[Beta]

Beta’s X-Trainer: Proof that Power Ain’t Everything

1 year ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Beta Motorcycles Australia

The 2021 enduro model pricing table that we published a couple of weeks back highlighted quite a few very interesting things – the Beta column in particular. First, it reminded us that Beta remains the only manufacturer to produce a lower, rider-friendly, ‘de-tuned’ version of their hardnosed enduro machine – it’s called the X-Trainer 300. And second, while we’re speaking about the Italian manufacturer, Beta now offers a whopping 16 enduro models across their ‘RR’ and up-specced ‘RR Racing’ enduro ranges (that’s not counting the X-Trainer). To put that in context, KTM ‘only’ has 12 enduro models for 2021 (okay, 14 if you count their ErzbergRodeo and WESS special editions, and 19 if you add in their cross-country hybrids).

All of which makes it even more significant that Beta’s X-Trainer 300 has recently overtaken its full-blown enduro cousin, the RR300, as Beta Australia’s biggest selling bike. In actual fact, given that 300cc two-strokes are the biggest selling models – in Oz and many other markets around the world – for five manufacturers (Beta, KTM, Husqvarna, Sherco and GasGas), it begs the question: why on earth don’t these other brands produce one? Admittedly, GasGas did produce an ECRanger in 250 and 300cc versions and the Pampera 400cc four-stroke. But the Pampera was discontinued years ago, while the ECRanger disappeared when GasGas was absorbed into the KTM Group fold.

“For someone who doesn’t want or need an enduro bike that’s as seriously equipped as our RR models, the X-Trainer is an obvious, cost-effective choice.”

Last year, along with its enduro (RR model) cousins, Beta’s X-Trainer came in for a complete revamp, receiving a counter-balanced engine, updates to the bodywork and chassis, a lower seat height, oil injection, and a host of other changes. For 2021, it only got a fresh set of graphics. But seeing as the X-Trainer has now taken over as Beta’s biggest-selling model in Australia – and remains the only bike of its type in the segment – we thought it would be interesting to speak with Beta Australia’s Managing Director, Patrick Lowry, to get more of an insight into who’s buying the X-Trainer and why.

TM: Beta says the X-Trainer is not aimed only at inexperienced riders. They claim, “It’s an entry-level off-road bike that appeals to many different riding abilities, including new off-road riders who like to ride trails, as well as more experienced riders for extreme terrain.” Do you subscribe to HQ’s view about that sort of versatility?
PL: Yes, for sure. The bike suits a wide spectrum of riders with varying levels of ability.

In your experience, what gives the model that versatility and broad consumer appeal?
I think a combination of a number of things, including low seat height, light weight (98kg) smooth and useable power without being intimidating, oil injection (no fuel mixing), and ADR approval at a very affordable price.

“The X-Trainer is not simply a de-tuned RR300; it’s a completely different and specific bike. It’s something Beta has put a lot of effort into, and they’ve done a great job leveraging their trial-bike heritage with it too.”

A 300cc two-stroke enduro bike is now several brands’ biggest seller. So how come no one else makes a ‘de-tuned’ version to go up against Beta’s X-Trainer?
I can’t speak for other brands, but this is not simply a de-tuned RR300; it’s a completely different and specific bike. It’s something Beta has put a lot of effort into, and they’ve done a great job leveraging their trial-bike heritage with it too.

Do X-Trainer customers see it as a ‘stepping-stone’ model? Does it help bring riders into the Beta fold?
We know that the customers who buy the X-Trainer are generally older and/or getting back into bikes. And a lot of women also buy them. Yes, I think the model does help introduce Beta to consumers, but there’s definitely good demand for this enduro bike segment in its own right. For someone who doesn’t want or need an enduro bike that’s as seriously equipped as our RR models, the X-Trainer is an obvious, cost-effective choice.

Do all Beta dealers in Australia stock the X-Trainer 300?
In normal times … yes, most of our dealers stock the X-Trainer. However, demand at the moment is sky high. Our current wait time for X-Trainer supply is two to three months, even for retail orders. We hope to get back on top of the supply with some available stock in the first months of 2021.

Given the model’s success, is there room for another capacity in the X-Trainer, such as a 200cc?
The factory does also produce a 250cc version. At the moment, I don’t think other capacities are needed.

What about a four-stroke version of the X-Trainer?
Nothing planned to my knowledge and a four-stroke engine is not really what this bike and is designed for.

If an X-Trainer owner wants to adapt/modify the bike to suit more traditional enduro riding (faster stuff, grasstrack, etc), what options are available to do that? The bike’s comfort zone is more singletrack and technical terrain. Faster stuff is not really what the bike is designed for. Of course, you can buy plenty of accessories to make it handle this kind of terrain, but you would likely be better to just buy a RR300 straight up.

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