Sherco showed enduro motorcycles 2021. First impressions

First impressions from a test drive of the 2021 Sherco line of enduro motorcycles after the press release are evolution, not revolution. The motorcycle models receive upgraded engines and new rear shock absorbers with improved performance for Factory models that improve handling.

Sherco has been quietly developing and manufacturing enduro motorcycles for over 20 years. The French company has been producing enduro motorcycles since 2004 and has always gained a reputation as a competitive manufacturer.

Enduro motorcycles Sherco 2021

Designed for enduro and hard/enduro, Sherco's new 2021 range features the SE 125/250/300 two-stroke and 250/300/450/500 SE-F four-stroke models. There is also a top-end line with higher performance, which includes 250/300 two-stroke and 250/300/450/500 four-stroke. Add to this four non-homologated Cross Country SC and SCF models: the 125 and 300 two-strokes, plus the 300 and 450 four-strokes.

After a major redesign last year, the 2021 Sherco motorcycle model updates are more accurately described as an evolution rather than a revolution. The new graphics are an obvious visual innovation, but there are hidden changes to the engines, where most of the work has been done essentially to reduce weight and, in the case of four-stroke engines, increase power and reduce noise. The new KYB rear shock on Factory models has noticeably changed the suspension characteristics.

KTM Freeride 350

The four-stroke Freeride is radically different from its two rivals, if only because it is a four-stroke, plus it is equipped with fuel injection. Reviving it is quite simple - squeeze the clutch, press the button, and it starts. By the way, there is no Kickstarter, so keep an eye on the condition of the battery and charge it at night before leaving. The engine, like its two-stroke counterpart, pulls well at medium and high speeds, allowing you to go fast, but it is not devoid of low end, so driving along narrow paths and jumping over fallen trees is also its element.

There are no differences in suspension from the Freeride 250R, but for some reason the “350” seems more “oaky” - it rides harder over bumps, more carefully transferring the soil topography to the hands. It steers a little worse, less willing to change direction. It was more difficult for me to ride a four-stroke than a 250R, and the point here is not only the difference in weight, which, according to my own measurements, was only 6.5 kg, but also a slight delay in the engine’s response to turning the throttle. “250” is light and sharp, while “350” is heavier and more thoughtful, which is less fun and does not inspire heroics.

Sherco 2021 models, changes:

  • On all enduro models, work has been done to reduce friction in the suspension and improve build quality to increase service life.
  • Redesigned air filter housing for 250/300 two-stroke models to increase power at low and mid-range speeds, which is important for extreme riding.
  • The carburetor on the 250/300 2T engines is mounted 15mm closer to the cylinder with a shorter tube to improve low speed response. It is now one piece instead of two, which also saves weight.
  • The 250/300 2T models feature a modified reed valve for improved sealing, airflow and performance. The new design is made of plastic, using fiberglass / carbon / Viton (artificial rubber).
  • Following this, the internal shape of the engine crankcase has been optimized for improved scavenging and mid-range enhancement, as well as a wider powerband.
  • Lightweight clutch basket on 250/300 2T engines for reduced inertia and easier clutch lever pull.
  • Reduced master cylinder piston and hydraulic clutch cylinder piston sizes also reduce lever effort.
  • Improved clutch lubrication system.
  • The 250/300 models have easier access to the fuel tap and have 1.5 liters of fuel reserve when switching to reserve.
  • Blue wheel rims on Factory models.
  • Factory and XC models feature a 48mm KYB fork and a new 50mm KYB shock for improved high-speed stability and improved shock absorption.
  • New front drive sprocket with perforation.
  • SC models are basically Factory models with no lighting, no wiring, and firmer suspension settings.
  • Factory and XC models received an AFAM steel rear sprocket.
  • All Racing models have a 150 g lighter plastic muffler tip.
  • The 250/300 four-stroke bikes have a lighter starter sprocket to improve starting - important in tough racing conditions.
  • On the 250/300 4T, work has been carried out to refine the gearbox - a 60% improvement in gear shift accuracy is claimed.
  • The larger 450/500 4T engines are 600g lighter thanks to lighter crankshaft, clutch plate material, clutch basket, input shaft, balancer shaft, oil pump gears.
  • The 450 4T has a new timing chain to reduce friction and noise to meet Euro4 noise requirements.
  • The 125 two-stroke features an adjustable power valve for more tuning options.
  • New piston shape on the 125 2T for improved wear evenness and stability.
  • New engine tuning on the 125 2T for quicker throttle response.

