QUIKSPIN: Beta RR350 - Unbeatable Trail

13 March 2013
Buying boutique bikes can be considered risky by some. Parts aren't always readily available, working on them can be unfamiliar and local support can be hard to come by. If fear of this is what is holding you back from investing in one of Beta’s new enduro machines, than you need to broaden your horizons.
The 2012 Beta RR350 received a plethora of upgrades which have improved the bike out of sight. The first thing you will notice on a '12 Beta is the colour. With a frame and plastics that look like they would glow in the dark, the Beta is by far the best looking trail bike on the market.
In the engine room, Beta overhauled the cam chain tensioner and guide, and reinforced the camshaft bridge. It also made significant improvements to the gearbox and clutch with higher quality clutch springs, a new Brembo clutch pump, reinforced primary gear and also redesigned the gearbox guide, all of which made for smoother acceleration and reduced drivetrain snatch. The gear ratios were perfect for technical trails with first and second allowing low speeds without stalling, a trait the RR350 no doubt inherited from its trials background. The clutch is light and smooth, minimising arm-pump.
For 2012 Beta also opted for a new skeletal system with a 28mm tube cradle frame increasing the diameter of the tubes from 25mm in 2011. The new frame meant the bike steered more accurately, especially at high speeds, allowing you to use your knees and body to steer the bike from the seat.
To further improve the handling of the RR 350, Beta have bolstered the front end with a new Sachs USD 48mm fork and stiffer triple clamp. This made the front end feel really light, allowing good tight bush performance, while minimizing headshake.
Often with a light and nimble front end, the trade-off is a bike which will deflect off rocks when hit hard, and shake at high speeds, however the Beta feels planted on all terrain.
The balance of the Beta is its strongpoint, which can be attributed to that front end. The fork, albeit a little on the soft side, is great for trail riding. But if you were to race one, you would need to run firmer springs or wind on the compression to improve bottoming and handling at high speeds.
If you're concerned there aren't enough Betas in the bush to buy one, I urge you to reconsider. The day we (AMCN sister magazine, ADB) tested the Beta, we also tested every other four-stroke machine in the 300-400 capacity range, and the Beta was a standout performer. 
Configuration single cylinder, four-stroke
Cylinder Head DOHC, four valves per cyiinder 
Capacity 349cc 
Bore/Stroke 88 x S7.4mm 
Compression Ratio 12.9:1
Cooling Liquid
Fuelling Keihin FCR-MX 39 Carb
Power Not given
Torque Not given
Type Six-Speed 
Clutch Wet 
Final Drive Chain
Frame material Chromoly 
Frame layout Tube 
Rake Not given
Trail Not given
Front 48mm, USODm fully adjustable
Rear Monoshock, fully adjustable
Wheels Alloy, spoked
Front 21 x 2.50 
Rear 18 x.4.O 
Tyres: Bridgestone Gn1ty
Front 110/100
Rear 130 
Front 260mm disc. four piston caliber
Rear 240mm disc, two piston caliber 
Weight Not given
Seat Height 940mm
Wheelbase 1490mm
Fuel capacity 8L
top speed 150m/h (estimated) 
Handling, steering, balance
Colour and looks
Light clutch
Midrang acceleration
Minimal dealers
Not enough of ‘em out there!