Getting to grips with the new Sherco 250 SEF-R in France, here’s why it’s one of our favourite bikes from the brand’s 2016 off-road range…

Image copyright @ Jean Marie Pouget

How long has Sherco’s 250f been around for? Ask yourselves this simple question and you may be surprised by the answer. 2016 actually marks the eighth year of development for what is the first fuel-injected 250f ever to be produced.

For the coming year Sherco’s 250 SEF-R hasn’t undergone any major changes but it’s the series of smaller tweaks and refinements that have turned it into one of the best small bore thumpers to be ever produced by the French manufacture.

Keeping It Simple

The first major point of focus for 2016 was simplicity, which has led to the introduction of their ‘Keyless System’. This is something most manufactures have already been using so it’s good to Sherco following suit.

The previously bulky main power switch has disappeared from the handlebar and the engine now purrs into life with a simple push of the electric starter button. The risk of a dead battery has been eliminated and chances of accidently turning off the engine by touching the switch are now gone too.

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With a clear goal to make everything simpler, Sherco’s engineers have spent a serious amount of time rerouting the wiring system and redesigning the airbox and subframe. The 250 SEF-R is now using bigger and sturdier diameter cables with everything placed neatly on both sides of the reworked subframe.

These positive changes have also made the plug for the diagnostic tool much more accessible and it now sits right behind the left side panel. But most importantly there’s increased space inside of the airbox for better breathing and hassle free filter changes.

Despite a limited amount of modifications in the styling department for 2016, the 250 SEF-R is still an impressive machine in the flesh. With its striking blue graphics and touches of yellow combined with an eye catching blue frame and black anodised rims, the Sherco will hold it’s own in any enduro paddock.

For 2016 the design of the front mudguard now makes use of two screws that bolt onto the front part of the lower triple clamp. Overall the new mudguard is more rigid and offers extra stability in high speeds. The dual-compound hand guards as standard are a nice touch and give added protection to both the upper and lower part of your hands.

For 2016 Sherco have moved away from the Sachs fork and are now using WP front and rear suspension.

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Hitting the French trails

Throwing an eager leg over the 250f and you immediately find that everything feels that it’s where it should be. The sleek and slim bodywork, firm seat and comfortable handlebar position quickly make you feel at home on the bike without having turned a wheel. And with that improved battery power, the 250f easily fires into life making the lack of a kick-starter less worrying than ever.

Hitting the French trails and one of the first things to notice is the top-notch front wheel confidence and accuracy. The semi-perimeter frame chassis mated with the WP suspension offers incredible feedback and gives a strong riding position that feels like you’re standing on top and not behind the set of well-sized OXIA handlebar.

With the WP suspension working progressively, you get a well-balanced bike that offers amazing levels of manoeuvrability matched with decent high-speed stability. The reduced amount of inertia from the 250cc engine is an added bonus making it flickable in the tight stuff.

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Power delivery has a good hit from low rpm, a decent mid range and a highly enjoyable top end that just pulls and pulls. Although engine updates were focused on improving reliability, you can’t help but notice an overall enhanced performance.

A revised injection mapping for 2016 ensures a noticeable change of engine characteristics when you flick through the two pre-selected maps on the handlebar switch. The less aggressive map seems to be ideal for muddy or tricky conditions but if you’re looking for maximum pleasure, the most powerful setting will allow the engine to show its full potential.

The Brembo brakes are once again on point allowing you to push deeper and harder into every corner with increased confidence. With a plush and progressive feeling on the lever, the 250f keeps asking for more.

It’s clear things have changed these last few years for Sherco’s 250 SEF-R and the change has been for the better. Whether opting for a ‘full attack’ riding mode or simply wanting to cruise around the trail – the 250 SEF-R adds fun to any ride.

Sherco’s once rare-to-spot blue 250f appears to have left its minor reliability issues in the past and is now focused on earning its place as a major player in the 250f market. Considering that they’ve already bagged their first victory in the Enduro World Championship with Spain’s Lorenzo Santolino (E1 – GP of Italy), the future seems bright for the blue bike.

If you’re looking for something different in your garage then Sherco’s 250 SEF-R might be right up your street…

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