Bike Review

2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory Ride Review

Author: Garry Morrow

Posted:

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 250 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
The 2023 Sherco 250 SE Factory not only looks good but sports nothing but top-quality fittings

Sherco is definitely a brand on the rise in the off-road world, with the French manufacturer recently claiming the prestigious Australian Four Day Enduro outright win in the hands of Jonte Reynders and the 2022 Australian Hard Enduro Championship with Anthony Solar. Not to mention their strong presence in the EnduroGP and World Hard Enduro Championships with the likes of Wil Ruprecht, Zach Pichon Mario Roman and Wade Young.

While the KTM Group brands dominate the market Sherco has risen to be a more than acceptable alternative for the off-road enthusiast.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
While the 300 and 250 engines are similar, the 300 is noticeably more torque while the 250 is a little snappier.

We recently got our hands on the 2023 250 & 300 SE models and headed out for some fun in the Australian bush getting acquainted with the mid-sized workhorses.

For 2023 Sherco has focused on the Factory spec models due to their popularity and has done away with the previous base ‘Racing’ variants.

Sitting there looking at these bikes they certainly have the “Factory” head-turner look. Both the 250 and 300 are kitted out with 48mm KYB closed-cartridge fully adjustable forks. A fully adjustable 50mm KYB Shock, with an 18mm shaft. Brembo brake calipers with a 260mm Galfer front disc and 220mm Galfer solid rear disc and, of course, electric start! They also have a Thermo fan and expansion coolant tank to catch those stray drops. All 2023 models now feature new graphics with In-Mold technology.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
Both the 250 and 300 felt light and easy to flick around and cornered in the tight stuff like a laser.

So how far will you have to dig into the wallet, or swipe the credit card for these bikes? Well, the 300 SE Factory comes in at $15,999, while the 250 SE comes in a thousand dollars cheaper at $14,999, leaving you enough of a difference between the two prices for a day’s worth of food shopping at Coles! These prices are quite a bit better than the main competition and to make it even better value, until the end of June, is a free accessory pack valued at $1100. This includes Bark Busters, 8mm poly AXP bash & linkage guard, alloy radiator braces, front and rear alloy disk guards, case saver and speedo guard.

Ergonomics And Getting Going

So, let’s hop aboard. Sitting in the pilot seat felt comfortable, completely at home. Nothing odd stuck out with the bar position just to my liking. Neither bike was too tall, and at just under six feet and a seat height of 950mm I could comfortably touch the ground, you can also get an optional 20mm lower seat. The bikes felt slim but not razor-thin. The Dimond Pattern Selle Dalla Valle seat density was also good and not too hard, although it did pull me forward a little, which I liked. I was planning on doing my best Stefan Everts anyway and not sitting down much. Also, it should be noted that the air filter sits under the seat and has toolless accessibility.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
There is plenty of room for fuel with both bikes fitted with a 10.4 litre clear tank. A radiator thermo fan and expansion tank help to keep things cool

Kicking it into life couldn’t be easier, as is with most bikes these days, just press the button. Kids born today will never know the struggle! Once fired up, the 300, especially, feels like it is a serious bike and ready for anything. There was not as much vibration as I was expecting and no clanky rattling or anything, it felt nice and tight and has an anti-vibration balancer. Sound-wise, it was not offensive either.

Ride Impression

I took the 300 out first, always go big first, and immediately felt like I was on a fast tractor! This thing is a torque factory. The thing that stood out immediately to me, and I admit I don’t have a whole lot of 300cc experience, was actually how slow you could ride it without stalling and having to ride the hydraulic clutch. Also, the throttle response was a little aggressive, but not overly. I remember having a CRF450 with an auto clutch a few years back and the feeling was very similar at slow speeds. Of course, it would stop if you tried to roll to a stop without pulling in the clutch, but you could go at a little faster than walking pace without it locking up. This made it manageable and comfortable in the tighter and twistier stuff. The clutch finger could take a little rest.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
The Sherco’s comes with two engine maps (Hard and Soft) conveniently located next to your throttle hand and there is a noticeable difference between the two.

