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'90 Beta Zero or '04 Sherpa 250?

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Hi all....I tend to hang in the YZ and KX 2-stroke forums, but am considering getting a trials bike to play on.

I'm mid-50's, and an intermediate trails rider....probably more beginner on MX tracks. I ride a '06 YZ250. Never ridden a trials bike before...but it looks like fun.

I've found two reasonably priced used trials bikes in my area (north of Toronto).

A 1990 Beta Zero 280 for $1500-1700 or so. Looks in very good shape.

The other is a 2004 Sherpa 250 for around $3K (almost double the price), but has lots of new bits on it....recent tires, talon sprocket, new rear mudguard, new graphics, new fork seals, new air filter, rebuilt shock with spare HD shock spring , new grips, Renthal bars, shorty levers, extra practice mud guard, serviced head to toe.

To be honest, the quandry I am in is whether to buy the much

older 1990 Beta Zero 280 for half the price as a beginner/starter bike....or go with the newer '04 Sherpa which is likely to have less issues, better parts availability and better performance, but is definitely a bit over the budget I was considering for a new toy.

My wife wants more landscaping done this year, and that sucks cash big time! She just doesn't seem to understand that a new-to-me trials bike is a a high-priority necessity and not a luxury, even for someone in their mid-50's and a beginner to trials like me. LOL

Any advice/opinions to offer? Pros/Cons of the two bikes? Things to consider for each bike?

Thanks muchly!

Edited by andrzej

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Here's some pics of the two bikes I'm considering:

'04 Sherpa 250:

Sherpa250_2004.jpg

And the '90 Beta Zero 280:

BetaZero_1990-1.jpg

BetaZero_1990-2.jpg

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That's a difficult one.. They both look good in the photos, but then at 10 feet, most OK bikes look good.

I would have to say try each one out.. Start them both... see how they sound at idle and see if they idle on their own. Listen for loose pistons, bearings, etc. Let the bike fully warm up and putt around if you can slowly.. Don't power off until you get used to them, a 280 Trials Bike can dump you on your butt in a hurry.

Then check your emotions.. Forget the price, how do you feel? Does one fit you better? Feels more natural to you? That's the one to start with. Neither are "New" so don't worry about the Sherco being too good.. If the wife squawks, let her know that a Trials Bike is really a two-wheel "Tractor".. You can drag all sorts of stuff around the yard and of course, you'll need some obstacles to practice on, so how about some rockeries? :thumbsup: Want a few Log Borders? :thumbsup::cheers:

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2 ply read my mind...on both counts.

Try em both. I bet you like the newer bike.

Then go to work making a new landscape full of cool and fun stuff to ride your new bike over!!!

Carefull if you are new to trials bikes...the front end is LIGHT compared to enduro/mx bikes!!!!

You will think the clutch is a hair trigger at first...thats by design. 1 finger and you barely need to move it.

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Thanks for the tips 2Ply & sno. Good advice. I've made arrangements to see and try out both bikes...we'll see how it turns out.

As for the landscape/practice obstacles, I started work on an endurocross style obstacle course a few weeks ago. Got some log crossings (6-12" at the moment, but plan to go bigger soon). Laying some tires down horizontally in a 2/3/2 matrix. Digging in some large tractor tires vertically, side by each, endurocross style. Adding some railway ties to practice balance and grinding. I've also got a pine stand and have cleared out a zigzag course, out and back, between the trees which are 5-6' apart. I had a 6' diameter 150 year old maple taken down last fall (that hurt, but it was splitting), so I have some huge chunks to pile up which will make for some nice trials obstacles. Oh....and I've begun discussions with my neighbour who owns the adjacent 20 acres to my 10 to see if I can put in a bit of single track on his land. He keeps his horses on my property in my corral, so I don't forsee a problem!

So the obstacle course is already well under way! LOL

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WOW!!! 30 acres?? If you have any hills on the land, you could ride forever there. We have a 30 acres section of land with three steep hills and tons of trees to work with and there is never any lack of challenges to keep us happy.

