Written by Aaryn Minerds at Fullnoise
Earlier this year we had the opportunity to head over to Krusic's ride park in Victoria to ride something a little different, with Sherco Motorcycles Australia giving us the opportunity to ride both the 300 SE-R and 300 SEF-R Factory edition models.
Now for us, or more so myself it was not the factory editions that had me intrigued so much, but just the Sherco motorcycles themselves.
Sherco has certainly became more of a house hold name recently in Australia, with Australia's own Jessica Gardiner having a great deal of success both at home and overseas aboard the Sherco 300 SEF, including a dominating performance at the 2014 International Six Day event.
This year also saw a small factory racing effort in Australia from the French brand, with Broc Grabham piloting Sherco motorcycles for the Motul Pirelli Sherco Australia Motorcycle team at both the Enduro-X championship earlier in the year and he has now been joined by Justin Carafra with both riders contesting the Australian Off-Road Championships along with selected Off-Road events around the country.
The two bikes we had the opportunity to spend a bit of time riding were the Factory Edition models, which are basically the standard 2015 models with a host of goodies added for a very small additional price.
The 300 SE-R (Two Stroke) retails at $11,990 with the Factory edition coming in at just $1000 more, it comes looking the part with a full Sherco Factory graphics kit and Blackbird DG2 seat cover, a clear 9.5 litre fuel tank, ASX bash plate, solid rear brake disc and a full FMF exhaust.
When you add those additional parts onto the already stock componentry that includes Brembo brakes front and rear, a Hydraulic clutch, WP shock and 48mm front forks, this bike is a ready race machine straight out of the box.
Coming complete with an electric start and six speed gear box and a adjustable ignition that can be switched on the fly, the 2015 Sherco 300 SE-R Factory edition is certainly one impressive bike on paper.
Throwing a leg over the Blue and Yellow 300 two stroke for the first time, the bike have that nice light weight feel about it, even though it does tip the scales at 105kg (dry weight).
After being shown how easy the bike was to start by Sherco Australia's Stephen Tuff, I headed out onto the sandy Enduro loop at Krusic's Ride Park to get a feel for not just the bike, but being back on a two stroke again.
On completion of a couple of laps of the Enduro loop I was starting to get a feel for the bike, again it certainly had a light feel to it despite the listed weight and actually weighing in more than its 300cc Four Stroke brother. The engine had a great smooth progressive feel to it, though on a loop that I was just learning, it was hard to really open the throttle and see what this bike could do.
With this in mind I headed over to the Vets track at Krusic's, I had ridden there just a few months earlier and knew the layout and was confident I would get a better feel for the 300 SE-R with the chance to focus more on riding the bike then on trying to remember which corner was coming up next.
It took less than two laps of the Vet track to have me grinning from ear to ear aboard the French 300. Finally I was able to feel just how smooth and progressive the power came on, especially for a two stroke and more importantly it still gave that two stroke "Hit" as you hit the sweet spot in the power curve.
I could literally roll the power on through a turn and open it up on exit and the bike would fire into life and have me clicking up through the gearbox and rapidly hurtling towards the next corner, probably a little faster than I wanted!
The 300 SE-R tipped into corners with great ease, and with just a little roll on throttle would track nicely through any corner you pointed it at.
After 6-7 laps around the vet track, I was having an absolute blast aboard the 300 two stroke and could have kept pounding out lap after lap but there was another bike to be ridden and Guy Streeter who was along to test for another site was patiently waiting in the middle of the track with the 300 SEF-R waiting to make the switch.
Overall I was quite impressed with Sherco's SE-R 300 two stroke enduro bike, it was great to be back on a two stroke and hopefully when the 2016 models drop in the near future we will have a chance to spend even more time hitting some trails or maybe hitting up an off-road race on aboard one of the Sherco two stroke machines.
Jumping from the 300 SE-R over to the 300 SEF-R the first thing you notice is just how much plusher the bike feels and how much lower to the ground the bike feels. I literally went from just touching the ground on the two stroke, to being near flat footed when sitting stationary on the 300 SEF-R.
Like the two stroke Factory Edition, the 300 SEF-R Factory bike comes with a host of goodies for just $1000 more than the stock model at $13,690.
Again the four stroke edition comes with a ASX bash plate, factory graphics, a 8.5 litre translucent tank, solid racing rear brake rotor, DG2 double grip seat and a full Akrapovic exhaust system instead of the FMF system found on the two stroke.
While we spent a decent amount of time riding the two stroke, with time in the day quickly running out, we did not get quite as much riding in on the SEF-R Factory, though we did get a good basic feel for the bike.
The engine was exactly what I thought it would be, with the 300 four-stroke power plant producing a nice clean linear power spread.
While the two stroke left your mind trying to catch up with what was going on around you when you hit the meat of the power, the 300 four-stroke was predictable and confidence inspiring.
The smooth power delivery combined with the super plush suspension combined to give you the feeling you could ride this bike all day without breaking a sweat.
The small square edged bumps were soaked up with no fuss by the WP suspension and had myself re-thinking how I should be running my own suspension when I got back home.
While we were able to carve out a number of laps on the motocross track on the 300 four-stroke, most of the riding on the enduro loop was done, while capturing some photos so we did not really get a chance to really sink our teeth into everything this bike is capable of.
Much like the two-stroke we will be talking to the guys over at Sherco Australia and hopefully have the chance to ride the 2016 edition when they hit Australian shores in the near future.
After just a short ride, I am thinking the Sherco 300 SEF-R would be a great bike to ride at somewhere like Headley where the 3rd and 4th round of the Australian Off-Road Championship were held. A day on some reasonable tight sandy single track or some slick grass track, aboard the Sherco 300 SEF-R could be a great day out.
Overall it was great to have a chance to ride the 300cc Sherco Factory editions, in fact personally it was great to have my first ever ride aboard a Sherco, they are certainly one of the smaller factories in the off-road world, but from our first experience have some top shelf bikes, with first class componentry.
For more information on the Sherco Motorcycles head over to http://www.sherco.com.au