Change your scenery
SOME bikes create dilemmas. And this is one of them. You know you’re just nipping across town, so you put on your best trainers, polish your black visor and leave on your best going-out jeans. After all, you’re just nipping across town.
But before you know it, this mongrel cross of trials bike and trail bike has you scanning the surroundings for the merest mention of muckiness. School recs, wasteground or the local park acquire magnetic properties. You soon find yourself hacking down the nearest green lane or splashing through the local ford. You’re still in your best trainers and jeans, now spattered in mud, but somehow you don’t care.
That’s the appeal of this new Beta Alp 200. It’s a trials bike transformed into a trail bike by the addition of a bigger fuel tank and a proper seat. Yet it still feels like a pedigree cliff-scaling competition machine, with its proper soft-as-you-like Michelin trials tyres and a weight of only 107kg. With a four-stroke 200cc engine nicked from the Suzuki DR200 it only makes 12bhp, but somehow this slow has never been such a laugh. There’s also a new 125 that costs £2850.
Crack the starter button and you’re flat-out before you know it, brapping through the ratios like you used to on your six-speed ped. The rear sprocket gives the game away. This bike is designed to climb.
Flat-out it will hit around 60mph and at that speed it’s vibey and moves around on its blocky trials tyres. But that’s not what it’s about. As soon as you’re on the road you find yourself standing up trials-style with your knees next to the bars. There is a seat, unlike a pukka trials bike, but it’s still so low you can barely see through a car’s rear window. So you stand up and get bizarre looks from every direction.
In town, its outrageous steering lock and long travel suspension make it fun for a spot of pothole dodging on the commuter run. But out of town is where it’s in its element. It will let you ride through rivers, up grass banks and hare down green lanes.
Just make sure you’ve got the right kit or you’ll be wrecking your best strides before you know it...
BETA ALP 200
Availability: Bavanar: 0208-665-9994
Engine: 199cc four-stroke single
Weight: 107kg (235lb)
Standing 1/4-mile time/terminal speed (est): 23s, 61mph
Top speed (est): 61 mph
Average mpg/tank capacity/range: 48mpg, 6.5 litres, 70 miles