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I agree with all the above comments , BUT have one opinion about said bikes, they BOTH seem a bit overpriced to me.. My buddy who just started riding trials recently bought a very nice 2004 Gas Gas 280(with an extra"brand new" rear tire) for $2K, he bought his son a 1994 Beta Zero for $700(needed a little TLC, but solid), and his dad bought a 1998 beta techno for $1350(ready to ride). So if youre not in a HUGE hurry to buy a trials bike, I would shop around a little more. BUT have cash in hand and maybe be willing to travel a bit farther than usual to get "THE" best bike for your buck, just my $.02.... GOOD LUCK IN YOUR SEARCH... Chad:cheers:

Edited by polarity3232

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Prices on older bikes in the US are different from Canada as the the Canadian dollar was at .60 to the US buck back through the mid 2000's and much weaker against the Euro. I think you will find that changing as the the loony is now at a strong 1.05 and much stronger against the Euro than the US buck. Availability of bikes might also come into play. Both bikes are priced right for the Canadian market. The Canadian economy is much stronger than the US right now. Now, a Canadian will have to clear customs plus shipping charges from the US or drive down which is rather expensive now with the gas prices. Just some additional thoughts, it is always advisable to ride the bike before a purchase or don't complain on what you receive. Always check your spare parts source. Local is OK, purchasing on line is expensive and shipping parts from Europe is pricey.

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WOW!!! 30 acres?? If you have any hills on the land, you could ride forever there. We have a 30 acres section of land with three steep hills and tons of trees to work with and there is never any lack of challenges to keep us happy.

I only own 10 acres....but am hoping to get permission to use my neighbour's 20. There are some nice hills....especially on my property right near the border!

I don't really need more single track though, since I'm a hundred yards or so away from one of the Simcoe County Forest tracts, and have a nice 25km loop going one way and the same going the other way, plus lots more if I care to trailer the bike 10-15 minutes. We do have it good up around here for riding spots!

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Prices on older bikes in the US are different from Canada as the the Canadian dollar was at .60 to the US buck back through the mid 2000's and much weaker against the Euro. I think you will find that changing as the the loony is now at a strong 1.05 and much stronger against the Euro than the US buck. Availability of bikes might also come into play. Both bikes are priced right for the Canadian market. The Canadian economy is much stronger than the US right now. Now, a Canadian will have to clear customs plus shipping charges from the US or drive down which is rather expensive now with the gas prices. Just some additional thoughts, it is always advisable to ride the bike before a purchase or don't complain on what you receive. Always check your spare parts source. Local is OK, purchasing on line is expensive and shipping parts from Europe is pricey.

Hi Bob! I was wondering if you hung out on TT and would spot this post of mine! ;-)

I agree with your comments....dirt bikes in Canada go for a fair bit more money than in the USA, even though the dollar is pretty much at par.

See you tomorrow! :thumbsup:

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My apologies for the "overpriced" comment, I did not realize you were "UP THERE" LOL .. if those bikes are failry priced go for the newer one, you wont regret it .. Chad

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I wish I had waited a few weeks. I would have picked up that Sherco instead of the one I got.

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I got tied up with some work-related stuff on Saturday and so wasn't able to spare the 5 hour round trip to see the Sherco. Got a line on a '02 GasGas 280 that might be promising as well. Maybe later this week I'll get a chance to see 'em....in the meantime:

I built a dirt bike teeter totter this evening. Info (and pics to come later this week) can be found on this thread:

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=958049&highlight=

The thread on the building of my obstacle course is here:

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=978691&highlight=

I'll start posting pics of what I've built once it gets a bit futher along....

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...........

Got a line on a '02 GasGas 280 that might be promising as well. Maybe later this week I'll get a chance to see 'em....in the meantime:

......

If it's the Pro Model Gas Gas, you might want to know that it was the first year of production and is generally considered the least desirable of all of the Pro Model years.

If it's the carry over of the 2001 model Gas Gas with the old style engine, it's the old style at the height of it's development... Heavier than the Pro but might last longer and makes a good and forgiving starter bike.

There is a recent thread here where someone wanted to know how to identify the Pro from the Standard for which I offered some close photos that showed.. If I find the thread soon, I'll link it here.

Found the thread:

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=967183

Edited by 2PLY

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couple things...the Thechno is a great bike if it was taken care of, water pump issues, and forks can give you fits, fenders are no longer available, im working on gettting some repros done.

the sherco is a great bike, and as much as i love Beta, a better choice, parts ect,

at 900.00 the Beta is a deal, not at 1500.00.

a newer Rev 3 would be a great bike, turns better, tuff water pump ect...and they run fore ever.

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Here's some pics of the two bikes I'm considering:

'04 Sherpa 250:

Sherpa250_2004.jpg

And the '90 Beta Zero 280:

BetaZero_1990-1.jpg

BetaZero_1990-2.jpg

It's not a deal if you find the bike you bought really isn't what you need and want to buy another bike.

