What you should know about Beta’s
1. Any Beta is already very exclusive, but the 450RR Factory
Edition is even more elite. It gets a long list of upgrades over the
“standard” model, headlined by the Marzocchi cartridge fork, a
special Sachs shock, a lighter frame, a titanium pipe and some
very cool parts. Altogether the parts are said to add $3500 in
value. The price is $800 more than the standard RR. The bad news
is that it brings the total to $9950.
2. What a beautiful motorcycle.
3. Beta is another small Italian maker. Its engineers are emotionally invested in their products. The motor is Beta’s own creation; it’s not a KTM like many people think. There was a short
period where Beta did use KTM motors, but that was years ago.
The 450RR motor is a double-overhead-cam, six-speed, electric-start affair that is just as sophisticated as anything on the market.
The frame is chromoly steel, but looks nothing like KTM’s.
4. The Beta is also EPA approved. It’s green-sticker legal without any funny business. It uses a good old Keihin FCR carb, and it
doesn’t feel at all lean. Its Arrow titanium pipe has a louder bark
than the Honda, Yamaha or KTM, but it’s not at all obnoxious.
5. The motor is fantastic in stock form. It’s the fastest bike in
its class. It has a very broad powerband, and it runs cleanly and
flawlessly. We don’t get it. How could Beta show up and have a
motor this good on almost the second day on the job? It has a six-speed gearbox that has no gaps, all the way up to the highest top
speed in the group. The Factory Edition has another ignition map
available at the flick of a switch, but the difference between the
two curves is subtle.
6. This bike handles quite well at any speed, but it begs to
be ridden fast and hard. The Beta has very quick steering, but
isn’t nervous. It’s very long and narrow, which is good in the fast
stuff, but can be a little intimidating on tight, low-speed trails. At
252 pounds, it isn’t light.
7. Despite its big feel, the Beta has a low seat height. It also
has somewhat low footpegs, so you have to watch your toes in
8. We’re not entirely on board with the upgraded suspension.
Last month, we tested the Beta 498RR with its less-expensive
Sachs fork and shock. We don’t feel that the Factory Edition’s stuff
is significantly better. The fork is good on whoops but harsh on
small bumps, and the rear end is soft, making the bike feel unbalanced. We know that Zip Ty Racing can make the cartridge
Marzocchi fork work as well as anything on earth, but in stock
configuration, the Beta needs some setup attention.
9. All the other Factory Edition parts are awesome. We like
the super-wide footpegs and the carbon skid plate. It also has a
Supersprox dual-compound rear sprocket. The hydraulic clutch
has the easiest pull in the group. Did we say it’s beautiful?
10. Every rider loved the Beta. Even when it came to the price,
test riders nodded approvingly, as if $10,000 was perfectly understandable.
BETA 450RR FACTORY EDITION
The Beta 450RR Factory Edition is an exclusive bike, even among Betas.