As a community ambassador, or as a BETA rider in general, I get many questions about the brand, ownership and overall experience with a BETA motorcycle. Here are top frequently asked questions and reasons why I’ve now owned multiple BETA bikes and continue to choose BETA as my bike of choice.
What is a Beta, is that a division of the big orange, a tool brand or a fish? BETA is a fiercely independent Italian motorcycle manufacturer, specializing in off-road motorcycles. BETA was best known for trials bikes but since 2005, they offered a range of enduro bikes. In 2010 they launched the new RR series, with an in-house engine. If you watch WESS Hard Enduro, Johnny Walker is now racing on a BETA and EnduroGP has been previously DOMINATED by Steve Holcombe and in 2021 won by Brad Freeman on a BETA.
BETA has been imported into Canada since 1983 and in that time there has only been two importers… almost no other brand can say that right now. Beta Canada is celebrating its 11th model year as the exclusive Betamotor importer with the 22 model year range.
Beta offers more value for $$. We can argue about which bike is best until we are blue in the face, but I believe for the price you get more performance/bling with BETA. Having a smaller market share, BETA relies on offering more features and value on their high-performing bikes vs the other guys. A BETA will typically cost a bit less than a comparable bike from “Orange Co & Associates” and you will get better suspension (fully adjustable SACHs on RR-S or KYB on all RR-Race models), billet triples, a Trail Tech VAPOR on-board computer with navigation and other gadgets.
Best in class WARRANTY. Can you imagine a 1yr warranty on a race bike? You get that with BETA and they stand behind their product. Even after re-sale, the warranty is rock solid and unmatched in the market.
Do Beta parts cost more? Yes, Beta parts in general will cost a bit more than comparable options for other brands, but you save up front on the bike purchase and third party offers from Apico, Boano Racing and others provide a lot of alternatives. I break a TONN of parts and so far on both of my bikes I feel I’m still ahead of the game. Plus, for stuff that can reasonably be covered under warranty, you are home-free for a year of riding… …and have you seen the cost or spares for a Ferrari? We’re talking high-performance race bikes here, not budget thumpers with technology from the last millennium.
You can (technically) blue-plate a BETA! This may be only relevant in Ontario and I’m not going to get into legalities of the situation (because they fall in the grey areas or so I hear), but you can get a coveted BLUE Plate on any BETA 4-stroke or 2-stroke race bike – meaning you can ride it on the roads or highways in Ontario. This is pretty sweet if you have a set of motard wheels or just like to be able to LEGALLY cross a paved road to ride into town for some gas.
Also, unlike ‘larger’ brands, Beta’s interpretation of ‘legal’ and emission control standards is definitely laisses-faire. It’s a race bike with blinkers, without being clogged-up for emissions or sound standards…. Basically the opposite of the travesty Honda committed with their CRF250L (i.e. the street-legal version of an awesome track bike being a complete underpowered and disappointing porker). So, you can ride your Beta to the trails and and have your enduro fun too!
Beta bikes are more ‘rideable’. I’ve ridden my buddies’ bikes and without naming specific brands, my experience is that Beta offers the perfect blend of performance and rideability. My 390 is calm and smooth when using the Wet map/mode. At the same time, it instantly transforms into a snappy and responsive race bike when in Race mode, yet without feeling jerky and abrupt like some other brands I’ve tried. It’s genuinely a perfect tool for both a weekend warrior and race enthusiast alike, without compromising either experience. If you are curious about this and live near Toronto, Canada, I’m always up for a ride and happy to let you try my bike… just don’t send it into a tree or off a cliff.. 😂
Dual Sump! Beta uses dual oil sumps for separate lubrication of the top and bottom ends of the engine. This makes valve train last much much longer than many of the other high performance off road brands, resulting in less valve adjustments. Less maintenance equals more riding time.
Beta Dealers. Yes, there are fewer dealers, compared to other brands. On the flip-side however, every dealer is super knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile to help. Having ridden other over-distributed bike brands, I’ve experienced many times a situation where I knew more about the bike than the dealer’s service or parts department… not the balance of knowledge I want. With BETA, the dealers know the bikes inside-out and I’ve ALWAYS felt comfortable knowing my machine was in their hands.
