We didn’t attend the 2014 launch in France earlier this year, but we know Sherco most certainly put on a show of force. Despite the economic conditions they’ve been growing their business, sales are growing year-on-year and this is reflected by their representation in 50 countries. In their home market (France) they’ve got a network of 60 dealers!
Against that they’re ensuring their product stays leading edge. They’ve already won much praise for the 250i/300i (SEF and SEF-R) four-stroke models (including here in RUST) but they’ve not left those models alone. The 250i this year gets a new bore and stroke (‘long stroke’, say Sherco) and the engine reaches a higher rev-ceiling (13,500rpm). The 300i has a new flywheel, revisions to the crank (and bearings), bigger inlet valves and revised fuel-injection (which had felt near-on perfect before). Plus both get new waterpumps, a little tweak to the gearboxes, and new Trail Tech speedo units and revised shock settings. A full test is coming soon…
At the French launch Sherco also raised the curtain just a little bit on their new 450i. It’ll be a DOHC motor (the current one is incredibly similar to the old KTM SOHC ‘RFS’ motor) and Sherco promise it’ll be with us in 2014. We note their commentary on this model refers to rally on more than one occasion, which, it would seem, is increasingly the spiritual home of the 450 enduro model…
And that brings us to the new two-strokes. Sherco has recognised, like so many, that two-strokes remain the bedrock in enduro. That’s probably because the ease and relative cheapness of ongoing engine maintenance sits so much better with the privateer racer - which is 99 percent of all racers. Two-strokes also work well in a broad scope of events, from extreme to cross-country, so there’s plenty of life in them yet.
Sherco say they came to the two-stroke enduro with a couple of key targets in mind: they wanted to see theirs come with more bottom-end plonk (‘plonk’ being our word, but it’s an adjective we’re sure the French would agree with) and with a good helping of torque right across the rev range.
For all that, they’ve hit the same formula that’s worked for everyone else these last 20 years. The basic dimensions are the same as all the other 250cc two-strokes out there: 66.4mm x 72mm bore and stroke, respectively. The 300 is the completely ‘square’ 72 x 72mm that is again common to so many. Of course, it has the requisite V-Force reed valve, the six-speed gearbox and the Japanese Kokusan ignition/electronics.