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Old 04-10-2017
mr bergman mr bergman is offline
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2018 Beta four stroke review: RR350 RR390 RR430 RR480

A brief overview of the 2018 thumpers. Interested to hear of known issues from anyone with a new bike to add to the list below for prospective new buyers or existing owners. Arctra I'm sure your immense knowledge with come in handy. For a long term review, here's an interesting thread where a RR390 has recorded all his maintenance and issues with 300+ hours of riding.

THE CHANGES FOR 2018
All the four stroke RR350 RR390 RR430 and RR480 have a weight reduction of 5.3kg, mainly through a lighter engine, redesigned frame and lithium battery. Personally I've never worried about weight too much but all the bikes feel considerably lighter in harder terrain, and feel more flickable in cornering.

Beta clutches have traditionally been heavier than other brands and they've finally opted for a new lighter clutch in 2018. I do a lot of clutch slipping and these middle aged fingers would ache after an hour or two with a stock Beta clutch, but the 2018 one has a much easier pull.

The Beta four stroke engines have all been tweaked, with probably the biggest change being a dual fuel injector system. Apparently it's increased power across the rev range but I mainly noticed there was some extra lowdown grunt on all the models, which has in effect made the power even more linear than it was. It will be interesting to see if it increases fuel range as Beta claims. The snappy response from idle (especially the RR430 and RR480) with the fuel injection also seems to have mellowed a lot. I remember buying a G2 throttle tamer for my RR480 a few years back but I doubt it's needed now.

For me the biggest change in engine characteristics compared to earlier years is the mapping switch. In the past I've found most mapping switches don't make much difference but throw it into rain mode and all the engines become very docile and tractable at lower revs. All the bikes will still wheelie like mad once you wind the revs up though, which is handy if you are riding in mud but occasionally get some good grip.

To me those were the differences that stood out. Beta say the new frame has less flexing but I can't ride hard or well enough to tell lol. Ditto with the suspension upgrades, there are minor changes but think Beta dialed in the Sachs suspension well for gumbies since 2015 and it's all been good since then - aggressive riders may beg to differ. There's a new gear shift selector, I've occasionally hit false neutrals on earlier models so maybe they've cured that. What else? The Beta 2018 models get a new airbox, skidplate and Takasago wheels. The Japanese rims have a good reputation so that can't hurt.

BETA RR350
So let's look at the individual models, starting with the 2018 RR350. While it is lighter and has more low end power, it has the same characteristics as last year's RR350. It is essentially the same weight as its bigger brothers, but less reciprocating mass does mean you can throw it around in corners more. Surprising grunt but it really comes alive the more you rev it. For more details, see our old RR350 review here.

BETA RR390
The 2018 RR390 has really changed. The longer stroke engine always made the 390 an extremely tractable bike with very predictable power, but I suspect that dual fuel injection has really woken her up. I found the 2018 model revved up much faster and was keen to spin up if I applied too much throttle. Then I put her on the rain map and she was back to the thumper that could lug up hills so easily. More than any other model this felt like two completely different beasts with the mapping switch. See our RR390 review here.

BETA RR430
This review found the 2018 RR430 is a real weapon if you hit that throttle too hard. Surprisingly the new engine has almost the same lowdown grunt of the old 480 and is tractable if you are easy on the throttle, but spins up faster if you crack the throttle. See the RR430 review here.

BETA RR480
The 2018 RR480 felt the least changed. The lighter weight is noticable in slower terrain, but the beast makes so much power already that it's hard to feel the increase this year. It's still the gentle giant and won't give any nasty surprises unless you are ham-fisted on the throttle. Personally I'd like to see Beta develop this into more of a dual sport or light adventure bike mode, it's such a good engine for dirt and road work. Our RR480 review.

POTENTIAL ISSUES
What's not to like with the 2018 Betas? The good news in this review is the Beta crew haven't been resting on their laurels and have fixed niggling issues over the years. What haven't they fixed yet?

That Beta pointy ended sidestand. It's always funny watching parked Betas topple one by one in soft soil. Most of us screw a little baseplate on to fix it.

The shape of 2018 Beta fenders mean they tend to break instead of bending. The only good news is that as with most parts, Beta plastics are incredibly cheap compared to most other manufacturers.

Some will still want a kickstarter and you can order this. Personally I think the starter motors are so reliable now, and there's always bump starting or other techniques if you are stranded in the bottom of a gully.

If you ride in big rocks and/or gnarly terrain the chain guides on all the Beta models aren't very strong and the chain derails easily if something puts pressure on the guide. Replace with something like the TDM guide.

The Beta oil pump gears are still made of plastic and need replacing at 100 hours. You normally should be checking your clutch around this point so it's an easy job, but some owners put in the steel replacements made by Boano so they can forget about it.

When you have the tank off to fit radiator guards, go through the wiring loom and zip tie everything nice and snugly if it isn't already. The Europeans generally still don't match the Japanese when it comes to tidy wiring looms, Beta is no exception and occasionally a stray wire eventually rubs through...

So there you have it, a review of the 2018 RR350 RR390 RR430 and RR480. As with any bike, get a test ride if you can. Sometimes you can watch a pile of reviews and think you've found your perfect bike, but then go for a ride and not gel with the bike at all. But I think these latest Italian beasts tick the boxes for a lot of guys, judging by the comments that were flying around on this Beta Ride Day.
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Old 04-10-2017
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Arctra Arctra is offline
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I'm keen to do the ride day in Sydney this weekend to get a first hand experience with the new bikes. Nice review though!
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Old 04-10-2017
Former Oyster 70 Former Oyster 70 is offline
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Stay away from the 480 Dean......look only from a good distance.
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Old 04-10-2017
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Arctra Arctra is offline
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Originally Posted by Former Oyster 70 View Post
Stay away from the 480 Dean......look only from a good distance.

