Family-owned Beta treats us to another year of dualsport bikes sure to please the dirt riders among us. Making two-wheeled transportation since 1904, Beta motorized their bicycles in the late 1940s and focused heavily on offroad riding starting in the 1970s. The focus of what the folks at Beta call "Beta Rideability" and attention to customer needs keeps them moving forward.

New for the 430 RS in 2016, we find softer foam in the seat, a larger battery for better hot starting, a new front brake hose that allows a better view of the GPS unit, and — here’s the biggie — fuel injection. In 2015 we saw the last of the Keihin FCR-39 mm carburetor, so if you’re one of those anti-FI folks, you’d better grab a 2015 Beta 430 RS while they last.

Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Beta 430 RS.

  • 2016 Beta 430 RS
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-1
  • Displacement:
    431 cc
  • Price:
    9699

Design

2015 Beta 430 RS Exterior
- image 576843

Note: 2015 Beta 430RS shown here.

Seat height, which seems to be a point of contention among some riders, is 36.6 inches. Some folks call that too high, some call it too low; but it is what it is. My take is that it’s too high, but keep in mind that the 430 RS, like its offroad brethren, isn’t a wide bike, so you don’t have nearly the leg arc you would on, say, a big adventure bike. If you’re a technical trail rider, you don’t necessarily want a tall seat, but tall enough that you can dab the ground with a slight break at the knee is an advantage. You can add a tall seat option if you’re so inclined.

Standard equipment on the 430 RS includes flag-styled handguards, a translucent fuel tank, tuck-away mirrors, a push-button seat release with built-in grab handles and a Trail Tech Voyager GPS unit with a micro SD card loaded with maps. New instrumentation for 2016 includes low fuel-level warning and electronic fuel injection system diagnostics.

Grips embossed with the Beta logo and graphics borne from Beta’s Italian heritage adorn the 430 RS. The gold anodized front forks match the rear shock reservoir. Whether you love the gold or hate it, it is all the same once the bike gets muddy.

Chassis

2015 Beta 430 RS Exterior
- image 576843

Note: 2015 Beta 430RS shown here.

Though the RS is not the race bike, it was designed to handle the stresses of the job. Beta started with a tough, molybdenum steel frame for the backbone, with a large, single downtube that splits into a double-cradle frame to support the engine. The result is a stiff and stable frame able to withstand the rigors of the race course, as well as general offroad hijinks.

The factory didn’t stop there, either. It slapped a pair of inverted, 48 mm Sachs forks in the tripleclamp to handle heavy lateral and torsional loads, with improvements such as an enlarged bleed hole and a better top-out spring to manage the forks at the extremes of their travel, and a longer spring guide for everything in between. A lightweight, aluminum-body Sachs monoshock supports the rear, and comes with rebound and compression adjustments. Suspension at both ends gives 11.4 inches of wheel travel, with 12.6 inches of ground clearance.

A single, 260 mm front brake disc and 240 mm rear disc provide the stopping power, as well as a little panache. The discs themselves are of a rather radical, wave-cut design that adds a definite flair to the wheels.

Drivetrain

2015 Beta 430 RS Exterior
- image 576840

Note: engine from 2015 Beta 430RS shown here.

Beta refined its 431 cc engine for the 2016 model year. The intake ports were reworked to increase power delivery, and some of the internal engine components and fasteners were changed from steel to aluminum to try and scrub off as much dead weight as possible. I think aluminum screws are a bit scary, but I trust Beta to make it work.

This also marks the first year for electronic fuel injection on the four-stroke engines – a mixed blessing if you ask me. Yeah, EFI is great as long as the myriad sensors continue to do the voodoo that they do, but if something goes wrong, you can pretty much forget about fixing it on the side of the trail or racetrack. Call me old-fashioned, but I feel better having a carburetor when I’m out in the wilds. I have a better chance of limping home if something goes wrong.

A 42 mm EFI manages the intake charges, and a Kokusan, direct-current capacitor discharge ignition (DC-CDI) provides reliable ignition. The 200-Watt stator charges a larger-than-last-year battery that provides extra starting power – a great feature for panic starts after a stall on the track – with a kickstarter as a super-emergency backup. I like this redundancy, and while kickstarting a bike may be a pain, it’s not as painful as pop-starting one. Especially in the dirt, when you don’t have a hill.

