Since the Beta XTrainer and KTM Freeride were released, we’ve received numerous questions as to how the bikes compare to one another. To begin with, the two bikes don’t fall into the same category, if there is even an official category for either of these bikes to begin with. Because the heavily trial influenced Freeride came out before the XTrainer, the common perception is that the Beta XTrainer is trying to be like a trials bike. The Beta XTrainer is much more a true enduro dirt bike while the KTM Freeride is more closely related to a trials bike. The Beta engine is a detuned two-stroke enduro 300 RR engine, retaining the powervalve, and it’s fed by the same 36mm carb that comes on the full size enduro model. The KTM Freeride engine is based on the company’s two-stroke 250 XC-W with a non-powervalve cylinder which is fed by a small 28mm Keihin carb, creating very easy-to-control power delivery but not a lot of top end. KTM shaved 4.4 pounds off the weight of the 250 XC-W-based engine.
We were able to ride and test both machines in the same place at the same time and while outright off-road beginners didn’t feel a huge difference between the Beta and KTM when riding at slow speeds, the differences between the two became clear as soon as any sort of trail riding began.
The enduro/trail bike character of the Beta really stood out when compared to the shorter wheelbase of the Freeride. This isn’t to say that the Freeride is bad at trail riding, because in certain situations it really shines, especially on more technical single track. The Freeride turns extremely tight, out-cornering the XTrainer and letting the rider navigate technical terrain at slow speeds even easier. The turning radius lets the rider pilot the Freeride like a trials bike, offering ultra-tight circles.
The two chassis are much different and rider position has a different feel. Overall the Beta has a two-inch longer wheelbase, contributing to the more dirt bike feel than trials bike. The XTrainer and Freeride are more twitchy and responsive to steering input than a full sized enduro bike, but are great machines to improve your skills and become a smoother rider. Both bikes are confidence inspiring and we know in short time riders will tackle and clean sections they’d never attempt on an enduro or MX bike.
Both bikes use a six-speed transmission and the Beta transmission stays the same as the full size Beta 300 RR. KTM’s transmission has lower gearing first through fifth, while sixth gear stays the same as the 250 XC-W and is used as a fire road transfer-style gear. Hammering sixth gear speeds on either of these bikes on anything more than a dirt road is pretty gnarly because of the the ultra-soft suspension. The XTrainer offers an inch more travel up front and is able to handle slightly higher speeds than the Freeride, but really high speed shredding isn’t what either of these bikes are designed for. Save that for a full sized enduro bike.
The Freeride engine character is all about torque. It pulls right off the bottom and makes peak power right about the time most two-strokes are getting ready to hit the powerband. To make use of the Freeride’s power requires the rider to really keep rpm low and make use of the wicked torque available. The XTrainer, on the other hand, pulls smoothly to a strong top end. Both experts and novices get along with both power characteristics, they are smooth and easy to use. When it comes to loose terrain hill climbs, the XTrainer definitely has the upper hand thanks to an engine that has tons of torque but still revs out nicely. If traction is abundant and wheel spin isn’t necessary, both bikes climb nicely via torque-abundant engines. The stock tires help point to the intention of the bikes – the XTrainer uses knobbies while the Freeride comes with Maxxis trials tires.
There isn’t a winner between these two bikes, there is a choice. A choice on the type of riding you like to do more, trail riding or trials-like riding. Each bike has strong points and both do certain things better than the other. The KTM Freeride is lighter, a bit smaller and better for trials-type riding. The XTrainer is a better all-around dirt bike, is a bit longer overall and substantially heavier than the Freeride. The overall components on the XTrainer allow it to be ridden harder and faster but add weight. In the end these bikes are great for beginners but have enough performance to offer experienced riders a great time and a chance to explore and conquer terrain possibly not rideable on a regular enduro bike.
Freeride vs. XTrainer Key Points
Beta tips the scales heavier than the KTM but it is also bigger
The KTM is nearly $1000 more expensive
Both have about the same seat height but the KTM has about three more inches of ground clearance
Neither bike has a kickstarter and both use electric start
XTrainer engine mimics an enduro bike while the Freeride is much like a trials engine
Both bikes use hydraulic clutches
The XTrainer uses the same powerful brakes as the full sized 300 RR enduro bike. To save weight the Freeride uses smaller sized calipers and thinner disc rotors, much like what comes on the 85 SX
2015 Beta XTrainer Specs
Engine: Liquid-cooled two-stroke, BPV power valve system
Bore x Stroke: 72 x72mm
Compression Ratio: 11.3:1
Fuel Delivery: Carbureted, Keihin PWK 36mm
Clutch: Wet multi-plate, Brembo hydraulic
Front Suspension: 43 mm Olle USD fork, rebound damping and preload adjustment, 10.6 inch travel
Rear Suspension: Steel body shock with adjustable rebound and compression 10.6 inch travel
Front Brake: 260mm disc, double-piston caliper
Rear Brake: 220mm disc, single-piston caliper
Tires: GoldenTyre, 80/100-21, 120/80-18
Wheelbase: 57.8 inch
Ground Clearance: 12.6 inch
Seat Height: 35.8 inch
Fuel Capacity: 2.25 gallon
Weight: 236 lbs (with fuel)
2015 KTM Freeride Specs
Engine: Single Cylinder, 2-Stroke
Bore x Stroke: 66.4 x 72 mm
Fuel Delivery: Keihin PWK 28mm Carburetor
Clutch: Wet multiplate-disc
Front Suspension: 43mm WP-USD, Closed Cartridge, 9.84 inches of Travel
Rear Suspension: WP-PDS Rear Shock, 10.24 inches of Travel
Front Brake: 260mm disc, Formula Radial Mounted Four Piston Caliper
Rear Brake: 210mm disc, Formula Dual Piston Caliper
Tires: 80/100-21″, 120/80-18″ Maxxis TrailMaxx
Wheelbase: 55.8 in
Ground clearance: 15 in
Seat Height: 36.02 in
Fuel Capacity: 1.85 gallons
Dry Weight: 201.7 pounds