If you are looking for a dealer in your area, you can find one near you here: https://www.betacanada.net/store-locator
Which brings up my next point….
No matter where in Canada you are located (as long as the postman can deliver your online purchases), Lang’s Off-road is AMAZING. Period. Rob is a fixture in the Ontario Off-road Community and knows everything there is to know about BETA. Craig has always gone the extra mile for me (and everyone I know). Kenny is just a fun guy that loves to race, so his perspective is amusing and Kevin has never let me down either… At the end of the day we deal with people and the tram at Lang’s makes owning, servicing and (sometimes) fixing a BETA a great experience. I’ve even called them while stuck trail-side and they patiently walked me through steps to remedy the situation or come up with a fix to get me out of immediate trouble.
I hear that Italians take summers off… Can I still get parts in summer? A very popular question, possibly a stereotype, but either because of stock at Lang’s, BETA Canada or wherever, I generally have never had to wait more than 2 days for any part. One time plastics took over a week, but that was in the midst of global COVID-related supply chain issues… not bad in my opinion. Another time a heat guard was nowhere to be found and Beta Canada Order Management and Operations guy took one off his bike and sent it to me. Can you imagine another brand offering this type of service?
Another related question is “Italians are the only nation that is worse than the British when it comes to vehicle electronics… How is Beta in that department?” Transparently, I had electrical issues on my 2017 480, so did a few others I know with 2017 bikes. In all cases though these were fixed outright with replacing the stock harness with 2020 wiring. On my 2020 I’ve had no issues so far (except that the stock light makes the night DARKER, but that is a common dirt bike complaint can be fixed with a Helmet light or MotoMinded/Baja Designs solution).
Do you ride your bike in the winter? Yes, both my 480 and 390 were equipped with KoldKutter studded tires and I ride them on trails and ice. I don’t like true ICE riding, because to me it feels a little like NASCAR (get on the track and turn LEFT….), but I know many may enjoy that style of riding/racing. I prefer winter trail riding, after the tracks have been worked-in and the snow is below a foot deep maximum. I have also ridden a BETA with a snow bike kit and if you are curious about this, the guys at Valley Rally are the ones to talk to. They hold events and rent snow bikes in a terrain that is second to none in Ontario. If you are lucky, you may even get a chance to drop in on their new podcast “In The Cave”!
Why 390? Because in the summer of 2020 that was the ONLY 4-stroke (4T) Beta bike available in Ontario! We were in the middle of COVID shortages and Pete’s Sales and Service had one 4T on their show floor, so I snapped it up. It was not provided or discounted by BETA or Pete’s in any way, just as my previous 480 wasn’t either, so I’m not obliged/incented to sugar-coat the experience. I got stuck with the 390, even if my ego wanted a BIGGER bike.
That said, what they say about the 390’s is absolutely true. It’s a great do-it-all motor that is a pleasure to ride. It can keep up to more racier models in BETA’s line-up, yet it’s buttery smooth smooth and consistent on a long fast ride. This year I’ve logged over 100 hours on the bike and the valves were still within spec, speaking to the motor’s durability. In 2022 I’m taking the 390 to Baja for The Mexican 1000 and I have no reservations about how it will perform.
Unlike the RACE models the 390 is more mellow (something that has to do with a longer stroke of the motor I think) so it’s less ‘hyper’ in response and more suitable for day to day riding. In fact, having ridden a few BETA models now I finally understand why Lang’s Off-road brings in so many 390’s compared to other 4T models. My thought is that if you want a perfect ‘do it all bike’, get a BETA 390. If you want to race or are obsessed with hard Enduro, check out either 250 or 300 2T. I’m now very happy with my 2020 390RR-S, so much so that I’ve have resisted the urge to move back up to a 480/500 (and probably won’t ever).
So, these are some of the questions I get about my bike, along with reasons I continue to choose BETA for my woods weapons. I’d encourage anyone curious about the BETA range to contact Lang’s Off-road, or your local dealer to learn more and try one of these amazing machines. Hope this is helpful and if you have any feedback or thoughts on the subject, don’t hesitate to write below!