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23/08/21: Sherp N 1200 First Drive Review: The Most Amazing ATV Ever?

SHERP has made a surprise entry in India, and we got to experience just what this legendary ATV brand is capable of.

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I’ve had my fair share of fun with ATVs and 4x4s, but this one is just in a league of its own. This massive ATV, called the SHERP N 1200, is the most amazing amphibious all-terrain vehicle on the planet. And when I say all-terrain, I really mean it! There is virtually nothing that this machine can’t go over.

Named after the Sherpa people who are known for their otherworldly strength, courage, and stamina, the SHERP N 1200 is the roughest and toughest off-roader you will find anywhere in the world today. Luckily for us, we were invited to experience this legendary ATV first-hand by Mr V. Jaskirat Singh Nagra, who, along with his business partner Mr Vivek Gujral, will bring the SHERP to India through their company Gecko Motors.

What is the SHERP?

The SHERP might look like a heavy-duty industrial commercial vehicle, but it’s essentially an ATV. Designed and developed by a Ukrainian technology firm over a span of 20 years, the SHERP’s primary use is to get people to unreachable destinations. Think oil fields, search and rescue operations, isolated science laboratories, or non-active military use – wherever you want to go the SHERP will take you and carry all the necessary equipment. It’s not road legal and has been primarily designed for commercial purposes, but private individuals can also purchase the SHERP.

North America is SHERP’s biggest market, and according to the company, the private sector accounts for about 20% of its sales – it’s mostly used for hunting and camping or for just plain-old off-road fun. Depending on the use and the owner’s preference, the interior setup of the SHERP N 1200 (which is the bigger model in the line-up) can be configured and customised. You could have six seats or you could opt for benches at the back for up to nine passengers. The one that we tested was set up for the purposes of search & rescue operations and featured a bench as well as a stretcher for wounded individuals.

What can the SHERP N do?

The SHERP N weighs almost 2,400kgs and is powered by a Doosan 1.8-litre three-cylinder engine, producing 54bhp and 190Nm of torque. It also features a Renault sourced 6-speed manual transmission. You may think that those power figures are pretty low, but, mind you, SHERP is not made for performance. Remember the age-old adage for off-roading – slow is faster? Well, it’s quite evident in the SHERP’s case. The SHERP also uses a steel and aluminium frame and body shell.

Its massive 71-inch wheels allow it to tackle and climb obstacles and paddle it over swamps and water bodies. The SHERP can reach a top speed of 40km/h on land and up to 6km/h on water. It can also function in extreme climates, ranging from -40 degrees to 40 degrees Celsius. It can do pretty much anything you want it to.

The SHERP also gets a 95-litre fuel tank, but there are four additional fuel canisters for a total of 327 litres. This means you could possibly have a total drive time of 65 hours, which is perfect for venturing into unknown terrains, far away from civilisation.

How does it drive?

The first thing that you will notice in the cabin is that there is no steering wheel. Instead, there are two levers, which control the left and right wheels. This is known as Skid Steering, which is quite common in construction machines. The levers act both as the steering and the brake. There is a clutch pedal for the transmission and an accelerator pedal. There is also a digital instrument screen, which displays all the vehicle information.

The SHERP also does not get any suspension. It’s the tyres that soak up all the bumps. The main highlight of the vehicle is that it’s equipped with a unique air-circulation system, which uses exhaust gases to inflate or deflate the tyres as required. The tyres are connected to a pneumatic circuit, which allows the driver to adjust the pressure based on terrains and payloads. It’s as easy as pressing a button. On hard surfaces, you can inflate them for better grip and ride quality, but when you find yourself on muddy or slushy trails, marshy swamps, or deep snow, you can deflate the tyres for better traction.

It definitely feels smooth and pliant on mild off-road surfaces, but when you hit very rough terrain, the ride becomes quite bumpy. What’s really incredible is the manner in which the SHERP dismisses everything that comes in its path. Its capabilities are unlike anything I have ever experienced before.

Amphibious capability and other features

When the road, trail, or landmass ends and you encounter a swamp, a lake, a river, or even an ocean, the SHERP will simply continue moving forward. It was the first time that I had experienced an amphibious vehicle, and I must admit that I felt a little uneasy in this massive machine as it quickly moved from land to water. The SHERP uses the big tyres with a rudder-like tread pattern to slowly paddle itself through deep water. This feature is what separates the SHERP from every other ATV.

The SHERP also gets some modern features such as glove boxes and cupholders, seatbelts, backup battery, LED lights, rear-view camera, and a heater. You can also get air conditioning, which is optional.

Why come to India?

Why not? The SHERP can be used in almost every field of industry, as well as by the military or even by private individuals. Farmers can use it, and so can foresters and geologists. It could also be a very expensive toy for a few hardcore enthusiasts. The SHERP can be used for just about anything. Also, it’s built to last. The transmission chains are located in closed oil baths, and there is no need to service and lubricate them. The vehicle comes with a warranty of 24 months and 1,000 work hours. It’s quite possible that SHERP will find a big market in India, especially in the commercial sector. If you haven’t experienced the SHERP before, I hope that someday you do because it’s truly the greatest ATV on the planet!

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