Jump to content

2020 Beta First Ride Report

Recommended Posts

Fresh off the ride-day portion of the 2019 Beta dealers meeting, this year held at the Hidden Spring Ranch facility in Springfield, Ohio. I'll post some video when I get it cleaned up, but here are some initial thoughts.

Venue - Recent rain left the trail portion slick and nasty, with a exposed rock and wet clay the featured elements of the day. Even though the staging area and grass track got dusty later in the day, the slime never let up in the woods, and one particular rocky uphill challenged riders throughout the event. The lap time was roughly 5 minutes start-to-finish, allowing riders to cycle through the different machines.The sun was out in full force, as was the humidity, registering about 92 on both counts.

Presentation - BetaUSA hauled the big, red semi out of the convention center at the AIMExpo and treated dealers to the full-on demo-day treatment. Besides getting to ride the first Race Edition bikes in the country (300 2T and 350 4T), the crew offered up shade and cold drinks to the dealer reps waiting for a chance to sample off-road (125, 200, 250 and 300RR, XTrainer 300), street-legal dual sport (125, 390, 430, 500 RR-s) and trials bikes (200 and 300EVO 2T, 300 EVO 4T). The bikes were literally pulled off the show-floor and gassed up for the ride. Ron Williams and his team worked throughout the day keeping gas tanks filled, shifters tightened, and bent levers replaced.

General Impressions - The new chassis and body work (except 125RR-s and XTrainer) create a very comfortable rider compartment. The top of the bikes is flat from the rear fender to the gas cap, making it very easy to transfer weight backwards and forwards. Getting the front end to stick in flat corners is a piece of cake because of how far forward you can get on the tank. The somewhat annoying sidepanel on the right side of the 2013-2019 airbox is gone, replaced by a smooth surface front to back. If anything the new tank is slightly wider in the middle, but the transition toward the radiators is smoother. The new seat is surprisingly comfortable to how thin it is, particularly when the bike is upright.

There appears to be a lot of room behind the radiators to increase tank capacity without making the tank wider - IMS supposedly has a couple bikes and is working on increased capacity tanks, although the new stock tank is bigger than before. The map switch is mounted directly behind the steering head in the center of the tank. A new LED feature reminds you what mode you're in. The position is great when you're riding, but you'll want to be careful when filling the tank with fuel to avoid splashing the switch.

The new frame design leaves enough room to get adult size hands in to manipulate the carburetor (2T) for jetting, and it looked like the fuel line connectors on the 4Ts were more accessible as well. The XTrainer retains the older style subframe - and subsequently older style hand-holds - which would have been a bonus had I had to pick the bikes onto a stand or up from the ground. Thankfully I never did. The new rear fender structure is much cleaner than in past years however. The OC fork on the RRs and RR-s models supposedly has new valving, but we'll have to wait and see when we get the first set on the bench.

The controls will be familiar to anyone that has ridden a Beta lately, but the wider handlebar was very noticeable. Woods-riders will want to cut the extra off - everybody else can enjoy the added leverage. There is a new meter on the 2Ts (same manufacturer as for TM, but different display elements) while the Trail Tech Voyageur has been relocated way up on the full-size RR-s models. The bikes are quite striking when viewed from the front (front fender and headlight) or side. The DOT tires (Michelin on all but the REs, which have Metzelers) had a hard time with traction on the hard but slimy clay and wet rocks, but I don't know what might have done better.

Model Specifics - I rode everything except the 125RR-s, the 200 and 300 EVO, and the two biggest RR-s models. I didn't really want to tackle the course on the littlest or biggest RR-s models, and we have lots of experience on the 200EVO (and to a lesser extent 300).

125RR - what a fantastic little bike. The new body work makes it feel a little lower and wider than before, but its light and flickable as always. The jetting was a little fat for the temperature and humidity, but it pulled away from rest with less throttle than before, and really sang up top. This was the first bike I rode  - when the course was at it's sloppiest - and the light weight made it easy to maneuver on the greasy/rocky downhill and wet rocky stairstep uphill.

200RR - like the 125, but with more grunt. The jetting and power valve conspired to make the 200 run like a 300, but we know from experience what potential lies inside the motor. The suspension was acceptable given the conditions, but I'd definitely want to set it up if I had to ride similar terrain on a regular basis. Light, flickable, fun. Sadly no 200RE in 2020.

250RR - the engine on the 250 had a fun character - easy to roll on but with an ever-increasing urgency as the revs increased. Easy to put in a line or rut and hold it, especially good at the flat turns when heeled over. Decent balance front to rear on the suspension. Some mild vibration in the bars and pegs/frame, but not objectionable.

300RR - smooth from the slightest twist of the throttle. A clean bottom all the way up. Most of the comments about the 250 also apply here, although if I had to guess I'd say the counterbalancer was optimized for the larger engine. Still some vibes, not really objectionable, perhaps attributable to the new frame design.

