It is a fact that the 300cc two-stroke off-road machine is the most popular displacement for enduro, hard enduro and riders looking for a versatile trail machine. Beta came out of the blocks with an all-new 300RR machine for 2020. The carbureted, oil-injected and counterbalanced engine mates to a chassis, and handling updates have it mentioned in the same breath as the potent KTM and Husqvarna 300s. At this point we have over 125 hours on our 300RR. The following is a long-term report from the test team that has been trying to beat it up and a list of the mods we have installed on the bike.
The powerplant is all new this year and now features a counterbalanced engine to fight off vibration. This motor has always been a short-shifting, low-end torque type of powerband since the bike was introduced in 2013. It craves extreme enduro conditions. It’s tough to stall this bike, and it’s evident that the 300RR borrows some of its traits from its trials siblings. For faster desert conditions, the motor lacks over-rev and top-end hit.
The transmission and the overall gear ratios inside of the 300RR are well-spaced, with a first gear that’s plenty low for trials-like situations. Second through fifth gears are spread out nicely with no major gaps, which makes using third or fourth gear on the trail common. Sixth gear is like an overdrive and lets your inner desert racer come to life.
Jetting came well-suited for our 2,500–6,000-foot riding zones. Not once has the carburetor been removed from the bike. Only minor adjustments to the air screw were needed for elevation changes. Fuel consumption was the only downside of the carburetor. If we were lugging around in the woods, we could get 50–60 miles before we hit the reserve. In our desert zones with sand, that went down to about 30–40 miles before hitting reserve.
We continue to love the oil injection on these new two-strokes. The electronic oil pump metering how much oil the bike is consuming based on the throttle position makes a huge difference in how clean the bike runs at low rpm. It remains very crisp, and there is no “loading up.” The oil tank is accessed by removing the push-button seat, which we love for its ease of removal and installation. One thing that could use improvement is the seat cover, as it’s slippery, making it quite difficult trying to stay put on the seat on hill-climbs.
The cooling system has performed flawlessly on our hard enduro days. We never installed a fan on the bike and have put it through its paces in technical terrain. Not once has this bike boiled over. After all the riding, this bike never lost a drop of coolant. Another nice feature is the radiator cap. It is a screw-on-type cap normally seen on the trials line of Betas. Not having to do the normal push-down-and-twist makes removal and installation very simple.
Maintenance on the bike is pedestrian. Air-filter access is easy and quick, which is a big improvement over previous years. Still, you have to take the time to make sure it is completely lined up in the air boot. As much as we love the quick-access filter, the airbox itself is on the tight side. This makes it difficult to clean the airbox. Changing the oil on the bike is simple, and we love the transmission oil-drain-plug location. It’s situated just under the clutch cover on the right side of the bike.
The digital trip meter displays the time, speed, miles, hours and even includes a screen that shows the bike’s voltage so you can make sure the charging system is working properly. With the bike being electric start only, this is a nice feature to ensure the battery isn’t losing its charge during riding.
We have done a few nighttime expeditions on the bike, and while the light will get you home, where it aims is a bit frustrating. It has a high- and low-beam switch, and the high beam is pointed at the sky, while the low beam is aimed at the front fender. It is quite difficult to do any real night riding with this light. It would be nice to be able to adjust where the light aims.
The Sachs suspension targets slower and more technical riding. During the break-in period on the bike, it was a shade stiff. Most of that vanished once the bike got more time on it. It’s not really a high-speed, desert-friendly bike and lacks the range to adjust it to stay up in the stroke as the speeds increase and the terrain gets whooped out. Also, it could be plusher for the technical areas we like to ride.
BETA FACTORY SUSPENSION
After 110 hours on the machine, we opted to use Beta’s Factory Suspension Service to give the Sachs suspension a rebuild and get both ends working better. This is a great option for Beta owners. Since these are technicians who massage the factory team riders’ dampers, it just makes sense. The process is simple. Go to Beta USA’s website and click on its Factory Suspension Service link. It will walk you through, step by step, and list all the options you have—from a simple suspension service to a complete re-valve and overhaul. You can purchase different springs and even complete suspension packages all together. We wanted a service and a lower spring rate for our lighter test rider. You will have boxes to check on the website for the type of riding you do—from hard enduro all the way to motocross and the conditions, dry or wet. Once you complete the suspension application, Beta will send a special suspension shipping box and return label to your home address. Expect a call from the technician to better understand your type of riding.
Beta Factory Suspension went down one spring rate both front and rear (our test rider is under 150 pounds). Beta converted the fork to have the rebound adjusters on the top and compression on the bottom, with the preload adjuster on top of the right fork. They claim a 50-percent increase in fine-tuning this way. We have to agree, as the forks feel plusher and more balanced. We set our bike up more for singletrack and hard enduro, and we feel a huge difference. The bike was much more planted in the rocks and in rough braking bumps. Also, the adjustment range improved hugely, as we could set it up for fast desert and endless whoops. This was a big success.
During our long-term testing, we received a 36mm SC2 SmartCarb to evaluate on the 300RR. This carburetor is designed to be more efficient, much easier to tune and offers substantial performance gains. It bolted up easily, though it seemed spooky with the TPS and oil-injection ramifications, and actually made the machine hit too hard. We eventually installed a new richer needle, which smoothed out the stronger hit, was far better at dealing with elevation changes, and improved the fuel economy on the machine.
ODDS AND ENDS
Our compact test rider complained that the large grips prematurely fatigued his hands. We fit on Neken SFH (smooth-feeling) handlebars, which taper down on each side and use a special Neken grip. These come in varying sizes, and we choose the smallest set of SFHs. The set of grips comes with a smaller throttle tube and throttle cams for your specific bike. The grips are amazing for smaller riders. They are glue-on grips, not lock-on. It’s amazing how much thinner the feel is on the handlebars. If you have small hands, this is a must-have setup. It really allows you to comfortably grip the bars and reduces arm pump significantly, since you can wrap your hands all the way around the grips. We’re very happy to have tried these products and highly recommend them.
The TM Designworks products have always been favorites of ours. The rear disc guard is an easy install and does a nice job of protecting the rotor. It allows you to replace the plastic guard part if it ever gets too beat up. The chainguides are incredibly durable and even quieted down the chain-slap noise quite a bit.
Once we gorked the stock expansion chamber, we fit on an FMF Gnarly pipe. It is thicker-gauge steel and added just a shade more bottom power in conjunction with the FMF Turbine Core 2.1 spark arrestor muffler. Stock, it’s not spark legal, and for us this is a necessity. The Turbine Core 2.1 is a superb muffler. It is quiet and makes broad power.
THE LONG-WINDING ROAD
Living with the Beta 300RR hasn’t been a burden whatsoever. It seems in a garage full of bikes, this is one of the chosen few that always gets picked, regardless of the terrain we’re riding. After 125 hours, the bike still feels tight. It has rewarded us with nary a mechanical belch, and with some focused mods, we have improved the handling. Overall, it is a very strong and durable machine with a penchant for tough, tight enduro work.