resemblance to the powerplant in the Spanish-built Gas
Gas, mostly due to its perfectly upright cylinder placement with the large chamber on the left side. This is part
of the powervalve mechanism, which is run by a traditional ball-ramp mechanism. The actuation of the power
valve, by the way, is easily adjustable and requires no
additional parts, springs or spacers.
Beta uses die-cast cases to hold a six-speed transmission and a case-reed motor. It’s fed by a 36mm Keihin
carb through a Moto Tassinari V-Force 4 reed, and the
exhaust is carried out through an FMF pipe and silencer.
Even though this is a new motor, it houses no new technology, like electronic power valves or fuel injection. At its
core, Beta is a very conservative company, even shying
away from EFI on its four-strokes. That’s probably a good
thing. There’s nothing experimental on this bike. All the
designs are established, and all the components are at
the peak of their evolution. The one thing that is somewhat innovative is the placement of the electric starter. It’s
under the motor and invisibly incorporated into the cases,
not glued on the side like an afterthought.
Around the motor is essentially the same chassis that
Beta uses to house its four-stroke enduro bikes. Again,
this is a good thing. Everyone likes the way Beta’s four-
strokes handle, and the new version of the steel frame is
said to be 2 pounds lighter this year. The rear suspension
uses linkage with a very high-tech-looking aluminum
swingarm. Our test bike came with a Sachs shock and a
Sachs fork. The brakes are Nissin, the bars are oversize,
and the ignition is a Kokusan. It actually has a working
headlight, which is very unusual these days. Like all two-
strokes, the Beta is imported as a closed-course competi-
tion vehicle because it can’t meet the emissions standards
to be classified as an off-road bike. Bigger companies
don’t like putting a headlight on a two-stroke because it
calls attention to the fact that it might be used off-road—
and the less government attention the better.
Beta put it all together in a reasonably light package. On
our scale, the bike weighed 237 pounds without fuel.
That’s within a few pounds of the KTM 250XCW and much
lighter than the Gas Gas.
BUT HOW DOES IT RUN?
We’re stunned. The Beta 250 seems like a super-refined
machine that has had years of development, not some
first-year bike from the Italian cottage industry. The Beta
runs clean from the bottom without any coughing, burping
or even a hint of detonation. It took KTM about 30 years of
building two-stroke enduro bikes before they got this good.
There are absolutely no jetting issues, and the powerband
is as sweet as they come.
Sachs suspension components
are used on both ends. The ride is
soft and cushy. BETA