- Ultra smooth power makes for unintimidating bike that’s fun for both beginners and experts
- Awesome learning machine that’s priced accordingly
- Great brakes
- No kickstarter
- Stiff seat
- Suspension lacks full range of adjustment
The much-anticipated 2015 Beta 300 XTrainer (Crosstrainer) is here, ready for American enjoyment, and MotoUSA just spent some time enjoying the downsized off-road machine. Beta wants it known this is an entry-level dirt bike, not a trials bike on steroids, or dirt bike modified to perform like a rock hopping trials bike. While the XTrainer’s main purpose is entry-level riding, the bike’s size and engine character make it a solid choice for more extreme off-road terrain riding. The Beta XTrainer is 15% smaller overall and weighs about seven pounds less than the Beta 300 RR, the Italian firm’s true full-sized enduro off-road bike.
The Beta XTrainer (aka Crosstrainer) concept began about four years ago. Beta wanted to create an entry-level enduro – a bike that was less intimidating but still retained decent enduro performance. The development process started with a trials bike chassis that added long travel suspension, but it didn’t perform as well as expected.
The next attempt was a trials bike engine in a full-sized off-road bike, but the motor proved to be far from exciting. In the end Beta went with its proven engine from the 300 RR two-stroke, detuned and made to deliver ultra-smooth and rider friendly power.
The 2015 Beta 300 XTrainer (Crosstrainer) exhaust pipe is tucked away nicely and is a cross between a trials pipe and enduro pipe.
There is a reason the XTrainer’s engine looks almost identical to the Beta 300 RR two-stroke 300cc six-speed, as very little separates the two. The goal for the XTrainer engine was smooth usable power for any terrain and any skill level rider. The XTrainer retains the Keihin 36mm carb on the RR model, but the cylinder porting and power valve settings are much different. A spacer in the intake tract also mellows out the power. Beta created a special exhaust system, engineered to help produce the electric-like delivery. Plus the new exhaust shape and design tucks in nicely on the XTrainer’s smaller chassis.
Don’t worry about mixing oil into the gas for this two-stroke, it uses electronically-controlled oil injection to feed just the right amount of oil into the engine, all based on rpm. The oil tank is under the seat, easily accessible with a push of the seat release button. There are two warning lights on the digital odometer; one is a low oil warning while the other is a system failure, meaning stop the engine. Starting is easy thanks to electric start and the XTrainer does not come with a kickstarter, though a kit is available from Beta if you want one. A temperature-controlled electric fan makes sure the engine doesn’t boil over, even at the slowest of speeds.
Some may wonder why Beta didn’t go with a smaller displacement engine, like the KTM 200? The answer is simple: a 200cc two-stroke can’t lug down as low with the same usable torque as this 300 XTrainer can. No matter what you do to a 200 two-stroke, it won’t have the seamless power delivery throughout the rpm range like this new Beta. A 200cc engine provides good power but requires more input from the skilled rider to keep the engine in the right rpms. Also, it was much easier to detune an already proven engine than design a new one.
The steel perimeter style frame is 15% smaller on the XTrainer, with the seat height about 1.5 inches lower than a Beta RR. Since Beta enduro bikes typically have lower seat heights than competitors, the XTrainer is two to three inches lower than other standard sized off-road bikes. With ultra soft suspension and a lot of squish, the seat height drops even more when sitting on the bike. The XTrainer uses the same wheels as a 300 RR but the spokes are thinner to save weight. The swingarm is also identical to that on the full size 300 RR, but the suspension is much different.
Olle, a Spanish company, makes the shock and fork. Designed for easy service, the 43mm fork houses a spring in only the right leg with a preload adjustment in the fork cap. Adjustment to rebound lives on the left fork cap. There is no compression damping adjustment. The Olle shock features compression and rebound adjustments, as well as preload adjustment. With just a few easy steps the XTrainer seat height can be lowered even more. Shaving an inch of foam from the seat and installing an adjustable protective linkage, like the one from Stillwell Performance will lower the back of the bike slightly. The triple clamp allows the forks to be raised in the triple clamps, lowering the front of the bike.
Many of the features and components from the full sized Beta enduro bikes are on the XTrainer, like the brakes, quick release seat, easy access air filter, enduro computer and footpegs. Much to our surprise the gas tank holds 2.25 gallons, enough for a decent trail ride, especially down in the low rpms the XTrainer loves to be ridden.
Beginner to Pro
The XTrainer is visibly smaller than a full sized enduro, but doesn’t feel cramped or small when riding. The relation of handlebar to seat and footpegs is very close to a full sized enduro bike. Our test riders included a beginner woman, vet expert, senior expert and EnduroCross and hard enduro pro rider Kyle Redmond. Every rider was amazed by how narrow, light and plush the XTrainer felt. With the super soft Olle suspension the bike sags quite a bit when on the bike, increasing the ability to touch the ground even more, and that is mega confidence booster, especially for a beginner or in nasty terrain. Our beginner female rider was able to conquer rock gardens she would have never even tried on a full sized bike thanks to the XTrainer’s squishy suspension and lower seat height.
The torque of the engine is so smooth and controllable that wheelspin can be virtually eliminated. There is no need to rev the engine and slip the clutch to get forward momentum, just feed the hydraulic clutch out near engine idle without fear of stalling. Even with a powervalve the XTrainer 300 engine doesn’t explode or light up under acceleration, it pulls very smooth from idle all the way into the impressive top end. This engine is anything but intimidating.
The XTrainer comes with GoldenTyre tires. The softer compound offers up great traction in a variety of terrain and also contributes to the bike’s excellent ability to navigate slippery terrain without wheel spin. An upper level rider who enjoys an explosive two-stroke engine won’t find excitement in the XTrainer’s power but beginners, intermediates and skilled riders who crave hard enduro-style terrain will find the power and delivery of the XTrainer 300 wonderful.
We don’t want to beat a dead horse but this is an entry-level dirt bike so the suspension is very plush and doesn’t have quite as much travel as a full sized enduro bike. This bike is not designed to blast across whoops or hit the motocross track, its home is on the trail. Kept at a reasonable pace the suspension holds up well, but you’ve probably never ridden a full sized enduro as soft and plush as the XTrainer. Squishy with a hint of springy is the best way to describe the suspension. Navigating rock gardens and hitting roots highlights the XTrainers ability to stay glued to the ground and go over objects that would typically have an enduro bike deflecting. This pillow like suspension also equals traction for the rear wheel.
A friendly engine, plush suspension and a lower seat height equals a crazy good time for all rider abilities. It was very cool to watch our beginner riders trying new terrain aboard the XTrainer and then the very next minute see Kyle Redmond, off-road pro, climb aboard and rip around his EnduroCross track and crawl up technical switchback hill climbs. The Beta XTrainer has elements that are excellent for extreme enduro, while the beginner crowd will embrace it, especially for only $6,999.