July 14th 2018. I brought home the Beta 500 RR-S. Since May, I’ve been shopping around for a motorcycle I can take nearly anywhere. I was initially set on a KTM 500 EXC or 350. Then i started leaning toward a lower cost Honda / Kawasaki. At Dirt Daze, I finally demoed a KTM 690 Enduro R and it was a blast but unfortunately two things kept me from buying that motorcycle….well 3 actually. 

  • The Aftermarket is too huge. I’m a modifier / farkler at heart. KTM has so many options for modifications that it would cause me to build the bike up too much, add weight, complications, etc. 
  • The bike was already quite heavy bordering more on a platform to be an Adventure bike than a platform you could strip down into a dirt bike with the only advantage of the 690 being the street-biased motor which had longer maintenance intervals like 6K miles between oil changes instead of 15-30 hours like dirt bikes
  • The availability of the 690 Enduro was very slim. These bikes sell for $11K (or over sticker), they require long lead times and finding one used is easy but you’re only saving $2K on a bike that was completely beat-up off road because people are happy to pay it. 

With the 690 off my plate, I found a few KTMs but the price continued to be too high. While at Dirt Daze I did check out the Beta motorcycles. This small Italian dealer only sends a few hundred a year to USA but they are 50-state street legal, meet emissions and are basically dirt bikes that are completely legal. They aren’t stripped down to be fun off road. They are truly built to be ridden off road from 125CC up to 500CC. They come in 2-Stroke and 4-Stroke variants, race-models, X-Trainer, RR and RR-S which the S being the street legal designation. 

The KTM being about 350 pounds with fuel, oil and gear, the Beta is 300 loaded up and ready to go. I was looking at used bikes from every manufacturer and then this appeared:

My new Bike  Beta 500 RR S 2016

The bike is on its 2nd owner at time of sale, the 1st couldn’t make payments, the 2nd only road it to and from work and now a 48 hour ridden Beta which is $11K new with $1500 in modifications is for sale for $6900. I message the guy as soon as I saw it and I was 2nd in line to buy it. Luckily, the first guy went MIA and I picked it up as soon as I was able. 

This is the largest displacement model they make. I was looking for a 350CC for more single-track riding but this will do. 

Since taking ownership, I’ve made a few modifications. Here is the bike today: 

2016 Beta 500 RR S

and for good humor, here is the RR-S next to my R1200GS Adventure:

New Bike Beta 500 RR S 2016

New Bike Beta 500 RR S 2016

New Bike Beta 500 RR S 2016

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Here is a list of everything done to the bike so far, last updated 9-18-2018:

Previous Owner: 

This was a solid build but it didn’t really take into account much protection or amenities for touring. I added:

The remaining modifications I’d like to make:

  • Re-valve rear Shock with a larger spring to support my weight (240 pounds)
  • FMF Header and Spark Arrestor exhaust which requires a visit to the dealer for tuning
  • CrushDrive Socket to help the bike deal with the extra asphalt time it is put through.
  • Steering Stabilizer
  • Complete the bling on the bike

She really is a beautiful bike and I hope if I follow maintenance intervals, the Beta will keep me happy for a few years on and off-road in times where the GS Adventure is simply too large to ride. Here are a few more photos from today:

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S

2016 Beta 500 RR S