BETA redesigned almost everything in its off-road/dual-sport line for 2020. We have had the 500RRS dual-sport bike for several weeks now and we’re amazed.
It’s one of the best off-road 500s that we’ve ever tested, and it’s fully street-legal. Here’s the basic run-down: There are four dual-sport bikes built on the same platform. The 350RR-S, 390RR-S, 430RR-S and 500RR-S differ only in displacement. They have double-overhead-cam motors, steel frames and Sachs suspension.
The fuel tank is slightly larger and the whole bike has a new look. The motor doesn’t look that different from the previous one, but Beta engineers moved the crankshaft rearward and the clutch upward to group the big rotating masses closer to the center of the bike.
The 500 motor actually displaces 478cc, just like before, and has separate compartments for the engine oil and gearbox oil. It’s a six-speed with fairly tall overall gearing.The Beta 500RR-S passes all the tests to be street-legal in all 50 states. Beta followed the rules, but those rules might not be the same as those that Honda, Yamaha or even KTM are expected to follow.
The 500RR-S isn’t nearly as restricted as a Honda CRF450L or a KTM 500EXC. It might be quiet by dirt bike standards, but it’s still much louder than dual-sports from bigger companies. That gives Beta a big advantage in performance. It’s a powerful motorcycle. It’s the fastest dual-sport bike available short of big maulers like the KTM 690 Enduro and the Husky 701. It’s also more powerful than any full-fledged off-road four-stroke. This does NOT include closed-course competition off-road bikes like the Honda 450RX, the Yamaha YZ450FX and so forth.
Those bikes are thinly veiled motocross bikes. The components are pretty good. We love the Trail Tech Voyager GPS, which comes stock. The hydraulic clutch is excellent and so are the Nissin brakes. The blinkers and mirrors, however, aren’t. They break almost immediately.