We don’t get many Shercos to test, so we were delighted when a big crate showed up on our doorstep with a 2023 125SE enclosed. Sherco is one of those sneaky companies that quietly stays just ahead of the curve. The 125SE has been around for years with a mix of old-school tradition and cutting edge technology. Electric start? Got it. Electronic powervalve? Got it. Multiple maps available on the fly? Got it. The 125SE still has a carburetor, and that’s fine with us.

Pete Murray, our resident 125 lover, on the Sherco 125SE.

This isn’t our first experience with this bike, but it is the first time we have had a chance to ride one on U.S. soil. When the bike was first introduced in late 2017, Sherco invited us to test  it in Italy. We loved it, but in the wildly unfamiliar environment over there, we had no idea how it would stack up to other 125s off-road bikes. Actually, “other” 125 off-road bikes were rare. Beta and TM had them, but the KTM 125XC and Yamaha YZ125X were still years away.

The Sherco 125SE Factory sells for $9999.

To back up a little, Sherco started off as a Spanish maker of trials bikes, then built a fancy new factory in Nice, France to expand into the off-road world. They had immediate success in extreme enduro and most Americans perked up when Cody Webb signed up with the Sherco FactoryONE team. The 125SE is very similar to the 300 two-stroke that Cody Webb rides in extreme enduros. It has a steel frame, KYB suspension and Brembo brakes. The motor has had an electronic powervalve from the start. There’s no kickstarter and no place to put one. The battery is mounted so low in the chassis it’s hard to find. Check under the air filter. The carb is a 36mm Keihin PWK.

The bike arrived a little rich, but we dropped the needle one position and it came alive. The bike is super easy to ride. It has decent low end (for a 125) and over-rev that’s not bad. We had a brand new Yamaha YZ125X for comparison, and the Sherco held its own. It had more low-end, a smoother transition and similar peak power. One area where the Yamaha has an advantage is weight. The Sherco weighs 226 on our scale without fuel, which is about 20 pounds more than the Yamaha. Why such a difference? Most of it is in the electric starter, of course. But the Sherco is a very substantial feeling bike. It has a hydraulic clutch and many frame components that seem like they were taken straight from the 300. As we have pointed out many times, though, engine characteristics have as much to do with handling as the chassis. The Sherco has such a mellow, benign power delivery that you feel like you can toss it around like a BMX bike. We will be testing the bike for some time, and a feature will appear in the September, 2023 print edition of Dirt Bike.


Want to see how the 2024 Kawasaki KX450 compares to the ’23 model? Here’s a fun tool. The two bikes obviously are similar in overall dimension. There are big changes in the motor’s top end, muffler, frame and bodywork.


The 2023 Permco AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days presented by Royal Enfield takes place July 21-23 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The event will include many exciting opportunities for classic-bike fans, including North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, a classic bike show, vendor displays and much more.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Steve Wise will serve as the Grand Marshal of the three-day event and will be on site to sign autographs, speak to enthusiasts at the AMA Soundstage, participate in a Lap For History on each day and more.

There will also be plenty of vintage motorcycle racing — from hare scrambles, to motocross, to road racing, to flat track and more — for racers and spectators to enjoy. Racers can register to participate in all the vintage racing fun at VintageMotorcycleDays.com/page/racing/.


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