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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…

 

 

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Dirtpunk finishes Red Bull Nirvana Xtreme

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We’ve just finished Red Bull Nirvana Xtreme… after a very strong start, a complete lack of training, really strong unfitness and far too much beer the night before we managed to get 3rd place in the prologue! (3rd from last)… So, starting from the back of the pack, we pushed really hard to maintain our position and just finish this crazy race… Extreme Enduro is for idiots!

Find out more and get your entry in for next year at www.nirvanaxtreme.com

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Dirtpunk team finish Rally Albania

The Dirtpunk team have finished Rally Albania (mostly) in one piece.

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Paul Castle 17th, Gabriel Bolton 21st and Joe East 39th managed to finish the Rally. Unfortunately ‘Dangerous’ Dave Brignall had to drop out due to injuries with two days to go but still managed 58th position, and Dai Jones and Paul Breeds went out on day five too with mechanical problems but still managed 61st and 62nd respectively.

Beautiful country, great people, amazing riding… highly recommended event!