By FTR on August 14, 2012 2:33 AM
For two seasons, extreme sports superstar Travis Pastrana and his tightly-knit group of friends (all extreme sports stars in their own right) had an extremely entertaining show on MTV called "Nitro Circus" in which they would perform all sorts of truly amazing stunts. Essentially, the show sort of followed in the same style as MTV's "Jackass" but with one major difference that's perfectly outlined by "Jackass" star and creator Johnny Knoxville during the course of this movie. Knoxville says that at its core, the "Jackass" stunts are sort of designed to fail with the humor coming out of that, but with the Nitro Circus, those stunts are designed to succeed and true failure there just isn't a funny thing. While precautions were certainly taken on both shows, it really was way more of a matter between life and death when it came to the Nitro Circus.
I really enjoyed the TV show; I was almost always guaranteed to see something really amazing on it and I've just been waiting to see if there was ever going to be a third season. Well, the third season obviously didn't happen but what did was this movie; "Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D" and it's a very entertaining ride.
While there's no story per se here, it is set against a backdrop of telling an overall story about this group of people, why they do what they do and their dream to take what they do and make it a live show that they perform in Las Vegas. Some of the stunts performed in the movie have also been done on the TV show, but here they have a little bit more of a production budget and the added bonus of 3D. And here, 3D is really an added bonus and it's right on display during the opening stunts of the film. This stunt is a massive recreation of one of the greatest stunts from the TV show, involving motocross cycles, trophy trucks and buggies (and I'm sure I'm missing something else) all jumping over each other in a criss-crossing pattern, with each of the bike riders all performing stunts as they take to the air. It's a dazzling display of talent and the 3D just really makes it even more impressive, making you feel more like being there than anything else. Now none of the other stunts that follow in the film are as impressive as its opening, but they're still fun to watch nonetheless. There is humor in the film as well, but don't go expecting the same variety that you'll see in a "Jackass" movie- most of the humor comes from the interview situations and narration through the film.
Travis Pastrana is certainly the most recognized name amongst the crew of the Nitro Circus, but this isn't the Travis Pastrana show by any means. The main core of the Circus includes Jolene Van Vugt, Jeremy Rawle, Gregg Godfrey, "Streetbike" Tommy Passamante, Erik Roner, Jim DeChamp and Greg Powell. Everybody gets a chance to shine, though "Streetbike" Tommy gets just a little more play than the rest of the group, sort of acting as their comic relief- if there can be such a thing here. You can tell that this group of folks genuinely enjoy what they're doing and genuinely enjoy doing it with each other.
If you were a fan of the show, then you'll probably have a great time with "Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D." I know I did. Just sort of look at as a bit of a palate cleanser among the other movies out there right now. It packs quite a lot into its short 90 minute run time and doesn't wear out it's welcome in the slightest. And as I said above, the 3D here is just incredible.
By FTR on June 21, 2012 7:57 PM
Here's a cool new product I just discovered and wanted to share:
Hippo Hands Handlebar Muffs
For riding in the cold and rain, these look like a nice thing to have for riders that can use them! I think they are better looking/fitting for cruisers than sportbikes, but it looks like they have versions for all bikes! I think these are perfect for snowmobiles, and ATV's too!!!!
Check it out, and let us know what you think. Would you use them? Would you buy them if the price is right?
Checkout their website for more details, photos and testimonials.... but I couldn't find the price, or where to buy them... ?!?!
By cpFTR9 on May 08, 2012 5:11 PM
Ducati Recalls 283 Motorcycles (2012)
Sam Sims for Ultimatemotorcycling.com
2012 Ducati Motorcycle Recall
Ducati has recalled 283 motorcycles (model year 2012) due to rear-brake pad issues.
