Trials as a sport has been gaining traction in Australia. We sent Zane out to try out the 2022 Sherco Factory range and ride a trials bike for the first time! Now he wants one! Pics: Half Light.
I’ve done just about every motorsport on land, everything from motocross, to road racing, car racing, even go karts, I’ve even done pocket bike racing! After taking the 2022 Sherco Trials range for a spin, for me nothing has been as physically demanding trials riding is.
It has been absolutely pouring with rain here in Sydney, so after being trapped inside for weeks with nothing to do, I pounced at the chance to get out and about at Bilpin, Northwest of Sydney, to learn how to ride a Trials bike on the 2022 Sherco Factory range.
Trials exploded in Europe many decades ago. but even with Australia’s obsession with motocross, dirt track and enduro riding, it never seemed to gain the traction of sold out stadiums and championships seen in Europe. This meant I had never actually seen a Trials bike in person, in fact, all but one of the journalists (most from off-road mags and sites) had never ridden one either.
Our teacher for the day was Tim Coleman. Tim’s long resume boasts over 15-years of throwing a motorcycle up obstacles you couldn’t even walk up. For us Sydney journos, Tim flew away from his usual training camp in Victoria and borrowed Bilpin Moto Adventures’ property to teach us all the basics we need to get used to the featherweight two-stroke machines.
A first walk around of the Sherco 250 and 300 Trials machines revealed a fair few key differences to your average dirt bike. The most obvious being, there’s no seat! It’s all about keeping weight to a minimum and movement to a max. Other differences include a shifter you can’t reach, given you don’t have a size 20 foot, unless you take your foot of the ‘pegs. This is to ensure you don’t accidentally shift the gearbox into neutral when hopping up massive obstacles. The kill switch is a magnetic button you strap to your wrist to ensure the bike doesn’t take off without you when you come off, similar to a tether on just about any racebike or jet ski.
The first exercise of the day was without the engine on, we practiced balancing the bike with both our feet on the footpegs, standing still. These bikes are perfect for activities like that, thanks to their huge wheels, tyre pressures of 4psi and extreme lock, they have no issue balancing. Let me say, I’m not unfit, but far out, within 10-minutes I was already feeling the burn and we hadn’t even gotten to kick the engine over yet.
“Let me say, I’m not unfit, but far out, within 10-minutes I was already feeling the burn and we hadn’t even gotten to kick the engine over yet.”
Finally getting to kick the two-stroke over and it had been about five years since I last used a kick starter, one kick and it burst to life with ease, a far cry from my early motocross days, sitting there flooding my KX65 as Dad yelled at me to kick it over “Like a man”!
Starting the day on the 250, I was pretty surprised at the two-stroke’s grunty low-down torque, even after Sherco lowered the compression for the 2022 models. The next few activities consisting of tight turns and balancing against obstacles proved the torque was almost too much for me to handle. The strain on my wrists from standing up and balancing caused a few hairy moments as my throttle action started to get less and less smooth. Talk about whisky throttle!
The best way to describe the trials bike is if someone took a high end mountain bike and shoved a big two-stroke single in it, key word being “high end”. The 39mm forks have 165mm of travel and the rear is sorted by a Reiger shock with 175mm of travel and both ends are adjustable.
This was easily the softest setup I have ever felt on a motorcycle, it felt incredibly planted though. Riding bikes with soft suspension often feels like controlling a wet piece of spaghetti, but the Sherco had no issue manoeuvring within control, it is all in the geometry, while the soft suspension is designed to aid grip, drive and getting over obstacle.
The soft suspension helped us when we started to tackle obstacles, compressing the front wheel and twisting the throttle to pop the front wheel up were not new skills, but anticipating the rear wheel or sump guard hitting a log seemed to throw years of doing wheelies out the window. That being said, once I got used to the feeling, the Trials bike tackled it a whole lot easier than enduro bikes.
Back to the powerhouse, there are three options for the Sherco trials range, 125, 250 and 300. We only got the chance to try out the 250 and 300, both felt exactly the same to me. Personally, I would’ve loved to try the 125 out as I’m sure it would’ve been an easier stepping stone into the new riding discipline. With that being said, the 250 and 300 had so much torque, the clutch was not needed to hop the bike up at the front, Tim taught us to essentially preload the suspension and give the throttle a twist.
Brake control is another big part of riding a Trials bike as well. The brakes were surprisingly good, despite them being another part that looked like it was borrowed off a mountain bike, they stopped the machine well but most importantly, they weren’t fatiguing on the wrist. When we were learning how to do stoppies, a quick squeeze and some preload flung the rear up in the air with ease.
