Having tested and reviewed the Beta Enduro range back in June this year, when I was asked if I was available to test the 2019 Beta Evo Trials range it was a very straight forward YES.
We swapped Tuscan hospitality, dusty warm conditions and an idyllic Italian retreat used for the Enduro test, for the trials Mecca of North Yorkshire, the home of UK trials. A cold damp day greeted us high up on the Hills above Skipton. Beta UK Importer John Lampkin had three standard bikes ready for us to test.
Beta have five capacity options, 125, 200,250,300, and their 300cc 4 stroke. This test focused on the 125, 250 and 300 two-strokes. First up the 125cc, the test venue had lots of fairly grippy rocks to put the Evo range through its paces. 125cc bikes have progressed in recent years.
The Beta Evo 125 is certainly at the forefront of development, offering a nice crisp engine which can ridden very easily by Youth riders, absolute beginners and gentleman of the over 50 range who want a steady emotion free ride.
The Beta Evo 125 has a surprising amount of flywheel effect, by that I mean when you do close the throttle the bike doesn’t suddenly dive or grind to a halt, much like its larger capacity stable mates it can be ridden old school on the throttle looking for a sweet line, or it can be hopped from rock to rock on the back wheel for the younger generation using modern trials techniques.
The 125 was crisp and carbureted well considering the damp conditions. On one section a line of four large boulders to ride across, it surprised me that even with my 90kg frame, it still managing to pull second gear on a relatively slow section.
Gear ratios are spaced very well and as usual the bike is what it is a 125cc full size bike. The 125 is not a replacement for a larger capacity bike, but one which should certainly be ridden before ruling out of machine choice for lots of riders.
Onto the 250 and a slight change of test area, I wanted to see why so many people are opting for the 250 over higher capacity machines. John Lampkin explained to us that ALL Beta trials bikes imported into the UK, though Beta UK have their own UK DNA. That is a much softer more manageable power delivery designed to suit the UK ground conditions.
Beta is totally focused on probably the most important aspect of trials with all their trials machines, GRIP. Very logical when the UK has such very different ground conditions to where most bikes are developed and tested on in Europe.
John always insists on this spec from what the rest of Europe buy simply because it suits the UK riders. Now I think I speak for most riders when I say, apart from setting handlebars and levers and a few stickers, maybe some bling, there’s no reason why a standard bike shouldn’t be ready to ride out of the Box. Beta UK have exactly that in their 250.
The power is exactly what is required from a stock 250, the revised 2019 CDI mapping gives you only what you ask for with the throttle, and nothing more, no hidden agenda, no surprises, just a nice quiet linear power delivery. The relationship between the footpegs and handlebars is comfortable, and should suit pretty much any rider.
I always roll the bars back in the clamps, as I like a slow steering bike. Around 7mm rolled back and levers set, left me with a bike that was very easy to stop and balance at any point. I see lots of riders struggling for grip in trials, with handlebars sat almost on the front mudguard! Try moving your bars back a little, you may be surprised how different a bike feels!
Across uneven rocks the bike followed the line with ease. Steering is predictable and neutral in its feel. I did note that small corrections on the steering had a great effect allowing me to hold a line with ease. Most modern riders flick, hop, and jump if they get off line, my old method of using a trials whip is to allow the bike to do the work so the rider can stay relaxed.
I never once found myself out of breath during the Beta test, which is due largely to the way the Beta is designed to ride. The old myth that Beta has two much steering lock never even entered into the test, on steep drops the bike felt safe, and when required a fist full of gas sees the bike drive up anything.
Lastly the 300 had me thinking if the 250 can be so easy to ride, what more can the 300 have to offer? Well I am a self confessed lover of 300 trials bikes, they suit my riding style perfectly as I love to “feel” what the rear wheel is doing with every turn. The 300 has a calming effect on anything you feel you need to attack.
Capable of pulling third, and even fourth gear with ease, means the old saying “no substitute for cc’s” is absolutely correct. I know Beta Factory rider James Dabill regularly uses fourth gear to ensure his bike gives him maximum grip and drive under load on big sections.
I ventured down a steep hillside to see what the 300 had to offer. A loose, loamy off-camber snotty hill climb was a perfect test for the big un. I had mixed results in every gear from second to fourth, but what was apparent was the drive and traction available from low RPM to full chat on the climb.
I have no doubt the 250 could have done the same section with more or less the same outcome, but the 300 did make my job much easier. Riding up and over larger rocks the 300 makes it easy; it produces heaps of grunt that (if) you are feet up and rolling you’ll struggle to need a dab. Just before the end of the test I did my own general steep climb test.
A steep climb with a one-line slot offering not a great deal of grip that can catch you out. At the bottom was an awkward rock that sapped any momentum. If you are confident to keep your feet welded on the pegs the 300 Evo won’t fail to give you the best chance of success. This section proved how good the Sachs rear shock performed.
The 2019 shock updates give more grip by way of different piston and geometry, this allows for rider errors to be less costly. On approach one thump into the rock, without preloading left me with no nasty kick or deviation in line as I climbed to the top feet up.
To sum up the build quality of the Beta Evo range is and always has been top notch. The components used are the very best for trials. Input from Factory riders helps the Tuscan engineers to build better and more advanced bikes every year.
The 2019 Beta Evo UK Spec range is once again a serious contender for any potential customer. As always I would encourage any rider to test ride before they buy, the feeling you get on a new bike has to be right.
A few small adjustments allowed me to feel completely comfortable within minutes, which in turn let me thoroughly enjoy riding the Beta 2019 Evo range. Grip levels and overall machine stability were the key areas where the Beta range impressed me.