It’s much easier to describe what the Beta Xtrainer isn’t than what it is. It isn’t a trials bike. It isn’t a race bike. It isn’t a motocrosser, hill-climber or adventure bike. What does that leave? Much, much more than you ever imagined. The Beta Xtrainer has an electric-start two-stroke motor that’s tuned like a trials bike for low-end power. It has a downsized conventional chassis but with soft suspension and a low seat height. It was originally conceived as an entry-level trail bike, but it’s been adopted by experienced off-road veterans and even pro motocrossers. It turns out that it’s universally appealing as a cross trainer for anyone wanting to build off-road skills at any level.
If you’ve been around long enough, you remember the Kawasaki KDX200. This is the modern equivalent—it’s a bike that’s light, friendly, easy to ride and capable of amazing things in the right hands. Even the price isn’t far off. The Xtrainer retails for $6999, which is marginally more than a modern 125cc two-stroke. That’s what the KDX sold for back in the day. That price is even more amazing considering that Beta is a small-quantity European manufacturer, so most of its models should be priced higher than their Japanese equivalents. Actually, the Bet gives you way more than the KDX did. It’s a 300 with electric start, and it has a frame that’s been re-engineered specifically for this purpose. The chassis is about 15 percent smaller than the regular enduro bike in Beta’s line. It has 10.6 inches of suspension travel at both ends and a seat height that’s more than an inch lower. And believe it or not, the Beta has an oil-injection system. You pour straight gas directly into the tank.
To build the bike, Beta started with its 293cc two-stroke motor and re-tuned it with a radically different exhaust system and porting. The carb is still a 36mm Keihin, and the gearbox is still a six-speed. In fact, it’s hard to figure out where the company cut enough corners to take $1200 off the price compared to the regular 300. It has the same wheels, Nissin brakes, Galfer rotors, a V-force reed cage, an electric radiator fan, a full skid plate, oversize aluminum bars and an FMF silencer. The pipe itself is made in Europe by a company called Aestroni and is nothing like you might see on a motocross two-stroke. The head pipe is long and narrow, and the belly of the pipe is very compact. The fork and shock are also unlike anything we’ve tested. They are made by a Spanish company called Olle and have normal features like compression, rebound and preload adjustment. The fork has a single spring located in the right leg and damping functions in the left. It’s clear that the frame was designed with the reduced suspension travel in mind, because it still has just over 12 inches of ground clearance.
Other features are typical of the entire Beta line: push-button seat removal, side-access airbox, back-up kickstarter and an aluminum swingarm. On the Dirt Bike scale, the Xtrainer weighed 226 pounds with no fuel but all other fluids.

Where can you ride the Xtrainer, and who is it meant for? The short answers: everywhere and anybody.
Where can you ride the Xtrainer, and who is it meant for? The short answers: everywhere and anybody.

Beta delivered our test bike with a letter suggesting how we should approach the test. It said the bike was designed to fill a void in the entry-level market. So, we started off by letting a first-year rider give it a try. She was having so much fun, we got jealous, shoved her off and took the bike away. Yes, for the record, the bike is perfect for a beginner. It’s low, super smooth and relatively light. But, frankly, we like all those things too. The bike’s easy-to-ride nature makes it easy for everyone, not just beginners. In fact, in first and second gear, you can get through extremely difficult terrain with surprising ease. It has a lot of trials-bike blood. The motor has superb torque right above idle, so much that it’s ridiculously difficult to stall. You have to use the kill switch to stop the motor, because if you pop the clutch, it will just spin the wheel. The revs build slowly, so an imprecise throttle hand isn’t much of a problem. It really is difficult to mess up.
All of these things are true of a pure trials bike, too, of course, but a trials bike requires a trials rider. The Xtrainer doesn’t. The bike’s layout is so normal that any rider can feel at home within minutes, whereas a real trials bike has its own secret handshake that must be learned over months and years. The Xtrainer doesn’t ask you to stand all the time, and the fuel supply will last for hours. A non-trials rider would actually do better in an organized trials event on the Xtrainer. If, on the other hand, you’re a proficient trials rider, you’ll notice right away that the Xtrainer has a much larger turning radius. You’ll also find that the seat gets in the way and the bike is, of course, about 40 pounds heavier than a trials bike.

Beta started off with the 300cc two-stroke and aimed it at the entry-level market. The price makes it a legitimate bike in this category.
Beta started off with the 300cc two-stroke and aimed it at the entry-level market. The price makes it a legitimate bike in this category.

We took the Xtrainer to the Last Dog Standing extreme enduro for a fiery baptism on one of our very first rides. We discovered very quickly what it can and can’t do. It was outstanding on the EnduroCross course. The suspension is extremely plush and crawled over the rocks and logs with ease. The only trick was to ride steady and keep your weight centered, and then the little Beta could actually make conventional bikes look silly. They would get a little payback on the straights and hills, though. The Beta’s motor is set up for torque, not peak horsepower. It tops out very early and will struggle to keep up with a good-running 125. If the straight is long enough, though, the Beta can catch up by virtue of its six-speed gearbox. But the Beta doesn’t really seem happy at higher speeds. The motor doesn’t rev, and the suspension is too soft. In the Last Dog, those shortcomings were irrelevant, because even the sportsman race was determined in the logs, bottlenecks and obstacles. It was the perfect bike for that event.
There are a number of odd things to be learned about such an odd bike. First of all, don’t run premix in the fuel tank by accident. Not that we did that (we would never be so dumb), but if we had, we would have found out that it gets so choked up with oil that it can barely run. The oil tank for the automatic lube system is under the seat, and it’s hooked up to an idiot light, so there’s little chance it can run dry. We managed to snap off both levers in the race. They seem brittle, and the bike doesn’t come with handguards. All the other parts are outstanding. The bike always started quickly and easily with the electric starter. It was very quiet, and the brakes were excellent.

The electric starter is hidden within the crankcase.
The electric starter is hidden within the crankcase.

The Xtrainer is a sweet, sweet motorcycle, and there’s almost nothing like it on the market. We say “almost,” because the new KTM Freeride is aimed at a similar buyer, but the two bikes are very different. The Freeride is what you get when you start with a trials bike, and the Xtrainer is derived from an enduro bike. Beta’s approach makes the Xtrainer more appealing to mainstream riders. Plus, the Xtrainer is more comfortable, has better brakes, more suspension travel and is $1000 less expensive. In fact, the Beta is one of those bikes that almost every test rider wants to take home for a spouse, son or daughter. At least, that’s the reason given. We suspect there will be a lot of Xtrainers purchased for people who might or might not ever get a chance to ride them. They really should be sold in twos. o
• Electric start
• Oil injection
• Hydraulic clutch
• Incredible torque
• Low seat height
• Low price

While most riders get trials bikes for cross-training, what they really want is something like this.
While most riders get trials bikes for cross-training, what they really want is something like this.

• Mild peak power
• Not eligible for a green sticker in California
• Wide turning radius

Engine type Electric-start, case-reed
Displacement 293cc
Bore & stroke 72.0mm x 72.0mm
Carburetion 36mm Keihin PWK
Fuel tank capacity 2.6 gal.
Transmission 6-speed
Lighting coil Yes
Spark arrestor No
EPA legal No
Weight, no fuel 226 lb.
Wheelbase 57.8″
Ground clearance 12.6″
Seat height 35.8″
Tire size & type:
Front Golden Tyre 100/80-21
Rear Golden Tyre 140/80-18
Front Olle inverted, adj. rebound,
comp, 10.6″ travel
Rear Olle steel body, adj. preload,
comp, rebound, 10.6″ travel
Country of origin Italy
Price $6999


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