Ducati says the following 2012 models are included in the recall:
- 848 EVO
- Hypermotard 796
- Monster 1100 EVO
- Monster 796
- Multistrada 1200 ABS
- Streetfigther 848
Ducati says on the affected motorcycles, the friction material may detach from the backing plate of the rear-brake pads. If the material detaches, there would be a sudden loss of rear brake efficiency, which increases the risk of a crash.
Ducati will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the rear brake pads as necessary, free of charge. Ducati has not yet reported a notification schedule, but owners may call the Italian motorcycle company at 1-800-231-6696, or visit ducati.com. The recall number is RCL-12-003.
Customers may also contact the National Traffic Safety Administration's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or visit safercar.gov.
By FTR on May 02, 2012 6:47 PM
BMW Recall for major problem with 2012 1000RR
|Manufacturer||BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC|
|Manufactured between||SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 - APRIL 10, 2012|
|Recalled on||APR 19, 2012|
|Influenced by||BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC|
|Recalled for||Engine and engine cooling:engine|
|Description||BMW is recalling certain model year 2012 s1000rr motorcycles, manufactured from September 1, 2011, through April 10, 2012. Due to a manufacturing process error, the connecting rod bolts may become loose during high engine temperatures and/or high engine operating speeds which could result in catastrophic engine damage.|
|Consequences||In the event of engine damage, escaping oil could cause handling issues, increasing the risk of a crash.|
|Corrective action||BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the connecting rod bolts free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during May 2012. Owners may contact BMW customer relations and services at 1-800-525-7417.|
|Notes||CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV|
View the specifications and photos of the 2012 BMW 1000RR in the Motorcycle Database.
By cpFTR9 on April 12, 2012 4:31 PM
2012 Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC First Ride
Managing Editor Motorcycle-usa.com
Bashing away at an MCUSA keyboard for more than half a decade, Madson lends his scribbling input on everything from bike reviews to industry features and motorcycle racing reports.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Aprilia Tuono once ruled the Streetfighter roost. A perennial winner in MotoUSA’s annual Streetfighter Shootouts, the two-cylinder Tuono turned the Noale factory’s RSV Mille Superbike into a thrilling street bike. When Aprilia engineers scrapped the long-in-the-tooth Mille for the all-new RSV4 Superbike, a new Tuono seemed to be the logical progression. The result is the new Tuono V4R, which after early release in Europe is finally arriving on American shores as a 2012 model.
Racetrack performance in a street-friendly package. It's the goal of every streetfighter, and one of the best interpretations returns to American shores in the Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC.
Tuono means Thunder in Italian, and thumbing the starter on our test bike the nomenclature immediately rings true. Aprilia’s stout exhaust tone gives riders an audible inkling of what’s on tap. Crack the throttle and things start to get interesting. Even bozos lacking clutch finesse (not that I’m talking about myself…) can yank the front end up with a stern twist. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves… For now let’s just say engine performance is exhilarating, with the impressive V-Four the defining feature of this latest Aprilia.
It should surprise no one that the Tuono mill is a ripper. Remember, this is the 65-degree V-Four engine platform that has won numerous World Superbike races, as well as the 2010 SBK Rider and Constructor titles with Max Biaggi at the controls. Adding to that impressive feat, the Aprilia RSV4 engines are powering the majority of the new Claiming Rule Team (CRT) entries in the 2012 MotoGP series. Now in its fourth year of development, this engine already boasts an impressive racing byline.
While the Tuono engine architecture is identical to the RSV4, including 78mm bore and 52.3mm stroke, Aprilia engineers didn’t plop in the Superbike engine without alteration. Valve timing has been revised, with the RSV4’s variable intake system tossed for a fixed intake ducts that are 20mm longer. These modifications target improved performance in bottom and mid-range. Meanwhile a heavier flywheel aims to smooth out the power delivery. The engine's redline drops to 12,300 rpm, with peak horsepower and torque also arriving at lower revs than its racy SBK sibling.
