The best so far,
Beta’s all-new 200 RR combines the light weight of a 125 with the drive of a 300. It’s the best new dirt bike of the year so far
BETA’S 2019 ENDURO range stretches long and wide: the eight-model line-up is as comprehensive as you’ll find from any manufacturer. And the new RR 200 is the best of the lot. This is saying something, as the 300 two-stroke is Beta’s biggest seller and choice of world enduro champion, Steve Holcombe. Then there’s the big 480 fourstroke, which appeals to road bike riders because of its brutal motor. But though big capacity enduro bikes can work for racing they’re not ideal because most riders don’t need all that weight and power. They sell in big numbers in North America and Australia though, because they are fast and torquey, and still agile compared with a road-orientated trail or adventure bike. But even in this company, the RR 200 shines. It’s a small-capacity two-stroke like I’ve never ridden. Characteristically these are light and fun but also hard work to ride because of a narrow powerband that requires constant concentration. Keeping a 125 or 150 two-stroke on the pipe is a great trick to master but it’s so much less trouble to ride a 250 four-stroke. Until now, that is. The RR 200 is versatile and light. With the same chassis as the 125 it is sweet handling and energy-light to ride but has the power and torque enough to be a genuinely useful enduro and trail bike. A meandering loop on a steep Tuscany hillside (where the ‘Hell’s Gate’ extreme enduro is held each year) was a good test but there were better ones lurking off-piste through the trees. Scaling a hellish hill on the 200 was an eye-opener: I expected 125-style all-or-nothing engine performance but found a bike eager to drive at the bottom and attack the hill, but with torque and feel from a light clutch and deft throttle delivery when the slope got so tough that pushing was the only way forward. Even a stall part way did little to halt progress as the electric start fired it back into life and I quickly found the grip and torque to move off again. Much lighter and easier to man-handle than its bigger brothers, it means that when I get to the top of the climb I’m ready to give it another go instead of collapsing. Unless Beta have sneakily fitted a 250 motor, then this is the bike of the year for me so far. Sadly, it’ll be October before Beta’s production lines at the small Italian factory can start work on the little 200. When it does hit the showrooms it’s surely going to be a hit.
Beta RR 200 Racing £6250 (est) PRICE: 190.2cc, single ENGINE: cylinder 2-stroke 930mm SEAT HEIGHT: DRY WEIGHT: 97.5kg
No fuel injection here. 200 RR has a carb
A 125 would be screaming, but the 200 sails up on a wave of torque