TESTED – 2015 SHERCO 450 SEF-R
Ridden and rated, Enduro21.com recently headed to France to get to grips with Sherco’s all-new 2015 450 SEF-R
Tester: Llewelyn Pavey
Sherco have spent three years with their noses buried in their new 450. It’s been a huge undertaking for the company and they’ve spent a fairly large chunk of money and time bringing this bike to production. The bike that sits before us has been the base for their Dakar project these last two years. Claiming two stage victories, Sherco have re-designed everything from the ground up and arrived with a new lighter, better bike – the SEF-R 450.
The new 450 is an impressive machine in the flesh. The first thing that strikes you is the small size of the engine. The team worked extensively on building the smallest, most efficient engine they could. The engine is DOHC, but the head is kept compact by using a single gear for the cam chain. A lot of time was put into the design of the oil pathway to help give the motor longevity too.
2015 Sherco 450 SEF-R
The Sherco range is a little confusing between all the different models, with standard, racing and factory editions all available. The Standard model sports a Sachs fork and is bare bones, no frills or whistles. The most common bike in the range is the Racing version, wearing a higher spec WP front and rear suspension, a plastic sump guard and hand guards. It’s the model they had on test and where Sherco expect 90% of their customers to go.
Sherco’s key point with their new 450 was that they wanted to make a bike that was light and easy to ride, with smooth controllable power. They’ve absolutely hit all of those markers perfectly. The first thing that’s noticeable is that the bike doesn’t feel big to ride. It’s not overly heavy and whilst the testing ground wasn’t exactly 450 friendly it did hustle through well.
The handling of the Sherco is top notch; its got very good front-end confidence, the feedback and grip on the day were superb. On the more open, quick corners it was surprisingly easy to put the bike on line and get on the gas very early – something that’s not regularly said about 450’s.
A new engine is the 450’s biggest talking point for 2015
The engine was extremely smooth and tractable. The drive got to the ground well and the bikes moved forward without too much difficulty or thought. The power delivery was smooth and linear, this definitely contributed to making the bike easy to ride and get on the throttle earlier than you’d expect. The only reservation would be that in countries with faster riding the Sherco didn’t feel insanely quick, however it could just be the power delivery being deceptive.
The suspension on the Sherco was very good too. The French brand have a good thing going with their setup in the WP suspenders and for stock suspension it’s easily as good as anything else. It has a little tendency to wallow under acceleration and on bigger bumps but realistically it’s a great base setting.
The front wheel always tracked well and it was easy to get good grip from the front wheel under braking. Likewise the brakes are on point, providing lots of feel and superb power. The handlebar bend is high, it’d be a little better if they were closer to the seat but that is really a case of personal preference.
All up the new 450 SEF-R is a really great, ready to race or ride bike. If 450’s are your thing then it’s definitely worth giving the Sherco some time.