Story & Photography by DAMIEN ASHENHURST at Dirt Action
Talk about trial by fire. Our newest long-term test bike is the 2015 Sherco 300SER-F and it was put through a torture test before the factory paint had time to dry. I picked the bike up with just enough time to put 27km on the clock in a very brief get-to-know you ride, basically around my block in the bush.
From there the 300 was loaded onto the ute and together we headed on down to Queanbeyan to take on a two-day 450km ride to Batemans Bay and back. So it was a short and sweet foreplay period and then, boom! — we hit a big one.
The bike felt pretty damn stiff as new bikes are but it also looked so good in brand-new trim. The overall finish on the bike is excellent and it garnered plenty of inquisitive looks. The ride was the ultimate exercise in getting to know the Sherco and, after the two days, here’s what I’d learned.
THE LITTLE THINGS
The brake lever is too close to the case. It doesn’t have a tonne of feel but the odd angle your foot has to be at isn’t ideal. The ergos in general are very good. It feels a lot smaller than the KTM 350EXC, for example, and you tend to grip it with knees at the mid-point of the seat because there really isn’t much to squeeze onto around the tank. That’s the sort of scenario that brings the Steg Pegz into their own because that extra anchor point gives you the control you need over an ultra-thin bike. The standard ’bars are good and all the controls and hand levers are good, too, so no need to go crazy there. The stock handguards are pretty good as well. I prefer solid wraparounds but if you’re a fan of the Kato guards then you’ll like the Sherco’s as well.
The stock footpegs are good. They’re wide and have a good feel. I’d like to run Pivot Pegz in conjunction with the Stegz but that’s a personal preference I’ve found to work well in the past.
If you read the feature on the DSMRA ride in this issue you’ll know the Sherco came to a halt when the air filter got chronically dirty. I didn’t take a spare with me, which was a rookie error, and at full throttle on a road section the engine couldn’t get enough air to play with the fuel I was trying to feed in and the bike shut down. At less than full throttle it was OK.
We took some time to clean the filter at the next stop and the bike was bang on from that moment and back to its very best. The whole thing was my fault but, once rectified, the bike was fine for the rest of the day and beyond.
The engine mapping switch is brilliant — it goes from a mild-mannered trail bike to a wicked beast (for a 300) at the flick of your thumb. It’s such a useful tool for getting what you want from the bike on a ride and I used it constantly all day as we went from tight tricky stuff to slippery open tracks and everything in between. I do prefer the instant hit from the aggressive setting, though; it’s a lot of fun.
GET IT ON
Overall I’m impressed so far that after just two days of riding from brand new the Sherco had 478km on it and only suffered briefly from my own negligence. It was a little tough to ride on crazy rock sections at times because it was brand new but I played with the clickers and as the suspension settled in it just got better and better. I’m pretty pumped to have this bike to play with for 12 months and super keen to find out just what it can do. It’s definitely a good feeling to have a bike in the shed that makes you want to ride day and night.
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