The first thing we noticed was actually the suspension or, more specifically, its stiffness. Betas (and most European off-road bikes, for that matter) often have a very comfort-oriented setup that doesn’t make us think, “race ready.” But the ’18 300 RR is definitely set up more on the performance side. In fact, one of our testers felt that the suspension was overall too stiff for casual trail riding. The fork has sort of a linear, non-progressive feel that makes it feel resistant to start to move but stays stiff throughout the stroke. But we also know that this suspension takes some break-in to get it feeling as it should. Our hunch is that this machine had zero break-in time (some manufacturers pre-ride bikes before they give them to the media) and that our day of riding was the very first time this bike saw action. As we ride this machine more, we expect the fork to free up and gain comfort. Also, it could be that the engineers at Beta were tired of hearing American motojournalists saying their bikes are “too soft” and “not race-able.” We would much rather have this bike this way, wait until we get five to 10 hours on the bike, and then decide if we want to go softer.