The Sherco does come with two engine maps conveniently located next to your throttle hand, a feature I forgot about on my first ride. It was set to the more aggressive mode when I first went out, and after switching to the mellower setting on my second ride immediately noticed the difference. Swapping between the two modes was noticeable with the less aggressive mode much better for the average trail rider. This feature alone was one of the highlights of the bike.

Sherco still runs the Keihin carburettor, along with stalwarts Beta, TM and Yamaha, which feels a little more compliant in the throttle control department, while the KTM Group run the little more aggressive injected TPI’s.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
There is a computer easily visible on the bars that have two trip meters, an odometer, a speedo and a clock for keeping track of the numbers.

From there it was time to give myself some arm pump and kick it in the guts. It took me a while to get back in the swing of it but it felt, to use a moto journalist cliche, compliant. It had power everywhere, and loads of it, more than I could ever fully use but on the same hand I could easily ride it like a trail bike. As the marketing says, it is smooth, and I would have to agree. Cornering was very predictable with the front doing exactly as asked. On the information front, there is a computer easily visible on the bars that have two trip meters, an odometer, a speedo and a clock for keeping track of things.

At first, the suspension was a little on the hard side, but the faster it was pushed, the better it got. I did play around with the suspension and made a few adjustments to soften it, which was quite noticeable. So, there is a lot there to play with before you need to spend any money. For the record, I am 82 kg. This is the real world, though and I would suggest that anyone buying a bike like this, regardless of brand, would be taking it straight to their suspension guru for the personal setup. I have spoken to a few suspension guys that tell me they can get the new Sherco’s pretty good.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
Even in elbows down, knackered riding mode the 300 was still pleasant to ride and would certainly make just as good a trail bike as a race bike.

These days, now that I am a lot older, I tend to like higher-speed tracks, such as fire roads and desert tracks. There were a few tracks around where I got to open it up, and it felt comfortable and stable. No head shake or wandering, which was a treat. It felt like the gearing was tall enough for the faster fire road-type trails or the outback. In the tighter stuff, I felt I needed to always drop down to first gear, but it was just on the edge of second. I think a gearing change would make it perfect. It is not offensive or hard but will be more of a choice according to your talent level. No bike can cover it for everyone but out of the box it was pretty close for me. I also think the more time I had on the bike, the more comfortable I would be and maybe find that bit of extra speed. Engine braking was not an issue. After riding 4-strokes for so long, it was nice to get, what felt like, a little coasting time here and there.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
The 48mm KYB closed-cartridge forks have plenty of adjustability and 300mm travel. Straight out of the box, they were a little harsh but with a few clicks and they did the job nicely.

In the braking department, Sherco runs the Brembo brakes & Galfer disks setup, which worked! What more can you say I am not that good I could tell you the difference between another brand, unless they are really bad of course! They do have a very nice feel, though, absolutely nothing to complain about. Same with tyres, both come standard with Michelin Enduro medium tyres, mated to high-quality black Takasago rims, which worked well on the loose-ish hard terrain I was riding. From the research I have done, I am informed that they are a fairly hard-walled tyre which may add a little to the stiffer suspension feel. But like any normal person, you would swap these out for the rubber of your choice anyway. Out of the box though they work well. It also should be noted that these were almost brand-new bikes, so they would obviously settle in a little after a few hundred kilometres.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle
Air filter changes couldn’t be easier with the filter under the seat and no tools access.

Now to the 250. Basically, they are the same bike, but, as would be expected, the 250 has a little less torque. I don’t say power because it was quite hard to notice any real difference in overall power. The Torque of the 300 though was a very noticeable difference. The 250 obviously revved a little harder and was a little more snappy! if that is even a legitimate measure of performance. Weight wise the 300 and 250 are the same at 105 kg, but the 300’s inertial effect makes it feel ever so slightly heavier but certainly not “In your face” noticeable and was forgotten about in a second swapping back and forward between the two.

