I went to Sherco’s 2024 dealer meeting in San Antonio, Texas this week and got to hang out with guys like Gary Hazel, Pat Smage, Cooper Abbott and Cody Webb. It was a great opportunity to check out the 2024 models. Then, I got to ride the bikes at Zars ranch, which is a club operated private riding area outside of San Antonio. Here’s what I learned:
SHERCO 500 DUAL-SPORT
The Sherco 500SEF Dual-Sport is freshly approved by the DOT, EPA and CARB and it is legal in all 50 states. This is a shocker because we know that the U.S. homologation process is long and expensive, and Sherco did a good job of keeping it all a secret. What it means is that Sherco now joins KTM, Husqvarna, Beta and Honda as one of the very few manufacturers who has made the commitment to make a legitimate dirt bike that is 100 percent legal. This bike is based on the 500SEF off-road bike, which is the bike that Grant Baylor took to the 2020 National Enduro Championship. For a video on the Sherco Dual-Sport click here. Slight correction: in the video I credited a near win in the GNCC series to Grant. It was actually Steward Baylor who accomplished that at The General, in Washington, Georgia. And I neglected to mention Grant’s championship. So sorry. The Sherco 500 is far and away the most powerful dual-sport 500 on the market. It has excellent low end power and massive mid range. It’s very smooth, though and there’s no real hit up top. It’s not very revvy at all; this is more of an old-school four-stroke and it kind of rumbles down the trail. The fuel-delivery is super clean. It doesn’t flame out at all and Cody was riding it over all kinds of logs and rocks at just an idle. We will have more on this bike in the November print edition of Dirt Bike.
SHERCO 500SMF SUPERMOTO
Having cleared the worst bureaucratic hurdles that the U.S. government could muster with the 500 dual-sport, Sherco got a two-for-one deal. The 500SMF supermoto has essentially the same motor as the dual-sport. The differences in the wheels and brakes obviously are aimed to appeal to the street-bike canyon racer. The front wheel has a 3.5 x 17 inch black rim with 120/70 Michelin tire. The rear has a 5 x 17-inch rim with Michelin a 150/60 tire. The front brake has a massive 320mm rotor.
125 DUAL-SPORT AND SUPERMOTO
The guys at Sherco aren’t dumb. If they go up against the Austrian cartel model for model, they will always be in the shadows. To have a shot at success, they have to search out small new markets. That’s why the company went through the effort to homologate two street-legal 125 four-strokes. The 125SEF dual-sport and the 125SMF supermoto aren’t quite like anything else currently imported to the U.S. The motor is a fuel-injected single overhead cam six-speed. Is it fast? Not really, but it doesn’t have to be. The target price for each of the 125s is under $5000.
300 AND 250 TWO-STROKES
Let’s not play games. We all know that the two-stroke enduro bikes are the machines that most dirt bike riders care most about. The 250SE and 300SE have very few changes for 2023, but they do have a new LED headlight and changes to the wheels, clutch cover and swingarm. If you ride the 250 and the 300 back to back, you get very confused; you won’t know which one you love more. Both are unstoppable at low rpm and both have similar peak power output. The 250 has a more aggressive feel but you have to shift it more. The 300 makes for a more effortless ride. It’s been a few years since we have had either of them in the DB shop, but we will kidnap, blackmail and do whatever it takes to make it happen this year.
250 AND 300 FOUR-STROKES
This year, Sherco made extensive changes to the 250 and 300 four-stroke enduro motors, although they might not be visible externally. The center cases and head are new, there are changes in valves and valve springs and now there’s a transmission sensor so that different maps can be used for each gear. On the trail, the 250 has a noticeable difference in throttle response. It’s much more snappy and clearly has more power. The small Sherco four-strokes have always had very off-road oriented power deliveries. Neither one has that hard hit that MX riders have come to expect. Instead, they pull smoothly and run cleanly down low. For 2024, they have made gains in power without losing that smooth character.
450 AND 500 FOUR-STROKES
The 500SEF off road bike is almost the same as the new 500 dual-sport, but free of homologation restrictions. It has no DOT equipment, no restrictor in the airbox and no catalyst in the exhaust. It also has a functional map switch. If you’re interested in racing and don’t care about a license plate, the big Shercos are the bikes to have. They have plenty of power but they clearly are not motocross bikes. The power delivery is smooth and the suspension is cushy. The 450SEF and 500SEF are identical aside from a 3mm difference in the bore.
Pat Smage just wrapped up his 14th National Trials Championship. He rode the brand-new fuel-injected STR300. That was a pretty gutsy move, considering that the bike was still in development. He was working on mapping between rounds. Fuel-injected two-strokes aren’t new to Sherco. They were developing it more than 5 years ago on the enduro line. It finally got to the point were it’s ready for competition. I didn’t get to ride the trials bike, but Pat is apparently in love with it.
See you next week!