2011 BETA RS Review


The 2011 BETA RS is a dual purpose motorcycle intended for both on road and offroad riding. The Italian made BETA RS is equipped with a headlamp, turn indicator lights, and a brake taillamp for road use but also includes the proper accruements for offroad conquests. The RS line of motorcycles is new for 2011 and is produced exclusively for the U.S. market. The 2011 BETA RS comes in RS400, RS450, and RS520 submodels. A Supermoto spec is also available for each submodel and includes ergonomic and mechanical changes which better suit the RS for Supermoto duty. Previous RS models held engines sourced from KTM. 2011 RS cycles now feature an engine entirely produced by BETA. The 2011 BETA RS is designed for riders who spend the majority of their time offroad rather than street riding. However, flexible power delivery and a realistic cruise speed of 75 miles per hour help the BETA RS maintain a dual sport designation and provide a good street ride reputation. Overall, BETA may be one of the best kept secrets among dual-sport motorcycles. A powerful engine, precise handling on account of an excellent suspension, and user friendly ergonomics will surely place the 2011 BETA RS on many buyers’ wish lists. A very competitive price may very well move the RS from wish lists to trails across America.

The BETA RS is substantially easier to mount and dismount due to a 36.6-inch seat height, which is lower than other bikes. The supple suspension provides good control over rocks and tough terrain. BETA has been producing trials bikes for years and this heritage shows in the way the RS handles most slow-speed technical trails. The RS’ rake and trail setup make the bike a great steed when maneuvering in tightly confined spaces. This agility belies the fact that the RS cradles a 400-cc-plus engine in its frame. The RS whisks around bends and remains entirely planted when doing so.

Even though BETA eliminated the KTM engine, the RS does still utilize a carburetor in its fuel system. While its carburetion is solid and predictable at lower altitudes and mild temperatures, high altitude riding and cold weather starts may hinder usability more than a fuel-injected system would. All three BETA engines are exemplary and manageable. Though not as free-revving as some, excellent throttle response, ideal gearing, and a broad powerband with great torque throughout the rev range should provide any rider a great riding experience. Of note are the 2011 BETA RS instrumentation features. In addition to the standard information, its full-digital instrument panel adjusts to calculate information for different tire sizes, and a tripmeter adjusts incrementally (up or down) for use in enduro competitions.

New For 2011

  • New for 2011 is an engine entirely designed and manufactured by BETA, not a KTM sourced engine, and includes: a quieter camchain tensioner and a dual overhead camshaft; improved electric starter gear ratios; and diamond-like-carbon (DLC) coated components which create less friction and provide quicker starts.
  • The 2011 BETA engine includes a larger bore and shorter stroke than did the KTM engine, which helps the 2011 RS engine rev quicker.
  • A new onboard digital meter includes an hour meter to keep track of service intervals.
  • 2011 improved clutch components include a more robust clutch lever and a rubber boot for added protection.
  • 2011 BETA RS submodels receive a stronger rear brake pedal.
  • A Supermoto (RS-SM) option is available for 2011 and includes Pirelli Diablo tires among other ergonomic and styling changes.

2011 BETA RS Specs

  • Model: BETA RS 400 / BETA RS 450 / BETA RS 520
  • Engine Type: 398-cc single-cylinder / 449-cc single-cylinder / 497.4-cc single-cylinder
  • Bore and Stroke: 3.7 inches and 2.2 inches / 3.7 inches and 2.5 inches / 3.9 inches and 2.5 inches
  • Compression ratio: 12.4:1 / 11.9:1 / 12.1:1
  • Valve Train: Dual overhead camshaft
  • Induction: Liquid
  • Ignition: Electric/kick
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gallons
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: 96 mpg (combined) / N/A / N/A
  • Brakes (Front): Hydraulic 10.2-inch floating disc
  • Brakes (Rear): Hydraulic 9.4-inch disc
  • Suspension (Front): Inverted fork, adjustable compression and rebound
  • Suspension (Rear): Twin sided swingarm, shock w/adjustable rebound and hi/low speed compression
  • Wheelbase: 58.1 inches
  • Rake: N/A / 27 degrees / N/A
  • Trail: N/A / 4.7 inches / N/A
  • Seat Height: 36.6 inches / 36.6 inches / 35.5 inches
  • Curb Weight: 249 pounds (dry)
  • Tires (Front): Michelin Enduro R21
  • Tires (Rear): Michelin Enduro R18


  • A Supermoto kit is available for the RS400, RS450, and RS520 submodels.
  • A cooling fan kit with an automatic thermostatic switch which turns the fan on and off when needed
  • Marzocchi 2.2-inch front fork suspension, replacing the stock 1.8-inch front forks
  • A Scotts steering stabilizer for improved steering and stability
  • Seven exterior accessories including a carbon skid plate, passenger footpegs, and hand guards are available as 2011 RS accessories
  • A Garmin 276C GPS with mount
  • A BETA saddle bag for times when fewer passengers and more luggage is needed
  • A BETA tank bag is available for extra, easy to access, storage

Key Competitors For The 2011 BETA RS

  • Suzuki DR650SE
  • KTM 450 SX-F
  • Suzuki DR-Z400S
  • Husqvarna SMS 630
  • BMW F 650 GS