OFF-ROAD TEST BETA
you’ll wonder why he’s getting thrown around so much in
places where you and your Beta can go perfectly straight.
And at the end of the ride, you’ll be amazed how fresh you
feel. Soft suspension is the key to that kind of riding.
Once again, the magic begins to fade as speed increases. If you venture into wide-open spaces or perhaps out
on a motocross track, the Beta is soft enough to keep you
from riding too aggressively. The Sachs suspension components don’t bottom harshly, but you tend to have half of
the travel used up with just hard braking and acceleration.
Handling-wise, it’s perfectly stable at speed, but if you
more typically find yourself riding in fourth, fifth or sixth
gear, you might have to stiffen things up.
If you ride on a track aggressively, you might need to stiffen
the Beta. It’s more at home on the trail.
• Trials-like low-rpm power
• Soft, predictable suspension
• Integrated electric-start motor in cases
• Kick-starter back-up
• Light-pull hydraulic clutch
• High-quality handlebar, levers
• Low rev ceiling
• Overly soft suspension
• Weak headlight
• No handguards
• Euro-spec rear tire
THE REAL MAGIC
Where the Beta really excels is in the details. The
hydraulic clutch has the lightest pull in the off-road world.
The seat can be removed with the push of a button. The
levers, bars, rims and chain are all first-class items, not
just cheap components made for the showroom. The pipe
and silencer are by FMF, and the reed is a Boyesen. It’s as
if most of the highest-quality aftermarket parts are already
on the bike, leaving very little for you to add. Well, you
could add some handguards, but that’s about all.
The price reflects that, of course. The Beta sells for
$8199. It should be even more expensive. The Euro is very
high compared to the dollar. Beta is too small to enjoy
economies of scale and there are no corners cut anywhere, yet the 300RR is around $400 less than a KTM. If
anything could force the two-stroke underground to the
surface, this is it. ❏
Those Italians know how to
make a pretty motorcycle.