Bottom line

If you are just starting to join the world of off-road, then the Sherco 290 X-RIDE will be an ideal option. It is the lightest here, it has the lowest seat height, a high-torque but weak engine and excellent handling. It's like the first dose of an off-road drug that helps you get hooked but doesn't harm your health. Perhaps you will like it and want speed, then the Sherco will have to be changed to something faster and more endurable. But it is possible that you will like the trial genes of the motorcycle, and you will hone your technique for overcoming obstacles. It is perfect for this.

The four-stroke KTM Freeride 350 is the most versatile. It is suitable for both beginners and experienced endurists. Its advantages compared to adult motorcycles (for KTM this will be the EX-C series) are low weight, small width in the radiator tank area and easy handling. Yes, he is not as fast, but he is not difficult to ride and is easy to pick up from the ground after falls, from which he does not suffer as much as his older brothers. If sports use is not envisaged, and typical operation is described by the word “ride”, then it will be an ideal option. The only downside is the tiny tank volume - only 5.5 liters.

The two-stroke Freeride 250R will appeal to experienced off-road riders. It requires off-road driving skills, but in return it will provide true pleasure from conquering forest trails and roads devoid of asphalt. In skillful hands, he is capable of working miracles, but in inept hands he can be dangerous, and one should even be a little afraid of him.

Finally, a little about pricing policy. In the price/quality category, free beer confidently wins, and all three participants in our test won’t even qualify. Expensive, very expensive, unfortunately...

The Sherco motorcycle was provided for testing by Promoto (tel, The editors would like to thank the SVR enduro school for their assistance in conducting the test. (Tel: (985) 266-27-29,

instructor at the SVR Enduro School, winner of the Russian Enduro Championships, participant in international hard enduro competitions:

I have been a fan of the KTM brand since 2006. I had five of them at different times; now in the garage there is a Husaberg, created from KTM components and assemblies.

The first one I tried was the KTM Freeride 350 4T. An excellent high-torque engine, quite calm at first glance, but if you turn the knob, it easily jerks in the first two gears. Narrow and low (but not as low as the beloved Kawasaki Sherpa), it is perfect for smaller riders. When transferring from a standard off-road motorcycle, there is a feeling of lightness in everything: steering, braking, and acceleration. The Austrians created a new class, and after a couple of years from its debut, this motorcycle found its fans. The Freeride has an interesting layout: a low center of gravity gives additional stability on the crossbars, and the deeply located radiators are almost impossible to damage. The suspensions, when compared with regular enduro, seem flimsy, but this is only an appearance; they handle unevenness normally. I myself witnessed how several “Freeriders” took part in the Romanian hard enduro rally Romaniacs, and this says a lot. The four-stroke engine rustles at idle like autumn leaves, peacefully and barely audible, but its power is enough to frolic even the most experienced endurist. “Freeride” is also very good for girls and for those who want to get some adrenaline from forest and mountain rides.

By the way, about the mountains: this year the long-awaited “Freeride” with a 250 2T engine was released. I was looking forward to this and really wanted to ride it, as I am a two-stroke devotee and ride a 300cc two-stroke enduro myself. During the test, the Freeride 250R was struck by the engine response to opening the throttle: smooth and powerful, with a predictable twitch of the front wheel upward. Apparently, thanks to the absence of a valve at the inlet and changing the phases of the bypass windows, they achieved this effect - there is a distinct power delivery at the bottom. So, this is exactly what is needed in the mountains, when the control technique is approaching trial, or for those who improve themselves in hard enduro. I would also like to note the unusual ease of operating the clutch and brake levers: they work effectively, are very informative and do not require the use of brute force. This motorcycle is generally made for enjoying the control process, for a greater feeling of freedom of movement in 3D space.

I rode the Sherco 290 X-RIDE for the first time. An interesting model from the civil trial series. Low and narrow. Configured for technical, slow driving on difficult natural and artificially complicated terrain. It very easily, with a slight turn of the handle, lifts the front wheel off the ground and allows you to jump onto a fairly high object. Due to its characteristics, it is not suitable for everyone, since it does not know how to drive fast, but it does not need that. It is generally designed for the leisurely amateur or as an addition to a real enduro motorcycle. It is good for honing your slow driving technique over obstacles. Very suitable for technical mountain enduro, where it is important to get there, but not at what speed.

test editor of the Motoexpert magazine:

In the context of this comparative test, I act not as an expert, but as a target audience. There is a small amount of off-road driving skills, but this is not enough. However, I’ve already got my eye on hard enduro for the 2015 season.

There are polar opinions on all three compared vehicles, despite the fact that the two KTMs have many common components. My favorite is the almost trial, light and soft Sherco X-RIDE 290. The motorcycle is surprisingly friendly and the engine is not at all evil. If it were not for the problems with cold starting, and this two-stroke starts well, but takes a long time, and is not equipped with an electric starter, being a “Sherko” would be almost a standard. It would be nice to change the gear ratios in the gearbox a little from close trial ones to universal enduronic ones.

