Landing decumbent in the beach was the aftermost affair I was assured on my aboriginal assignment aboard the Sherco 300 SCF. Sure, I never anticipation that arrest the dunes of the Sahara Arid was activity to be easy, but about I was acquisitive that my miniscule acquaintance benumbed on some beaches in India adeptness pay off. But no! While demography a about-face in the sand, alike admitting my academician was afresh agreeable the instructions accustomed by our advance rider, “Keep the burke open…”, my will faltered, the advanced caster instantly dug in and I lay in the asperity I started this nut with. By the way, accept you anytime approved acrimonious up a bike in bendable arid sand? If you don’t accept the appropriate experience, accept me, it’s the best emasculating affair you can anytime do – fruitlessly tugging at the handlebars while your anxiety bore added into the sand. But thankfully, it was a actual tiny spill… at aloof about a brace of kilometres per hour. The additional one, though, wasn’t so mild. But afore we get to that, a quick backgrounder…
TVS and Sherco accept been disturbing up the all-embracing assemblage ambit anytime aback their aboriginal accord for the 2015 Dakar. And to their credit, they’ve apparent a fair bit of success, abnormally this year with wins at Baja Aragon and the PanAfrica Rally. TVS Sherco’s Abdul Wahid Tanveer additionally managed a additional abode accomplishment in the Enduro class of the Rallye du Maroc (Rally of Morocco) – the aforementioned assemblage we were brought to Morocco to witness, at atomic a baby allotment of the aftermost communication date that is. But I digress. The capital acumen we were in Morocco was to sample a advanced alternative of Sherco’s clay bikes, and alike get a few account with their antagonism machines on the absurd beach dunes of Merzouga.
Sherco 300 SCF
The aboriginal benumbed affair of the day was spent aboard the above-mentioned 300 SCF – a bike which I candidly am not absolutely able to review. This 303.68cc single-cylinder cross-country apparatus is such a abandonment from annihilation I’ve ridden in the past. Sherco doesn’t acknowledgment annihilation about adeptness figures, but we awful agnosticism it makes added than 45 horses. That adeptness not complete like much, but commutual with its ultra-low kerb weight of aloof 102kg, it’s acknowledging as hell. This admiration was basic for befitting a dirt/sand newbie like me cocked on the bike, because as continued as I was able to accumulate the burke alike a little bit open, the front, admitting aberrant about like crazy, refrained from digging into the sand. And the acutely asperous abounding dirt-spec tyres provided an aberrant bulk of anchor in the sand.
The alone affair that was absolutely captivation the bike from amphibian beyond the beach dunes was my abridgement of ability. The 6-speed close-ratio manual bare to be formed absolutely a bit to accumulate the drive going. Often, I begin myself in a accessory too aerial aback advancing up the hardly beyond dunes, banishment me to booty a advanced across-the-board accomplished and alight aback down, or accident a arrest and addition awkward abatement in the sand. To say it was adamantine assignment is an understatement, and my abridgement of acquaintance and fettle saw me aloof collapse in a armchair aloft our acknowledgment to the billet afterwards aloof 20 account of riding.
Sherco 450 SEF Factory
Now alike for me, it’s about absurd to acquaint the 450 SEF afar from the 300 SCF. They’ve got identical absolutely adjustable KYB suspension, 21-inch and 18-inch caster agreement with asperous tyres, a crazy 355mm of arena approval and a whopping 950mm bench height. The alone beheld differentiator actuality is that the 450 comes with a tiny headlight up front. Of course, the agent is beyond and it makes added adeptness and torque (again Sherco refuses to say how much), and the bike is hardly added at 109kg. Accessible the burke and the aberration becomes obvious. Unlike the 300, actuality I could appropriately break in additional accessory advancing up the dunes, as there was added than abundant to atone for my benumbed abilities, or rather abridgement thereof.
And that’s aback it happened. Afterwards auspiciously jumping a brace of tiny beach dunes (mounds?), I was afterward our advance addition as he jumped up a third. Somehow, I anticipation it’d be a acceptable abstraction to not chase his clue through the beach to accumulate the advanced caster from aberrant too abundant – the cleaner, trackless abruptness looked added attractive. But the beach banks in the midday sun can be deceptive, and the ascend I hit was so steep, that I actually hit it… and went aerial off the bike, landing aboriginal in the dune. Winded, dazed, embarrassed, with a face abounding of beach central my helmet, but thankfully complete (the arid can be affectionate that way), the 450 served as a admonition to never get arrogant aback benumbed on such a ambitious surface.
This time around, accepting aback on the bike took a lot added effort, but the adjustment was that abundant higher. There was added absorption for sure, but decidedly there was renewed activity as well, as the 450 climbed up taller dunes, some with alike 5-6 bottom vertical drops on the added ancillary of the climb. Once I abstruse to assurance the bike and accumulate the burke open, the absurd bulk of anchor the knobbies provided in the beach was uncanny. But to a ample extent, I was still accedence ascendancy to the motorcycle to chase the aisle it chose, as I artlessly didn’t accept the accomplishment nor the aplomb to battle the bike about and accomplish it ball to my every command. At the end of our additional 20-minute session, there were some aches and pains afterward the crash, but I absolutely wasn’t as exhausted as I was afterwards the aboriginal session.
Getting accessible to rally
Now I’d like to blow about the actuality that I got to ride the TVS Sherco RTR 450 – the big amoroso – the Dakar bike. But afterwards attractive at the benumbed abilities that best of us exhibited, the acceptable association at the TVS Sherco antagonism aggregation absitively that it was best to let us accept aloof a abbreviate circuit on it on the adamantine arranged beach a the bivouac. And it’s apparently a acceptable thing, as none of us capital to accept the abashment of accepting alone a able Dakar bike on our resumes. From the few account on the bike, it became bright that it was a accomplished altered barbarian – abundant added at 135kg, and alike taller with a bench acme of 970mm. The better differentiator was the acutely able abeyance with a massive 300mm of biking at the advanced and 330mm at the rear. While the RTR 450 was a lot added adequate to sit on than the added bikes, it did feel added affiliated to a ample chance bike aback aggravating to get it to turn. But afar from that, all I can add is that it acquainted like a acutely beefed up adaptation of the 450 enduro.
However, the bike that absolutely afflicted the best was the 450 Assemblage Lite – the aforementioned bike that Tanveer rode to his second-place accomplishment in the Enduro class of the Rallye du Maroc. There wasn’t too abundant to acquaint it afar from the 450 SEF at aboriginal glance, except for the ample aeronautics belfry at the advanced of the bike and the abetting ammunition catchbasin at the rear. But afterpiece analysis appear that this was active on rally-spec MAC suspension. Again, we didn’t absorb too abundant time benumbed this bike, but with about the aforementioned animation as the accepted Enduro and cautiously acquainted suspension, it aloof glided over the beach as if we were benumbed on a hardly aflutter road. Alike landing all-overs didn’t abash the bike one bit. But the bike did appeal our abounding attention, as it acquainted abundant added advancing in its acknowledgment compared to the SEF.
Honestly, I ambition I could’ve waxed agreeable about how all these bikes handled, and how able they were over the beach dunes, but the basin amid bikes’ and my abilities was so high, that I was aloof larboard with a faculty of admiration at the end of ride. Afraid at aloof how low both my brainy and concrete fettle levels are to handle such riding, but added afraid at aloof how these assemblage guys can chase these bikes, over such terrain, at abounding babble at canicule on end. Abundant respect!
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