Beta 200 RR 2022 Review
Ryan Nitzen | March 24, 2022
Is bigger always better? Of course, holes, open straights and sand washes will always demand more power for most of us. And just like that, the old saying goes, “there is no replacement for displacement”. But that’s not always true. The Beta 200 RR is proof of that.
We automatically associate off-road with the 250, 300, 350 and 450, but 200cc can be the hot ticket. Granted, the 200 isn’t for everyone, but it’s for a lot more people than you might think; unfortunately, many of them don’t know about it because they haven’t even ridden one yet. We, however, are big fans; in fact, our editor Kit Palmer recently chose the 2021 200 RR as his “Motorcycle of the Year.” For 2022, we’ve chained him to his desk, so other staff members can get a chance to ride the 2022 model and share their own thoughts on the bike. We already know what Kits are.
Beta 200 RR 2022 Review | So what’s up?
The list of changes made to the Beta 200 RR 2022 is very short. Beta die-hards will notice the new red and black seat cover (it used to be all black) and the red headlight shroud, which was mostly white. Of course, the graphics are also new.
Internal changes are limited to the beta’s fully adjustable suspension system. Beta’s Sachs ZF open cartridge fork, used on all Beta two-stroke off-road RR models, features a new anodizing of the fork tube that Beta says is harder and “improves durability.” The valving has also been retuned to provide a more comfortable ride.
The unique Sachs ZF shock gets updated compression damping settings.
The ’22 200 RR also comes with Maxxis tires now instead of Michelins.
The 200 RR, to refresh your memory, is heavily based on Beta’s 125 RR platform. The steel frame and most of the engine are the same as the 125s. A specific top end for the 200 has a bore and stroke of 62 x 63mm, pushing the displacement to a hair’s breadth over 190cc ( 190.2cc) compared to the 125’s actual 125cc displacement and 54×54.5mm configuration. Other significant differences between the 125 and 200 are their starting and lubrication systems – the 125 uses the old fashioned manual (kick) starting method, the 200 is electric (push button) and the 125 lubricates its top end. range via a premix, the 200 is injected with oil.
The 200 mixes fuel and air through a 36mm Keihin PWK carburetor. It has a six-speed transmission with a hydraulically operated clutch and a 2.55 gallon gas tank.
There are two Beta 200cc models to choose from: the 200 RR and 200 RR Race Edition. The RR, which we ride here, is the standard model; the Race Edition is the same motorcycle but with several improvements. The Race Edition features high-tech KYB AOS closed-cartridge forks and an updated cylinder head and power valve assembly. There are also several other differences, but these are the main ones that are of most interest to you.
As for pricing, the 2022 Beta 200 RR sees a $300 increase over the previous model, going from $8699 to $8999. The 2022 Beta 200 RR Factory Edition is $600 more than the standard $9599.
Beta 200 RR 2022 Review | Thank you Rodney
Our day on the 200 RR was spent riding with Rodney Smith, 13-time AMA Off-Road Champion, Beta brand ambassador and media coordinator. Smith’s bike of choice is Beta’s 480 four-stroke, but he says he keeps a 200 in his garage back home in Idaho simply because it’s “too much fun.”
Driving the 200 instantly puts a smile on your face. The pipey two-stroke revs fast and revs to the moon in that adorable two-stroke fashion. A powerful midrange provides solid traction in second, third and fourth gears. Yes, there are fifth and sixth gears, but we rarely got to use them on the tight trails we rode. Granted, you move it around more often than the 250 or 300, but that’s a given because of its smaller displacement. Down below, there’s still enough juice to tow (yes, tractor) up steep hills or get you out of trouble if you get stuck in something tight. When the trails open up a bit, the little 200 flies, but unlike a 300 or an open-class four-stroke, you are more involved in that process. You in fact turn the throttle and hold it there, and you’ll go as fast as the bigger bikes on which you just “cut” the throttle. In our opinion, holding the throttle wide open is way more fun.
