Beta Alp 4.0: A tough decision

18 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Beta Alp 4.0: A tough decision
Beta Alp 4.0

Monday, June 04, 2007

A tough decision

A reader of this blog has asked me what I believed the other options are instead of a Beta Alp 4.0. Of course there are a myriad trail bikes to choose from but I’ll give an outline of the decision process I went through.

To begin with, where are you starting from? I had a well-loved Yamaha Serow and a much maligned MotoMorini Kanguro. Both are old designs and not sophisticated. The Serow is tiny and very easy to handle and is well known to be better than the sum of its parts.

However mine was showing its age, was painfully slow on long journeys and finally I was bored with it. The Kanguro is just an indifferent machine, hard work and best ignored for the rest of this post!

So to improve on the Serow I wanted something that was still easy to handle but with a little more grunt for both on and off tarmac, so perhaps a modern DOHC 250 or an old-school 350. A bit newer so that parts weren’t worn out but perhaps something with a little quirk to stem the orange tide. Naturally it had to be electric start and also affordable.

Let’s think of a quick list.

DR350, all old and many possibly worn out.

DR400Z, a good possibility, a number of add-ons available, a bit tall for trials?

XR400, supposedly an excellent machine, lots of add-ons, not electric start unless you spend lots on an upgrade

KTMs, all excellent, light competition machines but owners seem to dislike the service schedules, a bit of a cliche?

New Serow, a 250cc now, but not quite as well thought out as the venerable XT225

TTR250, a possibility, a bit more umph, nearly all grey imports, a bit tall?


Beta Alp 4.0

Alp 200, excellent LDT machine, poor finish, lack of power and road speed

Alp 4.0, heavy, mediocre build quality, few add-ons, dubious spares, costly new

Husaberg/Husquavana, like KTMs only more so?

I’d seen a review of the Alp 4.0 in TBM which was fairly favourable. They specifically commented on excellent road manners and good low speed control but that conversely the suspension couldn’t cope with high speed use. The DR350 engine is well respected and importantly means that engine-related parts can be obtained from your local Japanese dealer.

I watched eBay for a few weeks and a 4.0 appeared with low mileage, no off-tarmac use and at a significant reduction in price from new. So fate put me in that direction.

To date I feel the biggest problems with the Alp 4.0 are its excessive weight and very average suspension. However it is a difficult compromise between a machine that will do hundreds of kilometres per day on tarmac and one which will climb up a muddy bank when requested.

I don’t think I’d pay new price for an Alp 4.0 as due to their unpopularity and lack of ‘credability’ resale values are modest.

Beta Alp 4.0

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