Many Italian motorcycle manufacturers have a flamboyant attitude, proud as they are of their decades-long history and on-track successes. And rightly so, since many have a legitimate place in the two-wheel record books, having arrived at the mansion where the legends reside before the gates were shut for good in the mid-1950s.

Betamotor—or simply, Beta—is one of the companies that can legitimately claim a seat at the legend's table. Founded in 1905 by Giuseppe Bianchi, Beta has always kept a low profile, initially manufacturing bicycles and evolving into motorcycles in 1946 when post-war Italy desperately needed an inexpensive means of personal transportation.

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Betamotor has always been owned by the Bianchi family. Its main base in Rignano sull’Arno, near Florence, is complemented by smaller properties in Argentina and Spain.Courtesy of Beta

Bianchi’s son, Enzo, led the family firm into this new adventure, starting with a two-stroke 50cc utility bike in the 1950s followed by 125cc and ever-popular 175cc sportbikes. Both saw great activity in the classic Motogiro and Milano-San Remo races. In 1970, Beta turned to enduro and motocross machines.

Fifteen-time Italian Motocross Champion Corrado Maddìi started his racing career in 1977 on a Beta 125 RC. In 1980, Beta added a line of trials models that proved very competitive. Seven-time FIM Trial World Champion Jordi Tarrés won his first two titles—in 1987 and ’89—with Beta.

2018 beta rr racing 2t studio side view
Beta’s Enduro RR range includes three all-new-for-2018 two-strokes in 125, 250, and 300cc displacements. The 125 RR 2T, 250 RR 2T, and 300 RR 2T are available in race trim.Courtesy of Beta

In 1990, Beta was the first to develop an aluminum chassis that doubled as a gas tank. Tarrés took advantage of this innovation to win two more world titles. The trials models evolved into the new Techno series in 1994 and Dougie Lampkin used its remarkable power-to-weight ratio to win three consecutive world titles.

Beta has always designed and developed its projects in-house, focusing from the beginning on the two-stroke engine. Celebrating its first 100 years in 2004, Beta added a line of four-strokes, first to power a new generation of enduro bikes and two years later its current family of trials models.

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A twin-cradle steel-tube frame provides a wheelbase of 58.7 inches and a claimed dry weight of just 240 pounds. The two-stroke models are fractionally lighter since they share many of the same chassis components with their four-stroke counterparts.Courtesy of Beta

In 2016, Beta returned to international enduro competition in a grand way, winning both the manufacturer and individual world titles in the FIM World Enduro Championship E3 class with Steve Holcombe and in the Enduro Junior Championship for riders under the age of 23 with another Brit, Brad Freeman.

Under the guidance of President Giuseppe Bianchi, a certified mechanical engineer, and CEO Lapo Bianchi, Beta has grown into a company designing, developing, and manufacturing two- and four-stroke singles displacing from 50cc to 480cc. Production this coming year is expected to exceed 20,000 units.

2018 beta rr racing 4t studio side view
Beta’s new line of four-stroke enduro models—350 RR 4T, 390 RR 4T, 430 RR 4T, and 480 RR 4T—is powered by a series of high-tech singles. All four of these models feature Sachs suspension, a 48mm inverted fork, and a linkage-actuated shock.Courtesy of Beta
2018 beta evo 4t studio side view
The liquid-cooled four-strokes have highly oversquare bore-and-stroke dimensions, chain-driven DOHC distribution with finger-type cam followers, titanium intake valves, twin injectors, and dry-sump lubrication.Courtesy of Beta
2018 beta x trainer close up details
The Xtrainer is a general-purpose enduro bike conceived for non-professionals. It is powered by a 300cc two-stroke and features a lower seat height and more cost-sensitive chassis components.Courtesy of Beta
2018 beta evo 80 jr studio side view
The Evo 80 Jr. and Sr. models have also benefited from a general restyling. Beta’s smaller-displacement line includes the light-duty Alp models, powered by air-cooled, SOHC, 200cc and 350cc four-strokes and 50cc and 125cc two-strokes.Courtesy of Beta