Test by Matt Brown. Pics by Nigel Paterson

SHERCO’S 510cc combines ground pounding grunt with race quality suspension. Many of us may associate the name Sherco with trials bikes, but the European Company has been manufacturing the French built 450i and 510i models since 2004, with the introduction of the 250i this year.

It was these early models that tested the waters with fuel injection, so it could be argued Sherco has a few extra years of RD on the Japanese Brands and were indeed pioneers of off road fuel injection.

Let’s be honest. How many of us have ridden a Sherco? I’ll put my hand up here.

Until now I have never had the opportunity to throw a leg over one – which makes me the perfect candidate to test this bike because I have absolutely no preconceived opinions of how it should perform, and perform it did!

Seated impression

Being a large bore bike, I was expecting a bulky feel when I threw a leg over – I was way off the mark here. The ’bar, ’peg, seat, tank, gas cap configuration just felt right.

You can sit as far forward on this bike as you please, the gas cap was low profile giving my groin area a sigh of relief should we have to hit the anchors.

Instrument readouts were functional and I was curious about the toggle switch on the left hand side, but more about that later.

Electric start is pretty much standard on most big bore bikes these days, and yes it does have a kickstarter as well.

Handguards, frame guards and bashplate also come standard, saving you money for fuel. The headlight works fine, but its design has yet to grow on me.

Fuel Tank capacity is 7.5 litres.

Fire it up

Push button start and EFI give a no fuss starting experience, and with a couple of quick twists of the throttle after warming you could hear the power within. The pipe meets all noise and emission laws without dulling down its bark.

Engine power off the bottom was what you would expect from a big bore. When talking bike engine power there is no substitute for cubic inches.

This bike has the ability to get power to the ground. You could say the power is predictable with smooth transitions through the rev range.

Sherco 2.9

Now about that switch on the left. The Sherco has two ignition curves to choose from, standard and a race setting. Although the standard curve probably has more power than most of us could handle, snappy throttle response always gives us a buzz so this is the setting we did most of our testing.

The ‘race’ setting gave a slightly stronger bottom end with noticeable mid range power gains This engine has a simple single cam set-up with two intake valves and two exhaust valves.

Once again the suspension was new to me. This model uses 46mm Ceriani forks and a Sachs shock. Initial reaction was harsh, but we did have adjustment, so we found a better setting with two clicks out on the fork compression adjustment and one on the shock.

Remember, when making clicker adjustments wind clickers all the way in counting clicks and then wind them all the way out, counting the original number and adding or subtracting the extras. After adjustments we could get the bike to soak up hard heavy hits better.

One thing that’s fun about big bore machines, rolling off the throttle gets you out of trouble coming out of corners. The suspension held you up on high speed cornering and didn’t bottom out on hard landings.

For a suspension set-up which was initially unfamiliar to me I was impressed with how quickly I felt comfortable with it. Sherco chose Michelin tyres for this model which worked well for this test carried out in a combination of soft sand and grass track.

Final Ride

The sticker prices between big bore Japanese and European enduro machines is more compressed than ever before and at $13,990 the Sherco is at the top end of this market.

I believe Sherco has built this bike with competition in mind. With the totally useable race engine ignition setting and suspension set-up for faster than average riders, it would be ready to race out of the crate.

Predictability, confidence, distinctiveness and big bore fun is what you’ll get with the 5.1i, so if you’re in the market for a big bore enduro thumper have a good look at the Sherco. I’m now a fan.

Sherco 2.9
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