After uncrating and assembling the Sherco X Ride 290, I took a step back and gave it hard look. It really is a curious looking machine. The X-Ride isn’t a trials bike, and certainly not an enduro bike. Heck, it’s not really a trail bike. There really isn’t much to compare it to; it has trials tires front and rear, a bigger tank and larger seat, higher ground clearance and lights. The blinkers are stripped off the machine prior to shipping but it still comes with a head and tail light. It even comes with rear foot pegs to accommodate another passenger. I initially wondered if the second set of foot pegs were for a passenger or performing stunts.
My first thought was something along the lines of, “Where should I start with this thing?” What looked like a unicorn to Anna looked like a pack mule to me. Despite not fitting neatly into anyone class off-road machines, the terrain it could conquer seemed endless. I made some minor adjustment to the levers and bars and then a few clicker adjustments after tooling around in the woods behind my house, but that was about it. I then loaded up my 7 year old along with her PW 50 and took to the woods.
Day 1 was a trail ride with said daughter in tow. While she was putting down the trail, I was off in the woods noodling up and over bedrock out-croppings, jumping off rocks and over logs. I felt comfortable on the Sherco pretty quickly and even tried a bunny hop and a few other trials moves that almost ended badly.
The obvious first impression is that the 290cc engine delivers more torque than a 2-stroke motor ought to. I felt like I could climb a wall, or at least a really steep rock face, if I were roped in. First through third are geared low followed by much taller fourth and fifth gears. The exhaust note is whisper quiet which made a few practice sessions in and around the neighborhood an easy affair. I even put a tag on it and rode around town.
The jetting on the 2-stroke trials motor was clean and delivered instant power. A little preload on the fork or shock coupled with a quick blip of the throttle allow you to pop over a log or hop up on to a ledge. The turning radius was scary tight, making those sharp, awkward trials-like corners a piece of cake.
While trail riding, I spent most of my time in fourth gear and hardly ever reached for the clutch. I increased the compression damping and was able to trail ride at a brisk pace in relative comfort. Overall the bike feels well balanced with the suspension absorbing the harder hits fairly well. Just don’t ask the Sherco to rip along at race pace, that’s not it’s specialty. I also didn’t feel as cramped as I thought I would have on such a small- feeling machine. The bar height, pegs and seat make for a comfortable ride. The brakes will stop on a dime and give you a nickel back.
After a few practice sessions, I decided to press my comfort zone. I started small with some gently sloped rock faces and slowly moved outward from there. Truth be told, it took very little time for the Sherco to find the limits of my comfort zone. In fact, I was surprised at just how quickly I was the limiting factor in this machine’s potential. The reality was that the Sherco could take me anywhere I felt like going (and beyond) – in relative comfort.
Complaints? The kick starter is short and the 290cc motor is difficult to kick over. But other than that, I felt really good about this exotic, little machine.
In closing, the Sherco really isn’t a master of trials or trail riding, it’s more of a jack of all and certainly an outstanding cross- trainer. But what it’s really a master of is taking you to all those places you may shy away from on your dirt bike. After watching me play around it, my daughter asked if she could have one when she was older. “You sure can,” I replied. And then I’d happily take it off her hands and enjoy its endless possibilities.
Engine: Sherco 2 stroke
Engine Size: 272 cm³
Bore x Stroke: 76 x 60 mm
Fuel System: Dell’Orto PHBL 26BS
Lubrication: 2 % Oil Premix
Cooling: Liquid system
Starting: Geared system
Exhaust: Stainless steel header pipe
Transmission: 5 speed sequential gearbox
Clutch: Wet multidisc, with hydraulic command
Chassis: Perimetric 25CD4S Steel pipes
Fuel Tank: 7 L plastic fuel tank, unleaded gasoline
Brakes Front: Hydraulic, floating mounting 260 mm disc, J. JUAN
Brakes Rear: Hydraulic, 180 mm disc, J. JUAN
Front Suspension: MARZOCCHI 40 mm hydraulic fork
Rear Suspension: SACHS Adjustable hydraulic single damper
Front Wheel: Anodized light alloy rims, 1,60″ x 21″
Rear Wheel: Anodized light alloy rims, 2,15″ x 18″
Weight: 92,5 kg (203.93 lb)
Wheelbase 1.404 mm (55.3 in)
Ground clearance 325 mm (12.8 in)
Seat Height: 850 mm (33.5 in)