Having electric start is like cheating. The starter motor is
hidden inside the cases.
The 2014 Beta 300RR has a few new features in its
second year of production although the engine itself is
unchanged, aside from the addition of an oil-level plug
in the clutch cover. The bike still comes with an electric
starter hidden in the center cases, which is a very, very big
asset. There is also an interesting smattering of American
parts, like a Moto Tassinari reed and an FMF pipe and
silencer. The Sachs fork and shock have received mechanical changes, as well as different valving. The rear end gets
a stiffer spring, and the frame is new. None of the dimensions have changed, but most of the gusseting has been
rethought to relieve stress.
One of the most welcome changes is increased fuel
capacity. We don’t know why it became acceptable to give
off-road bikes such tiny tanks in the first place, but it’s
good to see someone resisting the trend. The 300RR now
has a 2.5-gallon tank, which is enough to at least crack 40
miles without worry. The 2014 versions get the sexy red
color scheme that appeared on the Factory Editions last
year, as well as a reshaped front fender.
The ripples from last year’s release of this bike are still
lapping at the shores of the dirt bike world. There’s a diehard two-stroke underground that had been waiting for
something new for a long time, and the Beta was everything they hoped for. The engineers were smart enough to
aim the bike right at its fan base. It’s a trail bike, and it’s
very good at its assigned mission. The tighter, twistier and
more difficult the trail, the better. The motor works very
well at low rpm. It makes good torque. It runs cleanly, and
it never, ever does that four-stroke cough-and-die thing.
Another significant advantage to two-strokes in general,
and the Beta 300 in particular, is agility. This isn’t just a
matter of having a smaller, lighter engine. It has something
NOVEMBER 2013 / DIRT BIKE 55
This is the second year of the 300RR, and
already it’s gathered a cult following of its own.
to do with rotating mass. A motor is like a big gyroscope
that doesn’t like deviating from its position in space. The
Beta motor is just less like a gyro, and that results in a sensation of lightness that goes far beyond the bike’s weight
on a scale. The 300 weighs 237 pounds without fuel, but
it feels more like a mini bike. That means you can muscle
it around in close quarters where a 450 four-stroke would
seem like a buffalo with handlebars. The suspension is
designed for the same kind of terrain. It’s soft at both ends,
which is perfect for rocks and anything you might encounter on a really difficult, slow-speed ride.