Dirt Bike Test attended the 2015 Beta US Dealer’s Meeting to learn about the Italian brand’s new models and to swing a leg over a few of them for a quick impression. There was even the surprise announcement of the 300 Xtrainer, a bike–in Beta’s words–to attract new riders to the world of enduro.
We also see the Xtrainer as a way for well-seasoned riders to keep riding. Based off the company’s 300cc two stroke engine with a special shorter delta-box steel frame the considerations were ease of use and a low seat height while still having a quality build. With a claimed weight of under 220-pounds, electric starting and using a 43mm front fork and a dedicated shorter rear shock, the bike is noticeably smaller than the standard dirt bike while still riding on 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels. The Xtrainer on display at the dealer meeting was still an early prototype with some plastic-printed parts, like the gas tank, so it was not to be ridden.
The engine is electric-start only and mated to an electronically controlled oil-injection system that is housed under the seat for simplicity. The power it tuned for smooth torque and the shape of the expansion chamber gives that away clearly. The bike should be available in the spring of 2015 and though a price has not been set we suspect it will be in the $7000 range. The Xtrainer should be a welcome addition to the emerging market of serious playbikes with the likes of the KTM Freeride also coming stateside.
The bike of the day was the 350 RR EFI, Beta’s first attempt away from a carburetor. Always conservative, the company usually waits till a newer concept is well established before introducing it onto their bikes and for 2015 the 350 is the only model to go this direction. There was a long line all day to ride the 350 so we didn’t get a chance to throw a leg over it, but we do have the bike in our possession now for a full test. The word from the dealers who sampled the 350 was all positive.
If there was a bike riders were buzzing about it had to be the 390 RR. One of the mid-sized four-strokes and replacing the 400 RR in name and by way of a slight reduction in stroke, it had an incredibly light feel yet acted very stable in the sandy and loamy conditions while still running like a tractor. A very diverse set of characteristics usually not combined into a single bike. All of the four-strokes have a lot of redesign built into the engines for less weight and a more tuned performance, hence the change of displacements.
And Beta is bringing it with the two-strokes as well. Improvements learned from the 2014 300RR Racing Model have trickled down to all of the 250 and 300cc version this year. Mostly centered around the exhaust port and powervalve control (now with two springs). We found the Racing versions a blast on track or trail with their stiffer suspension settings and really got a kick out of the power delivery on both 250 and 300 versions. Typically the 250cc revs faster and feels a little lighter, but the Beta 300cc bikes feel a lot stronger when the revs start rising.
Another addition to the lineup is the 125 RS. A full-sized playbike with a very tame air-cooled 125cc four-stroke engine powering it, you can barely hear it running and it hardly uses any gas. Power was definitely not the selling point on this unit but for a putt-putt play bike it could fit the bill.
As a smaller brand and with a enthusiastic dealer network, Beta does not want you to forget about their Build Your Own Beta program where you can essentially have a bike custom built for you without having to turn a wrench nor having a set of leftover parts you’ll never use. You can learn about that at: http://www.betausa.com/node/744#
We’re out riding the 350 RR EFI now and will get back with a full test as soon as we’re done…
Heading into the final round of EnduroCross in Ontario, California, Cody Webb held a 13 point lead in the overall points standings. Max Gerston headed into the round in fifth overall in points, just a mere four points ahead of Mike Brown. In Ontario, a course mixed with large rocks, logs, water, tractor tires, and some more technical jumps challenged the racers.
Webb finished second and took the Championship!
In Ontario, Webb stayed consistent like he did all year to finish second and claimed his first Geico EnduroCross Championship aboard his Beta 300 RR. Webb comments, “In the main I started behind Taddy and Colton and didn’t want to battle with them and possibly crash. I was patient and held back the whole race and with a few laps to go, Colton went down handing me second. It was an amazing accomplishment and I can’t thank everyone enough for their support this year. It’s been an incredible four years with Beta USA.”
“Coming into this race I only had a four point lead over Brown for fifth in the series.” says Max Gerston. “It was my goal to maintain fifth in the series and have a strong run for the final race. I qualified straight into the main out of my heat race. I got stuck a couple times in the rocks and ended up 8th which was more than enough to secure my spot for 5th in the series. My 350 RR ran great all year and I am stoked to be with Beta again next year.”
Max Gerston added his Beta to fifth overall in the series!
Alan Stillwell, Team Manager for Beta USA, comments on the season saying, “The season was fantastic, and to end it with a championship and a Top 5 overall is more than a team manager can ask for! I want to thank Beta USA, Cody and Max for an incredible three years together. I will be providing suspension, testing and technical advice to the team next year and I’m excited to be able to watch from the stands at some of these!”
Webb secures the #1 plate!
Credit – Beta press release
Photos – Drew Ruiz