Story by SAM MACLACHLAN & Photography by JOSH EVANS at ADBMY CHERIE AMORE
The Sherco 300 SE-R is the most European “feeling” of this group, but it was the bike’s potency that KTM-owner Brett Kenny enjoyed.
“It’s aggressive, but in a good way,” he said. “It has smooth punch right off the bottom compared to bikes like the Gas Gas or Husqvarna, but still has fantastic throttle response right up through the rev range.It’s great for grasstrack MX (which our test loop included) and enduro special tests.”
Those who rode the bike early found it unsettled compared to the KTM, but it was just a matter of some rear shock and fork damping adjustments to settle the bike down, and suddenly it was nipping at the heels of the KTM and Beta for outright pace.
It is slim, like the Beta, and lively, like the KTM, with an engine that hits very hard. It’s a powerhouse, but in a mostly manageable way. In the tight stuff, it’s easy to punch the front wheel over tree roots or launch over a gap at a moment’s notice.
This is what Brett meant by “aggressive, in a good way”. A skilled rider can use the Sherco as a real weapon in the bush. If the rider is up to it, so is the Sherco.
It’s fair to say the Frenchie was the surprise of the test. It looks mildly understated next to some of the others – although everything looks that way next to the Beta.
Once the mild nervousness was dialed out to suit our test track, it was apparent the Sherco was one of the fastest bikes.
It also was one of the most responsive to adjustment, as Brett said: “Previous Shercos I have tested had a lack of feel but this one gives great feedback through the suspension and responds to small adjustments really well.” Like all the bikes, there are some worthy features to make living with it a pleasure, such as a map switch that actually makes a big difference to how it doles out the power.
In fact, the “mud” ignition map could be called the “get home when you’re buggered” button, because it tames the whole bike down and allows tired arms some respite from the power.
The French bike is a weapon, but is still useable for a wide range of riders. Its strongest area is its sharp feel and excellent power, something the racers in our test enjoyed, but something trailriders like myself and Mitch could enjoy too.