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Grabbing a handful of throttle on either bike is a satisfying experience but there are differences. Here's our Beta RX 300 vs KTM 300 SX test.

The KTM and Beta have several similarities so we thought we’d do a Beta RX 300 vs KTM 300 SX test. They weigh within 1kg of each other, have the same 293cc displacement and square 72 x 72mm bore and stroke configuration, use hydraulically operated clutches, and use the same disc brake manufacturer, Brembo. Their wheelbases are nearly identical, and they both rely on steel frames. They both have electric starters.

Beta however, offers a kickstart back-up option, the KTM does not and the KTM holds approximately 2.5L less fuel. The main differences between these two motorcycles are their fuelling systems and front forks. it’s fuel injection versus carburettor, and air versus coil spring.

The KTM feels longer and lower than the Beta, despite what the spec sheets say. The KTM feels roomier. The Beta’s tank and shrouds are noticeably wider than the KTM’s, but the Beta’s seat and rear end feel narrower. The Beta’s seat cushion is also stiffer.

Both bikes have solid engines. Grabbing a handful of throttle on either bike is a satisfying experience but there are differences in how their power is delivered giving them distinct personalities.

The KTM’s engine hits hard and fast and the power comes on immediately and is strong off the bottom but loves to sit in the mid-to-top-end range. The low-end is so torquey so that you can ride it like a four-stroke. The only complaint I had with the KTM is the over-rev at the very top end of the rev range is almost non-existent. In short, you’re better off riding a gear higher to stay in the powerbands sweet spot.

The Beta’s engine with its classic carburettor design flat-out rips and perhaps best of all, sounds like it’s ripping too. The Beta’s initial roll on is so snappy and responsive and it is easy to stay in the sweet spot of the power compared to the KTM. The Beta is not as smooth as the KTM but it does give those old school two-stroke vibes to ride whereas the KTM is much smoother more like a modern day four-stroke. With its six-speed transmission versus the KTM’s five-speed, you tend to shift the Beta less often while stretching out all the gears a bit longer.


I felt I needed to shift the KTM a lot more to keep it in the power. With the Beta you are only going to use sixth gear in a desert race or on some insanely fast motocross track.

There is a clear difference from map to map on both bikes but more so on the KTM than the Beta. In the mellow maps the KTM and Beta feel similar making both these very powerful motorcycles a little easier to manage. The power is much broader on the KTM in the aggressive map and the Beta becomes a rocket ship. Both bikes are light and agile to ride but the Beta does give off a little more vibration than the KTM much more like an old school two-stroke.

The last big difference for these bikes is the suspension. KTM’s updated WP AER fork is significantly better than in the past and rode very well. The Beta suspension is slightly under sprung for motocross but gets away with it because the KYB suspension is valved so well.

The Beta suspension feels more like a setup for a vet or a club level rider whereas serious racers will do with a spring upgrade. The KTM felt more stable at speed but feels like it rides more on the rear wheel whereas the Beta rides with more front end precision much like its enduro cousins.


Jeff Briggs

I was really looking forward to this comparison. Two 300 two-stroke motocrossers, what could be better? At first glance they both look and feel great.

The Beta has you sitting a little higher in the saddle due to the flatter seat (which is a bit firm on your butt) but still has a great modern ergo feel. The KTM has a refined cockpit which felt similar just a little lower in the seat height.

The motors on both were the big difference for me. The torque of the carby and instant hit of power from the Beta gave me that familiar two-stroke feel while the KTM was a lot more linear and user friendly. That being said I didn’t find it slower, just different to that old two-stroke feeling.

The suspension on both bikes were great and the new fork setting on the KTM made a big difference but the KYB front and back was slightly better for me on the Beta. The brakes on both bikes are exceptional being Brembo and Nissin and both two-strokes could be really competitive in the 450 class with a bit of personal setup. I really enjoyed this test.

For the full feature, check out issue #531 of ADB.