourselves a brand spanking new Beta Xtrainer and we’re going to be doing a long term test in both UK slippery, muddy, rainy, mizzling and drizzling conditions and Spanish technical, single track rocky madness. We’ll be doing all the usual stuff people do to new bikes… adding farkles, riding it, racing it, breaking it, loving the good bits and moaning about the bad bits, all here in our blog… SO YOU DON’T HAVE TOO!

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So here she is, “mmmm you’re real perrty, squeal like a 2-stroke, piggy!”

For this intro we’ve decided to interview ourselves to get the lowdown on the thinking behind getting the Xtrainer (it also makes the blog seem more hip, street, dangerous and down with the kids… braap!).

“Yo Dirtpunk! Have you got anything you want to get off your chest before we get into the nitty gritty?”

Let’s get this out of the way from the start… the Dirtpunk team should be well known for being a pretty appalling race team, but maybe more embarrassingly we’re probably even better known for being (mainly) unashamed KTM sluts when it comes to our Enduro tackle… we’ve owned (read that abused) all manner of 2 and 4-stroke ginger dirtbikes from Austria over the years (in ALL the colours they come in)…

In the orange corner we’ve had KTM EXC 250 and 300 2-strokes, and 250, 350, 400, 450, 500 and even 690 four-strokes, in the blue corner it’s been the Husaberg TE300 2-stroke and FE501 four-stroke, and finally in the white(ish) and er, blue corner we’ve abused the Husqvarna TE250 and 300 2-strokes and FE250 and 350 four-strokes.

We also currently run a 2016 KTM 250EXC-F and 2014 350EXC-F for (shit) team racing duties.

“All of that stuff looks like serious Enduro tackle… what’s your thinking behind getting a ‘play bike’?”

Two words… extreme riding and short legs. Shit, that’s five.

“OK, short team is it?”

No, mainly the boss, only the boss actually, the rest of us are normal sized ‘proper’ men, he’s just a pussy boy who can’t get his feet down on proper enduro tackle… anyhoo, he entered an extreme enduro in Spain this year called Red Bull Nirvana Xtreme. Of course there were lots of very good/pro riders smashing it on full size KTM and Beta 2-stroke Enduro bikes, but half way through as he sat hunched over his bike, breathing hard through a minor heart attack/stroke, he noticed there were also some riders rinsing it on the Beta Xtrainer.

“A beginner’s/play bike had enough grunt to tackle an extreme enduro?”

And some! Ben Hemingway came 8th in the notoriously hardcore Hell’s Gate Extreme Enduro on the Beta Xtrainer ‘play bike’… if Ben can do it on this bike, then surely we can ;). Plus, there’s no two ways about it… even detuned, a 300 2-stroke (with a powervalve!) is never really going to be a ‘beginners bike’ is it?

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“Wait a minute, if you wanted a smaller Enduro bike, why did you get a Beta Xtrainer and not a KTM Freeride (being the total KTM fanboys you are)?”

Because the KTM Freeride is not a smaller Enduro bike like the Beta Xtrainer is, and from what we’ve heard/read on the interwebs, Freerides don’t work properly (and from our experience, there is no way we’re riding a 2-stroke KTMs with only an electric start!). We also do the odd bit of trials (mainly badly, with teammate Rom “Rommel” Dobbs being the exception), but KTM don’t make trials bikes… so for that we have a Beta Evo 300 – and she’s a peach, so Beta has always been on the radar.

“What do the team think about the bike?”

Paul Castle (chief bottle washer): We only picked it up last night, and so far we’ve only had approx. 20 minutes on her in really wet and slippery UK winter conditions… so far, like the Beta Evo 300, she’s a peach!

Mike Homo: Looks quite nice to me, not seen any of these in Preston yet… might get one for Billy Doms for Christmas, ta-ra.

Cecil Debris: FFS, they’ll be wanting to ride PW50s next! Takes the f*cking piss.

“I’m really enjoying this interview format, can we do it next time?”

No.

“Really?”

Really. It’s going to be hard facts from now on.

If you want to see more of the bike and what someone with skills (unlike us) can get out of it, check out this video from the great guys over at CROSS TRAINING, ENDUROCROSS & ENDURO TECHNIQUES

Want one? Got questions? Got one? Got tips? Leave us a comment…