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350 On-road Capabilities?

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I am looking into downsizing from my RS500 and was wondering what everyone's experience has been riding on the road with the 350?  Around town any bike would be great.  What about sustained speeds of 55-60 mph?  The 500 is an awesome bike, but eventually it becomes a bear on the trails.  Financially I can only have 1 bike and want something that feels lighter on the trail but also can do shorter day trips and just commute to work and back (20 miles a day).  I am not worried about wanting more power because I'll never be a good enough rider to actually exceed the potential of any bike.  I have read a lot about the 390, but info on the 350 for dual sporting is less trending.  I know the Husky guys love the FE350S, thus I would think the RR-S350 would get the same sentiment.  Any insight or experiences whether positive or negative would be appreciative.  Thanks.

 

Ben      

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It's definitely capable, but also not in it's sweet spot being used as a commuter doing long stretches at high speeds.  Face it, it's a race bike with a plate.  

My 390 I have ridden as a "dual sport" twice, and while it works for short high speed road sections, it most definitely not designed to do it.  It's a fantastic woods bike and great on gravel to connect trails, but I would never consider it to commute. 

I too have gone back and forth on the 1 bike to do it all problem.  Ultimately, it's a compromise and we all know that its better to have a bike being used for it's intended purpose.

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I have 15/41 gearing on my 498 and love it. You just have to learn to use proper gear selection. I was doing a little experimenting and 1st gear is actually usable now. If you are just using your 350 for transfer sections then 14/48 should be near perfect. 

FWIW the 15/41 I'm using is for really long sections of pavement to get to the good stuff. My bike is plated so I ride it to the riding areas. Some guys feel they need to put their plated bikes in a truck. Not me! I got my bike to ride. 200-300 miles of slab is nothing. With a good set of Big Block tires I can go pretty much anywhere. The only downside is having to drop the pressure when hitting the dirt and airing back up for the ride home. I decided to get the 41 rear after doing a recent 850 mile Death Valley loop with 15/45. At 80mph my hands would go numb at the start of the ride and continue for the first few hundred miles.

IMG_2617.jpg.22d1700ad2209cafb6264088961e93f5.jpg

The Big Blocks continue to amaze me!! They are the very best "compromise tire" that can do everything from deep sand, rocks, single track, ruts and pavement. I'm on my 2nd set. The front and rear were replaced at about 2000-2500 miles. The only riding adjustment you have to make is when hitting loose hardpack corners. Not a good tire for stuffing it into the corners.

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, ballisticexchris said:

I have 15/41 gearing on my 498 and love it. You just have to learn to use proper gear selection. I was doing a little experimenting and 1st gear is actually usable now. If you are just using your 350 for transfer sections then 14/48 should be near perfect. 

FWIW the 15/41 I'm using is for really long sections of pavement to get to the good stuff. My bike is plated so I ride it to the riding areas. Some guys feel they need to put their plated bikes in a truck. Not me! I got my bike to ride. 200-300 miles of slab is nothing. With a good set of Big Block tires I can go pretty much anywhere. The only downside is having to drop the pressure when hitting the dirt and airing back up for the ride home. I decided to get the 41 rear after doing a recent 850 mile Death Valley loop with 15/45. At 80mph my hands would go numb at the start of the ride and continue for the first few hundred miles.

IMG_2617.jpg.22d1700ad2209cafb6264088961e93f5.jpg

The Big Blocks continue to amaze me!! They are the very best "compromise tire" that can do everything from deep sand, rocks, single track, ruts and pavement. I'm on my 2nd set. The front and rear were replaced at about 2000-2500 miles. The only riding adjustment you have to make is when hitting loose hardpack corners. Not a good tire for stuffing it into the corners.

 

 

 

Did you ride from your house to death valley and back? If you did, that's really cool, and it must have been alot of fun.

:thumbsup:

 

Edited by surfer-dude

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2 minutes ago, surfer-dude said:

Did you ride from your house to death valley and back? If you did, that's really cool, and it must have been alot of fun.

:thumbsup:

 

Yes and it was a blast! Unfortunately I was not prepared for the cold. I had fun but my hands and core froze during the trip. Only problem my Beta had was losing one exhaust heat shield bolt. Some of the european guys were laughing at my Beta at the fuel islands in Panamint Valley. They were on huge 20,000.00 BMW's.