Such “street-friendly” alterations in the Streetfighter class can translate into a restrictive de-tuning that neuters the Superbike-derived powerplant. Thankfully the Tuono doesn’t suffer. The new Aprilia registered 152 peak horsepower on our in-house dyno, which ranges from 16 to 43 hp more than its class rivals (as measured in our 2011 Streetfighter Shootout). Compared to the RSV4 R we tested last summer, the Tuono’s 152.1 peak horsepower and 76.18 lb-ft torque register earlier in the revs. And compared to its Twin-powered predecessor, the V-Four Tuono churns out 40 more ponies.
So, to sum up – 152 horsepower at the rear wheel, on a street bike… Street-friendly indeed! Ample power is found everywhere, without flat spots in the power curve. Linear power builds from down low, packing a particularly robust pop around 9K. From there the Tuono keeps on churning as it growls to redline, the top-end kick showcasing its Superbike lineage.
The Tuono also inherits sophisticated electronics from its RSV4 kin. The APRC electronics package utilizes gadgetry, like gyro and accelerometers, to harness raw engine power with a series of systems. Foremost is Aprilia Traction Control (ATC), which offers eight variable settings ranging from minimal interference that allows for rear wheel slides to more restrictive levels which reduce wheel spin for rider safety. The ATC is easily switched via toggle button on left switchgear. The APRC system also incorporates three settings for Aprilia Wheelie Control (AWC) and Aprilia Launch Control (ALC).
The Tuono offers three engine maps, which alter power delivery and maximum output. Track (T) is the unfettered full power delivery, while Sport (S) delivers maximum power in a smoother manner, with Road (R) also smoothing out delivery but cutting power by 25%. The three engine maps can be swapped out via ignition switch on the right side switch gear.
The Aprilia Tuono showcases a sophisticated electronics package that includes three selectable engine maps and an eight-level traction control system as well as wheelie and launch control. It's also got a quick shifter too.
In practice the extreme ends of the ATC spectrum make a noticeable difference for even regular Joe riders like me. It ranges from minimal invasiveness to a more intrusive setting throughout a range of 1 to 8. It helps to have a track for sorting out the subtleties of the various ATC settings in between (as well a discerning expert-level rider). I monkeyed around with the numerous electronic settings, and opted to stick it on ATC 3 and the Sport mapping. We barely plumbed the depths of the electronics, but it’s a dialed system and best of all, it offers the benefit of electronic aids while still allowing riders to control the settings.
Our favorite electronic do-dad is the Aprilia Quick Shift (AQS). A quick shifter may be a track luxury, but it sure proves convenient on the street. Open the throttle and riders can bang up through the Tuono’s six-speed gear box sans clutch input. The AQS represents the highlight of a stellar transmission, with a slipper clutch smoothing out downshifts as well. Gearing has been altered in the bottom three gears from the track-biased RSV4. First gear still feels tallish, and Neutral proved sticky, at times, but we’re reaching for complaints, as the transmission is top rate.
The chassis shares some traits with the RSV4, including fully adjustable Sachs suspension components. The aluminum frame appears identical too, but Aprilia claims the Tuono unit has been revised for road performance. Changes include lowering the engine in the frame, and steering geometry has also been relaxed slightly, with rake pushed out a half degree (25 degree), trail increased fractionally (by 2.5mm) and wheelbase lengthened by an inch (56.9 inch).
The previous Tuono distinguished itself with its taut racing chassis. This latest version is perhaps overshadowed by the amazing engine, but still offers sportbike handling performance. The Sachs components feel stiffly sprung, but full adjustment options allow for fine-tuning. The Tuono is pleasantly neutral but with a sporty demeanor – eager for riders to press on the wide, tall handlebar and dive into a corner. The chassis boosts confidence with excellent feedback and stability, with the rider always feeling what’s going on beneath. Handling is only enhanced by the aforementioned electronics package, and its ATC safety net.
The Tuono V4R adds a tall handlebar placement and lowerd pegs to improve its street-friendly ergos, though it is still a sporty mount with handling to match.