Austrians are not so refined.
Both Freerides are rougher, heavier and noisier. The four-stroke is relatively calm and understandable. It responds well to the “gas” within the genre and doesn’t act out unnecessarily. What you need for a thoughtful, leisurely ride and understanding the basics. The KTM Freeride 250R two-stroke is the opposite. He is very angry, twitchy and nervous, although there is only one chassis for two. I would venture to suggest that such a violent temperament and many other features of a thermonuclear, almost cross-country “two-stroke” will be overwhelming for a beginner. Accustomation and understanding will appear over time, but the main thing is that by that time the fractures will heal... Adventure electronics > January 17, 2015 21:32 Denis DEAN Panferov

Driving impressions

The 2021 Sherco graphics look great in the early morning light as we begin some woodland track riding, special testing on grass and mixed surfaces on the track.

Given that many units have undergone internal changes, the first test sessions are more about the differences between the models, in particular the Racing and Factory versions, than identifying the main differences.

Notably, the WP suspension found on the standard Racing trim has not been upgraded for 2021, and while it remains quite suitable for what might be called normal riding, the updates we've seen to the WP suspensions on the 2021 KTM and Husqvarna models We left Sherco with stock suspensions a little behind.

When you go fast, you find the KYB suspension on the Factory versions has a clear advantage and it gives you more performance.

The more stable behavior of the new shock absorber means it copes better with impacts and allows for grip in corners and on the straight. Simply put, Factory KYB motorcycles can be ridden faster than standard WP models.

In general, the Factory version package of upgraded parts (handlebar, grips, graphics, skid plate, rims, sprocket, seat, suspension), Akrapovic exhaust system on four-stroke models and FMF exhaust on two-stroke engines makes a noticeable difference to the motorcycles, both from the point both in terms of power and weight. Weight affects handling, and with increased power it's like using a sharper tool to do fine work, which adds confidence.

On the 250 and 300 two-stroke models, a lighter clutch lever really makes a difference. A lighter clutch basket on the 250/300 2T engines and a reduction in the size of the master cylinder piston and clutch cylinder piston gave the two-stroke enduro bike leverage that is more similar to a trials bike. In long races where you use the clutch a lot, this will help keep your left hand strong.

The new fuel tank design, which includes a 1.5 liter reserve fuel tap on the 250 and 300 2T, is also a positive update for 2021. When you turn that tap on, you know you definitely still have something in the tank.

Our test rider actually preferred the two-stroke 250cc model of the bike, saying he could control it while the 300cc could be too much at times. The 300 has plenty of pickup, which will help if you're riding the hills of Erzberg , but for easier conditions you might find it overpowering.

In the four-stroke line, a favorite remains the excellent Sherco 300, which has the right amount of everything: power, weight, stability and control. Almost as handleable as the Sherco 250SE-F in terms of weight, but with more power, it requires a little more skill to fly confidently, but if you can do it, you'll have a happy smile on your face.

KTM Freeride 250R

The daring two-stroke 250 appeared in the KTM lineup two years after the debut of the four-stroke motorcycle. Introducing a new two-stroke model in the 21st century is, from an environmental point of view, an unjustified step, but what a blessing that this step was taken. A light, obedient and narrow motorcycle has become exactly what many people need, even if they don’t know about it yet. You can develop your existing skills in driving an off-road motorcycle to unprecedented heights with the help of a two-stroke freeride thanks to its engine. Moving away from the doctrine of maximizing the boost of the engine by narrowing its operating range, KTM engineers took a different path. They specifically made the engine long-stroke (with a cylinder diameter of 66.4 mm, the piston stroke is an impressive 72 mm) and deprived it of a power valve, making the torque graph as flat as possible. There is no longer any generic push-pull with the usual sluggish lows and a frantic explosion when reaching certain speeds - the thrust is smooth and linear. On the move, this leads to a tight and predictable connection between the throttle and the behavior of the motorcycle. Opened the gas - hello, sky! The front wheel points up, the speed increases. Closed - hello, earth! The wheel lands softly and the speed drops. And all this happens instantly, without time delays for unwinding the heavy crankshaft. Such sharpness and linearity may scare off beginners, but for those who have not owned this motorcycle for the first time, it will be like a balm for the soul.

The usual six gears in the box are stretched in an enduronic way and allow you to drive quickly on flat roads, much faster than the Sherco can. Therefore, there is a slight feeling that the brakes are working at the limit, and the suspensions are about to stop coping. But it never came to the point of real overheating or breakdowns.

