FIRST RIDE: 2024 BETA XTRAINER 300
BY: CHAD DE ALVA
I have to admit that when I found out a 2024 Beta Motorcycle XTrainer was headed my way, I had mixed feelings. As a card-carrying member of the 300 two stroke fan club, an “entry level” 300 with “softer power delivery” wasn’t exactly on the top of my bikes I’m keen to check out list. Yet Beta knows how to make a bad-ass two stroke, and their 200 RR Race Edition ISSUE 85 proved to be quite the bike, so I was certainly curious to see what the entry level end of the Beta two stroke spectrum was like. In just one more example of how universally applicable the old saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover” is, after a couple of months and quite a few rides, the 2024 XTrainer has completely won me over and impressed everyone else who’s thrown a leg over it.
Beta is perfectly honest with their marketing wordage on the XTrainer’s product page: It’s an entry level bike, and it sells for a price point ($8,399) below what their other two strokes go for. Compared to a 2024 300 RR two stroke ($10,099), the XTrainer has almost an inch lower seat height, more entry level suspension with nearly an inch less stroke, and a smaller (2.3 US Gal vs 2.5 US Gal on the RRs) fuel tank. The motor is set up for softer power delivery, and the first time you see the XTrainer’s pipe, you’ll know that’s actually a thing. Yet the XTrainer has the diaphragm clutch we love, an adjustable power valve, oil injection (there is a removal kit available if you must have your pre-mix), and good Nissin brakes with the same size rotors as its RR siblings.
The first time you throw a leg over XTrainer, the bike’s lower seat height size is instantly apparent. For new riders this makes the bike more approachable, and it allows the new and/or shorter riders to get more of their feet on the ground, which is always a confidence boost. Experienced riders will equate the shorter seat height to a bike that is more agile and flickable thanks to its more compact size – more on that in just a minute. The XTrainer does have a shorter wheelbase than all of the RR models (3/10ths of an inch shorter than a 125 RR) and the chassis exudes that compact, agile feel that we’ve come to really enjoy from Betas. Rounding out the cockpit experience are standard issue Beta switch gear, levers, and a fully featured computer. The map switch does not have the traction control that is found on other off-road models. Your only options are the more aggressive sun map and the softer cloud map.
Before we rode the XTrainer for the first time, we made a few key part swaps from the Beta accessories catalog. Our first move was to swap the stock silencer with a FMF Turbinecore silencer so that the XTrainer would have a USFS approved spark arrestor. Since we would be riding the XTrainer at elevations around 7,000 ft above sea level, Beta suggested we replace the stock air filter cage with one from a RR model bike which flows more air and would help with power loss from our elevation above sea level. Our one comfort consideration was to swap the stock seat for a Seat Concepts comfort seat. Lastly, we swapped the stock tires for Dunlop AT 81 and D 950 tires, because someone mentioned the XTrainer is something like a trials bike, so a trials type tire seemed appropriate.
For our first ride on the XTrainer, we brought along a couple of other flavors of 300 just to see how the entry level XTrainer could hang with more expensive 300s from other manufactures. Long story short, the XTrainer can easily hang with other 300s with a skilled pilot at the controls. Riders who sampled the XTrainer described the chassis as compact and agile, yet stable, meaning the bike is great for all types of single track from fast and flowy to technical. The suspension also impressed by performing much better than what would be expected from something labeled “entry level.” It’s soft (especially the shock), decently plush, and capable of staying composed at speeds well beyond what would be expected out of entry level riders. It can certainly be out-ridden, but that takes a rider who would be seriously sandbagging to identify as entry or beginner to do so. It’s also worth noting that Beta’s suspension program sells fully customized open and closed cartridge Sachs forks (which come standard on the RR models and feel great) and a better shock for the XTrainer. This means that as your skills grow, you can up the XTrainer’s boingers to keep pace.
