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Bike Tests

UK arrival of Sherco 4T


THE Sherco 4T four-stroke was first launched in 2005 and Woody tested the first production model just before the Scottish Six Days Trial. It actually performed rather well initially but as the test progressed the model became ever more difficult to start.

Published Date: 6 April 2007

Scottish that year did exactly the same, all running into problems. The 4T, which had been put into very limited production, was proving to be a classic example of a bike that had been released before the bugs had been ironed out. The factory accepted this, production was put on indefinite hold and the 4T was entrusted to development guru Josep Paxau.

It was not to be put into production again until it was well and truly sorted, would run consistently and start readily from hot or cold.

Fast forward to 2007.

Paxau has worked his magic, has tuned, tweaked and adjusted and is finally happy with the finished article. It’s fair to say that nothing major has been found wanting, just a cumulation of lots of little things which, when added together, made a whole world of difference.

The carb is now a Keihin PWK28 (with hot-start facility) and the ignition is Leonelli – with dual mapping that can be operated with a flick of a handlebar-mounted switch. Inside the motor there has been more detail work centred on the single overhead camshaft. T+MX was recently treated to a brief ride, in Spain, on the very first brand-new pre-production 4T to be completed and we had been promised first dibs on the first bike to be sent to Britain.

This turned out to be ear-marked for Graham Jarvis and we got our hands on it just after Graham had won the Cleveland National first time out.

Over to Woody.

This was always going to be interesting. To be honest, when the original bike was running it went very well, I had no problems with its performance, there was just no consistency. This test was going to be all about the engine.

So, first impressions on kicking the bike into life? Second kick and it sounds really sweet. It sounds like a proper four-stroke and it definitely gives you a buzz when you are riding it. I can understand why Graham wants to ride it in Scotland. You discover straight away that it is very smooth, very torquey.

It has lots of grunt but the power still has a soft feel. This is the 320cc capacity showing itself. It is smooth but lively.

The two-position switch is a novelty and you can definitely feel the difference between the two settings – although it might not be quite what you are expecting. Position two is the softest option but it is not a super-soft ”old man” setting – it is what I would call the natural setting. I would say this would be the best option for 95 percent of riders.

Sherco 3.2
Sherco 3.2

The number one setting is for the 5 percent of stars who can get the very best out of the motor. Anyone can ride the bike on the ‘quick’ setting, it’s just that you would probably be better with the softer option. You do have the option of flicking between the two while on the move but whether you would be wise to do so is up to you!

Such is the spread of power that first, second, third or fourth are all options for sections. I used bottom gear for most of the time in the slippery stream that we were using, while Graham employed second, top riders do like their high gears! It does not have a really ‘long’ first gear, like the Montesa, but the 250 Mont revs higher and does not have the same kind of torque.

If you want to go fast on the Sherco, just use a higher gear – the engine will pull it no problem.

Moving on from the gears, the clutch was really good. It had a nice, positive feel and a really good bite without being snatchy. The 4T utilises a modified two-stroke bottom-end and the clutch has to be good to cope with the 290 two-stroke so it should cope with the thumper OK.

The 4T motor nestles sweetly in the two-stroke chassis and, to me, it handles virtually the same. Malc (Rathmell) told me there was a couple of pounds difference in weight – mainly in the cylinder head – but in reality you would never know. It feels good with excellent front/ back balance.

The 4T is very manoeuvrable with no noticeable front-end bias.

Going back to that original test, I was actually perfectly happy with the actual performance of the bike – apart from its inconsistency and starting problems.

But it has to be said, this is a massive improvement. Starting has been transformed. Just give it a strong kick like a two-stroke, not a gentle press like the Montesa, and it will chuff into life without the hot-start.

Graham had actually removed the hot-start from this one! Performance is now totally consistent and the power is even better thanks to the new carb/ electronics package.

Being totally honest, I don’t feel that the bike will have universal appeal, like the Mont, simply because of its 320cc capacity. But for riders who are looking for a real four-stroke with real four-stroke power in a tight, smart-handling package Sherco will sell as many as they can crank out.

Sherco 3.2
Sherco 3.2
Sherco 3.2
Sherco 3.2
Sherco 3.2
Sherco 3.2
Sherco 3.2
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