2019 Beta 125 RR-S Review First Ride

Italian entry-level dual-sport bike for under $5,000.

Beta has a large pedigree in the dual-sport market ranging from its flagship 500 RR-S to the entry-level 125 RR-S. With such a vast range in engine displacement, Beta is able to provide a dual sport riding experience for nearly all ages and skill levels. In Europe, people ride sooner. It is as simple as that; more people of all ages ride motorcycles and usually start at an early age. In many of the foreign markets, small-displacement engines rule the streets whether it’s in a Fiat, on Vespa, or atop a Beta 125 RR-S. Retailing for $4,999, the 2019 Beta 125 RR-S has a relatively low price tag, and offers consumers a great option as an extremely user-friendly and forgiving entry-level dual sport motorcycle with exquisite Italian styling.

Riding the 2019 Beta 125 RR-S in the hills of Southern California.
Riding the 2019 Beta 125 RR-S in the hills of Southern California.Jeff Allen

2019 Beta 125 RR-S Engine

The 124.6cc engine is matched with a six-speed transmission, and fed by a Keihin 30mm carburetor.
The 124.6cc engine is matched with a six-speed transmission, and fed by a Keihin 30mm carburetor.Jeff Allen

The 125 RR-S comes packed with a 124.6cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine equipped with a six-speed transmission and fed by a Keihin 30mm carburetor. Jumping right into it, this is a 125cc four-stroke and there’s no hiding that fact when you twist the throttle. The power is limited and it doesn’t have a strong hit on the bottom. Although it’s a bit lethargic down low in the rpm range, the 125 RR-S comes to life once the revs pick up into the midrange and top-end.

This Beta dual sport likes to be revved out as if it were a two-stroke. Once I was able to find where it likes to be ridden in the rpm range, the 125 RR-S was quite enjoyable to ride on a twisty trail. Keep the throttle pinned everywhere and stay high in the rpms; it’s all about maintaining momentum and putting the power to the ground. Later in the ride on the 125 RR-S, we found a few rocks to jump around on, and I quickly noticed a vague clutch feel. Its very light pull and lack of a distinct friction zone grew a little disappointing. However, for the beginner-level rider the 125 RR-S is intended for, the clutch will be very forgiving and confidence-inspiring, all without wearing out the rider’s clutch fingers.

2019 Beta 125 RR-S Suspension

Lean back and hold on. Testing the Ollé R16V 41mm fork’s capabilities on this steep granite descent.
Lean back and hold on. Testing the Ollé R16V 41mm fork’s capabilities on this steep granite descent.Jeff Allen

As far as the suspension, the Ollé R16V 41mm fork and Ollé R16V shock are both fairly stiff for the small riders it is intended for, which works great for aggressive off-road riding—at least to a certain point. The fork is nonadjustable and holds up well due to its firmness, but on hard hits, it feels slightly harsh and not very progressive. The shock is adjustable for preload and also pretty firm. Without clicker settings to make any sort of adjustments, 125 RR-S owners will have to opt a respring and a revalve of the Ollé units to fine-tune the Beta’s suspension to their liking. While I enjoy the firmer suspension setup for faster paced off-road riding, a softer setting would beneficial, especially for the target market and intended off-road usage the 125 RR-S seems to be geared toward.

2019 Beta 125 RR-S Chassis/Handling

With a nimble chassis, the 125 RR-S encourages the rider to push their own ability.
With a nimble chassis, the 125 RR-S encourages the rider to push their own ability.Jeff Allen

The 125 RR-S’ molybdenum steel/double cradle frame feels extremely light and responsive, offering a noticeable amount of flex and feedback for a very engaging ride. I’ve always enjoyed dirt bikes equipped with steel frames, and the 125 RR-S is no exception. The bike handles very intuitively, which helps build the rider’s confidence higher and higher as the ride continues. The ergonomics are very similar to any other Beta and the footpegs feel a bit farther back than a Japanese bike—perhaps a reflection of Beta’s roots as a trials bike manufacturer.

