One of the perks of attending the Cross Timbers National Enduro in Oklahoma City on October 19th-20th was the KTM and Sherco demos that were available to test ride for several hours on Saturday. KTM displayed their entire 2014 XC-W lineup. Clay Stuckey, the GasGas and Sherco distributor, brought the current 2013 Shercos, the 2014 pre-production 250 SE-R, as well as the current GasGas models, which offered a great opportunity for learning more about these European bikes.
All of the KTMs were great rides. In an effort to keep my strokes organized, I started with the 200, then went to the 250 and finally the 300. The 200 was fun and light, the 250 was very powerful with a great gear ratio, and the 300 added awesome low-end torque to the ride. My only complaint is it would have been nice to have some tight, twisty single track to really test the torque on the bikes.
Moving on to the four strokes, I again started with the lower displacement and worked my way up to the 500 XC-W F. There was nothing to dislike about these bikes. The 250 was perfect for the open-grass track provided by the club. The 350 was magical! This was my first chance to ride a 350cc machine and it was clear that purchasing this bike would be an easy decision to make. The 450 and 500 were real “stump pullers”. Rolling the throttle on those bikes was smooth with the delivery of great tractable power. I was pleased to discover that the 500 wasn’t harsh at all. However, for my personal preference, I would probably re-valve the suspension.
As soon as I got to the Sherco bikes, I jumped on the 2014 250 SE-R. The power this bike delivered was very smooth. It was electric start only and came stock with an ignition switch built into the e-button. It was a very clean setup. There was a spot in the seat that felt a bit awkward and made moving on the seat a bit tricky. More seat time on the bike would probably clear that up.
After handing the 2-stroke machine off to the next eagerly awaiting rider, I jumped on the 2013 Sherco 300i. I knew right away that this was a bike I was going to enjoy. The power delivery was extremely stable, easy to control, and just about perfect. In fact, I enjoyed the Sherco 300i so much that I decided to race this bike the next day. Look for a write-up of that adventure within the next weeks.
My advice to anyone considering the purchase of a new bike in the future is to find a KTM or Sherco bike to test-ride. These European steeds seem to be more “enduro-ready” than their Japanese counterparts.
Many thanks to KTM and Clay Stuckey for their commitment to the sport and for making fun experiences like “demo days” possible.