Beta claims its RR-S line (street-legal models) can be ridden to an enduro, raced in said enduro, and ridden home. That challenge conjured up visions of the past when gnarly dudes on streetbikes barely changed for dirt competition, would do just that. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just google John Penton.

But, alas, I had no enduro, or any other off-road race, taking place near me because: 1) I live in Orange County, and 2) it was a Friday when I really wanted to go ride. But that didn’t deter me and my work actually started on Thursday night with a rear tire swap. After about five or six trail rides, two or three commutes, and one weekend camping trip, the stock DOT rear was toast. I grabbed a Motoz Mountain Hybrid 120/100-18, which was the only DOT tire we had in the office and I’ve used one before in the Colorado 600 Trail Symposium Ride so I know it works really well in rocky conditions. If you haven’t seen one, the Mountain Hybrid has the knob pattern and spacing of a trials tire but the stiff compound, round profile, and firm sidewalls of a real off-road tire.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Maintenance requires you to drain two oil compartments, engine and transmission. Also note that there is a screen on the oil drain plug and a magnet on the transmission drain plug, both of which should be cleaned with some spray solvent.Sean Klinger

Friday morning came and I remembered I needed to change the oil and air filters so I set to that relatively simple task. To be honest, you can change the air filter blindfolded with one hand, no exaggeration. With tool-less side cover removal and a tool-less air filter retention system, if you have a fresh, oiled filter this task will take you less than 60 seconds.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Liquid Moly Engine Flush supposedly gets more gunk out of your engine when added before an oil change. Sure, let’s do it.Sean Klinger

Next, on to the vital fluids. Like Hondas of modern times (excluding the 2017–’18 models) all Beta four-strokes have separate engine and transmission oil. While this makes changing the oil(s) take a little longer, it isn’t that different than a typical oil change. Both sides need 750 milliliters and Beta recommends Motul 7100 10w-40 and Motul Transoil Expert 10w-40, respectively, so that’s what I used. Motul colors its oils making it easy to know which is which when opening up the drain plugs on the bottom of the cases (red is engine, yellow-ish is transmission).

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Swapping the air filter is as easy as can be. No tools need to take off the side panel or remove and replace the filter.Sean Klinger

I also tried out a new product: Liqui Moly Motorbike Engine Flush. According to the can, when changing your oil you pour the Engine Flush into the oil after you warmed up the bike. Then you let it idle for 10 minutes and drain as normal. The product is supposed to help clean the engine by suspending all the residues and deposits that accumulate in the motor. This all sounds great and it was super simple to use, but whether it did anything or not is hard to say. Once a new oil filter was swapped in, everything was bolted back on and topped off and I was off on a daylong dual-sport adventure.

Highway To The Danger Zone

I know. Bikes like this are in no way designed to be freeway commuters, but in the spirit of riding a racebike to a race to race it, I decided to ride the 430 RR-S on the highway to the trails, to trail ride it. There is something awesome about gearing up in your own garage and not having to truck a bike to the trailhead. I’m sure many of you who don’t live on either coast are much more used to this than us city slickers, but that piece of metal with numbers stamped in it on the back of my bike means I can do just that.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
After an hour on the freeway, I was stoked to find some dirt. So was the Beta.Sean Klinger

Getting ahead of traffic on the street is absolutely no problem; the 430 has plenty of torquey power, plus it is as slim as a motorcycle could be so splitting lanes is a breeze. I cruised down the highway at 70 to 75 mph, which was at a surprisingly low rpm (about 6,000). A cool side note, a Trail Tech Voyager GPS comes stock on the RR-S and has a tachometer—very nice for street riding. I could still accelerate around vehicles at that cruising speed but I was cognizant of abusing the motor.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Once on the trails the mirrors fold in and mostly out of the way.Sean Klinger

