We ride Jonte Reynder's Sherco 300 SE-F Factory bike that won the A4DE Outright and find out just how good it is.
I have spent a decent amount of time aboard a standard Sherco 300 SEF Factory in the past, so I know how these bikes feel and what they are like to ride. Jumping on Jonte Reynder’s Sherco 300 SE-F Factory, I knew it was his legitimate race bike as Derek (Sherco team Manager) gave me the, if you damage this bike in any way don’t bother coming back look. I get that look and totally understand as I’ve been in that position before.
Once out on the track and away from Derek’s glaring eyes the immediate thing I noticed about Jonte Reynder’s Sherco 300 SE-F Factory compared to a standard 300 SEF is the different feel of the ergos. The tall seat gives the bike a much flatter feel. Generally I am not a fan of taller seats but with the combination of the tall seat and the 10mm lower subframe I was OK with this setup. The footpegs are oversize titanium units that give this bike a more compact feel as they taper up on the ends and not downwards like the standard foot pegs. His Renthal 821 fatbar also gives the bike a more aggressive feel over the standard handlebars.
Straight away I liked the action and feel of the rear shock, it tracked really well through the stony river bed and gave the rear end a very calm settled feel. Even with me being a good 8kg heavier than Jonte, the shock still handled all the drop offs and big bumps no worries at all. Compared to the standard shock action I was pleasantly surprised that this shock was very easy on the energy levels.
Up front Jonte’s fork setup took me a bit of getting used to. The ground I was riding on was very dry, slippery and littered with small rocks and tree roots. To begin with when I was not riding that fast or pushing into the corners the initial action felt way too firm and had me wandering all over the track. It wasn’t until I forgot about Derek’s death threat and started riding it like race bike, that the forks started to move and show me what it is capable of.
The main problem was I had to ride at a speed that my lungs could only handle for a few minutes at a time, but when I did, the front-end actually felt perfect. The front wheel stuck to the ground and railed ruts as good as it gets. This was a very cool feeling that showed me how Jonte must ride this bike, fast and aggressive.
Even though the spec sheet shows this engine as standard, I found the power delivery on this 300 SEF the best I have experienced on this model. I am super fussy with the way an engine makes power, and from the second I opened the throttle this engine was cleaner and smoother than any 300 SEF I have ridden. It also made the bike almost impossible to stall. Either Derek has some little engine mod up his sleeve that he didn’t tell me about or he has made sure all the EFI settings are set absolutely perfect.
Either way I liked how it felt, the mid to top end power on this engine was your typical 300 SEF as it loved to be revved and made excellent power all the way to the rev limiter.
I am a big fan of the way Jonte has set up his ergos. He has given the bike a slightly more compact feel that gave me great control when weaving in and around the bush. From his choice of foot peg to his bend of Renthal bars everything gives the bike a modern racy feel.
Suspension wise I would take his shock any day of the week as I felt more than comfortable with it everywhere and at any speed. However, unless I dusted off the old training program, he can keep his fork as I don’t have the fitness or aggression to constantly make it work as it can.
Combine all of this with the best feeling 300 SEF engine I have ridden and it is no surprise that Jonte just gave Sherco their first A4DE outright victory. With the confidence of the A4DE crown now under his belt, I am keen to see how Jonte performs throughout the last six rounds of the AORC championship.
For the full feature, check out issue #530 of ADB.
WORDS BEN GRABHAM || PHOTOS FREESTYLER PHOTOGRAPHY