If you’ve been following the off-road scene lately, you’ve probably been noticing more and more Beta motorcycles popping up at the top of the results columns. They’ve been doing quite well in the Southern California desert, and they got a big win in the Nevada desert not long ago at the Vegas-to-Reno off-road race. Beta has also been making a mark in EnduroCross and extreme off-road events across the globe lately. So what does all this mean? Just one thing obviously – the Italian marque is pumping out competitive off-road bikes - both four-stroke and two-stroke - the past few years.
One of them is the Beta 450 RR thumper. Ever since taking on a complete overhaul in 2010, which included getting its first in-house-built motor (before then Beta used KTM motors), the 450 RR has been one of the best bikes in its class. Unfortunately, many out there don’t know that. Beta is still trying to make a name for itself here in the US, so the 450 RR is still a bit of an unknown to most Americans and isn’t one of the first brands that come to mind when people go shopping for a new big-bore four-stroke off-road bike. But that’s understandable. Beta, better known for its long history in trials, has only been offering off-roaders since 2005.
For 2014, the Beta 450 RR isn’t radically changed over the previous model. Its Beta-built 449cc four-valve motor is the same as before, but some attention was given to the transmission. There is a new countershaft that features the latest heat-treating process, and the bearings it rides on have been beefed up. The shift drum has also been modified to improve shifting action.
The RR’s molybdenum-steel double-cradle frame has the same geometry but got some strengthening in key areas to improve durability and rideability.
Most of the changes to the bike were made to the suspension. The 48mm Sachs fork features new compression and rebound pistons to improve oil flow, and valving has also been modified. Plus, the top fork caps were redesigned to make changing the springs easier.
Out back, the Sachs shock gets a reshaped rebound adjustor and updated valving.
Remove the seat and you’ll discover a beefed up and redesigned base for a better fit and sealing.
To read more of our 2014 Beta 450 RR first ride, click here