Sherco Ride Days: Testing the new Sherco enduros

Test riding Shercos brand new line of enduro bikes at Queensland Moto Park
Sherco Ride Days © Sherco Images
By Jerry Bernardo

I thought I was pretty special the day I received an invite to the 2014 Sherco Ride Day at Queensland Moto Park. It turned out that the invite was open to the entire public and I was not receiving any preferential treatment whatsoever. Upon hearing that news it really took the jam out of my donut.

My good friend Stephen Tuff recently signed on as the Sherco national brand manager here in Australia and thought that I may want to come out and tear it up on their new bikes.

The last time I rode with ‘Tuffy’ was back in California in the hot and dry Mojave Desert. It seemed that not much would be changing for us as the weatherman here in Brisbane had predicted a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius on Sunday. I could have stayed home and went in my neighbor, Mick’s, pool but the offer to try four different enduro bikes was just too good to pass up.

The decision to be a tough guy and wear my new, black Acerbis gear--that could have been a mistake.

Sherco - Queensland Moto Park © Stephen Tuff

RB: What does someone have to do in order to come out to a Sherco Ride Day?

ST: There are no fees involved if you want to test our range of bikes, just sign up and ride, it couldn’t be any easier.

RB: I know you’re dying to sell me a bike today, Tuffy, let me hear your best sales pitch.

ST: [laughs] Jerry, today we have of our Sherco 250 SE-R and 300 SE-R two-strokes. They come stock with an electric-start, an electronic power valve, standard dual map ignition switch, machined triple clamps and under the seat you will find an indentation for a fuel pump. These bikes share the same parts as the fuel-injected four-strokes and as of next year our two-strokes will also be fuel injected.

RB: I have a four-stroke at home, what have you got for me to test in that department?

ST: The Sherco 250 SEF-R and 300 SEF-R four-strokes, our brand-new 450 model is coming out soon. At Sherco our goal is to be competitive within the market so that’s why we’re showcasing our range here today. We welcome anyone to come and test ride them. It’s a sweet deal for anyone that wants a ride.

Sherco - Jerry B © Stephen Tuff

RB: Nice work, did they have you do any media training before this?

ST: Let the ball busting begin.

RB: [smiles] Some people have never even heard of this brand, now that they [the public] have tried the bikes which model seems to be the stand out?

ST: Most of the people are enjoying the 300 two-stroke. The 300 four-stroke is sort of a mid-sized thumper that’s still light but has plenty of power.

RB: On the flip side what do people not like?

ST: People don’t know about Sherco yet. People are scared about what they don’t know, that’s normal. Sherco is regarded as a boutique brand, like Beta and Gas Gas. So we’re here to get them out there to the public so they can experience them first-hand.

RB: The first bike I rode was the 300 four-stroke and I enjoyed how it handled out on the track.

ST: When people come out and test our bikes they say: “Man, I love the way it corners.” Everyone always compliments the turning ability of our bikes. Sherco first made trials bikes and in France [where the factory is] they don’t have these long open tracks that we have here in Australia. Europeans have the more technical enduro stuff to ride, these bikes work well in the tight stuff.

Sherco Ride Days - Jerry © Stephen Tuff

RB: You picked a great day to test dirt bikes, welcome to summer in Queensland.

ST: It’s 42 degrees Celsius today, it is [expletive] hot--I’m from Philip Island--it’s 16c down there. The good thing is that this weather kept the faint-hearted riders away--the guys who did show up seem to be true hard-core enthusiasts. It’s all about the feedback we get. Today Sherco is putting their balls on the chopping block. We’re here so you can rip it up on our bikes. For free. We want to hear what you have to say about them.

RB: Remember back in California when you watched me pitch a Honda 450-X into my own truck? [while warming up my bike I mis-judged a tiny jump and the traction available for braking].

ST: I didn’t see it, I heard it. You know that sound, the one like when you chip a tooth? The sound that you feel in your gut and it makes you feel sick? It was that metallic dead thud, that was the sound of you riding your bike into the side of your truck! [laughs]

After the interview Tuffy and I went out and shot some photos. He had to walk out to the woods in the 42c heat and I looped around to meet him and find a spot.

Lets just say he was less than impressed when I had him walking down a grassy hill in the scorching heat. “Tuffy, do you know what species of snake has the second most toxic venom in the world?” I chuckled to him from my position at the bottom of the hill.

As he gingerly poked about though the grass eyeballing each and every step; “The Eastern Brown snake.” Tuffy snarled.
The last time I have seen anything that nervous it was a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
We shot some photos until a turkey thermometer popped out of Tuffy’s forehead signaling to me that he was done.

I, on the other hand, went straight back to my van and peeled off my sweat-soaked black Acerbis gear.
Moments later I was hooked into a Gatorade drip and seriously re-thinking the color choice of my riding gear.

I lay in the shade and dreamed of riding dirt bikes in bad weather over in France, where there would most likely be traction and primo enduro conditions.

The 2015 Sherco 300 SEF-R would be fun to ride there. The weather here today?--I say let’s just save that sort of heat for the Dakar Rally.

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