August 1, 2022

Commuting on the Beta RR 430

Commuting on the Beta RR 430

Beta is known for being great dirt bikes. But our long-term test bike, the Beta RR 430 is road legal. So it would be only fair to put it to the test in all conditions, right?

Weighing in at around 120kgs wet, the Beta RR 430 is light, nimble and agile. So it should be well suited to tight city streets, and weaselling its way through traffic. But it is equipped with dirt tyres, knobleys. It came with a set of Maxxis Enduros, these were fantastic off road, but on the seal they were wearing out quickly. So we swapped them out for a Karoo Extreme rear, and an MC 360 R front. Both still reasonably aggressive off road tyres, but also still road legal.

The MC 360 R is 100% Carbon black, 0% Silica, so on top of the fact its knobley (meaning it has a reduced contact patch on the road) its also lacking the agent that would provide grip on the seal in damp and cold conditions. This could be lethal on the road. They're a hard wearing, aggressive dirt tyre which is also reversible, meaning its possible to put it on backwards when you have worn away the sharp leading edge.

The Karoo Extreme has a tread pattern that is more like a paddle, with large horizontal grooves, and the "knobs" all in neat rows. This will be ok on the seal, but should be really good in mud and sand.

I hit the road on a cold winter's morning, from Upper Hutt, heading into Wellington. On the short suburban street section of my commute, the Beta RR430 felt light and easy to ride. the seat is hard, and the front brake is bitey. But as soon as we got out onto the motorway, things changed altogether. The lack of weight means the bike is really susceptible to wind gusts. even a mild headwind is noticeable, and you need to wind on more throttle. This model is geared down, so sitting at 100kph feels a bit like I'm forcing the bike to go faster than it wants to. Don't get me wrong, the bike is more than capable of doing 100kph, and there is still more than enough torque to accelerate in top gear, but I'm not sure it's ideal sitting at a constant speed this high in the rev range. Having only one wing mirror is a little less than ideal also, but not the end of the world.

With the lack of cold grip in the front tyre, you need to be really careful how you react to hazards, and try to anticipate anyone pulling out in front of you.
The ergonomics of the bike are comfortable for commuting, but the seat is really quite hard and not good for much more than say 20-30 minutes. Also, at these high speeds, there is a lot of vibration, from the engine, wind turbulence, and from the tyres, possibly not balanced well enough. Thankfully, my commute often has a lot of slow-moving traffic, so here is where the Beta really started to do well. Picking my way through slow-moving traffic at around 40kph. Just fast enough to keep the air flowing over the radiator, but slow enough.

I made it to work safely, but this is not the sort of bike you're going to want to commute on. It's just not made for that. With short service intervals, loads of vibration, less than ideal tyres, and little in the way of comfort. It's really designed as a dirt bike, enduro, trail rides, getting off-road, exploring and having fun. So I'm going to leave the commuting duties to my daily, and save this beast for what it really excels at. Next video, we're hitting the dirt properly and going on a trail ride. don't forget to subscribe to be kept up to date on the next adventure on this awesome bike.