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6 hours ago, RudderFeet said:

My 350 is perfectly happy on country roads up to 65.  It'll do 75+ but I have it geared down one tooth on the front for better handling in the trails.

Thanks for the input.  Yeah realistically 65 is probably the top speed I would be pushing.  Here in the Napa area it is windy almost all of the time so getting up above 65 gets you pushed around to the point where the wobbles can start to occur, which is a bit un-nerving.  Normally I just cruise between 55-65.   

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2 hours ago, ballisticexchris said:

I have 15/41 gearing on my 498 and love it. You just have to learn to use proper gear selection. I was doing a little experimenting and 1st gear is actually usable now. If you are just using your 350 for transfer sections then 14/48 should be near perfect. 

FWIW the 15/41 I'm using is for really long sections of pavement to get to the good stuff. My bike is plated so I ride it to the riding areas. Some guys feel they need to put their plated bikes in a truck. Not me! I got my bike to ride. 200-300 miles of slab is nothing. With a good set of Big Block tires I can go pretty much anywhere. The only downside is having to drop the pressure when hitting the dirt and airing back up for the ride home. I decided to get the 41 rear after doing a recent 850 mile Death Valley loop with 15/45. At 80mph my hands would go numb at the start of the ride and continue for the first few hundred miles.

IMG_2617.jpg.22d1700ad2209cafb6264088961e93f5.jpg

The Big Blocks continue to amaze me!! They are the very best "compromise tire" that can do everything from deep sand, rocks, single track, ruts and pavement. I'm on my 2nd set. The front and rear were replaced at about 2000-2500 miles. The only riding adjustment you have to make is when hitting loose hardpack corners. Not a good tire for stuffing it into the corners.

 

 

 

I agree with you all the way.  I recently did a 200 miles day all on pavement for the first time on my RS500 and the bike performed exceptionally.  If I was looking to do some light adventure riding I'd just stay put with my current bike.  But realistically, i just am looking for a bike that still can provide solid short road rides as well as easier all day riding off trail.  If there were Beta demo days, I wouldn't even have to pose the question or asked for other's experiences.  Unfortunately, the minute you buy it, you better like it or you better have deep pockets.  Thanks for the info.

 

Ben  

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You would have to change the gearing I run 13/51 at that speed its pretty busy. Never tried taller gearing there is already a gap from 2nd to 3rd although I use it for single track. 

 

MM 

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Having a 350 rr and a 525 Beta I see both are great bikes.. but you talking about higher road sustained speeds? The 350 can gearing up but coming from your big bore I'd figure anyone including you  will be disappointed. I'm guessing of course. Everyone has a different take on this rotating mass concept regarding small and big bore. I'm guessing go to a 390 or 430 if doing road work much..I mean the 350 is good but to get rid of a big bore Beta to go to a 350?? I wouldn't. Of course I'm not like a bunch here. I love my 525 in tighter trail and open riding. I think the big bore Beta is the way to go besides the 2 stroke 300 rr . 

Im wondering also what could be done to maybe make your bike work better for you..What have you done to your bike so far? What year is it?  Maybe some tuning or mods might be a better approach.

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The advantage of the 390 is you get the lower revving motor and the light rotating mass combination.  

With 13/48 on my 390, I ride the tightest gnarly woods and find it to be perfect with no gaps. It will do 60 without wringing it out. 

It's just not a great bike for long stretches of hwy use in my book. But, no true dirt bike is.  It's definitely capable of connecting trails and even a 20-30 mile stint wouldn't be the end of the world. 

I seriously considered the 500, but so glad I settled on the 390. If I were doing gravel or 2-track riding predominantly or even flowing woods with minimal really gnarly terrain, I think the 500 would be great. But, for 1st-3rd gear woods, the 390 rocks! 

Edited by firffighter

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34 minutes ago, hawaiidirtrider said:

Having a 350 rr and a 525 Beta I see both are great bikes.. but you talking about higher road sustained speeds? The 350 can gearing up but coming from your big bore I'd figure anyone including you  will be disappointed. I'm guessing of course. Everyone has a different take on this rotating mass concept regarding small and big bore. I'm guessing go to a 390 or 430 if doing road work much..I mean the 350 is good but to get rid of a big bore Beta to go to a 350?? I wouldn't. Of course I'm not like a bunch here. I love my 525 in tighter trail and open riding. I think the big bore Beta is the way to go besides the 2 stroke 300 rr . 