The factory set the RS up with easy-access to the air cleaner housing and other maintenance points. I like this feature as well, because having to remove a plethora of guards and body panels for routine maintenance makes me want to bite someone.

Pricing

MSRP on the 2016 430 RS is $9,699 and Beta covers your bike with a 12-month limited warranty. The RS lineup will be available at dealerships in November.

The 430 RS is a street-legal, full-featured dualsport bike with over 300 accessories to choose from to customize it to your heart’s content. You can even BYOB. No, not "bring your own bottle," but "build your own Beta." Created in 2008 to cater to customer wants and needs, BYOB lets you start with a base bike and add accessories to create your dream bike. Once you finish customizing your bike and submit a $500 deposit, the folks at Beta build it. Allow four to six weeks for completion of your dream bike.

Comparison

The anti-FI folks will be happy to hear that Suzuki’s 2015 DR-Z400S and DR-Z400SM dualsport bikes still have carburetors — the Mikuni BSR36.

If seat height is your point of contention, KTM’s 2016 450 XC-F has a tall 39-inch saddle. The other end of the range is 35 inches on Suzuki’s 2015 DR-Z400SM. Ground clearance suffers for the low seat height, though. Compare the DR-Z400SM at 10.2 inches, the 430 RS at 12.6 inches and the 450 XC-F at 14.6 inches.

Don’t overlook the fact that the 430 RS has a kickstarter in addition to its electric starter; the other three bikes don’t.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer says, “I appreciate what Beta is doing here, and I love that they are a family-run business. This little ride is a perfect example of the passion and attention to detail Italians are famous for – and if you doubt the veracity of that statement, go listen to some neopolitan opera, sample their food or look at some other Italian vehicles and get back to me.” (wink nudge)

She Said

"As a mechanic, one thing I really like about Beta is the availability of manuals. I don’t even have to create a login for their website and jump through hoops in order to get my hands on whatever I want. Through the website, I can download not only owner manuals, but I can get wiring diagrams, parts lists and service manuals. I really appreciate a company that is so forthcoming with service information. That may change as the company grows and they realize the manuals can be a source of revenue; but for now, kudos for easy access to service info."

"I like the look of gold forks on a black bike; not so much on the 430 RS. But honestly, who cares? For me, offroad means it’s all about function. Once the bike gets muddy, who cares what color it is?"

Specifications

Drivetrain:
Engine Type: Single cylinder, four-valve, (titanium intake/steel exhaust) four-stroke liquid cooled, electric start with back up kick starter and cooling fan kit
Bore: 95 mm
Stroke: 60.8 mm
Displacement: 431 cc
Compression Ratio: 11.95 to 1
Ignition: DC-CDI with variable ignition timing, Kokusan. 200 watt output at 6,000 rpm
Spark Plug NGK LKAR8A-9
Lubrication: Twin oil pumps with cartridge oil filter. Separate oil for engine and clutch 0.8 liter each
Cooling: forced liquid circulation by pump
Fuel System: 42 mm Electronic Fuel Injection
Clutch: Wet multi-disc
Primary Ratio: 31/73
Transmission: six-speed
Final Drive: O-ring chain, DID
Final Gearing: 15t front, 48t rear
Chassis:
Frame: Molybdenum steel with double cradle split above exhaust port. Quick Air filter access from the side.
Front Suspension: 48 mm Sachs USD fork, adjustable compression and rebound, TFX technology.
Rear Suspension: Aluminum Body Sachs shock w/adjustable rebound and hi/low speed compression
Front Suspension Travel: 11.4 inches
Rear Suspension Travel: 11.4 inches
Front Brake: 260 mm disc and dual-piston floating caliper
Rear Brake: 240 mm disc and single-piston floating caliper
Front Wheel: 21 x 1.6 - 36 holes
Rear Wheel: 18 x 2.15 - 36 holes
Front Tire: 90/90-21 Michelin Enduro, DOT approved
Rear Tire: 140/80-18 Michelin Enduro, DOT approved
Dimensions:
Length: 85.8 inches
Width: 31.8 inches
Height: 50 inches
Wheelbase: 58.1 inches
Seat Height: 36.6 inches
Ground Clearance: 12.6 inches
Footrest Height: 16.25 inches
Details:
Dry Weight: 244 Pounds
Electrical: Trail Tech Voyager GPS unit.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 2 Gallons
Recommended Fuel: Premium Unleade
Warranty: 12-month Limited Warranty
Price: $9,699
What do you think?
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