Beta will have a four-bike lineup of enduro bikes. There is no 250 model, but the Italians have released a 350 RR, 400 RR, 450 RR and 498 RR.
Big news for this release is the inclusion of the much-anticipated 350 RR. Following the wide success of KTM’s motocross and off-road 350, Beta becomes only the second manufacturer to offer this displacement. Beta actually introduced this bike as a very late 2011 model, but only a handful ever reached customers. Now it’s here and ready for regular distribution alongside its four-stroke siblings. Beta said in a press release that “this is the ultimate single-track motorcycle as its ability to change direction is unmatched while still offering enough torque and power for both play riders and racers. The 350 provides a ‘2-stroke feel’ yet still offers the traction and smooth power delivery of a 4 stroke.”
We’re curious to see if the 350 makes top-end biased power like the KTM machine. Our experience with that bike is that it likes to rev and weighs close to the same as a 450 (though it feels lighter in motion). The Beta uses altered cylinder dimensions, but the rest of the machine is virtually the same as the other RR bikes. For 2012 they all get some upgrades.
The 350, 400, 450 and 498 (previously the 520) are all based off the same platform. Beta used KTM RFS engines up until 2010 and then started using its own engine developed by the Italian company. One of the big features is that it still uses a carburetor. We’ve been testing a 2011 400 RR (watch for full review soon) and can verify that it has never shown as much as a hiccup. The engines get a redesigned cylinder head. The cam chain tensioner is changed to minimize engine noise, as are the valve retainers along with a reinforced camshaft bridge. The engine cam chain receives higher oil volume and the drain plug is revised to simplify oil changes. A stronger cam chain guide, updated counterbalance bearings and a new clutch primary gear and springs help beef up durability and improve clutch action.
All told the engine is just further refined, but the suspension gets a major overhaul. The Marzocchi fork is replaced with a 48mm Sachs fork. Using TFX technology, the Sachs front end was developed exclusively for Beta and it matches a Sachs shock. The fork gets SKF seals and wipers, much like the WP units on the 2012 KTM XC-W Model Lineup. The triple clamp has been changed to accept the new sticks.
The AJP hydraulic clutch is traded out for a Brembo unit. Braking is handled by a new set of contoured rotors and the spark arrestor restricts less exhaust flow. Beta has once again switched back to red bodywork with new front fender support and redesigned headlight assembly. The new color complements one of our favorite features, the red chassis. These are definitely some of the most exotic and beautiful dirt bikes available. We were expecting our 400 RR test bike to show wear on the frame but it held up without only a few chips along the bottom rails. Plastic frame guards do their job above the footpegs. The steel frame itself has large diameter on the lower tubes and extra gusseting for a more rigid chassis.
Watch for the new bikes to be available in August and September. Beta will have limited quantities available on the first shipment so contact a dealer for information and reservations.
2012 Suggested Retail Prices:
350 RR $8599
400 RR $8699
450 RR $8799
498 RR $8899