The Sherco build quality is spectacular, the French sure know how to put together a bike now, a quick search for used trials bikes prove that Sherco and Beta have a monopoly over the market at the moment. Despite the lack of choice in Australia, you shouldn’t be disappointed with it at all. Small touches like the firm and secure sidestand that my fatigued legs were struggling to kick up by the end of the day, to the high quality graphics stuck over the bike, made the bike feel high-end. Nothing rattled or came loose, and all of the parts held up well from us newbies.
Quality testing came in the form of an accident when we went for a short bush ride and I found myself on top of a slipper boulder. After grabbing a bit too much brake, I threw the bike off a decent drop. I was certain I had just ruined a brand new bike, but not a single thing on it was broken. I quick wheel alignment from Tim as he straightened the bars against a tree and I was ready to rock and roll again.
The bikes are pretty much ready to go out of the box, I wasn’t too sure if it’s normal for a Trials bike but they seemed to stall out while idling. While the kick start was easy and the bike would often start on the first or second kick, it got tiring needing to continuously start it. An idle adjustment could help with this but at the sacrifice of a higher clutch out, no throttle speed.
For 2022, Sherco went with S3 black Hardrock footpegs, these were seriously grippy. Even with my worn-out boots they held my feet on when I wanted them to stay and came off when I had to quickly put my foot down. They were angled forward to help with all the time you’ll be spending on the back wheel, helping with the general ergonomics of the bike.
After learning how to hop up some larger obstacles, the owner at Bilpin Moto Adventures was eager to show us around his lovely property. Due to some unfortunate stock circumstances, we weren’t able to take the new Sherco enduro range for a spin as was originally planned, so it was left up to the little Trials machines to tackle the trails.
This opened my eyes a little bit more in terms of the Trials spot within the Australian market. We didn’t have to ride fast or far to find challenging yet fun obstacles. The Sherco Trials range seemed to be the perfect option to just drop off the back of your ute and stay within a 1km radius as you spend hours mentally and physically changing yourself to overcome obstacles that you would have no chance getting up on an enduro bike, unless you’re a madman like Tim!
My local trails would absolutely love a trials bike on them as you sit in second on an enduro bike through most of them. I will mention that due to the recent extreme NSW downpours, the actual weight of the bike struggled through mud where an enduro machine would have no issue, this is because all your weight is focused in the middle and you can’t sit to put pressure on the rear due to not having a seat, so a few of us who were less experience off-road had some issues with getting through the mud.
By the end of the day I was not only physically tired but extremely mentally drained. The amount of thought you have to put into how you’re going to hit an obstacle, how much brake, throttle and clutch to use, it was extremely challenging. On the drive home I thought “there is no way I would be able to do that again”, but after reflecting for the past week, I’ve almost welcomed the idea of buying my own personal trials bike.
If you’re like me who’s not a seasoned off-road rider, you might not see the point in starting a new motorsport, but see the trials bike as a training tool, use it as such and suddenly you’re sitting there looking at trials bikes for sale. Being able to ride it at an almost standstill, the quiet exhaust and compact design make it perfect to practice balance, throttle/brake control and wheelies in your backyard, even if you live in suburbia!
Just seeing the quality of the Sherco range, seeing it be the choice for Bilpin Moto Adventures and Tim Coleman, were enough for me to seriously consider buying a Sherco and a Sherco only. It’s not often I jump off a bike feeling like a truck has just hit me and still not had anything bad to say about it. Pricing may be a bit high for just a practice tool, but the skills I’d learn from it are priceless.
You can pick up the 2022 Sherco 250 ST for an RRP of $11,690 and the 300 ST Factory for an RRP $11,990 now at your local Sherco dealership!
2022 Sherco Factory ST 250  Specifications
Price: From $11,690 [$11,990]
Warranty: Six Months
Colours: Sherco Factory Blue
Claimed Power: Not specified
Claimed Torque: Not specified
Single-cylinder, Nikasil coated cylinder, two-stroke, water-cooled, 249.7cc [294cc], bore x stroke 72.8mm x 60mm [79mm x 60mm], Hidria digital ignition, Keihin PWK 28 carb, hydraulic diaphragm system clutch, five-speed sequential gearbox with security selector system, primary gear drive chain secondary drive, kick start.
Frame Type; Tubular section Chrome-moly
Front suspension: Aluminium Tech fork 39mm, 165mm travel, adjusable, Rear suspension: Progressive link system with single 3-way Reiger shock absorber 175mm travel.
Wheels: Morad 21in blue anodized aluminium rim (f) Morad 18in blue anodized aluminium rim (r)
Brakes: N/A calipers and master-cylinders, floating 185mm front and 145mm rear
Ground Clearance: 310mm
Seat base: 685mm
Fuel Capacity: 2.4L
Electronics: Switchable headlight
The Verdict | Review: 2022 Sherco 250 and 300 ST Factory Trials