Thomas Teissier, General Manager of Sherco Motorcycles, is almost scary in his intensity. At first I just thought he didn’t like me. It wouldn’t out of the norm for a passionate Frenchmen to possibly have a distaste for the lone American in the bunch. But after hearing his presentation at the 2018 model launch and talking with him for a few days I realized that he isn’t mad at me or anyone else, just focused, driven, and steadfast in making his father’s company the best it can be.
Can you tell me a little about the beginning of the company?
We are the youngest company in the industry for enduro. The company was born in 1998 with the production of trials bikes in Spain, then enduro bikes in 1999 so, at the end, it is only 18 years old. It’s important to compare to other companies. When you compare Sherco to Beta for example, that seems so young. Beta has three generations of people where we are just 18 years old.
Where is your focus? Racing or the average customer?
Our bikes are purely made for competition, the big thing that is important here is, every time we make a bike we think also about the customer. For example, here [radiator cap] we can turn this easier now. It’s sounds like stupid things but more and more now we start to work on rider experience and customer experience. We want to do all the things to make sure that you can take the bike like this, and when it’s extreme, the bike works for all riders.
How did you get into rally racing?
In 2010 we are already world champion with the 450. Since this time, we want to have partners across the world. We have a partner in China, in India, and in the US. We’ve had quite good results in the Dakar, and we provide bikes for TVS for example. We won two stages of the Dakar and we’ve done a partnership agreement with TVS and this helps us to promote the brand. It is a very big company in India, it is the company that makes a bike for BMW, the 310 for BMW. They have experience and knowledge and for us it is really important to go for the Rally because purely enduro is European. When you think about US it is cross country or MX, or I should say MX first, then cross country then enduro. Dakar provides us with a world wide image.
What inspired the Cross Country models?
Basically it’s the US market, Australian market, and South America. I went to several GNCCs when I was in the US for an Artic Cat Convention in Minnisota. We’ve seen a lot of interest in cross country. Enduro bikes with lights are seen as European. When you see enduro in the other parts of the world it is more cross country and they take a bike, an MX bike, and if they want to ride they put on the lights, if not they ride like this in the forests. They use an MX bike for enduro and the settings and suspension is not done for this.
Where do you want Sherco to be in the US in five years? Do you want to see top guys on Shercos in GNCC and National Enduro?
Not in five years, in one year! Yeah, I spend a lot of time in different countries around the world because, before working closer with my father I was a sales guy and at the end I visited something like 50 countries. I went to Australia for six months with a truck, with bikes and said, ‘Ok, test my bike’ and after that we are selling 75 bikes and before that it was only 50. I tell you, when people test they understand that the bikes are good. So, in the US I would like to be at 1000 bikes in one year. Sherco will be present in the US soon with the right position and bikes to test. The cross country bikes will be available in the month of July.