Thanks for the vote of confidence mate

Yeah, I'm most interested in comparing the 300, Xtrainer, and 250 2T's back to back. The only 2 4T's I'm interested in comparing is the 350 (see how it compares with the 2T's) and then the 390 as I really liked the 400 I test rode before I went with the 498.

The whole 2nd injector gig on the 4T's is really interesting to me, so I'm eager to see how much that changes the 4T's.
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Old 05-10-2017
Marty MOOSE Marty MOOSE is offline
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Originally Posted by Arctra View Post

Thanks for the vote of confidence mate

Yeah, I'm most interested in comparing the 300, Xtrainer, and 250 2T's back to back. The only 2 4T's I'm interested in comparing is the 350 (see how it compares with the 2T's) and then the 390 as I really liked the 400 I test rode before I went with the 498.

The whole 2nd injector gig on the 4T's is really interesting to me, so I'm eager to see how much that changes the 4T's.
Me too keen to try the twin injector bikes. The idea of s smoother on throttle response is what I'm keen for. The 17 were supposed to be smoother than my 16 with cam and valve spring changes the 18 I think will be a much more noticeable change. 5 odd KG's is not to be sneezed at either. Some nice changes to this model looking forward to getting the bike Friday I hope.
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Old 05-10-2017
jack82 jack82 is offline
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Went for a small run in ride on the 480 yesterday. Beautiful fuelling and very smooth....especially for a brand new bike.Mine will be set up as a do it all bike which will include plenty of adv riding.
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Old 08-10-2017
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I went to the Beta ride day at Pacific Park yesterday, mainly to test the 2T line-up, but I couldn't resist testing the big 480RR and Marty forced me to ride his smaller 350RR too!

After riding 2 of the 2T's I climbed on the 480RR. The bike was practically brand new, so the engine was probably a little tight and not quite up to its full power potential yet, but it still gave me a good indication. My 498RR with it's tuned carb definitely had more punch and more power in my opinion, but the 480 is certainly no slouch! So much so that when I got off it I was left reassure that my choice to move to the 2T's was a good one. The big 4T is SO easy to go fast on There is no lack of power, and frankly I don't think I could appreciate the advantage of the 2nd injector at my level, so I really cannot offer much of an opinion on the difference it makes. Other than the fact that the big bore bike is scarily fast, it is a pretty easy bike to ride still, though now that I am used the the 300cc 2T I can appreciate just mow much of a weight difference there seems to be when riding - especially in corners.

Finally Marty convinced me to ride his 350RR. He has it set up for tight single riding, with the forks pushed quite a way through the triple clamps so the bike has a stance that Jeff Slavens would describe as "stinkbug" That means the bike was VERY keen to turn, but it felt pretty sketchy at higher speeds. In spite of Marty adjusting the EFI to minimise engine braking I was surprised at how much engine braking it still had. The bike was every bit as racey as I remember it being when I first rode it at the Beta ride day up near Newcastle a few years ago when it was the only bike in the Beta lineup with EFI. When I adjusted to it, which didn't take long, it was a really nice bike to ride and have confidence on when pushing. I didn't notice any "sign-off" of the power, so assume that is the 2nd injector coming into play? I really don't know As fun as the bike was to ride, I still found it too easy to ride faster than my abilities are capable of handling, so I was happy to give it back without having crashed on it!

I didn't get to test the 390RR as it seemed to be in pretty high demand and I dodn't want to deprive others who were interested in it. And had no interest in testing the 430RR as I found the 450 and the last carb'ed version of the 430 to bee too aggressive for my liking, so I can't offer an opinion on them.

I can't see you being disappointed in the lineup as far as finding a bike that suits your style and preference. Onward and upward Beta!
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Old 08-10-2017
mr bergman mr bergman is offline
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Originally Posted by Arctra View Post
....My 498RR with it's tuned carb definitely had more punch and more power in my opinion, but the 480 is certainly no slouch! So much so that when I got off it I was left reassure that my choice to move to the 2T's was a good one....
probably a stupid question dean but was the RR480 on the rain map? i didn't even think to check this on my first few circuits at the beta ride day and was a bit puzzled at the soft response on some of the bikes till i realised.

your 498 must be a real beast if it has more punch than the RR480 on the normal map.
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Old 08-10-2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr bergman View Post
probably a stupid question dean but was the RR480 on the rain map? i didn't even think to check this on my first few circuits at the beta ride day and was a bit puzzled at the soft response on some of the bikes till i realised.

your 498 must be a real beast if it has more punch than the RR480 on the normal map.
Not a stupid question at all - I didn't even think to check the map switch

But even if the 480 was on the rain map, I would think it would compare to the 498 on the rain map too - and the 498 was peppier for sure. Again though, being fair with comparing apples with apples, the 498 had the FMF powerbomb and PowerCore4 pipe, and a Quickshot adjustable leak jet on a Nutty tuned carb... so really not a fair comparison to a brand new 480 that is still tight with a stock pipe. And even with the 480 not being as powerful as the 498 (in my opinion) the 480 was still way too powerful for my liking, so please don't think I was calling the 480 "weak" by any means coz it isn't.
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Old 09-10-2017
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RR480s have 60+ HP
Aussie Dyno graph of 2017 RR480 and a 2017 500
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File Type: jpg RR480 dyno - 1.jpg (117.8 KB, 49 views)
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