RIDING THE BETA XTRAINER 300 2-STROKE
There’s nothing quite like the Beta Xtrainer. Some people think it’s an entry level bike, some think it’s some sort of a trials half breed and others say it’s an extreme trail bike. It’s been called all that, but the one thing that defines it even better: bargain. We don’t quite get it, but for some reason the Xtrainer is priced lower than any high-level European off-road bike. It sells for $7499. Compare that to other 300cc two-strokes: the Husky TX300 is $9599, the fuel-injected Husky TE300i and the KTM 300XC-W are both $9899, the Sherco SE300 Racing is $9400 and the TM 300E is $9495. Even Beta’s own 300RR is $8899 and it shares many of the same parts.
Beta cut the cost on a few components. The fork and shock are built by the Spanish company Olle, but the brakes, handlebar, tires and hydraulic clutch are all high-end units. We resist the notion of calling it an entry-level bike, although Beta uses that language in its description. The XTrainer is roughly 1 ¼ inch lower than the RR model and the specs says it’s 13 pounds lighter. It has perimeter style frame that is 15% smaller than a traditional off road motorcycle. Between the price, the size and the fact that it had oil-injection, we can see how it would appeal to an entry-level buyer, but it’s an great bike for any off-road rider. It’s all about low-end power and a slow-revving power delivery. The motor looks almost the same as the 300RR, but the exhaust has a super-long headpipe, there’s a spacer in the intake and the porting is different, giving it a trials-bike nature. It’s almost impossible to stall without deliberately standing on the rear brake.
The XTrainer is in its element in tight, technical low speed trails. The lower seat height makes it easy to dab occasionally. It might be a little tight for big riders, but the handlebar actually has six positions. The only aspect that limits the XTrainer is top end power. The motor is tuned to work at lower revs, so it can’t get into a punching match with a standard 300. We still wouldn’t hesitate to take the XTrainer racing. It would have to be a tough survival run of a race or an extreme enduro like the Last Dog Standing or the TKO. It would have a big advantage over almost any production off-road bike.
Look for a full test here at dirtbikemagazine.com coming soon. The XTrainer will also be featured in the May, 2019 print edition of Dirt Bike.
RIDING THE KTM FACTORY EDITION
In between rain storms this week we got to ride the 2019 1/2 KTM Factory Edition a Fox Raceway. The Factory Edition is usually a sneak peak of next year’s production bike, but with some extra features. One year ago, the bike arrived with a new frame, new bodywork and a new head, so we didn’t expect too many changes. It still got a few surprises this time around. The rod, piston and rocker arms are all new and said to promote a more free-revving motor. The fork has a number of internal changes and is now called the WP Xact. It’s not that different from the AER 48. It still has an air chamber in one leg and all the damping function s in the other. The bike comes with a titanium Akrapovic slip-on silencer.
One new feature that’s interesting is the adjustable offset triple clamp. The stem is offset slightly and is bolted in place. You can alter the offset from the standard 22mm to 20mm at the track without a hydraulic press. Offset is horribly misunderstood. When a bike has less offset, it doesn’t have less rake and it doesn’t necessarily have quicker steering. Less offset does result in more “trail” which is what makes the casters on a mover’s dolly go in the direction it is pushed. You can research it until you’re dizzy, but we will say that in this case, test rider Sean Lipanovich tried both of the KTM’s setting. He came back reporting that the bike turned better in the 20mm position at Fox. Expect to get different results at different tracks.
There’s a big bling component for the bike, as usual. Top on the list is the orange frame. It also has orange anodized hubs and sprocket, a holeshot device, race team graphics, a ribbed seat cover, a disc guard and a number of cool little bits. What’s it like to ride the Factory Edition? Much like the 2019 standard KTM. Sean is very familiar with the standard bike, and reported that it is a little more lively.This might be the motor parts, it might be the silencer. The bike sells for $11,099, which is $1200 more than the standard edition. There will be 500 imported to the U.S. and they should be in dealers this week. For a video of our KTM Factory Edition first ride, click here.
BMW GS TROPHY
BMW GS riders will soon compete for the opportunity to represent the USA in the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2020 in New Zealand. The GS Trophy 2020 – Qualifier USA will be held May 30 through June 2 with RawHyde Adventures at a location to be announced. Qualifier rules and registration details will be announced shortly. BMW Motorrad has hosted the biennial International GS Trophy for adventure-thirsty riders since 2008. The event has taken participants to Tunisia, South Africa, Patagonia, Canada, Thailand – and, most recently, Mongolia for a week of hard-core adventure riding, special tests and teamwork challenges. Five teams crossed the starting line in the first GS Trophy. Last year’s event saw 19 teams from 25 nations taking part. In 2016, the first-ever women’s team joined in, and women riders have been competing ever since. For more information about the destination for the International GS Trophy 2020, click here.
SHERCO IS 20
Sherco motorcycles is still not old enough to drink in most states. It’s fairly impressive that this company has already managed to win a world Enduro championship, a number of Dakar stages and 10 NATC U.S. trials championships in this short time. Here’s a cool trials video featuring the special edition 20th anniversary trials bike.
Husqvarna Motorcycles has announced its 2019 Contingency Support Program. The 2019 program covers at least 100 series and 500 events total, ranging nationwide for Motocross/Supercross, and Off-road/Enduro races. Husqvarna Motorcycles has offer a program that awards both amateur and pro level racers in the form of cash or dealer credits. For an example, the GNCC XC1 Pro class pays $3000, while the NGPC pro class pays $1500 to a qualified winner. Many amateur classes pay $250. You can register at www.racehusky.com and personalize your account to take full advantage of all the benefits the program has to offer. Information about the program in its entirety can also be found there, under the “info” tab. Looking to participate? All supported races and full series can be viewed here: http://www.racehusky.com/2019events
Honda announced additions to the Red Rider Rewards powersports racing-contingency program for the 2019 season, with more than $6 million available to racers—an increase of approximately $500,000 over last year. The program offers payouts at more than 1,500 races in categories including motocross, off-road, dirt track, road racing, ATV competition and side-by-side racing. The off-road aspect of the program, which is most interesting to us, has increases in GNCC, National Hare and Hound (NHHA), National Enduro (NEPG) and the newly named National Grand Prix Championship (NGPC). The biggest single payout in off-road is EnduroCross, which offers $2500 to the pro winner. GNCC is worth $2000 to the XC1 Pro winner and another $2000 to the XC2 winner. Sorry Trevor Stewart, the AMA NGPC pro winner only gets $300. For more info on Honda contingency, click here.
WIN A KTM!
Enter for a chance to win a KTM 1090 from the Backcountry Discovery Route people with a donation as low as just $25. Your donation will help the non-profit Backcountry Discovery Routes organization create new routes and preserve off-highway riding opportunities for dual sport and adventure motorcyclists. You will also help the organization provide planning resources and GPS tracks for the community, and continue working to preserve riding access on public lands, and promote safety campaigns for adventure motorcycling.
That’s all for now!