I can’t help my feelings of prejudice; I’m just not immediately ready to liken Sachs suspension to WP or Kayaba for quality. I’m sure it is just prejudice, but until I get a chance to test a Beta and say a KTM back to back (which I must do) I’m still half wondering if the Sachs, even with ZF stickers, are up to the top level.
So is the 2019 kit better? Not easy to say, but probably yes. At the launch venue, Hell’s Gate, it was super-rocky and pretty much any suspension is going to take some work to settle on this stuff. On the stock settings, I was getting jarred and shocks through the bars all the way. Fortunately, using the RR390 as my test mule – and working on backing off both the compression and rebound damping on the forks, and the high-speed compression adjustment on the shock – within three rides and three sets of adjustments (about half an hour’s work) I was able to find a very acceptable setting. The jarring and shock disappeared and a feeling of plushness came over the ride. So I was extremely pleased to find the adjusters worked so well – and this plushness came within three clicks of the standard settings, so there’s some range to the adjustment available. Good stuff.
As well, like on the latest Husqvarna TE/FEs, there’s now a preload adjuster on the forks (again a tool-less item) and this worked equally well, with max preload holding the forks high – probably ideal for sand riding.
In all the feeling is the new suspension is good, it worked well once it was dialed in for the extreme setting. How well it’ll work where you ride, and over a protracted race environment – that we’ll have to wait and see.
Four-stroke remap and throttle upgrade
Yes, I liked the revision here. The throttle action on all the four-strokes felt smooth and nicely graduated. There was no jerkiness when going from no throttle to some, the RRs picked up nicely, smoothly. An extra 10% fuel economy is always welcome too, that might be the difference between making the next refuel and a long push.
New clutch master cylinder
This is said to offer a lighter clutch action. Without a direct comparison it would be hard to say anything categorical on this. But by the same token the clutch action across all the bikes was just fine, good enough not to leave a conscious impression. So yes, good!
Exhaust valve on the RR300
Hey, I really enjoyed riding the RR300. I rode the RR250 first and was struggling a little with the suspension on the rocks and with the power causing some spin-up. But when I got on the RR300 I didn’t feel the rocks so much, as the rich long-slow rev of the 300 (‘bwooooaaarrr’) gave it a similar feeling of connection to the terrain as the four-strokes offered. As ever, it was my favourite two-stroke, only this time taking the win by the narrowest of margin from the RR200. Yeah, the new power on the RR300 was perfect for Hell’s Gate (no surprise).
The new graphics
Yes, very nice. Sharpens the look I feel. Beta’s nice friendly bikes look a little more racy for 2019. I’m happy with that.