Firstly, we’d like to thank Desert Rose for allowing us to use their facility in Kent. The woodland is tightly packed and offers numerous tracks of varying degrees of difficulty, as it serves as the home of the DR riding academy. The terrain was soft and spongy, with an abundance of tree moss and slippery roots, which are essential for a comprehensive British enduro test of the bikes’ capabilities. We’ve included a single review of each of the bikes by each one of us, along with the technical specifications for each bike below. For the complete test commentary from each of us on each of the bikes head over to our YouTube Channel
Nicks’ review of the 390RR
We’ve been running through some nice little tight sections, ducking and diving through the trees with a few ditches to hop over. This thing is so much fun, it’s just playful. It reminds me of my Husky 250FE, and it’s got that sort of throw-ability, but it’s also got loads more power than the 250 had. The only foible with the 390 so far is that I’d say is that it coughs and stalls every now and then. It doesn’t really like it at low Rev’s. I’m used to riding a 690 which is such a chugger but the fun you have with this 390 is that it just does not feel like it’s getting away from you at any time. It just wants to do what you want it to do. I can lift the front wheel when I wanted, I can slide it. It’s a great bike. I love it. How good or bad do you think the 390 is in the woods we’ve been riding Nick? Yeah, there some 180 degree turns, and you can just throw it down whichever way you’re turning and open the throttle and steer with the rear end, and that’s my favourite kind of riding. It just puts a grin on my face. Mind you, after having ridden the two 300 2 strokes in the woods after the 390 both of them felt easier to ride in these tight conditions but if you’re just not a 2-stroke lover then this 390 would be an option although my opinion is that it would be better suited to more open going x country enduros and Hare and Hounds.
The suspension feels very plush, especially since it’s not been bedded in yet as the bike is brand new with about an hour on it so far but it’s pretty compliant. I enjoyed the feel of the bike from the get-go and the suspension is only going to improve with use. This is the first time I have ridden on the Sachs kit, and I have found it less ‘crashy’ than the WP suspension off the showroom floor. This raises your confidence and makes it more enjoyable to ride. Ed’s note; I found the suspension a little soft and while okay for weekend soft trails like these, however if I were to race this bike it would need some attention to the suspension first, especially the shock which was sprung very soft indeed. When it comes to the delivery of power to the back wheel the 390RR is super sweet, it seems pretty docile but that can be deceiving if you’re coming off an Austrian 350 which is way more revvy. I reckon this bike will have you out on the trails for longer than you would be on a 350 because of its easy natured character. That being said, I was riding the bike in the softer ‘rain’ map and once I switched to the ‘Sun’ map the bike livened up considerably. The propensity to stall almost disappeared, not entirely but it was a big improvement, and the power delivery was more immediate, still not brutal though. This bike in my opinion would be ideal for most any terrain but as mentioned above in comparison to the 300 2 strokes it’s not ideal for tight woods racing. For these types of conditions there are better models to consider but overall, I was impressed at the ride-ability of the 390.
Warren’s review of the 300RR
What did I think of the 2023 Beta 300 2-stroke? Well, it was my first time riding a 300 smoker in quite some time. When I was actively racing, the KTM and Husky 300s were my go-to bikes, so I’ve logged many hours on an Austrian 300. Nowadays, I ride an SX 250 motocross bike and a KTM 500, so it was interesting to find myself somewhere in-between the displacements I usually ride on this Beta 300. First off, the Beta feels noticeably different from the Austrian bikes. It somehow feels smaller at the headstay and nimbler, but the power is anything but docile. It’s smooth, but it has the guts when you need them. As for the suspension and chassis balance, this is the first time I’m riding on Sachs suspension, so it’s all new to me. The bike is brand new, but out of the box, it’s plush and very pleasant in the woods. Although we had a chance to get up into some higher gears, we could not top out 6th gear, and so stability at speed was not tested. The bike felt well-balanced, and I was surprised to find that I liked this Beta enough to seriously consider adding another bike to the garage, even when I wasn’t considering one. This is a motorcycle tester’s constant challenge when you swing a leg over a really good machine.
Another standout for me is the componentry – Excel rims as standard, and the controls and trim are all exceptional, with the only drawback being that the pipe is really soft (I dinged it within the first 5 minutes), and the aftermarket pipes for the Betas are pricey. Craig had mentioned that the 300 X-Trainer felt small but not cramped; well, that’s exactly how I felt about the standard 300. After riding both of them, I remain of the same opinion in that neither of them feels cramped. I’m approximately 6ft1, so I was left scratching my head at how they managed to get the ergonomics so right on both the 300s. The standard 300 had a considerable amount of power in reserve over the X-Trainer, and the little additional height and spec made it the standout bike for me and the one I would buy as a race bike if I were in the market. If I were doing anything other than racing, then the price and ride on the X-Trainer would probably push me in that direction.
Finally, I would normally be shopping aftermarket right away on the purchase of my 300s. I came away from riding the Beta 300 not feeling like it was necessary, and outside the pipe softness, I probably wouldn’t.
Craig’s review of the 300 X-Trainer
I was thoroughly impressed. The terrain was nice and soft, albeit a little slippery, but the bike handled it like a dream. As I was getting my gear out of the van, I overheard some of the chaps saying they would stitch me up and get me to start on the X-Trainer. But I was up for the challenge, and at the end of the morning I felt like I had had more fun than anyone else.
The X-Trainer felt like it was 2 inches smaller everywhere, or 50mm for those across the pond. You can really feel its smaller size underneath you, it feels shorter, tighter, and kind of like a BMX bike. It’s almost like riding an E-bike, but with a 300-motor between your legs. The power delivery of the motor is super, super soft down low, and the traction at the back wheel is impressive. We were able to hop and ride in and out of ditches, log hop, and chug through the woods without any issues.
Even though I’m not the greatest two-stroke rider, the X-Trainer didn’t seem to mind. Once we got to the more open trails, I gave it the berries and it really flew. I was blown away by the power of the bike. I’m not sure where it fits in the UK market, but I don’t think it would only appeal to trail riders. One of my comments off-camera was, “why don’t we make all enduro bikes this size?” I felt like I was able to get my feet down and be all over the bike without feeling cramped. I’m just under 6 feet tall, but the bike didn’t feel too small underneath me. When you see the X-Trainer standing next to the normal 300, it does look smaller, but the first two inches of travel is sag anyway, and that’s how we all set them up. This bike feels a lot more like a trials bike in that you get what you get. It’s perfect for doing a pivot turn or you can just shift it around as you like, and what I really appreciated is that it’s much more comfortable to manoeuvre this bike if you get wrong-footed on the hillside.
I don’t want to say that this bike is only for older trail riders because that’s not where I think it fits in the market. I think it’s a much more versatile bike that anyone could benefit from riding. You wouldn’t race it at an enduro as a clubman or expert, but you would certainly race it as a sportsman. The chassis is lovely, and the power delivery is smooth and pleasant down low without biting. The pipe is a crazy shape, and I’m sure it has something to do with the docile power character of the bike. I think if you messed with the pipe, it would turn into something else entirely. I’m interested to jump between the X-Trainer and the standard Beta 300RR.However if you’re a rider of smaller stature or lighter in frame, this bike is a weapon. Unfortunately, these bikes often come with a tag, like they’re only meant for novice or trail riders or dare we say it, female riders, but I think that’s bogus.
This is a special bike that’s very versatile, and if you’re lighter and smaller and want to tart up the power even more, you certainly can.