300RE - the KYBs felt like a well-set-up set of Sachs CC forks, which is to say plush on the little stuff, no deflection, and great control on drop offs and rock and root impacts. Beta spec'd a unique fork lug with really beefy walls surrounding the rebound adjuster nut - anybody that has tried to work on a set of Yamaha-spec KYBs will know why this is such a big deal. The beefy footpegs were a nice touch trying to keep the feet safe.

XTrainer - If you liked the XTrainer in 2019, you'll like it in 2020. The blue looks much better in person (and away from indoor lighting) than I expected, especially from the front. The XTrainer map switch is still on the bars, but has the new functionality (single button, LED indicating mode). Ride it like it was intended to be ridden and this is a very satisfying bike. Ride it like a 300RR and you 'll be much happier on the RR.

350RE - maybe my favorite bike given the conditions. I've had four of the modern 350s (from the Factory in 2015 to the new dual-injector engines) and I really love the way this engine rolls on then revs smoothly to the moon. The 350 found traction at both ends with great feel, especially from the front (partly a 4T characteristic, partly the forks, and partly the Metzeler tire) and was very comfortable rolling into and out of corners. I even doubled up the lower portion of the rocky hill late in the day on this bike - it's light, its playful, and it inspires confidence. The new chassis and bodywork really work well on this bike.

390RR-s - what a cool dirt bike to hang a plate on. The new location of the Voyaguer puts it right up where you can see it for adventuring, but it looks somewhat susceptible to damage - I'll be working on a solution for this because its easy to imagine extended off-road duty on this bike. The new turn signal mounting /location seems more robust. Roll-on power was superb, and the clutch allows you to meter in just the amount you want. The mapping dealt with the heat and humidity with no problem, and there were no pops or coughs even when sorting things out on the trail. The exhaust note seems *sportier* than I remember from previous years, but it wasn't unpleasant. Suspension was decent for the intended purpose of the bike, but it's hard to not wish for the CC fork on this package as well.

300EVO 4T - I hadn't spent any time on the 4T trials bike before today, and unfortunately I only had my moto boots, so a period of acclimation may change my opinion of the bike. Clutch actuation was smooth and thankfully so - the motor was ready to diesel forward as soon as the plates hooked up. It seemed like I needed to follow through with the throttle as I cleared obstacles more than on a 2T. Balance was good, but clutch actuation was important as the motor wanted to move forward all the time. It was easy to set the front wheel on a log and then chug up … The 4T Beta has a right side kickstand and kick lever, as opposed to the less conventional (but more familiar) left side arrangement on the 2Ts. A short kick lever combined with the heat/humidity made it a little tough to light up. Some break-in and familiarization would no doubt help in this regard.

Feel free to add to this thread if you've ridden the bikes - I'll post video and photos after I get a chance to see what I've got.

 

Edited by motoxgiant
added XTrainer, spelling and punctuation
  • Like 8
  • Helpful 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review. I am getting ready to order very soon and have been thinking about the 350 RE, is it much lighter then the 15-19 models? I am still looking for that 4T that rides and handles like a 2t. I really like my 15 500 but it is heavy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, rocky4by said:

Thanks for the review. I am getting ready to order very soon and have been thinking about the 350 RE, is it much lighter then the 15-19 models? I am still looking for that 4T that rides and handles like a 2t. I really like my 15 500 but it is heavy.

There weren't current model year bikes available for direct comparison, but the 350 (and 390 that I rode) seem lighter than previous bikes. Thankfully I stayed upright and didn't have to pick them up ?

The 4Ts have better rolling feel than the 2Ts, but the 2Ts also got the new chassis and dropped weight.

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the new 200rr and nearly went for the 250 so it’s great to hear your report of the two, having had a previous 300re I’m still stoked I picked the 200 with my slight jetting improvements (using Suzuki needle) the bike is incredible, stock forks once sprung for my weight and clickers played with are more than adequate ?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice report can't wait to ride one. Was the seat taller ? I sat on a 300rr last week it felt taller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MartyMOOSE said:

Nice report can't wait to ride one. Was the seat taller ? I sat on a 300rr last week it felt taller.

Partly due to the slightly wider center section and partly due to the rear subframe-tail combo which sits higher than before (no more tyre skid marks on the inner fender). 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Burger72. I think the 200RR is a near perfect package given some jetting and spring selection tweaks.

Now I understand what KTM 200EXC riders have been missing since KTM dropped the model.

  • Like 3
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Partly due to the slightly wider center section and partly due to the rear subframe-tail combo which sits higher than before (no more tyre skid marks on the inner fender). 

Ahh yes that would be nice a 120 Pirelli mid soft hits bad it's a tall tyre.

MM

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent review Steve and I think that you verify my initial impressions. 

That 350 will be impressive... 

Regarding the Evo 4t, the trick  to fire the  engine is to kick the starter slow and steady. Learned it the hard way in a factory presentation after pushing (most of the time) the bike of some ravines... ?

Can't wait to test the new forks... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, motoxgiant said:

the KYBs felt like a well-set-up set of Sachs CC forks,

Great news for us, bad news for you?