Oddly enough the myriad of electric assists doesn’t include ABS. In fact, the new Tuono’s braking package doesn’t quite match up with some of its modern Streetfighter competitors. The four-piston Brembo stoppers are radial mount, but are not the up-spec monoblocs design, nor does the Tuono use a radial master cylinder. It’s an easy spec sheet gripe, but mortal riders such as I have a difficult time finding reason to complain. Stopping power is strong, with good feel. Only compared side-by-side with the uprated components will riders find justification for critique.
The Aprilia’s styling left us nonplussed. Maybe it was the wasp-y yellow and black motif that did it... It doesn’t stand up to the likes of the Ducati Streetfighter and Monsters, but that’s a subjective opinion on aesthetics. We’ll let the reader decide. (Is there a class of motorcycles where the styling is more open to interpretation – the Triumph Speed Triple with its new headlamps and the Z1000 with odd four-pipe exhaust.)
Regardless of the individual taste, most riders would agree that the Tuono seat is a problematic design asset. Even if the two-tone coloring jives, it already looked the worse for wear during our testing – with the yellow fading to black. Hate to think what it would look like after a couple seasons. It’s the one detraction from overall solid fit and finish. Even the unconventional Piaggio switchgear is starting to grow on us.
The ergonomics package is comfortable, if on the sporty side. A tall handlebar is set at an accommodating reach and provides good leverage for handling. Our 6’1” dimensions found the footpegs a skosh on the high side, though thankfully moved down compared to the RSV4 Superbike. The riding triangle translates into a forward lean, but lacks hard pressure on the wrists. As for the seat, we did enjoy it comfort-wise – firm without being hard and stiff. The seat doesn’t provide much grip though, causing the rider to slide around.
The 2012 Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC is available now at American dealers, retailing for $14,999.
All told the Tuono is amenable to an ambitious daily mileage tally. And riders will pack a lot of action into the miles they ride on the revamped Tuono. It’s near impossible not to hammer the throttle, and its Superbike-engine doesn’t shy away from chugging down the high-octane (we netted 29.9 mpg). And speaking of fuel, it’s irritating to have more than 100 electronic settings available, with the various APRC gizmos, but not be able to get a simple fuel reading. Instead of a fuel gauge the Tuono kicks on a fuel light when it hits reserve, about 90 miles by our reckoning.
For all its performance on the road, the headlining feature for the new Tuono might be its $14,999 MSRP. The Tuono V4R APRC delivers a premium engine and electronics package at a price point that challenges top-shelve European rivals like the Triumph Speed Triple R ($15,999) and Ducati Streetfighter S ($18,999). In fact, the new Tuono is more affordable than the up-spec version it replaces – the Tuono Factory (which cost $16,999 five years ago!). Only when compared to the Japanese entries, and base Triumph Speed Triple, does it seem pricey. Not sure how the Piaggio suits crunched up the magical $15K price point, but American riders should just nod and be thankful.
The Tuono is back, make no mistake. This latest edition improves on its predecessor’s reputation. The Tuono V4R APRC advances the performance threshold in the liter streetfighter class, and comes with a competitive price tag. This Italian thunder should make some noise on the 2012 sales floor.
By FTR on March 30, 2012 5:20 PM
Lazareth is a French builder of wheeled exotica that seems to specialize in the bizarre. Take its Lazareth Wazuma, for example; while the world may not need a 500 horsepower quad, powered by a supercharged BMW V-12, we’re fairly certain it’s a better place because of it.
Lazareth has built other quads, too, all of which have the company’s pseudo-signature narrow rear wheel placement. Perhaps its most alluring build was the Lazareth Wazuma V8F, which shoehorns a 3.0-liter Ferrari V-8 between it’s squat and sexy flanks. Unlike the blown-BMW Wazuma, which more or less defines “overkill”, the Wazuma V8F makes a sensible 250 horsepower, which probably means its 3.0-liter V-8 was extracted from a Ferrari 308. It’s fed by two fuel injection systems, pulled from Yamaha sportbikes and controlled by a fully programmable ECU.
