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Romaniacs Spec Beta Xtrainer

In less than a week we head off to Romania for the 2017 edition of Red Bull Romaniacs, and even though the old saying goes “it’s not the bike… it’s the rider”, we’ll do whatever we can to give us a better chance of finishing in one piece!

So here’s a full run down of all the mods we’ve done to our lowly Beta Xtrainer in an attempt to make it Romaniacs ready!

Firstly (and most importantly) we designed custom graphics and had them printed up in super quick time by Amped in Cornwall, UK.

Everyone knows custom graphics make you go faster, but we thought we better do some other bits and pieces too so looked at more protection, like our current joint favourite mod the P-Tech pipe/sump guard from Estonia.

It’s really nicely made and looks the nuts! It does add a bit of weight over the standard skid plate and a carbon guard but the level of protection is phenomenal and well worth the extra lardiness in our opinion. We first saw this style of guard a few years ago on a friend’s Romaniacs silver class finishing bike and have been trying to find one since. This guard is for the RR, but like many things, it fits the Xtrainer perfectly with no modifications – DECENT!

We also added clutch and ignition side protection with these nice lightweight hand made plastic guards from Enduro Hog in Slovenia. They were approx. £50 for the pair and came to the UK in a matter of days. Really easy to fit by replacing 3 engine bolts on each side with the supplied slightly longer versions. Shame we didn’t add them from day one as the cases have taken a massive beating in the technical rocky Spanish terrain over the last couple of years!

Sticking with the protection theme, our rear disc guard from Enduro Engineering has seen a lot of rocky abuse and held up well (swing arm looks a little tired though).

We’ve also stuck on a KTM (Acerbis) front disc guard saved from one of our old Rally bikes (note the hole badly made for the Rally ICO).

We’re running a mousse in the front and a Tubliss in the rear. We’ve run Tubliss for years now and I have personally had no problems so far… we’ll be carrying a tubeless repair kit, but frankly I think the risk of a (probably) fixable puncture is outweighed by the grip offered by 1 or 2 psi in the rear, which is nothing short of cheating!

We’ve used Mitas double green stripe super sticky tyres before at the Red Bull Nirvana Extreme in Spain, and they were incredibly grippy but become a bit wallowy (is that a word?) at low pressure, plus the bubblegum compound lasts hours! So for Romaniacs we’re going with Michelin Comp 3 Enduro rear tyres and Comp 4 front – the Comp 3 rear works really well at super low pressures in every type of terrain we’ve tried them in. We might try a super soft tyre for the prologue if we can be bothered to change it (and depending on the weather)… but we’re not trying to win anything so it’s probably a bit overkill.

Our Beta Xtrainer Suspension Upgrade post talks about our move to WP front forks and Fox shock. In doing so we moved over to using a set of nearly new KTM wheels we had spare – they look a bit beefier than the standard Xtrainer ones, and as the other three Dirtpunk riders are on KTM/Husqvarna bikes, it means we can take just one set of spare wheels between the team.

Front wheel fits perfectly with just a swap of the spacers (you can also interchange KTM small and large axle spacers too), but we had to shave off approx. 1.75mm from each of the rear KTM spacers to get the wheel to fit.

A quick bit of measuring and then in minutes fellow Dirtpunker Gabe at Zen Overland had rinsed the spacers… ace!

I think we had owned and ridden the Xtrainer for about a week before we moved from the standard pipe to a FMF Gnarly (it didn’t help that we smashed the original to bits). The Gnarly gave a huge increase in power, and although it is known for it’s boost to low down torque, on the Xtrainer it felt a little too angry – almost too aggressive with the bike’s shorter wheelbase. Our 300RR with the standard FMF pipe actually felt softer and easier to ride in comparison.

We tried to play around with jetting and the power valve but that intitial hit was still a bit too lively. We did manage to soften things out a little by modifying the throttle tube to a more cam style shape and have been riding with the Gnarly for well over a year with good results, but for Romaniacs we’ve switched to (our other joint favourite mod) an FMF Factory pipe and it is so much nicer – much smoother for technical riding and if the style is your thing it looks proper factory!! (The Gnarly is going to Romaniacs too as a spare though).

