For the first time in the history of the Motorcycle USA Best Of Awards, small Italian dirt manufacturer Beta gets its day in the sun. Back in February in our 2012 450 Enduro Shootout
, the 2012 Beta 450 RR took the win over its Japanese and Austrian competition, and it impressed us enough to earn the nod for Best Enduro Bike of 2012. A true David vs. Goliath situation, the 450 RR was actually one of the easiest choices this year, a testament to its performance.
Our staff spent several days abusing the 450 RR, along with its competition, in the high desert of Western Arizona, and the Beta was always the most in-demand no matter the situation. Its comfortable layout and excellent components were only challenged by the KTM 450 XC-W, but not a single machine held a candle in the looks department. The bright red plastic and red frame oozes sexiness and tells you the 450 RR is something special.
Riding it only further confirms that sentiment, performing at the top of the list in every single category except one during our comparison test. We praised it for the compliant and planted Sachs suspension, marveled at its agility in the rocks and were
surprised by its stability when the throttle was pinned wide open. It’s obvious that some of Beta’s trials bike DNA is present in the 450 RR, as it would find traction when the rest couldn’t.
It is also worth noting the success of Beta’s trials star and off-road racer Cody Webb this year in Endurocross
on a 350 RR, which is the same basic bike with just a smaller engine. Webb finished second overall in the Pro class for 2012, challenging the seemingly unbeatable Taddy Blazusiak on several occasions. An impressive feat considering the massive factory effort that KTM puts forth. Additionally Max Gertson took the Jr. Class Championship in the same series on a Beta.
With the win in our 2012 450 Enduro Shootout and the success Beta has been having with Cody Webb in the saddle, the 2012 Beta 450 RR is the Enduro Bike of the Year.