The Ferrari engine is mated to a BMW M3 sequential gearbox, and meaty 315 millimeter rear tires (slick, for maximum dry traction) put as much power as possible to the ground. Four-wheel Brembo brakes ensure that the V8F can stop as quickly as it accelerates, and the adjustable suspension is custom-built by EMC.
Just in time for holiday gift-giving, the Lazareth Wazuma V8F is for sale on JamesList. The price is a princely 200,000 euros ($261,280).
Still, if you have a hard-to-shop-for Ferrari fan on your holiday list, we can absolutely guarantee he doesn’t already have one of these in his collection. It may be more expensive than a Fernando Alonso-signed helmet, but we’ll bet it will be more appreciated, too.
By FTR on February 23, 2012 7:49 PM
I bet this new bike has a ton of snort!!!! Too bad we won't get to ride it in the USA because of lame emissions laws.
THIS is Kawasaki's new Ninja 150RR and yes, it's a two stroke.
Set to be officially launched next month, it's aimed at the Asian market, and is an update on an existing model that's already sold in that part of the world.
Just as the Ninja 250R is based on the age-old GPZ250, the latest mini-Ninja is pretty ancient under the skin, but its powervalve (KIPS – remember that from the old KR-1S days?) two-stroke puts out 30bhp from just 148cc.
The steel frame is also carried over from the previous model, but that bike's ZX-7R-inspired styling has been replaced with something more in keeping with Kawasaki's current line-up.
Obviously, the Ninja 150RR isn't ever going to be sold in Europe, or any country where there are strict emissions limits.
By Mgiroux on August 09, 2011 5:44 PM
2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 First Ride
Hop into the saddle and it’s immediately apparent how tall of a motorcycle it is. With a seat height of 34.3-inches it wasn’t exactly built to be ridden by vertically challenged folks. In fact, it’s quite a stretch to get both of my feet planted on the ground at a standstill (I’m six-foot tall). Compared to a pure supermoto, the seat is wide with ample padding which made it surprisingly comfortable even on a 150-mile ride. Grab a hold of the aluminum handlebar and you’ll notice its relatively low bend, though it’s not enough to alter the straight-up riding position and generally works well.
Flip the key, thumb the starter and the engine roars to life with an intoxicating melody courtesy of its mixed chain/gear-driven valve train and raspy exhaust note (86 dB idle / 98 dB at 4800 rpm) emitted from its twin underseat mufflers. Pull in the clutch, drop it into first gear and it’s time to ride…
As you pull away from a stop the bike feels slightly clumsy and top heavy. The first inch or so of suspension travel is soft which only exacerbates the condition. Fortunately its awkwardness vanishes above parking lot speeds.
(Left) Ground clearance is a big improvement as compared to the 750 model. (Center) Braking is one area that the Aprilia really excels at. (Right) The Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 is a surprisingly comfortable bike on the street.
Right off idle, the engine carburates cleanly with minimal vibration. Bottom-end power is robust with upwards of 60 lb-ft of torque from just over 4000 revs. This makes it quite easy to lift the front wheel off the ground in first or second gear. Peak torque of 72.78 lb-ft arrives at 7600 rpm and the torque curve remains flat even as the engine closes in on redline (9600 rpm). Both final drive gearing and the internal gear sequence work well to maximize acceleration yet gearing isn’t so short that you feel like the engine is going to be revving excessively in top gear, even at triple-digit speeds.
Like other Aprilia street models, the Dorsoduro 1200 allows the rider to select one of three engine maps while moving based on road conditions or rider preference by pressing the red starter button. “S” or Sport mode allows for maximum engine power (114.49 horsepower at 9000 rpm) with the most aggressive hitting throttle response. “T” or Touring also unleashes full engine power with a milder throttle response. Lastly, “R” or Rain mode limits the engine’s power for use on wet roads or other traction-limited surfaces.