Despite having a full-size 260mm rotor, the front brake struggles to produce adequate stopping power. Ironically, the 220mm-rotor-equipped rear brake is the complete opposite, for it is ultra sensitive and easily locks up.
Despite having a full-size 260mm rotor, the front brake struggles to produce adequate stopping power. Ironically, the 220mm-rotor-equipped rear brake is the complete opposite, for it is ultra sensitive and easily locks up.Jeff Allen

One thing that is impossible not to notice, and is one of the two complaints I have about the 125 RR-S, is the passenger footpegs. In stock trim, the mounts directly interfere with the back of your boots when standing. Luckily, this is something that can be fixed with a wrench, being that the mount is connected to the frame by just a couple of bolts.

My second issue with the 125 RR-S is the front brake. Despite having a full-size 260mm front rotor, it struggles to provide adequate stopping power, which left me begging for more when I needed to come to a halt. Also, when using the front brake lever, it’s a struggle to pull it in with one finger and it never produces a bite that expedites your stopping. On the contrary, the 220mm-rotor-equipped rear brake is ultra sensitive and easily locks up.

The DOT-approved Michelin Enduro Competition tires proved themselves worthy, offering great grip in the dirt and on the rocks.
The DOT-approved Michelin Enduro Competition tires proved themselves worthy, offering great grip in the dirt and on the rocks.Jeff Allen

Beta outfits the 125 RR-S with a set of DOT-approved Michelin Enduro Competition tires that offer a large knobby pattern with a fairly soft compound, which enables the Beta to get loads of traction. Due to its capable tires and relatively low amount of power, the 125 RR-S almost never spins the tire and seems to hook up everywhere. This is certainly an aspect that a beginner rider can appreciate.

2019 Beta 125 RR-S Overall Impression

The Beta’s street-legal capabilities offer a perfect platform for exploration.
The Beta’s street-legal capabilities offer a perfect platform for exploration.Jeff Allen

The 2019 Beta 125 RR-S is a good entry-level dual sport bike that allows riders to connect trails using roads and highways. Its fairly docile demeanor makes it perfect for entry-level riders who want a full-size bike with fun-size power and street-legal capabilities. I envision the 125 RR-S would be great for a son, daughter, or wife with an M1 license who could ride the bike to school or work, and then ride it on the weekends on the trails.

Gearbox

The 125 RR-S is light, nimble, and perfect for navigating through rock gardens.
The 125 RR-S is light, nimble, and perfect for navigating through rock gardens.Jeff Allen

Gloves: Klim XC Lite

2019 Beta 125 RR-S Price And Specifications

The Beta 125 RR-S is the Italian manufacturer’s entry-level dual sport bike. It retails for $4,999 and comes with a 12-month limited warranty. With a 1.9-gallon fuel tank, full-size 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel, 260mm front and 220mm rear brake rotor, and a claimed dry weight of 224 pounds, the 125 RR-S has some similar specifications to larger-displacement, more competition-focused dirt bikes.
Left:The Beta 125 RR-S is the Italian manufacturer’s entry-level dual sport bike. It retails for $4,999 and comes with a 12-month limited warranty. Right:With a 1.9-gallon fuel tank, full-size 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel, 260mm front and 220mm rear brake rotor, and a claimed dry weight of 224 pounds, the 125 RR-S has some similar specifications to larger-displacement, more competition-focused dirt bikes.Jeff Allen
PRICE $4,999
ENGINE 124.6cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Molybdenum steel double cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION Ollé R16V 41mm inverted fork; 10.2-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Ollé R16V shock adjustable for spring preload; 10.6-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 2-piston caliper, single 260mm disc
REAR BRAKE 1-piston caliper, single 220mm disc
WHEELBASE 55.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 36.4 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 1.9 gal.
MEASURED WEIGHT 250 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT betausa.com