Summary:

In summary, both bikes are proven winners. I know it’s only natural to compare them to the other European brands, but alas, this is not a shootout. I have ridden a few brands and would say, in summary, that both these bikes offer a 100% authentic alternative to those other brands. From my journalistic investigations and what I am told, support and reliability are also excellent.

The choice between 250 or 300 is easy —the 300. The weight difference is negligible, and the added grunt down low makes the 300 a little more to my taste.

Photo of the 2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory offroad motorcycle

2023 Sherco 300 SE Factory: Specifications

Engine:Single cylinder, 2-stroke with an anti-vibration balancer and SBS electronically-controlled exhaust valve
Displacement:293.14cc
Bore and Stroke:72mm x 72mm
Fuel System:36mm Keihin PWK carburettor with VForce4R reed valve system
Cooling:Liquid-cooled with radiator thermo fan and expansion tank
Start:Electric Start
Battery:BS Battery 12V 140A Lithium
Exhaust:SPES plated pipe, FES aluminium silencer
Transmission:Six-speed sequential gearbox, primary gears and chain secondary
Clutch:Brembo hydraulic multi-disc in oil bath
Ignition:DC – CDI ignition with digital advance, dual map switch: Hard and Soft
Frame:High-strength chrome-molybdenum steel semi-perimeter, AXP 6mm HDPE skid plate
Fuel capacity:10.4 litres
Brakes:Brembo hydraulic, 260mm Galfer front disc and 220mm Galfer solid rear disc
Fork:48mm KYB closed-cartridge fork, fully adjustable with model-specific settings, 300mm travel
Shock:50mm KYB shock absorber, 18mm shaft, fully adjustable with model-specific settings, 330mm travel
Front wheel:1.60 x 21-inch EXCEL Takasago rim (black) with Michelin Enduro Medium tyre
Rear wheel:2.15 x 18-inch EXCEL Takasago rim (black) with Michelin Enduro Medium tyre
Wheelbase:1480mm
Ground clearance:355mm
Seat height:950mm (930mm with optional accessory -20mm low seat #8685)

2023 Sherco 250 SE Factory: Specifications

Engine:Single cylinder, 2-stroke with an anti-vibration balancer and SBS electronically-controlled exhaust valve
Displacement:249.32cc
Bore and Stroke:66.40mm x 72mm
Fuel System:36mm Keihin PWK carburettor with VForce4R reed valve system
Cooling:Liquid-cooled with radiator thermo fan and expansion tank
Start:Electric Start
Battery:BS Battery 12V 140A Lithium
Exhaust:SPES plated pipe, FES aluminium silencer
Transmission:Six-speed sequential gearbox, primary gears and chain secondary
Clutch:Brembo hydraulic multi-disc in oil bath
Ignition:DC – CDI ignition with digital advance, dual map switch: Hard and Soft
Frame:High-strength chrome-molybdenum steel semi-perimeter, AXP 6mm HDPE skid plate
Fuel capacity:10.4 litres
Brakes:Brembo hydraulic, 260mm Galfer front disc and 220mm Galfer rear disc
Fork:48mm KYB closed-cartridge fork, fully adjustable with model-specific settings, 300mm travel
Shock:50mm KYB shock absorber, 18mm shaft, fully adjustable with model-specific settings, 330mm travel
Front wheel:1.60 x 21-inch EXCEL Takasago rim (black) with Michelin Enduro Medium tyre
Rear wheel:2.15 x 18-inch EXCEL Takasago rim (black) with Michelin Enduro Medium tyre
Wheelbase:1480mm
Ground clearance:355mm
Seat height:950mm (930mm with optional accessory -20mm low seat #8685)

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