(Top) The open cockpit allows the rider to move around the motorcycle. (Bottom) The aluminum handlebar has a low bend but is still comfortable on the street.
In our performance tests the Aprilia galloped to 60 mph from a stop in a time of 3.52 seconds. It continued to a quarter mile time of 11.57 seconds at 121.9 mph. With its relatively long wheelbase (60.1 in.), adequate feel from its hydraulically-actuated clutch, not to mention its open dirt bike-style cockpit which allows the rider to position weight over the front wheel, it’s one of the easier bikes to launch hard. As expected, one area the Aprilia fails at is fuel mileage. We averaged just 25.2 mpg which netted a range of less than 100 miles.
On the scale the Dorsoduro 1200 weighs in at 488 pounds with full 3.96-gallons of fuel. It’s a bit of a surprise because it feels much lighter in motion and is generally a fairly good handling motorcycle in the corners. Tip the motorcycle into a turn and steers with minimal effort though we wish it employed a slipper clutch as it’s quite easy to get the rear wheel to chatter during aggressive corner entry. Ground clearance is good as well, and is definitely an improvement compared to the 750 model.
As mentioned before the first inch or so of travel is soft, but as the suspension moves deeper into the stroke damping firms up in a progressive manner allowing the rider to better explore the handling capabilities of the bike. In fact its well-calibrated suspension settings are one of our favorite features of the bike. Not only does it serve up a high-level of sport ability in the corners, when rough pavement is encountered the bike delivers a very plush ride which makes it very enjoyable to ride all day. OE-fitted Dunlop Qualifiers (view more Dunlop motorcycle tires at Motorcycle-Superstore.com) deliver adequate levels of outright grip, but it would have been nice if Aprilia would have fitted a newer style tire with more road feel.
Stopping performance is another area that the big Dorsoduro impresses us even though it doesn’t make use of a slipper-clutch. The two-piece Brembo radial-mount front brakes deliver excellent power with sufficient feel through the stainless-steel brake lines. From 60 mph the Aprilia stopped in a distance of just 110 feet.
As expected the Aprilia impresses with the outright acceleration power from its big-bore engine, not to mention its corner-carving abilities when the road starts zigzagging. And it’s above average level of comfort now makes it a viable motorcycle for more than just backroad riding adventures. If Aprilia could improve fuel economy and fit a slipper clutch without bumping up the price we’d be completely sold on the Dorsoduro 1200.
By FTR on August 08, 2011 11:46 PM
Bikini Team at Sturgis bars pass out sexual performance enhancement drink
STURGIS, S.D.—SINsual Shot is proud to help fuel the debauchery at the 71st Sturgis Rally inSouth Dakota. Produced by Dagus Brands LLC, SINsual Shot is the world’s first sexual performance enhancement drink for women and men.
Twenty-three sexy women from the Visual Goddess Bikini Team are going bar to bar at the rally to introduce patrons to SINsual Shot’s two flavors, Forbidden Fruit and Chocolate Mint. Each flavor mixes perfectly with alcohol, so SINsual Shot easily travels from the bar to the bedroom to ignite hours of passion.
For a list of events and bars the Visual Goddess Bikini Team will be passing out SINsual Shots at, visit Sturgis.com/calendar/schedule.php.
To order SINsual Shot online, visit Store.SINsualShot.com/.
Dagus Brands owner David Gustafson said, “Sturgis provides us with an opportunity to position ourselves in an entirely new market. The rally is synonymous with all-American fun, something I believe will become true of SINsual Shot as well After all, just like Sturgis, SINsual Shot is a lifestyle.”
The first sip of SINsual Shot jump-starts the libido through a forbidden secret obtained deep in the Brazilian tropical rain forest. The patented, 100 percent all-natural formula is combined with a power packed dose of Arginine to boost nitric oxide, Horny Goat Weed acting as a PD-5 inhibitor, and the ancient secrets of the Maca root. Vitamin B-12 provides added natural energy.
