2018 Sherco Range | Bike Reviews
Weekdays are so much better when you get to ride a dirtbike. It’s better again when there are five brand-new Shercos to choose from, and at the end of the day you get to choose which one to keep.
Words: Geoff Braico
Available to test on the day were the 250 and 300 SE-R two-strokes, the 300 and 450 SEF-R four-strokes and the all-new, highly anticipated 125SE-R.
The plan for the day was to pound out some laps on each of the bikes and really get myself in check with the new machines. I’m familiar with the previous 2016 and 2017 Sherco enduro bikes but I really need some track time on the 2018 models before committing to a long-term relationship with one of them.
It was a little over a year ago when Sherco announced the addition of a completely new 125 enduro bike and I, for one, was stoked to see it in the metal. I have been going through a bit of a 125 phase for the last six months, so the 125 SE-R was the bike I was most eager to get on and pound out the laps.
It feels a bit odd pushing a starter button and hearing the sound of a 125, but when it fires up everyone within earshot grins.
The power is quite linear for a small-bore bike and the electronically controlled power valve offers precise power delivery throughout the rev range. There doesn’t seem to be any abrupt hit or ‘powerband’ and that will appeal to wide spectrum of riders. Combine the smooth engine with the WP Xplor fork and WP 46 Shock and you have a really easy bike to ride. The 125 was the only bike at the test fitted with the Sherco-spec Xplor fork and it had the best front-end of the bunch.
I am impressed with Sherco’s first go at a 125. It has a really nice engine, a great suspension package, the electric start makes life easy and the huge 10.4L clear tank lets you ride this little beast all day.
The 300SE-R is the bestseller amongst the brand’s arsenal in Australia and that’s because it is a weapon out on the trail. The engine is very strong off the bottom and it can get away from you little bit on a tighter track. The punch off the bottom that the 300 delivers made easy to get out of the corners at a pace on the rough test loop, which allowed me to stay on top of the bumps. I could see a rider with a little less experience getting into a bit of strife on the 300 but overall it’s a great bike.
The 250, on the other hand, was just about perfect on the test loop. I am usually all about the bigger bore two-strokes but the 250’s smaller engine mass and inertia under brakes made it easier to steer and brake. The track has a bunch of switchbacks and elevation changes and the 250 felt right at home, flip-flopping in and out and side to side between the trees. I was really, really impressed with it. With only minor upgrades for 2018, I didn’t expect the new 250 to be as good as it was. It was my pick of the two-strokes.
The 2018 Sherco four-strokes have received the most updates, especially the 300SEF-R. This bike is Sherco’s pride and joy and as soon as you hop on it, it is easy to see why. The engine is surprisingly punchy off the bottom, yet you feel as though you can ride it as hard as you want without it getting too wild. You can rev it to moon or you can short shift through gears; either way, the 300SEF-R is happy just to be out there ripping the trails.
Its bigger brother has also received some loving for 2018. The 450 SEF-R gets a redesigned cylinder head, the oil system and clutch has been given a bit of tune to offer better lubrication, and more than half a kilo has been shaved off the silencer.
I always wanted a little more out of the 2017 Sherco 450 engine, as I felt it was a bit soft with excessive engine braking. However, that seems to have changed for 2018, and the 450 is now a lot livelier. It’s not rip-out-your-hands lively, but the throttle response is much better and the engine braking isn’t as noticeable.
Out of these two bikes, the 300 is the winner. It’s fun and easy to ride and the power is strong, and that’s what you want out a smaller-bore 4T. I would love to ride the bikes with the Xplor fork, as that would elevate the overall feel, but you’ll have to spend some more dollars if you want the premium fork.
Read the full feature in ADB issue #460 – on sale now!