Although our hand modded throttle tube worked well, we had got the idea from a G2 Throttle tamer but in the UK they seem to be rarer than hen’s teeth! We had run out of time to import from the USA but then we had a brainwave… KTM uses the same throttle tube as Beta (up to 2016 or 17?) and so a quick look through the KTM powerparts brochure revealed that KTM had rebranded the 2-stroke 3 cam G2 (as they do with a lot of stuff) and so it was available to buy for an eye watering £133.

It comes with a standard profile cam and a ‘mid 200X and soft 400X’ profile – we’re running the soft and it’s really good for technical riding, and having the flexibility to change the riding style of the bike by simply changing the cams is great, but if you just want to smooth out the initial hit then it’s not that much better than our hand modded £5 plastic throttle tube!

The radiators are filled with Evans coolant, and we’ve really stress tested them in Spain in 38 degree Celsius horrible slow moving single track. The bike does get hot with the smaller radiators compared to the 300RR and the fan is on pretty much constantly in super technical riding, but we’ve not lost any coolant.

I think maybe we’ll treat her to bigger radiators and maybe even a better water pump when we get back (depending on how well behaved she’s been).

Our Meca System’s radiator guards have held up reasonably well on the Xtrainer and protected the rads…

…although we can’t whole heartedly recommend them any more after they didn’t seem to offer a whole lot of protection on our 300RR?!? Maybe just an an unlucky impact, but they also foul the forks on full lock on the RR which is a bit of a pain… recommendations for better radiator guards in the comments please!

We needed a larger tank than standard for the mountains of Spain, so we thought why take any risks in Romaniacs too and went for the IMS large tank. It was hard to find in the UK as it has to be imported from Beta USA – you can’t buy direct from an IMS dealer which is a bit of pain. We managed find a company in the UK importing them – Sinister Powersports.

Lastly the seat foam has had a little shave, and under the it we store our toolkit and tubeless repair kit in the space created by fitting a smaller lithium battery. The top two carb breather tubes are routed up in there too for deep water crossings.

We’ve left the Oil Injection in the Xtrainer and our RR and have had no problems so far (touch wood)… still, would be a real shame not to finish because it stopped working so we may yet take it out when we get to Romania though.

So there we have it… if only the rider was half as ready as the bike!

Questions or comments please? Leave a comment

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Beta Xtrainer Suspension Upgrade

The ultimate Beta Xtrainer suspension mod?

It’s been a long time coming to our blog, but back in October 2016 we decided to go nuclear with our Xtrainer suspension. Although our fettling had made a big improvement on the Xtrainer forks, it still wasn’t enough of an improvement for our needs – so we pushed the button and went for a complete suspension change.

We managed to pick up a brand new set of WP 4CS forks on ebay for about £500… bargain! We’ve seen a lot of complaints about 4CS forks, but we’ve had them on our bikes for years now and we really like them… lightyears ahead of the standard Xtrainer forks anyway. The forks were revalved for us by Gibbs Performance to match the bike/us and we added the correct springs too.

Next we had to work out how to get them on the bike. The Xtrainer top triple clamp fits the WP forks, but alas the bottom clamp is too small for the bigger forks. Back to Ebay and we managed to pick up an as new KTM SX bottom clamp and stem for about £50. The KTM stem is too long for the Beta frame, so you need to have it pressed out of the clamp and replaced with the shorter Beta one – it fits perfectly. The black anodised clamp matches the Beta one visually really well too.

We decided to go with a Brembo front brake as we found a complete setup for approx £100 on Ebay again, but we’ve heard you can reuse the Beta/Nissin brake with a Gas Gas hanger but you’d need to investigate that yourselves. The speedo cable from the Xtrainer fits perfectly on the Brembo with no mods. Do note though that the Beta front wheel has it’s magnet in a different place to KTM so if not using a KTM wheel then it won’t work unless you swap brake discs (a simple swap of the Beta spacers for KTM ones means you can use the Beta wheel or a KTM front).

About another £60 will get the the rest of the gubbins you need from a KTM dealer… Axle, axle puller, end cap and brake caliper bolts.

With the front sorted we plumped another £650 for the Fox Factory Podium Shock from the UK Fox distributor.

It seems it’s usually used on 85 size MX bikes, but looking at it side by side with the original shock the size was spot on.