SINsual Shot has a special heating and time based mixing process for this exotic herbal formula. Its trade secret formulation promotes blood flow to the small capillaries in the erogenous zones of the body creating a sense of heat and overwhelming pleasure at the point of climax. Free of the overwhelming jittery feeling caffeinated energy drinks cause, SINsual Shot provides a light boost of energy, followed by the feeling of ecstasy rushing through the body during sexual performance. The overall climax is intensified for men and women.
SINsual Shot will soon be available through big box retailers and grocery stores, as well as convenience stores and gas stations. The sexual energy drink will also be sold through adult industry retailers, e-tailers and distributors. The Swallow Lounge in Dallasrecently announced its intention to make SINsual Shot a staple of its drink menu. For more information about The Swallow Lounge, visit Facebook.com/SwallowLounge.
Retailers interested in placing an order may contact Howard Levine with Exile Distribution at (818) 576-9464, ext. 116 or Howard@ExileDist.com.
By Mgiroux on August 08, 2011 6:14 PM
Ever experienced that moment when you thought you knew the truth, only to find out you really had no idea? I had one of those moments right before I rolled into Paso Robles, California to meet up with the staff of American Beta to take a ride on the new 2012 Beta 350 RR. As opened minded as we try to be, I just figured the odds that the Beta could be better than its Austrian or Japanese competition were slim. I mean, how could it? Beta is just too small to do battle with the juggernauts of the off-road realm. I was sure it would be as cool and Italian motorcycle fans will want to own one if for no other reason than the right to be the only person to own one within a 500-mile radius. I figured there’s just no way it could perform at the level offered by the dirt bikes from the big factories. Boy, was I wrong.
The 2012 Beta 350 RR receives an array of updates and refinements less than a year after the first 2011 350 RR units arrived in the U.S. Changes to the Beta-designed engine (KTM mills were used prior to 2010) include a redesigned head that incorporated a stiffened camshaft bridge, new valve retainers and a quieter cam chain tensioner. A new clutch primary gear and springs are mated with a new Brembo hydraulic clutch master cylinder, plus the oil volume has been increased to protect internals better. Chassis flex has been reduced through strategic gusseting and the use of larger diameter tubing in the frame. Gone are the 50mm Marzocchis, replaced by a lighter 48mm Sachs fork that was designed specifically with Beta. Braking wave rotors are matched to Nissin calipers, and the plastic body kit features a new look and color.
That’s a quite a large revamp for a bike that is less than a year old, but it has paid dividends for Beta on the trail. I’m going to spoil the surprise right now and say the 2012 Beta 350 RR is one of the best off-road motorcycles I’ve ever ridden. I know that is a bombshell of a claim and even a little hard to believe, but stay with me and I’ll lay it all out for you.
First off, the 350 RR is a looker. The red bodywork and matching red frame are exactly what you would expect from Italian motorcycle company: sexy and sleek. Fit and finish is impeccable from top to bottom. From the feel of the levers to the shape of the seat and the slim tank all add to the polished image of the Beta. Photos do not do this bike justice.
Pulling the choke on the 39mm Keihin FCR-MX carburetor (no fuel injection for any Beta thus far), and thumbing the start button brings a surprisingly quiet purr from the liquid cooled, four-valve engine thanks to its stylish muffler. Once the mid-sized single is warm, starting became a bit more finicky due to the jetting being a tad rich on the bottom end. This was most likely due to the heat and altitude more than an issue with the settings of the carb. A quarter turn of the fuel screw is recommended, but for the price it would seem that adding fuel injection would be the best solution. Unfortunately, Beta says it will not happen in the near future. Once on the trail and moving, the fueling was dead-on and we never experienced a hiccup no matter how hard we pushed it.