Compared to a 125, the 200’s wide and usable powerband makes it a bit easier to ride. Our analogy is this: the 200 is to 125 like a 300 is to a 250. It’s just a bigger, smaller caliber, if you will. The 200 is essentially the big brother of the 125 with more punch, torque and more handling. You don’t need to rev this bike or engage the clutch like you would with a traditional 125. Instead, that extra 65 cubic centimeters provides better transportable power, ideal for technical off-road riding. Overall, the engine gives you the confidence to ride harder and attempt extremely technical obstacles without having to support more weight or worry about controlling a considerably more powerful bike.
Two power modes are available on the 200. A switch on the frame just above the fuel cap displays a sun for normal conditions or a cloud for wetter, smoother dirt. You can switch between modes on the fly and you’ll notice the difference. In “sun” mode, the motor comes alive. You’ll want to be in this mode if you’re really looking to push the 200 to its limit. In “cloud” mode, the ignition curve is noticeably smoother, making the bike easier and more predictable to ride. A less experienced pilot, or those looking to tame things a bit when the going gets tough, will indeed benefit from cloud mode.
Like a 125, the 200 is light and nimble and goes pretty much anywhere you want it to. Point and shoot, there’s really no hesitation in the bike’s handling. With its claimed dry weight of just 213 pounds, you can stand up and move it easily from side to side or jump into the cockpit to corner with speed. Beta likes twisty stuff.
The suspension is strong and works well in most conditions, but it starts to show its weaknesses as speed increases and the whoops get bigger; a combination West Coast off-roaders know all too well. To be fair, though, that’s not what the 200 is. The 200 is built for tight stuff, not Baja, so when the speeds occasionally increase, be warned, the 200’s suspension is soft and you’ll get through the wheels faster than a lunch-sized bag of Doritos.
Electric start for a 200cc two-stroke might sound a bit silly, but we love it! Call us lazy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. But if you like the peace of mind of manual starting, it’s still available as an option. And the oil injection system is fantastic. It makes life with the 200 much simpler. It takes pure gas (there’s no mixing), and Rodney says it’ll go through about four tanks before you have to add oil. If you forget, a very interesting light comes on when the oil level starts to drop, but don’t worry, you still have a long way to go before you experience a sudden loss of power.
The 200 is slim and comfortable; we just wish it had handguards, but it does have an engine guard. The controls/levers are where they should be and feel light to the touch. Two fingers on the hydraulic clutch is almost overkill, and one finger is more than enough on the highly effective front brake. Overall, the 200 just doesn’t require a ton of effort from the rider, which is a good thing on a long, technical ride.
Since this was my first experience on the Beta 200, I now understand where Kit is coming from. The 200 RR is, indeed, a hugely fun and efficient bike on the trails, the more technical the better, but, when asked, it will also stand up and go exceptionally well, as long as it doesn’t. there are no whoops. But that’s what the Race Edition is for. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Back up, Kit!NC
Beta 200 RR 2022 Specifications
|Motor:||2 stroke, single|
|Bore and Stroke:||62×63mm|
|The exhaust valve:||Beta Progressive Valve (BPV)|
|Lubrication:||Electronic oil injection|
|Oil tank capacity:||650cc|
|Refueling:||Keihin PWK 36mm carburetor|
|Clutch:||Wet, multi-disc, hydraulic|
|Starting system:||Electric with optional emergency kick|
|Final drive:||O-ring chain|
|Framework:||Molybdenum steel/double cradle with quick access air filter|
|Front suspension:||Sachs, 48mm USD fork, fully adjustable.|
|Rear suspension:||Sachs, monoshock, fully adj.|
|Front wheel travel:||11.6 in.|
|Rear wheel travel:||11.4 in.|
|Front wheel:||21 in.|
|Rear wheel:||18 in.|
|Front brake:||260mm disc|
|Rear brake:||240mm disc|
|Seat height :||36.6 in.|
|Fuel capacity:||2.55 gal.|
|Ground clearance :||12.8 in.|
|Weight (dry, claimed):||213.8 lbs.|
Click here to read the Beta 200 RR 2022 Review in the Cycle News Digital edition magazine.
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