8 hours ago, motoxgiant said:

The 350 found traction at both ends with great feel, especially from the front (partly a 4T characteristic, partly the forks, and partly the Metzeler tire)

If it worked good on a greasy trail, they must have got it right. As you mentioned, it appears the 4t's took a nice step forward with the new engine in chassis balance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, motoxgiant said:

200RR - like the 125, but with more grunt. The jetting and power valve conspired to make the 200 run like a 300, but we know from experience what potential lies inside the motor. The suspension was acceptable given the conditions, but I'd definitely want to set it up if I had to ride similar terrain on a regular basis. Light, flickable, fun. Sadly no 200RE in 2020.

Great report and I'm drooling over the 200RR - perfect for my height/weight from what I read.  Do you think it would handles a mix of tight trails and little light mx type of riding?  No plans for a year or two so tons of reading on this beast ahead of me.  Hoping to sample a 200RR when Beta comes back to Texas in 2020 for demos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice review. Now that my 200rr is broken in and I've made some adjustments on bike setup and clickers, I'm actually really impressed by the OC sachs forks for my riding and currently dont plan to revalve. My weight is on point with the stock setup and springs.

I would recommend any average sized adult to try the forward holes on the handlebar mount if you're riding a 125 or 200. The frame is noticeably shorter horizontally than the 250/300 and I didn't realize how cramped the cockpit was until trying the forward hole, and now it feels excellent. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, DirtJunkie69 said:

Nice review. Now that my 200rr is broken in and I've made some adjustments on bike setup and clickers, I'm actually really impressed by the OC sachs forks for my riding and currently dont plan to revalve. My weight is on point with the stock setup and springs.

I would recommend any average sized adult to try the forward holes on the handlebar mount if you're riding a 125 or 200. The frame is noticeably shorter horizontally than the 250/300 and I didn't realize how cramped the cockpit was until trying the forward hole, and now it feels excellent. 

The demo bikes (125/200) were set-up the way they come from the factory, meaning middle hole on the handlebar mount. I noted the small rider compartment when I was riding but didn't mention it in my review because, as mentioned, it's an easy adjustment.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write up, much appreciated!! Question about the 2020 XT, is it counter balanced as well? Any changes to the suspension? Is it worth waiting on a 20 or pick up a 19 at a good price?

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kendall993 said:

Great write up, much appreciated!! Question about the 2020 XT, is it counter balanced as well? Any changes to the suspension? Is it worth waiting on a 20 or pick up a 19 at a good price?

Thanks

2020 XTrainer is counterbalanced, but more importantly its blue Blue BLUE! Some small detail changes (map switch) along with the counterbalancer.

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, DirtJunkie69 said:

Nice review. Now that my 200rr is broken in and I've made some adjustments on bike setup and clickers, I'm actually really impressed by the OC sachs forks for my riding and currently dont plan to revalve. My weight is on point with the stock setup and springs.

I would recommend any average sized adult to try the forward holes on the handlebar mount if you're riding a 125 or 200. The frame is noticeably shorter horizontally than the 250/300 and I didn't realize how cramped the cockpit was until trying the forward hole, and now it feels excellent. 

Hey buddy 

where have you ended up with your clickers ? I’m still in the middle position on the top clamp I haven’t noticed it being to cramped but the forward position maybe worth moving to as in 6’1” ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Burger72 said:

Hey buddy 

where have you ended up with your clickers ? I’m still in the middle position on the top clamp I haven’t noticed it being to cramped but the forward position maybe worth moving to as in 6’1” ?

I'm about 5'10" with long arms and torso, it's actually not so much that I felt cramped it was that the position seemed to discourage standing in the attack position and made it harder to get forward on hill climbs, after the change is when I really noticed improvement.

I backed out comp and rebound 3 clicks at first, then another 6 clicks during the last trail ride for total of 9 clicks from stock setting. I immediately held a line better on hill climbs and felt like it worked nice in rough terrain. I am usually in slow and nasty terrain so I usually ended up with my clickers all out except HS comp on the last bike but this obviously sucked for jumps and bottomed easy. I havent touched the shock except setting sag to 105mm and its feeling good. Even when the speeds pick up a bit to 3rd or 4th gear this feels like a perfectly reasonable setting so far.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, motoxgiant said:

2020 XTrainer is counterbalanced, but more importantly its blue Blue BLUE! Some small detail changes (map switch) along with the counterbalancer.

Yeah Ive seen the pics, I actually like the new color scheme. So is the counterbalanced engine worth waiting for a 2020 and paying more? There are good deals on 19s and Id hate to miss a good deal unless the 2020 is worth waiting for. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Kendall993 said:

Yeah Ive seen the pics, I actually like the new color scheme. So is the counterbalanced engine worth waiting for a 2020 and paying more? There are good deals on 19s and Id hate to miss a good deal unless the 2020 is worth waiting for. 

Whether it's worth it or not ultimately depends on you. The new bike stickers for $7699.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:


×
×
  • Create New...