While the motor was very capable and happy to gobble up highway miles, the rest of the bike wasn’t so much. The Mountain Hybrid tire is actually really well balanced and feels like a street tire on asphalt, but I would like to balance the front wheel for another long street ride. The stock front tire was at the point of wear where it was getting a little “cupped out” making it bounce and cause an unnerving shudder through the whole bike. All that being said, this is a dirt bike and not designed to be perfectly smooth on pavement. After a few miles, I got used to it.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Finding pavement along the way is no stress with a license plate.Sean Klinger

Dancing In The Dirt

After an hour or so on the freeway (57 miles) I hit a gas station for a top-off. The 2-gallon tank took exactly 1 gallon to fill up giving me a fuel range of well over 100 miles. I aired down the tires to 15 psi and pointed my front wheel to the hills. The first section of dirt for the day was a rocky fire road the 430 ate up like Joey Chestnut eating hot dogs. While immediately off idle the power might feel a little light, just giving it a little more throttle has the 430 pulling a gear tall no problem. This bike’s power falls in a category I like to call sneaky fast. Basically, it doesn’t sound aggressive and doesn’t rev incredibly fast like modern moto bikes, but with good torque and midrange punch you’ll get going just as fast as you’d like. There is really no reason to wring it out in the top-end and it doesn’t make the best power up there, but with six, widely spaced gears I short-shifted all day with a huge smile under my lid.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Quick lunch stop. Power bars are fine but don’t hold a candle to a hot burger.Sean Klinger

My rear tire selection performed the worst on the flat gravel roads and, to be fair, that isn’t what the Mountain Hybrid was designed for. But even with it slipping and sliding around, it was a very predictable slide and it gave me a ton of feedback. I think the tire’s rounded profile lets you lean pretty far with it keeping a constant, controlled-slide action. Like I’ve written before, the braking performance is a little lacking, but in dirt and on real trails, the tire works really well especially if there are lots of rocks.

Once into dirt I explored all the trails and dirt roads I could find, keeping in mind that I do have a somewhat limited range, that I didn’t want to be stuck out there at night, and that a lunch stop would be awesome since my Raisin Bran breakfast was thoroughly used up at that point. Plus, pulling up to a restaurant in town is one of the major perks of riding a street-legal machine.

After a surprisingly good burger at slightly hokey dive, the Beta 430 RR-S and I went in search of more dirt, while keeping our general direction pointed back home. As I was picking through some super-rutted and rocky trail surrounded by trees, I had a wonderful realization that a couple of hours ago I was just at my house in the city and that I rode, not drove, to real off-road trails.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
The sun was going down and I had to boogie through some more fun trail.Sean Klinger

Speaking of trails, the only real downside to the 430 in dirt is when you have to make really quick direction changes. At 270 pounds, this machine could use a diet, but so could I. When maneuvering through switchbacks, tight trees, or when trying to come to a stop really quickly, the 430 feels heavy. But slightly negating that feeling are the bike’s nimble handling and slim chassis feel. If I were riding with buddies on full off-road bikes, I honestly would not feel like I was at a disadvantage unless we were getting into some lift-and-carry Erzberg stuff. Even on really steep hill climbs, this machine hangs with the best of them.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Since we can split lanes in California, I wasn’t worried about how bad the traffic was below.Sean Klinger

When the dirt ended and the traffic started, I was happy to be on a slim bike to slice my way through rush hour. All said and done, I put about 200 miles on the bike that Friday and didn’t hear one single complaint from it. Well, the rearview mirrors complained. They were the only part of the bike that wasn’t working as well as in the morning. They just sort of rattled loose; nothing some tightening can’t fix. In the near future, I hope to actually do the ride-race-ride program on this machine, and in the meantime, I’ll be looking for some cool parts to use and some things I can shave off to lighten her up.

2018 Beta 430 RR-S
Almost 200 miles on this DOT Motoz Mountain Hybrid tire. Not bad.Sean Klinger
2018 Beta 430 RR-S
One more look before I put her to bed for the night.Sean Klinger