The second update for ADB's Beta Xtrainer 300 long-term test bike as published in ADB issue #453 - June 2017.
Two months in with the Beta Xtrainer 300 and I’m stoked with this feather-weight machine. My initial impression was confirmed when I took the Beta out for it’s full initiation to the ADB long-termer regime.
The hand-over with Grabbo in the last issue was more a bike-building exercise than trailride and it didn’t give me a good opportunity to test the latest toy. So it was back to the forest for another session a couple of weeks later, although this time with Editor Mitch Lees suited up in riding gear for the first time in five months.
Mitch and I headed to the Letter A for his first ride back from injury and my first trailride on the Beta. Everything about the Beta is easy, from loading into the tall tub of the ADB ute to manoeuvring it around the garage – it’s just so damn light!
This lack of weight translates into a mountain bike-like feel, even more so than a 200cc or 125 two-stroke. Beta has done an incredible job to create a bike that changes direction, turns, stops and picks up pace so easily.
Downhill, the Beta gives me heaps of confidence because it can change line and slow under braking without feeling like the front wheel is going to wash or the back is going to overtake the front. Uphill the torque from the 300cc two-stroke engine makes life easy.
Mitch and I were tackling some rock-infested hills in the Watagans and, at the top of one, he commented that he could hear me riding up this snotty hill using only the bottom-end. The amount of torque is impressive, it’s like a mountain goat this little bike.
The plush suspension has its advantages and over rough, rocky trails and up hills the Beta has less of a tendency to get pushed off line. This goes against what I was anticipating given it’s sub-100kg weight.
However, the same suspension that works well in some situations finds its limits when the pace picks up and that’s something I’ll have to get used to. It’s not a desert racer but nor is it advertised as one.
On high-speed trails it feels uneasy, especially compared to my Yamaha WR450F long-termer. The geometry of the bike lends itself to tight terrain. It’s got a ridiculous amount of steering lock and can turn on a 10-cent piece.
It’s a bike that suits a standing position. It is smaller than a standard enduro bike but it’s something I only notice when sitting down. Standing up it doesn’t feel cramped.
My only gripe so far is that the gearlever seems a long way from the footpeg so I keep missing it. It could be a matter of positioning so I’ll try rotating the shifter up a notch.
Last month I wrote that handguards would be the first mod but there’s been a delay so my fingers will have to persevere for another few weeks. The beauty of the Xtrainer is it shares components with Beta’s RR enduro range.
The pipe is a major contributor to the smooth power delivery, so is the mapping, and there are suspension components that can be swapped out to improve its high-speed performance. Beta also produces a huge range of performance parts for the Xtrainer. I’m excited to get stuck into this bike, although I’m enjoying it how it is.
Digital Editor Olly Malone