If you are a fan of trials riding, the Sherco brand of bikes will be no new deal for you. If you are new to trials riding, however, this French bike company that hasn’t really been around that long in the grand scale of things has really taken the industry by storm. Not only do Sherco make motorcycling affordable, in their mere 19 years since inception, but they have also achieved great success in a range of stages. These include Dakar, Extreme Enduro racing and Enduro GP World Championship. Australian Matt Phillips scored a world Enduro title in 2016, and Ben Grabham recently won the 125cc Australian Off-Road Championship with his Sherco 125 SE-R. Although not globally as popular as most other brands, the quality and character of these bikes is really something to note. Keep reading to see the test ride capabilities of this impressive range of bikes.
The smallest of the four-strokes gets a makeover in a big way this year, with a range of advanced mods. These include Enduro dash with better water protection, WP 46mm shocks, shifter fork rollers and stronger gear selector spring. Also includes a new header for better rpm response, a new silencer that is 300 grams lighter, new engine maps, and updated piston with higher compression. There is also an advanced crankshaft and connecting rod, a muffler that is 500 grams lighter, radiator cap that is easier to access, in-moulded graphics, 20% more flexible plastics, a reinforced rear fender for easier lifting and a new improved seat cover.
Although the 300 and 450 models have prominently more power and different characters, the 250 is perfect if you want a lightweight, quick bike. In comparison to the 300 and 450 models, the energy is usable. And the bike is very tame. However, the bottom end charm is not dissimilar to KTM’s 250 XCF-W but doesn’t have the same top end screaming that it could have. It makes the most of the mid-range power, with good low-end torque. It may not have the guts that a lot of other bikes have when you throttle down, but it does have excellent throttle response. Unfortunately, because of the lack of power, it feels a little heavier to ride than the 300, but the 250 certainly makes motorcycling affordable.
Typically, with just a 50cc range between engine sizes, you wouldn’t see a great deal of difference. This is where the Sherco differs, however, with the 300 SEF-R. The 300 has a much quicker revving engine than the 250, and with instant throttle response. The 300 offers a fair amount more torque than the 250, and in the corners, you can notice it the most. On the 250, instead of always reaching for the clutch to keep making power, the extra torque eliminates the issue.
The 300 offers more excitement than the 250 for sure and features a more usable and obedient power range. Although the 450 is in a category way above, the 300 is still a worthy ride. The extra power makes it feel lighter than it is and is gutsy enough to lift the front for a bit of fun.
The 450 SEF-R is an excellent bike for riding tight trails with turns, and quick hill climbs a breeze. The Sherco 450 SEF-R has very usable power for a 450 but is a bit of a handful compared to the smaller bikes. Of the three bikes, the 450 is definitely the most difficult to ride. Because of the big power difference between the two smaller models and the 450, it makes it very difficult to have a smooth and consistent ride when each touch of the throttle rushed the bike forward with a far more force than the 300 or 250. On tight trails, however, the 450 is somewhat restricted and performs far better in a scenario where you can really open it up in a straight line. This is where this bike really sees its full potential achieved. The 450 is harder to handle in the techy trail stuff for two main reasons, the power, and the frame length (slightly longer than all the other bikes). As far as the Sherco bikes go in general; they have a focus on agility, which is very clear when riding the smaller bikes. However the 450 is designed to be used in fast, open terrain.
All of the SEF-Rs are fast turning and respond well to rider input, though not anywhere near their two-stroke range of bikes. Each the four-stroke models uses the same WP fork which consists of coil springs on both sides with adjustment on top for compression and rebound below. The “Race” versions of these bikes will have the WP Xplor fork as do most other Enduro and trail bikes on the market right now.
For Sherco, creating a bike as obedient as possible and using a flexible frame and an active suspension set up allows riders to experience harsh trails at a quick pace truly. Definitely, the best bikes that Sherco have built to date, the 250, 300 and 450 SEF-Rs, they are going to be a top seller in coming years across the globe.
The best advice we can offer is to get out there and ride. Test the bike yourself. Find what you love, what you hate, and what you can’t live without. This gives you a better chance of choosing a bike you’re going to enjoy in the future. There’s plenty to love about Sherco bikes. If you have any questions, of course, get in touch with other people who love bikes. Maybe join a biking group. They’ll surely tell you everything you need to know about the bikes – and help you make an informed decision when you buy.