It is just about time to say goodbye to the 430RR. I really wanted to rack up some more miles, so I hauled it off to Baja last week. As you might recall in the original testing, the bike kept getting better as the miles rolled on. I wanted to see just how much this trend would continue.
The Beta has now clocked 850 miles, 32 hours of ride time. There were noticeable improvements in both motor and suspension as the miles rolled on, right up to about the 500 mile mark. We are really fortunate to have the opportunity to log so many miles. You may be used to hearing me talk about that kind of mileage regularly, but in the larger world of testing, few bikes ever see that much action. In this case, the first two hundred miles on the 430RR showed rather lackluster performance. But over the long haul both motor and suspension improved greatly. Both requiring a very long break in period.
Beta tells me this is very unusual for the motor. It should perform well right out of the box. We even had the discussion that perhaps something was wrong with the engine. But other than initial power, it ran so well I did not feel that was the case. I don’t consider it all that unusual. 350 KTM’s tend to be the same way, they take some time to really deliver all their power potential. The improvement in power was also reflected in fuel mileage gains.
With the advent of EFI, it has been awhile since we talked about jetting and altitude on a full size four stroke. The 430 ran noticeably stronger on the beach than anywhere else we rode. Climbing to 2,000 feet throttle response became just a tad lackluster, losing a bit of power off the bottom and top. From there performance remained about the same to 5,000 feet. Even with the needle lowered one position, the stock jetting seems to be just a little rich.
Ultimately, as the 430 motor improved it felt much closer in overall power to the 2015 KTM 450xcw. With its short stroke, it is always just a bit livelier, but does not have quite as much torque. It does have a big fun factor, a sort of pep that the KTM lacks.
As for the suspension. The performance of the Sachs fork mirrored that of the motor. Feel continued to improve right up to the 500 mile mark as nearly all the harshness finally disappeared. This is by far the best result we have had in testing a Sachs fork. I can’t say how much of it is due to improvements, but certainly a big part of it is simply from a longer ride/break in time. On the first day of testing I decided on clicker settings that I felt were best. From there on, I never changed the settings. All of the improvement in feel was due to the mechanical action of the fork improving over time. According to the owners manual, the stock spring rate is 4.8, pretty stiff for an enduro bike. But that might explain why the bike never seemed too soft. The shock has a 5.4 spring.
Overall handling on the Beta is very good now. It feels quite agile. With the short stock chain, the wheel is moved all the way forward to accommodate the 14t countershaft sprocket (13t stock), so that might explain some of the quick feel. There was never any sign of instability either. Every tester commented that the 430 was easy to ride.
If you are not on the throttle hard, the power delivery is very mild. As noted before, that mild power helps it find traction everywhere. Most notably on loose hill climbs, it practically refuses to spin the wheel. But there is still a tiger inside if you want to twist the throttle hard enough. It seems to be a combination of power characteristics that appeal to just about everyone.
The Beta ran like a champ. It fires instantly, probably helped by being jetted a tad rich. It is virtually impossible to stall. It never lost a drop of coolant. The overall quality of components is very high. This is a bike that would be very easy to live with.
Here are some of the other test notes;
Fuel mileage consistently increased from the original 25mpg to just over 35mpg. I carried a spare gallon with me so I could regularly check the consumption.
14/48 gearing proved to be a very nice combination for open terrain riding, 13/48 is stock.
The odometer has large buttons and is easy to read. It is very easy to move between screens and reset with gloves on
The welded skidplate tabs on the frame are a nice touch, but I wish the stock plate offered a bit more protection
Oil change is easy enough, both plugs are under the motor for no mess drain
500 miles consumed 4oz of oil in the motor
The kill button and horn positions are reversed from what seems natural, constantly hit the horn when trying to kill motor
Brakes are very nice, mostly likely helped by the Galfer waved rotors
Gear ratios seem just about right, wide enough for dual sport use
Stock Supersprox rear sprocket shows almost no wear yet
Sidestand foot is too small for any soft ground
Seat Concepts seat was a huge improvement in comfort. Other than that the only mods were handguards and gearing
One thing about riding long days in Baja is that it gives me lots of time to think. When testing, I spend much of that time formulating my critique of the bike I am riding. Riding in a group also gives me the chance to jump on other bikes and make comparisons. On the last ride, once on the Beta, no one wanted to give it up. It was popular with everyone. While it took a few miles to get there, I have to say it gets an unqualified thumbs up.