Rodney Smith drove down from Idaho last week to deliver a 2023 Beta 300RR Race Edition. This is a premium version of the “Standard” 300RR.. It uses premix lubrication rather than oil injection. The motor has a larger exhaust port, higher compression and different power valve timing. It also has KYB suspension front and rear and a long list of extras including hand guards, aluminum footpegs, anodized axle blocks, a front axle grab handle and more. This year all the Betas have new radiator shrouds that are a little narrower and sleeker.

The Race Edition is $10,399 whereas the standard Beta 300RR sells for $9899.

The motor is otherwise the same as the standard RR. The big deal for us is the 36mm Keihin PWK carburetor. It feeds a motor with a physically adjustable power valve. It has a counterbalancer, two mapping options and a hydraulically actuated diaphragm clutch. It has evolved, but this is the same recipe that has dominated off-road racing for years.
This is more or less the last of the old-school 300 two-strokes that can be tuned through traditional means. You use jets to alter the fuel mixture and a hex wrench to adjust the preload on the power valve governor. You don’t bring a laptop computer to the track for anything.

If you’ve been riding off-road motorcycles for more than a minute, you know pretty much what to expect from the Beta 300RR Race Edition. It’s the sweetest motorcycle for the rudest conditions. The power that it produces down low is incredible and perfectly controllable. It can be taken to absurdly low rpm without the fear of stalling. In the middle, the Race Edition clearly has a little more to offer than the standard version. It has more pulling power and a noticeable hit in the middle, although the top end is about the same. It isn’t a crazy fast motorcycle on top. It certainly runs well, but it isn’t going to challenge any 450cc four-strokes. When it’s done revving, it’s done; best to shift early and more on.

A key difference for this year’s Race Edition is the KYB shock. The closed cartridge KYB fork appeared on this model a few years ago and that was a significant improvement over the standard Sachs fork. Frankly we didn’t expect to see such a dramatic improvement in the rear, but we were surprised. The Beta 300RR Race Edition has outstanding suspension overall. It does a great job of bridging the gap between trail riding and all-out racing. In rocks and on slow speed technical trails, the bike is reasonably plush, stable and predictable. On faster trails and whoops, it’s level and stays up in the stroke until you get into bone-crushing impacts. Even there, it bottoms gently, without a clunk or any sharp jolt.
We’re going to have a full test of the 2023 beta 300RR Race Edition in the August, 20923 print edition of Dirt Bike, which you’ll be able to find on the newsstand. Still.


This new ride is the third in the BDR-X series of shorter, loop routes. The Steens Mountain & Alvord Desert BDR-X will be released on Wednesday, June 7th during a live YouTube Broadcast.
BDR Executive Director Inna Thorn, Route Co-Architect & BDR Ambassador Nathan Fant, and Mosko Moto Co-Founder & CEO Pete Day will broadcast live from the Mosko Moto headquarters in White Salmon, WA. The hour -long presentation will include the screening of the 20-minute expedition documentary film, the official release of the tracks and route resources, and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation and the first group expedition on this ride.

About the Route
Designed to showcase the striking contrast of Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert, this BDR-X features a 5000-foot elevation transition in remote Southeast Oregon. Starting and ending in Fields, Oregon, the 265-mile loop can be accomplished in two days. It would be hard to find a more diverse mix of surface terrain making this experience truly unique.
Presented by Mosko Moto
Wednesday, June 7
Steens Mountain & Alvord Desert BDR-X Live Route Release
5:00 pm PST / 8:00 pm EST


2024 KTM 450SMR

KTM has announced the 2024 KTM 450 SMR Supermoto motorcycle. This is a limited production model based on the 2024 450SX-F motocross bike. Here are some of the technical highlights from KTM’s press release:

* Purposeful orange, black, white and purple race trim livery with black coated frame and menacing black wheels
* SOHC engine package weighing less than 59.9 lb (27 kg) and prioritizing centralization thanks to altered positioning in the frame. Easily serviceable
* Two engine map options, launch control, traction control and Quickshifter as well as SUTER slipper clutch for maximum control
* Compact, light and innovative chassis for the best feeling, traction and handling
* First class WP XACT fork with AER technology and XACT shock: small, condensed and fully adjustable hardware to quickly refine track set-up
* High-quality Brembo brakes with 4-piston radially mounted caliper and 310 mm front and 220 mm rear discs for potent stopping power
* READY TO RACE details for a pure track-based machine: 16.5/17” wheels, Metzeler tires, ODI lock-on grips, tool-less air filter access, light and optimized footpegs
* Unbeatable ergonomics that place all the stability and poise of the 2024 KTM 450 SMR at the rider’s fingertips for both front-end grip and rear-end confidence

The 2024 KTM 450 SMR will be sliding through Authorized KTM dealer showrooms from May 2023 onward.


Jacob Tilley

Mark Tilley just completed a very cool mini project. His son Jacob is gifted with an endless supply of test bikes, but it’s still good to have a bike to call your  own. This Husky TC85 was blown up and in horrendous shape on Craigslist. Now, with a lot of help from wizard Jay Clark, it’s a showpiece. You can check out the whole story in the August 2023 issue of Dirt Bike.


Bob Rutten in 1977 on the prototype Harley SS250 desert racer.

I ran across this photo in the Dirt Bike archives and called my buddy Bob Rutten to get the story. Back in the mid-’70s, Harley funded a Baja team with the likes of Larry Roeseler, Bruce Oglivie and Bob Rutten–even scoring the overall win in the 1975 Baja 500. “The bikes–or at least the motors were based on the 250 two-stroke built in Italy,” remembers Bob Rutten. “Harley Davidson owned an Italian company called Aermacchi at the time and AME owned Harley Davidson. They had a whole line of small two-strokes that weren’t bad. At first they raced the 100cc two-stroke with guys like Larry Roeseler and Mitch Mayes mostly against Hodakas in the desert. Around 1975 they started the 250 project. It was built at a dealership in San Bernardino called Dale’s Modern Cycle, but the money came from the factory in Milwaukee. The motor was based on the SS250 dual-sport bike, but the frame was a C & J, the fork was from a Yamaha, the shocks were Works Performance and so on. Bruce Ogilvie and Larry won the 500, but then Larry was hired by Husqvarna, so Bruce asked me to replace him on the Harley team. I was riding for Hodaka at the time, and they were phasing out of desert racing.”

The prototype led to the creation of the 1978 produciton Harley-Davidson MX250. About 900 were made, but the model was discontinued when Cagiva purchased the factory in Italy.

Harley-Davidson used the Baja bike as the concept for a factory motocross bike, which was raced by Marty Tripes and Rex Staten. That led to the production of the 1978 Harley MX250, a one-year model that has since become a much desired collector item. In 1978, Cagiva purchased the Aermacchi factory from AME and the whole Harley Davidson off-road racing program abruptly ended.

See you next week!

–Ron Lawson

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