It's easier to start the engine. The most difficult thing is to find the “suction” fungus hidden deep under the tank and pull it out. From the button the motorcycle starts confidently and easily. Before starting movement, the enrichment must be pushed back. The cheerful disposition of a motorcycle determines its immodest appetite, so when traveling into the forest, take with you a bottle of a mixture of gasoline and two-stroke oil so as not to “dry out.”

Sherco loves carbureted two-strokes

Sherco's view on the fuel-injected two-stroke engine remains the same as it has been for the last couple of years: they have it in development, but they are not ready to use it.

This is mainly due to the fact that the injection 2T is more expensive to produce, and this is naturally reflected in the price for the buyer. Another important factor is the performance, according to them, is not as good as a 2T with a carburetor, so there is no point in releasing a bike that does not perform as well as a carbureted one and costs more.

As long as manufacturers manage to meet European emissions standards (Euro 4 remains in force until 2024), they will stick to carburetors on two-stroke models.

Sherco 290 X-Ride

This motorcycle was created from a trial motorcycle, so it shows features unusual for an endurist. For example, an inverted front fork, which is no longer installed even on Chinese endurikes, or an exhaust that does not stick out as usual from the rear and side, but ends right in front of the rear fender. A very compact engine with a five-speed (!) gearbox is taken from a sports trial motorcycle. It was installed in a light openwork frame with a seat of normal road height of 850 mm, which by off-road standards is quite a teenage value. Moreover, the factory equipment includes a full set of lighting equipment, footrests for the rear passenger and a seat strap for the passenger to hold on to. That is, driving under your own power to the start of the off-road route is not prohibited, even with a videographer behind you.

“Sherko” does not have an electric starter; the engine can only be revived with a kickstarter, which is short and not very convenient, or “from a pusher”. After a long period of downtime or on a frosty morning, as was the case on the day of the test, this is very difficult to do. If you have never dealt with two-stroke motorcycles, are not ready to dance around them with a tambourine and follow the ritual sequence of actions to summon the demons of internal combustion, then you will not be able to live with such a device, it is very difficult. But, once started, the engine confidently maintains even speed, makes no attempts to stall, and generally behaves docilely, as if rewarding you for the suffering you have endured.

Getting started is easy - you smoothly release the light clutch, and even without adding gas, the X-RIDE smoothly starts moving. This two-stroke has good low-end pull! When the clutch is released and the right handlebar is sharply turned towards itself, the motorcycle jumps forward, even lifts the front wheel off the ground, but its ardor quickly fades away - the engine has no top end, and not at all. The gears are very short, so you have to click the gearbox often. When driving through the forest at an azimuth or along winding and narrow mountain paths, this can be considered a positive moment, but if you drive out onto a field with a relatively flat road, then another 40 kilometers per hour of maximum speed will not be enough for you, you will get bored.

Modest suspensions and single-piston brake calipers both front and rear are enough for the small weight of the motorcycle and the sluggish temperament of the engine. The combination turned out to be very balanced and harmonious. When jumping from a meter height, the suspensions cope perfectly, for which honor and praise are due to them.

290 X-Ride is a motorcycle for thoughtful drivers who are not in a hurry, for whom the cleanliness of the route is more important than the time spent on it. Its typical owner is an adept at overcoming, easily, technically and gracefully, rather than using brute force.


2016, 293.14 cm3, 105 kg

text: Yuri Solonovich photo: Jan Terwak, Alexander Petrov, Sherco

in the photo: Yuri Solonovich

>>It seems to me that real, “adult” hard enduro has a sport sister that is as close as possible to it. And this is not motocross, ATV country racing or rally racing, as many might think! Not at all! The closest thing in spirit to real motorcycle freeride is snowmobile freeride!

Only a mountain snowmobile, with proper skill, gives the rider three-dimensional, real freedom even in the most impassable and difficult conditions. It is with a snow machine that you can go where your eyes, reddened from adrenaline reactions, look.

The pinnacle of evolution of any mountain snowmobile is the long-track “alpine shooter”, equipped with an 800 cc two-stroke engine. see. In the enduro world, the main sports heroes are “molded” according to a very similar recipe: long-travel, energy-intensive suspensions and a two-stroke power plant with a volume of 300 “cubes”.

As befits the royal class, there are very few such blue-blooded motorcycles produced: the Austrian KTM 300EXC and Husqvarna TE300, the Italian TM EN300, the exotic OSSA 300 Enduro, and perhaps even the EC300R from the recently declared bankrupt Spanish company Gas Gas. Recently, another representative, now of the French school, has entered this enduro Olympus - Sherco 300 SE/R.

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