We were impressed with the power output of the 350 RR especially in the mid- to top-end. Down low, you can lug the Beta in the rocks and roots and take advantage of its excellent traction, but the engine feels a bit corked-up, most likely a side effect to the uber-quiet exhaust. A free flowing aftermarket system would probably wake the low-end power right up. Once the throttle is twisted a bit more the Beta comes to life and flat-out rips. So much so that we question why the Beta 400 RR is even in the lineup. We had a KTM 350 SX-F along as a chase bike, and the 350 RR’s power output eclipsed the orange MXer. It feels like this bike could hang with most 450cc off-road bikes and is probably faster out of the box than some of the seriously detuned Japanese enduro bikes. Once again not at all what I expected out of a Beta.
The riding area we sampled with the 350 RR consisted mostly of tight single-track trails with big hill climbs and technical rock gardens. This really let us put the updated clutch to the test as we crawled, climbed and clawed our way over and slow first-gear sections. The lever pull of the Brembo unit is light and has amazing feel. Never once was it grabby and fading was nonexistent.
The pairing of Braking rotors, Nissin master cylinders and calipers is solid. Up front a 260mm wave rotor works with the 4-piston caliper to provide exceptional bite without a grabby feel. In the back the 240mm setup modulates nicely as well. Power and feel was consistent all day without fade even on the long technical downhill trails.
For all of the above reasons, the Beta 350 RR is a capable off-road bike, but it is the chassis that puts it over the top and secured its place in my personal motorcycle hall of fame. The 2011 model was a decent handler but the 50mm Marzocchi fork was finicky and the frame had too much flex especially in the whoops. The beefed up frame and 48mm Sachs fork make all the difference in the world as the new components complement each other quite nicely.
The brakes on the Beta 350 RR are strong and have excellent feel and modulation. Even on long descents fading was not an issue.
In the rocks the Sachs suspension is supple, plush and soaks up even the most square-edged hits. The fork refuses to deflect off roots and sharp impacts and follows the terrain like it was glued to the dirt. Just as impressive is the Beta’s performance in whoops as it tracks straight and true while soaking up the hits. Although we didn’t get to test its mettle in the desert, the 350 RR feels like it would be just as impressive there as it is in the woods.
At the end of the day we were hesitant to return the 2012 Beta 350 RR. We tried every trick in the book to talk Beta into leaving the red ripper with us for a long-term test but they wouldn’t give it up just yet. I guess they didn’t think we could handle the truth long term.
The 2012 350 RR retails for $8899, which is a bit more than the 450cc Japanese off-road motorcycles, but $100 less than the KTM 350 XC-F. With amazing handling and performance that rivals any mid-sized machine, this Beta should be seriously considered if you’re looking for the ultimate trail bike. I was completely blown away by the 350 RR, and you will be as well, if you give it a chance.
Bore/Stroke: 88 x 57.4mm
Compression Ratio: 12.4:1
Ignition: DC-CDI with variable ignition timing, Kokusan.
Lubrication: Twin oil pumps with cartridge oil filter. Separate oil for engine and clutch .8 liter each
Starting: Electric start with back-up kick starter.
Fueling: Keihin FCR-MX 39mm Carburetor
Clutch: Hydraulic, Wet multi-disc
Final Drive: 13/48T, O-ring chain
Chassis: Molybdenum steel with double cradle split above exhaust port.
Wheelbase: 57.8 in.
Seat Height: 36.8 in.
Ground Clearance: 12.6 in.
Footrest Height: 16.2 in.
Dry Weight: 240 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gallons
Front Suspension: 48mm Sachs fork, adjustable compression and rebound, 11.4 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Sachs shock w/adjustable rebound and hi/low speed compression, 11. 4 in. travel
Front Brake: 260mm floating Braking Wave rotor
Rear Brake: 240mm Braking Wave rotor
Front/Rear Tires: 21/18 in.
Warranty: 6 month limited warranty
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