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Can you really rally a Beta Xtrainer?

Short answer… yes.

Long answer starts in October 2016 with a sudden onset of madness and an entry into the 2017 edition Redbull Romaniacs 😳, and so we’d just started a full blown suspension change to KTM WP 4CS forks and a Fox Factory Podium Shock to see if the bike would be man enough (full details on the suspension change will come in a later post).

Fellow Dirtpunk rider, and all-round ‘super chap’ Gabriel Bolton from Zen Overland had persuaded me to enter the Hafren Rally (Wales, UK) a while back on ‘BFF’ matching 2017 KTM 6-Days 350 four strokes. He’s been near the top of the 2016 championship for a while now. We’ve been partners in crime on many exploits together in the past, Mondo Sahara, PKUP, Tuareg Rallye and Rally Albania to name a few.

So a few days before the event a plan was hatched… why not try the Xtrainer with it’s new suspension instead of the much more suitable KTM and use the Hafren Rally as a place to setup the suspension for fast riding? What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing actually – there were a few scary moments on the sighting lap, the front was a little soft but easily fixed trackside with the separate fork top rebound and compression clickers.

The rear was too soft as well, but during the first pit stop we got the pipe off the bike to gain access and give a full turn of the preload adjustment ring, and upped the low and high speed compression by a 3 or 4 clicks, and dialed in a fair bit of rebound damping to try and stop the bike acting like Buckaroo in the whoops.

We started near the front of the fast pack in 9th and 10th position and were surrounded by the rally Rally Lite 2 class (450+ 4 strokes) so sure, we got overtaken by some fast boys on fast bikes, but we also overtook a few too!

The Xtrainer was fantastic in the woods and single track sections, but alas… with standard gearing she was topping out at around 110kph on the open fast tracks… we were never going to be a winner…

So, we would say you most definitely can Rally a Beta Xtrainer running upgraded suspension… I’m not sure we would try high speed racing on a box fresh Xtrainer with standard suspension though 😉!

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Bud plays in the sand at Weston Beach Race


Straight from the horses mouth…

With all the talk coming up about Weston, I was keen as to hit the sand. The Yamaha wr250 well prepped and feeling fit I was ready! Last year not making it to the top 100, my aim was to make it this year.

With a start number of 130 I had a decent start up the front, pulling 96mph down the straight I had the advantage over the Mx bikes into the first corner.

Keeping my head high I made few mistakes and chose good lines, riding clean all day and with no bike problems made the day go smooth.

With fast pit stops from I lost little time.

I managed 16 laps in the 3hrs, taking 63th place out out 800+ riders. So more then happy, and giving me a seeded number for next year, bring it on! ✊🏼

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Expert win for Bud at Wolbrough Barton

He’s been at it again, latest race report from Bud…

Sunday took me to Wolbrough Barton for the South West rounds. The track was a well laid out 5 mile course of tight twisty woods and fast open fields.

The start went well being 1st into the corner. Then two other more “experienced” riders got in front, which I kept with till the 1.5hr mark.

With a fast pit stop I came out in front of the pack where I got into a rhythm and loved the last hour, still feeling fit, and managed to get up amongst the championship riders. A greats day, still need to improve on passing but learnt a lot from following the other riders (Gary McCoy & Tony Penhaligon) happy to take the expert win, 5th over all with the 4th fastest lap!i

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Beta Xtrainer Suspension Mods

Spanners, springs, valve shims (and cockups!)


Sorry that we’ve been a bit quiet of late on the Xtrainer posts… it’s due to us having a bit of a falling out (and off) with the forks on the bike and ending up with two broken ribs and a couple of months off the bike 🙁

We were riding at speed on rocky terrain when the forks suddenly completely compressed and spat us off. Although the bike has been great in low speed technical riding, in it’s factory trim it just cannot handle fast Enduro style riding… time to get the spanners, springs and valve shims out!

So after a lot research online we though we would put it all together in this handy blog post…

The Xtrainer only has a spring in one fork leg and the valving in the other. We sourced a new spring from Steve Plain Motorcycles in the UK. There is a spring rate chart available online – popular opinion seems to agree that you need to go up two spring weights higher than the chart states, so we went from standard 8.0KG to 8.4KG.

First things first… how to get the fork open?


Once you remove the fork cap there is another cap holding the spring in the stanchion. You can’t use a pin wrench on the cap as even with the fork fully collapsed you can’t get to the cap without a special tool (which we didn’t have). So we separated the fork outer and stanchion (pull down dust seal, remove locking clip with a screwdriver and pull apart).


