Beta Than A KTM!


Supporting the Brand, or at least stopping it from falling over.

A little while back, I wrote an article detailing a dozen reasons why I should keep my 2014 KTM250R Freeride. I wrote of the reasons why this bike was the best bike on which to embark on a journey to develop my riding. A journey to elevate myself from weekend hack to hardcore hard-enduro rider. Maybe there was not a dozen reasons. Maybe, five or eight. Here are a few:

1) In my reading, riding and writing I wanted to be representative of, and an advocate for, the modern middle-aged man that is high in spirit, low in talent, has a modicum of courage and commitment, a massive mortgage and a bike that never, ever starts.

4) I felt that, once I got it started, the Freeride was still a better bike than I was a rider. With this bike I had scope to learn;

5) I wanted to develop my technical knowledge as I developed my riding. Therefore, I needed a bike that was as tired and broken as my spirit (which was a direct consequence of my futile attempts to start the bike at every event);

6) I am a tight-arse and did not want to fork out for a new bike, even though my Freeride never, ever starts.

Ok, that was four reasons, even though you thought it was six. But at the end of the day, if I am to learn to ride I need a bike that starts (did I mention that the Freeride does not), and the problems with the Freeride are terminal (KTM - I am coming for you!). What I don't need is a bike that only starts on race day in the presence of a steep decline.

I thought and thought about the Beta X Trainer. I thought that would be perfect for me and my skill level. Maybe it might have been. But then out of nowhere, Beta sucker punched me with the 200 2T. I was left seeing stars of the Travis Teasdale type. Light and lithe. Flickerty quick. Kinda like my Freeride but 'toiter' than Jake and Amy's nuptials and 'totally jacked' (#notthetitleofmysextape).

And then I woke up.......................................Saturday morning and saw Max Vlasich's Beta 300RR for sale at Motorcycle Studio. It wasn't really meant to happen like that but a hour or so later it did (#titleofmysextape). In any and many a quiet, dark place I had fantasized about this bike. But, in the harsh light of reality, I had steered well clear of this bike because I did not think I was up for the task. Me on a 300RR? Yeah right. Yes I can hold my own (#titleofmysextape), but there was no way I could hold onto a hard-core enduro weapon like this. I genuinely thought that it would tear my arms off and slap me with the wet ends.
The 300RR on any Sunday
I had read somewhere, on a Beta website no doubt, that Beta was evolving their bikes to be more user-friendly. An 'everyday bike for the everyday rider' that would still be capable of kicking open Hell's Gate and charging through it like a typhoon comprised only of noise and smoke. As much as I love this brand, I really thought this was just something some marketing squat had penned to sell more bikes to the novice riders. A catchy line that would result in nothing more than a bunch of mid-life crisis kids curled up in the foetal position sucking their thumbs and clutching the 140/80-18 Michelin Enduro Competition VI in a merciful embrace.
User friendly………really? Could it be?
I was wrong. I was genuinely wrong. With my hand on my heart, I was wrong. Second time out, after a first ride that was no longer than 15 minutes on a flat track, I was 'solid'. Not fast, but relaxed and confident. I was doing little things, subtle things, I had not been able to do before on the Freeride (not the least of which was pressing a button and having the bike start first time). Rolling out of a berm at full lean and lofting the front over the next obstacle without needing to shift my weight to compensate for the suspension lag that was such a drag on the Freeride. Lifting the wheel over multiple whoop tops, absorbing the peaks through the rear: a function of awesome compression and rebound. Back wheel steering into corners, setting up my attitude and angle to attack the next straight. Not fast; not yet. But 'solid'.

To cap it off, I hopped a massive log three times consecutively. Before the first attempt, I really thought the only thing that would come of this obstacle challenge was a viral Youtube clip. Again, I was wrong. The first time, the second time and the third time.

I have found a Beta friend than I have ever had before. Thanks Ram and Motorcycle Studio (
Beta makes it over, over and over again.

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