2020 Sherco 300SEF Factory Review | Bike Reviews
Aussies love a big-bore, whether they have the skills to handle one or not. Don’t get me wrong, the 500SEF is one of the best 500s I’ve ever ridden but have you ridden the Sherco 300SEF Factory?
If you guys have been paying attention then you would know that, a few months back, I climbed aboard a big metal bird and ventured to Milan, Italy, to test a bunch of 2020 French enduro bikes. I came home with severe sleep deprivation but also this tingling in my chest that I just could not shake. After a very unsatisfactory trip to the doc, I just had to give in and face the fact that the tingling sensation was separation anxiety … I had fallen in love with the Sherco 300SEF Factory and even after hours of begging and pleading I had to leave her behind and fly home without my new love.
After finally realizing what the problem was, I sat my wife down and ’fessed up, but no matter how many times I did the dishes, bathed the kids or hung out the washing there was no way she was letting me buy a 300SEF Factory to satisfy my primitive urges. I had to face the fact that my love would remain unfulfilled and the only way I could possibly make myself feel better was to sit down and write a love sonnet in the hope that you guys would figure out what an under-rated machine this is.
Now, anyone who owns or has ridden one of the 300SEFs would be wondering why I’ve called it under-rated, but the truth is size still matters and the top-selling Sherco in Australia is the recently-launched 500SEF. No surprise there, huh?
Aussies love a big-bore, whether they have the skills to handle one or not. Don’t get me wrong, the 500SEF is one of the best 500s I’ve ever ridden but let me ask you this: Have you ridden the Sherco 300SEF Factory?
The 300 is very nimble in ruts but still has the torque to blow bits to pieces and drive up hills without running out of legs. The 300 takes little effort to ride in the bush. It feels much like a 250F with extra torque.
It is light, nimble and handles just the same as a 250F but it has some extra torque that comes in handy when you get into soft terrain or when you get out on the grasstrack, open it up and let it wind out. In the bush, the extra power isn’t such a big factor as it is often too tight to use it.
The bike is well balanced and easy to ride, easy to change direction on quickly and easy to stop and turn on the spot, which makes riding it in the bush very easy. If you’re a bigger guy but don’t quite like the idea of a big-bore because you mostly ride in the tight stuff then I would urge you to check out the 300. It bridges the gap between the 250 and 450 very well. Not everyone has the ability or the muscle to throw around a 500, which is where the 300 comes in. It is easier to ride and easier to handle but still has enough power for even the pros to ride fast.
The KYB suspension on the Sherco 300SEF Factory works really well. It is smooth and balanced and handles everything from jumps, bumps and drops offs to logs and rocks. It works well at slow speeds and can even absorb the high-speed hits without blowing through. The front-end holds up nicely under brakes without diving, but still provides precise steering.
The chassis is comfortable and well balanced. It is light and manoeuverable but still doesn’t feel like a tiny bike, which is perfect for bigger guys who like to feel something between their legs.
The brakes and clutch I cannot fault. The only thing I can come up with is the fact that, because I have a Size 12 boot, my heal hits the sidestand when I stand on my toes. It’s not a real big issue nor does it cause me to ride any differently but it was just something I noticed and got used to after a few laps.
NEW FOR 2020
To give the customer better reliability, the latest 300SEF comes with an updated monoshock linkage with lower friction and better-sealed linkage bearings. The improved seals give longer service intervals and the lower friction enhances suspension compliance.
This all means that the customer will get a longer service life out of the linkage and will have to spend less time and money on keeping the bike in top condition. Replacing linkage bearings is a tedious job so maybe Sherco dealers had a whisper in the factory’s ear.
The 300 also has new graphics and blue frame guards to brighten up the look. The white and blue colour scheme really pops, and stands out in the bush. The engines now have a manganese colour on the ignition and clutch covers as well as the rocker cover. This does nothing for the performance but it does add a few style points.
The engine has a lighter oil pump sprocket and driveshaft and a lighter starter motor sprocket assembly which resulted in a weight reduction of 400g. While that doesn’t sound like a big deal it does make a large difference to the rotating mass of the engine, which has a large bearing on how quickly the engine revs up and effects the bike’s steering and handling. Anytime this weight is reduced the bike becomes easier to manoeuvre, especially at high engine speeds.
The 300 has also had the gear selector improved for more accurate changes and has an AFAM steel rear sprocket added for better durability. Everybody likes alloy sprockets for the cool anodised colours, but they wear much quicker and can be damaged more easily.
The Sherco 300SEF comes in Factory and Racing versions. The main differences are that the Racings come with WP Xplor suspension which has adjustable spring preload in both fork legs but has the compression damping adjustment on the left leg and rebound on the right.
The WP shock has adjustable spring preload as well as adjustable high- and low-speed compression and also rebound damping.
The Factory models come with KYB 48mm closed-cartridge forks that have adjustable compression and rebound damping but do not have external spring preload adjustment. The KYB shock has adjustable spring preload, adjustable high- and low-speed compression damping and adjustable rebound.
The Factory versions also come with their own white-and-blue colour scheme as well as an Akrapovic exhaust, all for an extra $1800.
Here’s my take on the two versions: The XPlor suspension is much softer, which I feel is a much more comfortable setup up for a beginner to intermediate trailrider. The suspension is plush and forgiving but when you start to ride at race speeds it can start to blow through the stroke and the front-end can begin to dive under brakes.
The Factory version is much better suited to an intermediate-to-expert pace trailrider or someone looking to go racing.
The KYB suspension is firmer and much more resistant to bottoming or blowing through the stroke.
• Improved monoshock linkage
• Graphics kit
• Blue frame protectors
• AFAM steel rear sprocket
• Improved gear selection
• Reduction in starter system sprocket and oil pump sprocket weight of 400g for both
• New manganese coloured clutch, stator and rocker covers
WORDS // MAT BOYD PHOTOS // SHERCO – THIS FEATURE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ADB ISSUE #481
Sherco 300SEF Factory Spec
Type DOHC, four-valve
Bore & STROKE 84 x 54.8mm
Compression ratio N/A
Fuel metering Synerject 42mm EFI
Tank capacity 9.7L
Transmission Six-speed, constant-mesh
Clutch Brembo hydraulic, wet multiplate
Seat height 950mm
Ground clearance 355mm
Weight 102kg dry
FRONT KYB 48mm spring-cartridge USD, 300mm travel
REAR KYB gas-oil monoshock, 330mm travel
Front Brembo twin-piston, 260mm Galfer
Rear Brembo single-piston, 220mm Galfer
Handlebar Oxia tapered aluminium alloy
Front tyre Michelin Enduro Comp. 90/90-21
Rear tyre Michelin Enduro Comp. 120/100-18
Price & Contacts
Phone (03) 8363 1600
Warranty Six months parts and labour