We have been really fortunate to have the Sherco dealership awarded to us in the Canberra and surrounding areas.
Since 2010 we have also been grateful to be able to be a dealer for the Beta brand. Now we have both aren’t we covering the same ground? How wrong you would be to think that.
Sherco share a great line up with Beta for the capacities and engine types with 2T or 4T. Sherco has the 250 and 300 whilst the Beta runs only as low as 350 and the slightly larger 390 version. Both have the 430/450 and 480/500 classes covered.
The point of interest this weekend gone was to test the Sherco MY18 300 SEF-R Factory and compare it to the Beta MY18 RR350RR. Both are the marques “top of the line” with featured suspension and cosmetic upgrades against the standard years offerings.
I have been riding Beta since 2010 and have mostly ran the lower capacity 4T range so the 300 offering from Sherco intrigued me. Was it going to be a pumped up 250, missing all the usable bottom end that separated the Beta offerings from the WR250F’s of the world.
No thankfully was the answer. The power was “grunty” like the Beta and the power curve was linear!!! The biggest difference was the sharpness of the power with obviously less crank mass allowing the engine to light up more quickly but not the point of making it a handful to control. I ended up enjoying the lower power map in the tighter singles we manufactured to avoid the front wheel lift from the freshly installed Golden Tyre GT333. The limiter wasn’t touched since the rush came thru tighter and super accurate ratios in the six speed box.
We spent some time at a small log to test the skills and the Sherco worked well. The Beta had more stroke and a more Trials based feel but certainly I was more used to it as well.
The next biggest thing to get used to with the transition to the Sherco was the lower bars and taller seat. I had levelled off the bike in shop with a 40mm static sag to make it feel more like the lower seat Beta but it still felt tall in the rear end. Another 5mm or more hamburgers will cure that, although the front didn’t feel as if it was going to tuck but for a real tight downhill rut entry with some heavy right hand on brake. The flip flop was a standout difference as well and given I have no issue on the fantastic feel in tight single from the Beta this was an A+ from Sherco. The geometry and the ergo’s encouraged more sit down attack which is against my Trials backgrounds natural urges, but on faster flip flop thru trails it seemed to work better?
The Sherco was very different in the pop it has off obstacles and the rear I loosened off in rebound to 27/30. How 13/30 was ever going to fly from Std settings I am not sure. This is perhaps the reason the “Explore” fork on the Sherco has had mixed reviews.. all in the balance. With a stiff and slow rear shock set the front would feel overly quick. I found the front end absolutely standout.. to the point I was concerned with my over confidence. I have always been a fan of the fork since testing the 2017 2T range with ADB in the 250 and 300 shootout and I think Sherco have refined the settings better than my impression from KTM/Husky. More contained lower travel and better rebound control.
So is Sherco now the favourite..? We have a Leaping Log round this weekend and I will put some more time on it to know. The Beta is very refined in its’s manners but for the tightest of single I think the Sherco will shine for my older bones. Time will tell.