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Video Sherco 300 SEF-R long-termer

ADB’s 300 SEF-R Sherco long-term test bike is approaching the 20hr mark so we caught up with ADB Editor Mitch Lees to see what it’s like living with the French mid-cap bush bike.

ADB’s 300 SEF-R Sherco Long Term Test Bike is approaching the 20hr mark so we caught up with ADB Editor Mitch Lees to see what it’s like living with the French mid-cap bush bike.

Last month I had the pleasure of riding the Suzuki RMX450Z at the official launch of the ADR version. I was able to hold onto a test unit for a few weeks after the launch to spend a little more time getting acquainted, which gave me the opportunity to ride the RMX450 back-to-back with my long-term Sherco 300 SEF-R.

Now I know these bikes have as much in common as a Rabbi and the Grand Mufti, so I’m not going to compare performance characteristics, but one thing that is fair to compare is the ergos. Growing up, I only ever rode Japanese machines, switching from a Honda to a Yamaha and then onto a Kawasaki.

These bikes all felt quite similar from the bend of the ’bar, to the contour of the levers, while even the frame geometry and ’bar to ’peg relationship is quite similar. It wasn’t until I started working for ADB back in 2010 that I got the chance to ride all kinds of European bikes.

Since then, my eyes have been opened by a plethora of different machines, all with a unique feel. Having spent the last six months on the Sherco 300 SEF-R I have grown accustomed to its ergos and feel. I guess you could say it now feels normal when I hop on it. However, since hopping back on a Japanese bike I’ve been reminded of the subtle, but noticeable differences between Japanese and European bikes.

First up, the bend of the ’bar. Where the Suzuki ’bar feels low and rolled back, the bend of the Sherco ’bar feels high when seated. The seat also feels further away and lower than the base of the top triple clamp, as opposed to the seat on the RMX450Z which almost feels in line with the bottom of the top triple clamp. The ’peg-to-’bar relationship is far more cramped on the Sherco than on the RMX450Z, and the steering angle on the RMX450Z feels more raked out than on the Sherco.

So how does this translate? The European bikes still have a unique feel to them and many Jap-brand riders will take some time getting used to it.

The setup is designed for tight, fast singletrack sections, which is where I’m doing most of my work on the Sherco 300 SEF-R. The Frenchie, along with many other European machines, thrives in the tight, technical sections with its trials heritage an obvious influence. If you aren’t used to this unusual setup, give it time, because it won’t be long until your old Jap workhorse will feel like the foreigner.

I also got the opportunity to ride Mitch Harper’s Sherco 300 SEF-R which had KTM handlebar mounts fitted and a Renthal ’bar. It felt a little more like the Japanese setup I was used to but more on that next time!