2019 Beta 390 RR-S Review
Beta’s RR-S dual-sport models are built for the serious off-road rider. The 390 RR-S falls in the middleweight class as there are two larger-displacement models—the 430 RR-S and 500 RR-S—and two smaller-displacement machines—the 350 RR-S and 125 RR-S.
At first glance, you can tell the 390 RR-S is geared more toward off-road than on-road. The cockpit and controls are minimal and clean. All the buttons and switches you need are readily available in a nice, compact design. A Trail Tech Voyager GPS comes stock, which is a nice touch. The muffler seems smaller than some of the competition motocross bikes, and it includes a spark arrestor.
Because our intentions were to really feel out this bike in true off-road conditions, we made a few modifications that were simply a no-brainer. First, we removed the mirrors and designed a stubby license plate holder. It should also be noted that our testbike was delivered to us with a 13-tooth countershaft sprocket, whereas the bike comes stock from the factory with a 15-tooth.
It took no time for us to start loving the engine’s power. Throttle response is good and clean throughout the rpm range. Torque is predictable and consistent, even at super-low rpm. This super-linear powerband makes it easy to ride and helps reduce fatigue on longer days.
Naturally, the 390 RR-S comes with a six-speed gearbox. First through third gears felt like close ratios, while there were slightly bigger gaps from fourth to sixth. With the 13-tooth front sprocket, first gear was low enough to meander along at a walking pace, while sixth gear could still easily cruise along at 60 mph, with plenty of reserve that maxxed out in the 80-mph range. The Brembo hydraulic clutch worked flawlessly. It doesn’t hurt that the engine makes such smooth power over a very broad range. For that reason, you very rarely need much clutch input. The 2.1-gallon gas tank is compact but a bit small for longer rides.
The Sachs suspension works well based on what it’s intended for. Being that it’s set up for dual-sport, it’s pretty soft. The fork and shock have a very plush and comfortable feeling. It works very well at low speeds in rocky conditions under 20 mph. It also shines at higher speeds on two-track or fire roads, and does a very good job of absorbing rocky road conditions. The front to rear balance is good and the action predictable. Where it has serious issues is in flowing single-track above 25 mph. In these conditions, it’s simply way too soft. If you plan on riding the 390 RR-S hard in faster, flowing single-track that is whooped out or has larger-sized obstacles, you might want to look into the “Build Your Own Beta” program and add Öhlins suspension, or revalve and add stiffer springs in the stock components.
The chassis is quite comfortable. It has a nice flat seat with a narrow gas tank, both of which make the bike easy to move around on. The seat is a touch on the firm side, which makes longer days of riding a little uncomfortable. The handlebar and controls are well positioned. The shift lever feels slightly long and low. Moving it up one spline could possibly remedy this feeling. The Nissin front brake works well. It has a firm feel, but is not too grabby. The rear brake is a touch sensitive, which makes it easy to lock up the rear wheel at times. The bike has a nice balance of cornering ability with high-speed stability. A stock component that could be improved are the rear turn signal lights, which fall off in the first 30 minutes of semi-aggressive riding. The OEM Michelin Enduro tires are okay but have a short life span.
The Beta 390 RR-S is very fun to ride. Its smooth power delivery and comfortable suspension allow you to ride for a long time with less fatigue. In stock form, I would feel comfortable taking this bike on almost any of my normal off-road riding areas. For a dual-sport bike, it’s very light and nimble, and was not going to hold me back from enjoying a day of trail riding with friends—even on the most technical of trails. In comparison to a competition off-road bike, if you are going to buy the 390 RR-S and race it, the suspension will need some major work, but it works well in stock trim for the average dual-sport rider.