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If it's the Pro Model Gas Gas, you might want to know that it was the first year of production and is generally considered the least desirable of all of the Pro Model years.

If it's the carry over of the 2001 model Gas Gas with the old style engine, it's the old style at the height of it's development... Heavier than the Pro but might last longer and makes a good and forgiving starter bike.

I found and read all your 9and other folks) posts on the '02 Pro Gas Gas (and it is a Pro that I'm looking at) both here on TT and also on Trials Central. There seem to be a few guys that love their '02 Pros (once they fixed the bugs that were inherent in that model year) and prefer the bike to newer ones.

The following has been done to it:

The materials used in the clutch seals in the master cylinder were no good. I had to replace them a few times until I obtained the better material seals. Since then, I have not had any issues in 3 years.

The gear selector material was no good and the engine was sent back to England for a new selector with better material. So far, no issues after 5 years of use.

There was an issue with running through deep water as the water would get onto the air filter. Formed a shield from a plastic bottle. No more water issues. Gas Gas came out with something similar.

Broke 2 kick start levers until figurd out there was a design flaw. Made a modification to the kick start lever bushings, no more issues. In fact, the last time I broke a lever, I bought 2. You can have the 2nd one as my fix did the trick.

Supposedly, it's never been used for more then 4 trials in any given yea and has very low milage.

It sounds like the initial design issues have all been fixed and that the bike is in decent shape. I'm going to take a look this afternoon, since the price is decent and I have reason to believe the bike has been well taken care of.

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.....

Supposedly, it's never been used for more then 4 trials in any given yea and has very low milage.

It sounds like the initial design issues have all been fixed and that the bike is in decent shape. I'm going to take a look this afternoon, since the price is decent and I have reason to believe the bike has been well taken care of.

Those were the major issues... the only other semi-complaints were from Novice riders that were not accustom to the extra power, quick response, lighter flywheel and steeper steering head angle. The model was mellowed out a bit in later years with a little more forgiving steering. But the top local Canadian riders around here preferred the 2002 Steering geometry and actively sought them.

I would be interested in hearing more about his kick-starter modifications.

With those things fixed, it could be a good buy! Without the mods, a person could be in for a $1,000 bill or more to bring things up to date :thumbsup:

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Sounds like its sorted out. Put a 06 clutch spring in (belville washer) and you'll be all set.

I too am interested in this KS bushing fix. Not sure about that one - but you never know. maybe he's onto something great.! :confused:

One look at the bottom of the bike and you will be able to tell how much its been ridden. If the bash plate and dog bones are all beat to hell - its not a "fresh" bike. The cleaner they look the better. Check for frame cracks around the headset/tripple clamps and footpeg area. Make sure it shifts positively into each gear on both upshifts and downshifts. Listen for Piston slap. Check for clutch drag. Have him show you how to Kick start it.

Get a slow throttle if it doesnt have one.

Enjoy! :thumbsup:

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Those were the major issues... the only other semi-complaints were from Novice riders that were not accustom to the extra power, quick response, lighter flywheel and steeper steering head angle. The model was mellowed out a bit in later years with a little more forgiving steering. But the top local Canadian riders around here preferred the 2002 Steering geometry and actively sought them.

I'm a trials virgin, but I ride a YZ250 on dirt otherwise, so am used to a bit of extra power. :confused:

I would be interested in hearing more about his kick-starter modifications.

He put in a different bushing in the kicker from a different bike. One with more "beef" in the shoulders. According to him, the original bushings shoulders were a bit too thin and would break too easily. At some point, if time allows, I'll pull the kicker and take some pics of this alternative bushing. I'll also ping him to see where he sourced the alternative one.

With those things fixed, it could be a good buy! Without the mods, a person could be in for a $1,000 bill or more to bring things up to date :thumbsup:

It looked good, ran well, and he had the receipts for all the repairs (including a complete gear box rebuild in England), so I was satisfied.

The bike is now sitting in my garage! Just need to drain the old gas, clean the carb (since it's sat for a bit and wasn't ridden much recently), put on some new grips (just to "make it mine" with the first customization) and I'll be ready to play this aft or maybe tomorrow!

Good timing since my obstacle course (including the teeter totter) is coming along nicely, so I'll have some easier obstacles to play/practice on.

Thanks for all the advice guys!

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