SHERCO SC300CC FIRST IMPRESSION
This was a big week at Dirt Bike. We received our first Sherco off-road bikes for testing. First Ever! Clay Stuckey, the importer out of Tennessee, shipped an SC300 and an SE300 two-stroke out for us to test, and we took them out of the boxes just a few days ago. Sherco is growing fast. The company started in Spain building trials bikes around 1999. Then a factory was opened in Nimes, France for the production of off-road bikes. Over the last few years they’ve proven themselves in racing. Matt Phillips won last year’s World Enduro GP championship on a Sherco 300 four-stroke riding for Fabricio Azzalin’s CH Racing team. On the two-stroke, Mario Romain and Wade Young have been doing well in the Red Bull Hard Enduro series.
The two-strokes were first on our wish list for testing, and Clay finally shipped a couple out west for us. The two different models are sort of like the division between the KTM XC models and the XC-W models. The SE300 is like the XC-W; more aimed at tight trials. The SC300 is for more open spaces and higher average speed. The SC has no headlight and it has a closed-cartridge WP fork with more aggressive settings than the open bath fork on the SE. The SC also gets an FMF exhaust system. The SC300 sells for $9300 and the SE is $9200.
So far, we’ve only had the SC300 out once for a photo shoot. I know I’m going to love it. It has the same smooth low end that makes the KTM 300 work so well, but the carburetion is actually a little cleaner. Everything about the bike is super well refined. It starts easily, it runs crisply and it’s very hard to stall. The power is about what it should be for a 300 two-stroke, and there’s a switch on the handlebar that lets you tame it down if you’re in really tight stuff and you don’t need full boost. This isn’t like the map switch on other bikes where it’s hard to tell a difference. The Sherco’s switch really does something!
The bike is 242 pounds on our scale without fuel, but with all other fluids. That isn’t especially lightweight, but it’s still much easier to throw around than a four-stroke of the same weight. We still have a lot of testing to do, particularly in the suspension department, but the test will appear in the January, 2018 print issue of Dirt Bike.
KTM FACTORY EDITION SPECULATION
The KTM factory riders at the Monster Energy Cup were race testing their new bikes last weekend. KTM has a tradition of releasing a limited run of Factory Editions just prior to the supercross season. In part, this is to generate some late season sales at the dealer level, but it also allows the team to use the very latest hardware without fear of violating the production rule in AMA Supercross. Last year, there was nothing about the Factory Editions that would have violated the rule, but the 2018 season is a different story. The factory motors were clearly something new at the MEC.
A close look at Broc Tickle’s bike shows that the entire top end is new and much more compact. The photos above are of Broc’s motor (left) side-by-side with the production 2018 model. When the photos are scaled and positioned identically, it appears that the top end on the factory bike is much more compact. Most of the height reduction is in the cylinder itself, which is around 12mm shorter. Does that mean the bore and stroke have been reconfigured? Hard to say. KTM has a longer stroke than most other 450s–63.4 mm compared to 62.1 on the Honda and Kawasaki and 60.8 on the new Yamaha. A shorter stroke can rev quicker, but peak rpm is often limited by the increased weight of the piston. We’ll know for sure in about a month when the Factory Editions are announced. The rumor this year is that Husqvarna will also have Factory Editions.
PROJECT BIKE CENTRAL
We have a bunch of custom bikes that we will be featuring in the near future. One of the most incredible is this KX300X, built by Howie Jenkins of Motofab Industries. The bike has the chassis from a KLX450 with the engine of a two-stroke KX250. It’s been punched out to a 300 and set up for off-road riding. Howie is an incredible fabricator who was originally trained in architecture. Apparently, there are similarities in the skills involved, particularly in the computer-design phase.
We love the passion it takes to build a bike like this. We also love the fact that he’s going to let us ride the bike for the next two weeks. Whatever happens, we don’t want to dent that pipe.
For the motocross set, we’re just finishing up a beautiful Honda CRF450R project with Pro Circuit. The Cycra body work gives the bike a different look. We haven’t ridden it yet, but we expect it to be a mauler!
BACK IN THE DAY: THE FIRST KDX200
Sherco importer Clay Stuckey and I have known each other for years–34 years to be exact. Back in 1983 I was working at now defunct Cycle Guide magazine and he was working for Kawasaki in Atlanta. He invited me back east to ride the then-new Kawasaki KDX200 in a real eastern enduro. I had lived in Montgomery Alabama much earlier, but too many years in California had made me into a desert guy, and the red Georgia clay traumatized me. The enduro–I don’t remember exactly where it was– was preceeded by days of rain and it was painfully muddy. Both Clay and I DNFed, but it was an event I’ll always remember, and it started my life-long love affair with the KDX. The photo above was taken by Tom Riles, but it must have been prior to the race. I’m not covered in mud.
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See you next week,