Motocross

Back in Black!

Back in Black!

Sherco have done a lot of development for this year’s bike with the main changes being the frame and the cosmetics which are much improved.
The frame was quite square and not in keeping with the look of modern trials bikes so they’ve slimmed Sherco have done a lot of development for this year’s bike with the main changes being the frame and the cosmetics which are much improved.
The frame was quite square and not in keeping with the look of modern trials bikes so they’ve slimmed it down a bit, curved it in and given it a black finish which is a real nice touch. Viewed from behind the bikes look very sleek and perfectly tailored for trials.
The graphics are new and the back mudguard looks more ‘designed’ which is good. Everything about the Shercos looks really simple with nice clean lines. The Paioli front forks have a nice anodised black look to them – they’ve really gone for the black look this year with the blacks rims as well. All very impressive and sure to appeal to fashion conscious trials riders.
Everything about the Sherco looks really small and easy to work on. In the past it’s been hard to get to the water cap on the radiator so they’ve moved the ignition coil to ease access – they’re trying to make it as easy for the mechanicing side of the job as possible.
The rear suspension is new for this year and the changes are very noticeable. When you hit a step hard it absorbs the impact rather than just pinging you off. Sherco run a rear linkage and although this requires a little more maintenance than systems which have done away with the linkage it’s very effective.
The forks have also changed – last year there were just two springs and oil in there but for ’06 Sherco are using top-of-the-range Paioli with one dampening and one spring fork system which works very well.
Both bikes have AJP four-pot front and twin-pot rear calipers which are double the size of the ’05 brakes and do the job of stopping the Shercos faultlessly.
Another big change fo this year is that they’ve moved the footpeg position down and back a little bit which helps make you feel that you’re more at one with the bike.
This year’s 250 feels really soft which makes me think it’s aimed at Clubman and A Class youth riders. It’s very clean throughout the range and the way the power comes in from the bottom up to the top-end should more or less suit everybody. On hillclimbs you can get your weight back a bit more so you do feel at one with the bike and it finds grip so well.
Rock steps are not a problem and the front and back suspension works really well together.
The 290 is really for the big boys of the British championship and you can tell from the engine note as soon as you get on it that it’s got a lot of grunt. There are some great snotty climbs here and in third or fourth gear if you drop the revs off it’s got loads of bottom-end but if you really get it going you have to be on the ball as it’s got enough power to get you into some real scrapes if you’re not careful.
The suspension works just as well as on the 250 and never felt as though it was being pushed to its limit – despite being crashed into some fairly large rock steps.
Personally, out of the two bikes we tested I prefer the 290 – it just feels as though it’s got that extra grunt needed for throwing at those really man-sized sections.

250
Capacity: 249.7cc
Bore and stroke: 72.8mm x 60mm
Front suspension: 38mm Paioli (185mm travel)
Rear suspension: Olle (175mm travel)
Front brake: 185mm disc
Rear brake: 145mm disc
Carburettor: Dell’Orto PHBL26
Wheelbase: 1322mm
Dry weight: 69.5kg

290
Capacity: 272cc
Bore and stroke: 76mm x 60mm
Front suspension: 38mm Paioli (185mm travel)
Rear suspension: Olle (175mm travel)
Front brake: 185mm disc
Rear brake: 145mm disc
Carburettor: Dell’Orto PHBL26
Wheelbase: 1322mm
Dry weight: 69.5kg

High and Dry!
Why deep water is hot water
Words by Lawless

The last time I tagged along on a Sherco test it all went horribly wrong, ending with a bike that had ingested large quantities of Yorkshire stream and a long push back to the van.
And while the push back was in my book sufficient punishment for drowning the sparkly new Sherco, it was nothing compared to reception I was expecting from Uncle Malc. So I did the decent thing – I handed the water-logged 250 to Martin Rathmell and headed straight home!
Luckily, we’re all grown-ups and while accidents do indeed happen and boys will be boys there’s no use crying over spilt milk. So when we rolled up at Tong for our test of the ’06 machines I’d put the events of 12 months ago firmly behind me.
"Morning Seamus," grinned Malc, "you’ll be staying away from water today…"
The day had started badly when a closed off M6 called for a detour and the subsequent delay meant the Little Chef brekkie had to be cancelled in favour of grotty garage grub. And now Malc was putting the frighteners on me…
"Mumble, mumble, mumble, no problem Mr Rathmell, sir," seemed the required response before I sloped off around the back of Sutty’s Vito and got changed.
While Clarky got stuck into the serious stuff on the 250 I warmed the 290 up on the man-made slab section that forms part of Tong’s 4×4 course. Last year’s 290 was aimed at clubman riders but for ’06 it’s got it’s pro-punch back.
I can see how you could easily find yourself in a whole world of hurt aboard this but the throttle doesn’t have to open all the way. There’s loads of bottom-end grunt and by feeding in the power it gripped like a tractor on the slick-looking slabs.
Down at the bottom of the venue it gets real snotty with a selection of steep climbs and big banks out of a deceptively deep stream – sorry Malc! – and the 290 made mincemeat out of them. In third gear with a short run-up the Sherco moved easily from walking pace to banzai attack-mode and just kept pulling up the crappiest of climbs.
After a trade with Clarky I got to turn the wheels on the 250 which felt every bit as well-balanced as the 290 with a comfortable riding position. Light and flickable, while the 250 didn’t have the pure power of the 290 it was more than enough bike for me.

Words by Dan Clark Photos by Sutty