Beta Alp 4.0

A collection of information as it arises. There's not a lot out there!

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?

  • 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.

    3 Comments:

    At 2:22 pm, Blogger Maria said...

    For my height and my dream / world travel, dual purpose, I come to the Beta Alp 4.0.
    I will definitely look into a 2nd hand because I have to import. So then half years old and driven less than 6000 kilometers. Are you also happy with that machine?

     
    At 5:29 pm, Blogger Adrian said...

    6 months old is good, 6000km might not be. What is the condition? 6000 road km is not a lot if it has had oil changes, but if there is a lot of off-road then it could be worn-out.

    For world travel the Beta doesn't have large tank etc and might need a lot of adapting. It is a lot lower than say the DR350 which is a good thing. What about a WR250R - it is not so low but it is a Yamaha and has very long service intervals.

     
    At 2:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I had the chance to ride a rental 4.0 for a day on Gran Canaria island roads and I must say that I had the time of my life. 12 hours of turns, turns and more turns. The bike was so easy to handle and I felt so save on it. All fun - no worries. Considering it for tough off-road use I'd hesitate as the plastics seem brittle and of course the weight is an issue. But wait, the DR350 weighs the same and has been a preferred off-road bike.
    To me, the 4.0 is a top candidate for an easy to maintain, low cost-of-ownership street bike for day-trips on back-country roads and occasional trailing off-road. Seems very suitable for women as alternative to heavier naked street-bikes.

    Btw, no modern bike gives you the long service-intervals of those old-school air-cooled 4-strokers.

     

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