The XTrainer’s motor is less powerful than other 300s out there, but to be clear it still has plenty of cowbell for technical flywheel-loading moves and stupidly steep climbs. Yet the bike doesn’t want to pull your arms out of their sockets or loop out on a ham-fisted clutch move, which helps big time with the intimidation factor for riders who haven’t felt ready for a 300. The cloud setting on the map switch can mellow things out more if needed. On top of the rev range, the power does check out early when compared with a 300 running a normally shaped pipe, but we’re told you can put on a ‘regular’ pipe as your power needs grow, one more example of how the bike can grow with the rider. The power valve can be adjusted to change the engine’s character, and as usual, we backed it out for max twist right off of idle. This change in power delivery, fed through Beta’s great diaphragm clutch and combined with the low seat and compact chassis, make the XTrainer a fun size technical weapon.
Riding the XTrainer like a big trials bike is where this bike completely won me over. The XTrainer is an absolute giggle for technical work, and the bike just makes you want to try and ride up stuff. Even at 6’ 1” tall, I still appreciate getting a little extra foot on the ground when I need it while doing technical moves in sketchy places. A shorter (smaller) bike is easier to work with, and something I’m less likely to fall off of when I run out of talent. More than once I stuffed a spicy line on the XTrainer and needed to make a last ditch dab to avoid falling. I was able to make the dab and stay on the bike, but another inch or so of seat height from another flavor of 300 may have caused me to miss the dab, which could have turned a close call into a crash. Put another way, the XTrainer’s low seat height gives you additional confidence when trying technical moves, and the bike certainly has the capability to perform when it counts. If you’re looking for a bike to work on hard enduro drills with, or to try and ride up the spicy lines that give you pause on another flavor of 300, you need to try it on an XTrainer. It’s been awesome to watch other riders hop on the XTrainer and quickly see their technical game level up. This bike excels play and instills confidence – and that’s awesome.
Likewise, the XTrainer quickly gels with newer or shorter riders. You can almost see the light bulb go on over their head when someone who has sat on another 300 sits on the XTrainer for the first time and discovers how easy it is to touch the ground. About the only downside to the lower seat height is that the bike doesn’t lean over very far when it’s on the kickstand, so you’ll need to be mindful of how you position the bike before parking it on the kickstand, or the XTrainer will seize the opportunity for an unscheduled nap.
The Beta Motorcycles XTrainer has proven to be a great off-road two stroke. It quickly proved that it is much more capable than what one might assume given its entry level positioning, and while it is objectively less powerful and sporting suspension that is less capable than its 300 RR sibling, the XTrainer is brilliant in the hands of a newer rider, or an experienced rider who wants to use it for everything from working on drills and play riding, to riding singletrack at not race pace. There’s also the satisfaction that you get from cleaning lines on an entry level bike that your riding buddies can’t clean on their more expensive 300s. Entry level clearly doesn’t equate to limited fun in this case.
Given the XTrainer’s price, it makes a compelling entry point into the world of off-road two strokes. As you grow as a rider, the XTrainer can be upfitted with better suspension and a few other parts to give it power, approaching a regular 300. Yet in stock form, the XTrainer is still a neat bike. In our time with the XTrainer, we’ve used it for just about everything we use our other 300s for and with one asterisk it’s been fun everywhere we’ve used it. We’ve ridden plenty of single track, packed a chainsaw with the XTrainer to clear single track, spent plenty of time hopping logs, playing in technical riding areas, and letting the bike sing in the sand and in open riding areas. The one asterisk to all of this is the fuel range. The 2.3 gallon tank combined with admittedly less than perfect jetting, results in a shorter fuel range. In one case we only managed 34 miles of mixed off-road riding before we had to flip over to reserve – so be prepared to carry more fuel if you’re eying an XTrainer for big rides. It’s also worth noting that a beefier skid plate and a set of hand flags were quickly determined to be essential parts for this bike, so we went back to the Beta accessories catalog to source these parts. Play bikes need protection too.
Your grade school librarian was right when they said you can’t judge a book by its cover, and just as that saying applies to so many other aspects of life, you also cannot judge a motorcycle by a couple of words. The 2024 Beta Motorcycles XTrainer has proven to be an absolute hoot of a bike, and anyone from a beginner to an experienced rider who wants a fun size play or training bike will have a great time on an XTrainer. I’ve completely enjoyed my time on this bike, and I’m really hoping that Beta will give us the opportunity to try the upgraded suspension and a normal pipe to see how the bike’s capabilities expand. If you haven’t had the chance to try an XTrainer, you’ve been missing out. For more information on the 2024 Beta Motorcycles XTrainer, visit www.betausa.com