Im wondering also what could be done to maybe make your bike work better for you..What have you done to your bike so far? What year is it?  Maybe some tuning or mods might be a better approach.

I mean ideally having two bikes would be great, but financially it is not justifiable.  I understand that my 500 will not be matched in on-road capabilities of any of the other Betas, but that is not what I am out for.  I am not at all saying my RS500 is a poor bike, it is exceptional in pretty much every category, just wondering if one of the smaller bore Betas might be a better fit for me.  I was hoping someone would say that a 350 will do the job for a commuter to work and back, while also providing a lighter feeling bike off-road.  Maybe I am just chasing unicorns.  

Tuning and mods are a road I'm not sure I want to go down.  I have the basics in terms of larger tank and protection items.  I've looked into the G2 throttle tamer, but since my 15 RS500 still has the carb, the hit down low is almost nonexistent, which is obviously good for lugging.  If you have any suggestions that won't break the bank it would be appreciated.  

I am sure someone is thinking, just get stronger or fitter.  I think and practice those topics everyday, so I am not worried about those.     

 

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40 minutes ago, firffighter said:

The advantage of the 390 is you get the lower revving motor and the light rotating mass combination.  

With 13/48 on my 390, I ride the tightest gnarly woods and find it to be perfect with no gaps. It will do 60 without wringing it out. 

It's just not a great bike for long stretches of hwy use in my book. But, no true dirt bike is.  It's definitely capable of connecting trails and even a 20-30 mile stint wouldn't be the end of the world. 

I seriously considered the 500, but so glad I settled on the 390. If I were doing gravel or 2-track riding predominantly or even flowing woods with minimal really gnarly terrain, I think the 500 would be great. But, for 1st-3rd gear woods, the 390 rocks! 

Good to hear.  The 390 was something I was very interested in when I bought my RS500, but due to strict CA regulations, getting it street legalized at the time would have been impossible.  In 2015, the options were the 430 and 500.  The dealer had leftovers of both, but he steered me towards the 500.  Like mentioned earlier, it has been an awesome bike.  There are just times when you realize how much power it is producing.  The "rotating mass" is interesting because all of the Betas are so close in terms of weight, but each have been stated to feel different and contain their own personalities.  I just want to better understand from the average riders point of view.  It's great to see Max Gerston or Steve Holcombe ripping, but I am far from that and really have no application for their comments.  

Maybe I am just getting the itch to move onto something new and see what one of the other Beta 4 strokes is about.  Either way, I'll make a choice and then go with it.  I'm sure I'll be really happy regardless!

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13 minutes ago, VTMTcowboy said:

I mean ideally having two bikes would be great, but financially it is not justifiable.  I understand that my 500 will not be matched in on-road capabilities of any of the other Betas, but that is not what I am out for.  I am not at all saying my RS500 is a poor bike, it is exceptional in pretty much every category, just wondering if one of the smaller bore Betas might be a better fit for me.  I was hoping someone would say that a 350 will do the job for a commuter to work and back, while also providing a lighter feeling bike off-road.  Maybe I am just chasing unicorns.  

Tuning and mods are a road I'm not sure I want to go down.  I have the basics in terms of larger tank and protection items.  I've looked into the G2 throttle tamer, but since my 15 RS500 still has the carb, the hit down low is almost nonexistent, which is obviously good for lugging.  If you have any suggestions that won't break the bank it would be appreciated.  

I am sure someone is thinking, just get stronger or fitter.  I think and practice those topics everyday, so I am not worried about those.     

 

I rode a '07 KTM 525exc for a season here in the NW.  It really was great for most of the woods riding and I actually got along with the big girl quite well. It was great for the hwy dual sport days as well. 

But, it's no comparison to my 390. The 390 is night and day better in the woods.  It's lighter and nimble, yet planted at the same time. The motor lugs very well.  It doesn't have the grunt of the 525, but it's not a revy motor. It's good on the dual sport days, but just not as good as the 525. 

The 525 at local enduro: 

 

I'm sure you'd be happy with a 390, but your 500 is a solid performer as well. 

Edited by firffighter

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16 minutes ago, firffighter said:

I rode a '07 KTM 525exc for a season here in the NW.  It really was great for most of the woods riding and I actually got along with the big girl quite well. It was great for the hwy dual sport days as well. 

