Beta (motorcycle manufacturer)

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Betamotor S.p.A.
TypePrivate
IndustryMotorcycle manufacturing
Founded1904; 117 years ago (1904), Florence
FounderGiuseppe Bianchi, Arrigo Tosi
Headquarters,
Italy
Area served
Worldwide
Websitewww.betamotor.com
A 2000 Beta Rev 3

Beta is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer, specialising in off-road motorcycles. Beta are best known for their popular trials bikes. In 2005, they launched a range of enduro motorcycles using KTM engines. In 2010 they launched the new RR series, with a new engine made in-house. Beta motorcycles have been used by world trials champions such as Jordi Tarrés, Dougie Lampkin, Albert Cabestany and Enduro riders Steve Holcombe and Brad Freeman. Production in 2018 was expected to be in excess of 20,000 motorcycles, ranging in size from 50 cc to 480 cc.[1]

History[edit]

Beta 160 Vulcano Sport, 1955

Beta has its origins in 1904 as a bicycle manufacturing company named "Società Giuseppe Bianchi",[2] originally based in the town of Via Bellariva and later moved to Florence. The company started making motorcycles in 1948. The name Beta comes from the initials of Bianchi, Enzo and Tosi, Arrigo who ran the company at that time. Focusing on two-stroke street bikes through the 1950s and 1960s, the company began development and production of off-road motorcycles in the 1970s. The off-road models were initially motocross and enduro bikes and in the 1980 they began production of the highly successful observed trials bikes. In 2004 Beta entered the 4-stroke enduro market with bikes using KTM motors. By the 2010s they were producing both two-stroke and four-stroke off-road bikes with Beta designed motors.[3]

Notable Beta riders include Jim Pomeroy, Gilbert De Roover and Ivan Bessone in motocross, and jordi Tarres and Doigie Lampkin in trials. Beta motorcycle riders Steve Holcombe and Brad Freeman collectively have won the last three (2017 - 2019) EnduroGP Enduro World Championships.

Trials models[edit]

Beta have produced motorcycles for observed trials since the early 1980s and are now one of the leading manufacturers.[4] Unlike the trail models, the trials and enduro bikes have used Beta's own engines.

  • TR240 (1983-84)[5] First trials model, twinshock suspension 125cc, 200cc engines, the majority with reed valve induction.
A 1983 Beta TR240, 200cc air-cooled engine, twinshock suspension
  • TR32, (1984-85) Air-cooled, monoshock model, produced in parallel with the twinshock model, same engine as TR240
  • TR33, (1985-86)
  • TR34, (1986-1989) Very successful trials model, stripey paintwork, 125cc - 260cc engines
  • TR35, (1989–1991) Air-cooled engine series
  • Zero, (1989–1992) Water-cooled monoshock
  • Synt, (1992-194) Water-cooled monoshock
  • SuperTrial, (1992-93) Air-cooled engine
  • Gara, (1993-94)
  • Techno, (1994-1999) 125cc version from 1995
  • Rev-3, (1999–2008) 2-stroke trials
  • Rev-4, (2007–08) 4-stroke trials
  • Evo [2009-] 2-stroke and 4-stroke

Enduro models[edit]

The Beta enduro bikes used KTM engines from 2004, though 2009. Starting in 2010 in-house designed motors appeared in their enduro bikes. There are currently nine two-stroke and nine four-stroke models.[note 1] All four-strokes have DOHC, separate engine and transmission lubricants, Nissin brakes, Brembo hydraulic clutches, Excel Takasago rims and six-speed gear boxes.[6][1] All RR-S dual-sport bikes sold in the USA come standard with the TrailTech Voyager GPS.[7] The bikes designated RR-S are full-on versions of their electric start, fuel-injected, four-stroke dirt bikes, outfitted with the bare minimum required for a license plate. They all include an AGM battery, a 200W stator, handlebar-mounted ignition map switch, fold-away mirrors, and a factory-installed radiator fan. The RR models are the "race editions" featuring performance tweaks and stiffer suspensions but no street gear. [6]

Currently available Beta off-road bikes by type
2-stroke

Enduro

2-stroke

Race edition

4-stroke

Race edition

4-stroke

Dual-sport

125 RR 125 RE 125 RR-S
200 RR 200 RE 350 RR 350 RR-S
250 RR 250 RE 390 RR 390 RR-S
300 RR 300 RE 430 RR 430 RR-S
X-Trainer 480 RR 500 RR-S
Beta E3 bike at the 2010 WEC GP of Italy

For the 2020 model year Beta revamped their four-stroke lineup with new motors.

Trail models[edit]

The Alp trail motorcycle models have used air-cooled Suzuki DR-model engines and have a good reputation as commuters and "green-lane" trail bikes. With low seat heights and reputations as easy to ride motorcycles, they are ideal for beginners to off-road riding.

  • Alp (2000-), 125 cc, 200 cc and 350 cc models. Air-cooled bikes with Suzuki engines.

Street[edit]

Starting in 2018 Beta offered the 2018 125 RR-S SUPER MOTO.

See also[edit]

Notes [edit]

  1. ^ Currently all 500cc 4-strokes are actually 478cc."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bruno dePrato (5 December 2017). "Beta Is Italy's Least Likely (But Maybe Most Deserving) Motorcycle Hero". Cycle World Magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Beta Company History". Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  3. ^ "THE HISTORY OF BETA MOTORCYCLES". Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  4. ^ Beta Trials UK Technology Reference Site
  5. ^ Beta TR240 www.twinshock.org.uk Archived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b Barnes, Mark (August 16, 2018). "Beta 390 RR-S – First Impression". Motorcycle Consumer News. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Beta Motorcycles: New Models For 2020". Dirt Bike Magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2019.

External links[edit]