You can now get to the cap with a pin wrench, but we still couldn’t undo the cap as someone at the Ollé factory had gone nuts with the loctite, so much so, that even using a lot of heat we couldn’t remove it.


After a lot of sweating and swearing something had to give! Rather than the cap coming undone, the axle holder unscrewed instead. No problem, you still get access to the spring.

The new spring is only tapered at one end compared to both on the factory spring.


The tapered end goes to the top and holds the ‘rod thingy’ (as you can probably tell we’re not suspension experts) 😉


And that’s it, screw the axle holder back onto the stanchion and you’re good to go.


Muchos respect needs to go to Clod Martin on the Facebook Beta Xtrainer Group for coming up with this valving modification… his original post and instructions can be found here and we recommend following his instructions rather than our poor excuse for technical know-how.


First step is to part with some hard-earned and order the above shims from your friendly neighbourhood KTM dealer – just don’t tell them it’s for a Beta or the deal will be off! ;). You need 1x 48600213, 1x 43570120 and 2x 48600214. From memory it was about £10 with delivery (ouch).


EDIT: Don’t do what we did and cockup Clod’s mod by adding the shims to the compression valve (as above)! Make sure you’re adding them to the rebound valve… (Sorry no picture – see Clod’s instructions).


Insert your KTM shims into the rebound stack (as per Clod Martin’s instructions), put it all back together and you should have much improved forks.

We tried to use a lighter 7.5w oil but it didn’t feel as nice as the 15w we were using so we’ve gone back to that. Overall the forks are much better than they were… less bouncy and more firm.

EDIT: Even though we added the shims to the compression valve by mistake, the fork still feels much better… we’ll swap the shims to the rebound valve in a few weeks and report back on the difference 

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Bud stomps into championship class

Photo by Sarah Turner

Not content with kicking ass in Expert class, Bud has a go at Championship class at Nancymellon…

Sunday took me to my local track for a 3hr hare and hounds. Stepping up to championship class for this event I was unsure of the outcome on the flowing woodland/mx track course.

With some strong champ riders I managed to get second into the first corner, as the lap went on I was passed easily by the faster riders, but by the first hour I had pushed past 4th place and had to make the first fuel stop.

As the race went on my fitness came into the racing, battling into second place. At 2hr in I was lying in second, once fuelled  again I pushed hard to catch Ian Martin having good battles and swapping positions.

Photo by Sarah Turner

The last half hour I was up front and still feeling fit, increasing my lead to over 3 minutes when the flag dropped! Just goes to show “the old 2005 Yamaha can still smoke the 2017 KTMs!”

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Bud’s CTR Race Report


So, Bud’s jacked in the ginger KTM and gone blue, we caught up with him to find out how he’s getting on with the new bike…

After a few hard races getting used to the Yamaha WR250 (coming from the Ktm 200EXC), I’m starting to get to grips with the bike. I’m really pleased with the power delivery, suiting more h&h and fast flowing races. Along with the plush suspension out the box, it makes for a great bike! I’d like to thank Marsh Mx for sorting a great deal and supporting me with parts for 2016!


Now used to the bike, Sunday took me to Llandovery for the CTR 2.5hr H&H. With an okay start of 5th off the line the first couple of laps was an ice rink!

As the weather dried up, so did the track, leaving a fast flowing mixture of woods and fields!

Pacing myself for the race I took a good speed till the half way pit stop, as I came out the track was drying and rutting nicely so started to push and take bigger risks on the harder lines.

Racing my own race for the 2.5 hrs I was happy with my pace but my placing was unknown. I was happy to finish and take 3rd in the expert class, the first podium on the dirtpunk yam!

Get on Bud, keep it pinned!

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Bud Benney’s been a hustlin’ in Hustyn Woods

Bud Benney Wheelies
Photo by Gooner Snaps!

Bud’s been at it again… ripping it up at the South West Championship…

Sunday took me to hustyn woods for round 3 of the South West Championship. The start of the day went well, after a sighting lap of the special test I knew I was in for a hard day on a trials tyre!  A tight whoopy woods test for 4 timed tests.

The first test was a struggle to get the speed but as the day went on the lines came in to make a enjoyable ride. With slack check times the results came down to the tests. All day no one knew where they stood and I came away thinking I had a poor result 🙁 .

