SHERCO FACTORY EDITION LAUNCH
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY DAMIEN ASHENHURST AND MATT BERNARD
We were lucky enough to be invited to the Sherco Factory Edition Launch at Mt Kembla in Wollongong, NSW. For the full run-down, you’ll need to check out issue #217 of Dirt Action Magazine – here’s a teaser from our awesome day in the trails.
The conditions were a little stacked against the 450 in this regard. The main test track was gnarly, tight and rough with not a lot of room to open up and run and the lighter and nimbler 300 had a clear advantage over the 450. But what I found was a 450 that excelled in those conditions.
The engine is all about down-low to mids and it’s a lot of fun to ride. This sort of power is made for riding in tight single-trail with a nice low constant throttle applied or with aggressive bursts of power. The bike kept traction well on all of the terrain we hit, so you get to use that power properly and not waste it on spitting rocks.
It’s hard to find a comparison to the Sherco. The Yamaha feels nothing like it and in fact the WR-F would feel somewhat bulky side by side, while the KTM 6 Days is perhaps even harsher for more extreme-type riding. The Factory 450SER-F is a great middle ground for the rider looking for an off-the-shelf racer that won’t beat you up on a casual, albeit not plodding, trail ride. It has all the power you could need in an explosive package that feels at home on single-trail and riders will be drawn to its nimble feel.
The 300 has the stiffest setup of the four new models and really responds best when you can push it hard and at pace. At that point, it skips over crazy-rough areas and tips into corners with an impressively planted front end.
But the hard part here is keeping the engine in check; it goes off like a caged meerkat at the slightest movement of the throttle. So you click it up a gear and let the torque do all the work and things get easier but in the back of your mind that bastard that makes you do crazy shit keeps niggling at you to click back down and give it some berries. So you do, and by quarter-throttle you’re re-evaluating all your life’s choices.
With its super-light feel, it’s a solid option for those looking to do the gnarliest extreme enduro. But it’s not a bike for the casual trailrider; it’s a thoroughbred. It’s perhaps the best example of the philosophy behind the Factory models, which is to offer high-level, race-oriented performance in a single proven package. In the hands of Matt Phillips it would be an epic sight but for most of us it’s about managing it instead of purely riding it. We would’ve loved to have had the chance to hit a big, open grass track on it, though. That inherent anger would be one of life’s great joys to unleash in the proper arena.
The 300 might just be the perfect engine for the average rider. It’s not the most exciting power plant — if you want something that will spit sideways and lift the front wheel, look towards the two-strokes. But if you want to get through the trails in the fastest way possible, this is the bike for you. I felt like I could carry so much more corner speed than I could on the other bikes. You can pick the throttle up early in the turn and keep driving through it. The rev-limiter seems to be almost non-existent; pick the throttle up in the bottom end and just keep winding through the rev range. I didn’t find the mapping switch made as noticeable a change as it does on the two-strokes, but the more aggressive map certainly unearths a little more snap out of the bike, which I preferred.
There are very few bikes I’ve liked more than the 2017 Sherco SEF-R 300 Factory. It’s very, very good.
The Sherco 250 has a fantastic engine. It features a map switch, mild or wild if you like. On this model, it’s very effective. You have an easy-to-manage curve for the snotty technical bits and the exciting aggressive curve for when the trails open. In the tight trails of the Wollongong Motorcycle Club, I found the milder switch to be more effective. It’s easy to use and it’s possible to switch it mid-trail on the fly. The engine is strong but not scary on either of the modes. Combine the FMF exhaust, Sherco’s electronic power valve and the map switch and you have yourself a versatile machine.
I struggled to hang onto the 300; it feels bigger and a lot more to manage. The 250 is less bike to keep under control and there’s less aggression to get you into trouble when you start getting worn out. When the traction’s there, you can hook into it on the 250; the engine loves to rev and the trees start to blur awfully fast.
10 REASONS WE LOVE THE SHERCO FACTORY EDITIONS
- The 300 SEF-R’s engine
- WP XPlor forks with pre-load adjustment
- Trick fluoro graphics
- Akropovic exhaust on the four-stroke models
- Light feeling in the trails
- FMF exhaust on the two-stroke models
- Super grippy seat dover
- Hydraulic clutch
- Blue Excel rims
- Adjustable map switch
WHAT MAKES IT FACTORY?
- Factory in-moulded graphics
- Pyramid anti-slip seat, slightly taller than on Racing and 6 Days models
- Solid rear brake disc
- Blue anodised wheels that look trick
- Akrapovic exhaust system on all four-stroke models
- Special injection mapping (four-stoke models)
- Full FMF pipe and silencer on all two-stroke models
- Preload adjuster on XPlor fork