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 😉!