Only to find out I took the expert win with the fastest test times each lap, which finished off a great days racing! 🙂

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Beta Xtrainer – Farkles!

We’ve been back over to Spain with a big box of farkles (that’s sparkly upgrades for our non-American readers) to create an Xtrainer on steroids.


As we prematurely ended our last ride by killing the standard pipe, first thing we bolted on was the Beta 300RR FMF Gnarly pipe and a carbon pipe guard from UK company Pro-Carbon Racing.


The Gnarly pipe fits straight on the bike with no mods, and the carbon guard fits the pipe like a glove. The guard looks to be of nice quality but it doesn’t offer the same coverage as other guards. It does look like it’ll protect from most impacts (being usually frontal) nicely though.

The Gnarly transforms the bike, turning it into a bit of an animal!


We managed to put a fair old dent in the left rad with just one off on our first Spanish outing so it was time to get some rad braces. The only ones we could find in the UK were surprisingly affordable from Meca System – the French company usually renowned for their ‘outrageously’ expensive Rally Parts.

The braces look nice and solid and aren’t hit by the forks on full lock – they do foul the non-standard Gnarly pipe though…


…but a quick bit of persuasion with the file on a Leatherman tool soon sorted that out.


We’ve warped enough brake rotors out in the rocks of Spain to know it’s worth getting some brake protection… Enduro Engineering make a nice machined rear fin that replaces the rear caliper hanger, it actually feels a similar weight to the cast hanger we swapped it with. We couldn’t find a Beta front disc guard in time, anyone know of one please holler in the comments!


In an effort to save our lady wrists out in the mega-rocky Spanish terrain we stole some KTM PDS bar clamps off of our rally bike. They fitted perfectly with no mods… niiiiice!


As 99KG for the Xtrainer was feeling a bit lardy we thought we’d stick in a Lithium battery that weighs just slightly less than air… saving kilos over the lead acid version. It was actually meant for our KTM 350EXC, but in a fit of greed I swapped out the Lithium for the Xtrainer battery instead. Strangely though, it just did not want to play nice on the first outing and seemed to make the starter not hook up properly? It then went completely flat in a rocky riverbed after numerous restarts… great with no kicker and no way of bump starting!

We’re not sure whether it was because it wasn’t the right model battery for the Xtrainer, but a quick swap of battery in the field meant the Xtrainer worked great again with the correct lead acid battery and the Lithium battery worked just fine in the four stroke KTM all weekend… weird.


We stuck a front hall loop on too from our friends at Kriega… (great for pulling bikes with flat Lithium batteries out of rocky riverbeds!).


But, probably the greatest upgrade cost less than £10… 15w fork oil.

The fork oil really did transform the bike into something you could ride really fast (and was proven in race conditions). The damping was improved no-end, but it did sometimes feel a little harsh on impacts from jumps. It was also a super easy upgrade, as only one of the forks needed to have it’s oil replaced (the other has only the spring and no damping).

Don’t get us wrong, the bike is still softly sprung compared to modern Enduro bikes, but the oil definitely helps. I think we’ll still be looking for a heavier front fork spring (and probably a shock spring too) in the future though.

So… Is it now the extreme enduro secret weapon we hoped it would be? Find out in the next blog post when we take it racing…


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Bud’s Easter Enduro Eggstravaganza (groan)

Photo by Trace Clarke

What did star Dirtpunk racer Bud Benney get up to this Easter? Did the Easter Bunny poo out any chocolate eggs for him? We caught up with Bud to get the lowdown…

With a busy Easter weekend racing I was off to Friday’s Track & Trail for a 2.5hr hare and hound. The race took off to a strong start – 3rd into the first corner the race was looking good. Taking the hard routes over the logs and tyres made the race interesting and mixed up the tight woods and open fields. With a long battle in the last hour I managed to come away with a 2nd in experts and 4th over all.

Photo by Trace Clarke

No rest for the wicked… Sunday I was off to Brass Monkeys Enduro. After walking the test it looked for a great day with a long test of stubble cross and flowing woodland. It turned out to be an awesome day setting off with Enduro legend Gary McCoy on my minute, watching his lines all day I learnt a lot! The tests went well with consistent 12 minute times and without dropping any time I took a 3rd in expert. Good results for an Easter weekend racing!

Next event to lookout for is Cornwall Super Enduro where Bud has already got his sights on ex-world champion David Knight 😜, be sure to book in for a day on the pipe!