It’s super easy to fit, just remove the end can, undo the top two subframe bolts and pull the frame/subframe apart and you can pull the old shock up and out.

The shock comes with a spring for your weight and has high and low speed compression adjustment, as well as rebound adjustment. The shock is night and day better than the standard one… plusher but firmer… it feels like a ‘real’ shock.

Worth the punt?

We spent about £1400 to fully upgrade the Beta Xtrainer suspension but was it worth it? That’s enough to have bought a 300RR instead? Well we have a Beta 300RR too and have ridden both bikes extensively in the UK and Spain over the last 6 months so we can honestly compare them.

In our opinion the beta 300RR is an awesome bike, and for average sized riders would be the route to go. But for hard technical riding for more vertically challenged riders the Xtrainer is better, and the suspension on our Xtrainer is arguably better than our standard Sachs suspension on the 300RR too.

We’ll be testing the suspension to the limit in a few weeks when we take part in Red Bull Romaniacs as part of a 4 man Dirtpunk team… more on that in the next blog post.

Any suggestions or questions? Leave a comment

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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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Beta Xtrainer Suspension Mods

Spanners, springs, valve shims (and cockups!)

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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?

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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

Valving

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.

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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).

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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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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!).

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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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Beta Xtrainer – Spanish Inquisition

7 days in Spain with the local lunatics… how does the Beta XTrainer hold up?

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We spent a week over Christmas putting the XTrainer through it’s paces with the local Spanish loons. The riding is very technical and rocky, lot’s of single track, with sections that wouldn’t be out of place in a hard or extreme enduro. The bike was right at home in the technical stuff, with plenty of power to get up anything you pointed it at.

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It wasn’t all roses though, and it doesn’t end well, but on the whole the bike was very good.

Snag list

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First hiccup was the fuel tap leaking… probably just a badly seated or damaged o-ring, but, we didn’t have time to take it apart and sort it. Every morning the engine was covered in petrol, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone else has had the same problem?

Parts made of Play-Doh?

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First ‘epic fail’ was the plastic chain guard on the swing-arm… very brittle plastic that seems to have been broken by the action of the chain… bit of an oxymoron? Anyway, that got dumped.

Front pipe made of Plasticine?… Pfffft?

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A couple of days in we managed to badly dent the front pipe on an impact that really didn’t feel that hard. From then on there was a noticeable loss in power and so we started to hatch a plan on how to sort it…

The closest Beta dealer was an hour away in (another country!) Andorra… A quick phone call got us “Beta Xtrainer? WTF is that?” (in a really helpful Andorran Catalan accent of course).

So, we carried on riding and adapted to the loss in power.. the bike was still pretty good… still torquey enough – it handled everything we could throw at it, including no-lights insanity single track night rides…

“Urgh, guys, it’s really dark, I can’t  actually see anything…”

“Hey, Pablo… turn off your luz (lights)… you’re ruining our night vision”

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Things were OK for a few days, but the lack of power was a bit of a pain and one of the locals persuaded us to let him blow out the pipe. We were a bit worried about him blowing the welds and breaking the pipe in the process and then being stuck with a broken Beta for the last few days… we needn’t have worried though… we managed to totally smash the pipe in before getting back!

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Note the crash test ‘crumple zone’ that the Italians built into the pipe to pass EU safety tests 😉

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The impact(s) had not only holed and flattened the pipe, but also bent it out of shape where it joins with the rear muffler, causing oil to be sprayed all over the engine.

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So that was the end of the Beta! Out came the KTM 350EXC-F for the last few days… Didn’t miss a beat, but felt like a supertanker compared to the Xtrainer!

So do we buy another flimsy plasticine OEM pipe?

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No way… FMF Gnarly with a carbon guard please! Apparently the RR pipe fits perfectly, and I guess we’ll find out when we’re back out to Spain in a few days to enter the XTrainer into the legendary Bassella Race. We’ve also splashed out on some other farkles (mainly for protection) – check back soon to see how we got on.

So were the Spanish impressed by the Beta? Well, one of them swapped his Husaberg 300 2-stroke for a Beta 300RR within a matter of days… we obviously made some kind of impression between all the crashes ;).

Next up… Farkles and Racing… Want one? Got questions? Got one? Got tips? Leave us a comment…

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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…