But, it's no comparison to my 390. The 390 is night and day better in the woods.  It's lighter and nimble, yet planted at the same time. The motor lugs very well.  It doesn't have the grunt of the 525, but it's not a revy motor. It's good on the dual sport days, but just not as good as the 525. 

The 525 at local enduro: 

 

 

Those are some sweet trails!  You probably understand where I am coming from then.  The 500 is actually very easy to ride because you can lug it so low and not have to shift as much, but it also can be tiresome.  I got a chance to ride an older KDX (apples to oranges comparison, I know) which isn't too far off in weight comparison, but it really got me thinking about the rotating mass concept.  It also got me thinking about the smaller bore 4 stroke Betas.  The 390 could be the ticket...

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1 hour ago, VTMTcowboy said:

I mean ideally having two bikes would be great, but financially it is not justifiable.  I understand that my 500 will not be matched in on-road capabilities of any of the other Betas, but that is not what I am out for.  I am not at all saying my RS500 is a poor bike, it is exceptional in pretty much every category, just wondering if one of the smaller bore Betas might be a better fit for me.  I was hoping someone would say that a 350 will do the job for a commuter to work and back, while also providing a lighter feeling bike off-road.  Maybe I am just chasing unicorns.  

Tuning and mods are a road I'm not sure I want to go down.  I have the basics in terms of larger tank and protection items.  I've looked into the G2 throttle tamer, but since my 15 RS500 still has the carb, the hit down low is almost nonexistent, which is obviously good for lugging.  If you have any suggestions that won't break the bank it would be appreciated.  

I am sure someone is thinking, just get stronger or fitter.  I think and practice those topics everyday, so I am not worried about those.     

 

Just get the G2 throttle tamer. It's simple and cheap. Start there and maybe that's all you need.

Honestly you have the best choice of upgrade if I'd move from my 525. 15' 500 RS is the last carbed bike from Beta. That's the target bike to get for me.

 Have you done the other simple things that tailor the bike better for you? Maybe suspension done for your weight and mods like a seat concept seat  or bigger pegs .. maybe bars closer or further from you on the triple clamps. Gearing.. That is a more efficient way to go. It's cheaper and your bike works better for you. 

As far as having only one bike and what is "justifiable"? That's a choice . I have too many bikes now but really what I think is perfect is a 4 stroke street legal dirt bike and a 2 stroke enduro. For me that's  my 09 525 RS and my 15 300 rr.. All the other bikes I have are me losing my mind a bit and an adjustment in my value system. A serious health condition can have you reevaluate. It did for me. I still am very happy with my little difficult to keep maintained group of bikes. I'm cash poor and dirt motorcycle rich. If I really want to I can get rid of all the excess bikes.. but I'm happy just having them. Some years ago I thought I had to have only 1 bike. That's good actually but the  2 bike 2 and 4 stroke I think works best.. but life is short.. get as many bikes as you like. You don't have to limit yourself to just one bike if you want more. It's too late later when you wish you could have had that one bike that you sold and then you're dead. :lol: .. I'm joking but I'm serious too.

Edited by hawaiidirtrider

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I liked the throttle tamer on the 525.  It was just enough to make that bike less tiring and easier in the tougher terrain. 

No matter what, you can't overcome the rotating mass, but the G2 helps with taking some of that initial snap away creating a more linear delivery. 

 

 

Edited by firffighter

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I am going through the same choice right now, I did just sell my 2014 Beta 520 with all the goodies:facepalm: I just did not like the weight so I am moving forward. We are here on this round ball only once .... The 390 is going to be my choice soon as my dealer can get one in. I did just ride my GAS GAS EC250 almost 20 miles on the road with no issues and really it wasn't too bad, I really could see up to about 40-50 miles if one had too, so I'm sure the 390 will be just fine:thumbsup: I was looking up bikes we raced and played on from the late 70's and 80's, a Suzuki Rm 125 was about 190# and a 1983 Yamaha YZ 250 was about 215# I think, most bikes under 240# feel pretty good to me. The Beta 390 is listed at 242# I really hope it comes in close to what they are listed at, Also I will be going to KTM with my scale just to see what the 2018 exc-f 350 weighs on Tuesday.:goofy:

 

 

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