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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