Fantic Caballero Rally 500 motorcycle test

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In praise of efficient simplicity

Single cylinder 449 cm3, 40 hp and 43 Nm, 150 kg dry, 7,190 euros

Fantic…. for some of us, this name evokes some advertisements with a little outdated visuals. In a typical 70s atmosphere, free and positive, light machines with an all-terrain look accompany carefree young people. Golden light, full nature, group of bikers. But also the image of competition, enduro or trial and multiple victories for pilots with clear combinations. Fantic ….

Founded by two former members of the Italian brand Garelli, Fantic Motor appeared in 1968 in the Italian province of Brianza. The machines are then fitted with 50cm3 Minarelli mechanics.

It was in 1969 that the brand really made a name for itself in the motorcycle market. At the Milan show, it offers a 50cc light urban Scrambler-type motorcycle: the Caballero. The motorized two-wheeler is then in full growth and the practice of enduro and off-road is popular in Italy. Fantic Motor quickly gained notoriety, especially with a young clientele. Thus, in the 70s, the brand managed to gain a solid place in the market and became the third Italian manufacturer in terms of sales after Piaggio and Garelli. Faced with a lack of interest in the enduro discipline from the 1980s, Fantic struggled to survive and finally disappeared in 1998. The brand was then bought in 2004 but hardly revived..

It was in 2014 that a group of investors took control of their destiny. With two ideas: to create high performance electric bikes and, of course, motorcycles. Alongside sporty 50, 125 and 250 cm3 off-road machines, more versatile and stylish models. So Fantic is really coming back to the forefront by offering a new Caballero! This patronymic revival of the legendary 1969 model now defines a full-fledged signature grouping together engine sizes of 125, 250 and 500 cm3..

The current Caballero 500 range with Flat Track, Rally and ScramblerThe current Caballero 500 range with Flat Track, Rally and Scrambler

Until then offered in Scrambler and Flat Track versions, the Caballero is enriched with a third "Rally" version, only available as a half-liter engine. We take the latter to the mountainous surroundings of northeastern Italy, to the heights of Valdobbiadene, the land of Prosecco and the birthplace of the Fantic signature. A decidedly sparkling brand.

Discovery

The pencil stroke signing the style of the Fantic Caballero is decidedly the most successful. Compact (1,425 mm wheelbase), high, narrow, light (150 kilos), the Rally displays a strong character. A few features create a powerful and elegant aesthetic for this more assertive all-terrain machine. Thus, the machine appears almost flat, linking almost in the same neo-classical line specific saddle and tank. Its matte olive green color is in fact an absence of paint. A little dull in the photos, the shade is actually brighter. This raw choice as standard is relevant, sticking more to the simple spirit of the machine, even if there are options to modify it further. The 12-liter, oval-shaped tank is narrow and flanked by aluminum scoops lining the sides of the radiator. A metal that would have been good on the sides of the machine…. Made of plastic, they support a number plate. Topped by a deflector, the LED optics and multiple reflectors bring real modernity to the overall style.

Test of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500Test of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500

As on the other versions, a steel cradle frame supports the whole and accommodates the Zongshen 449 cm3 (94.5 x 64 mm) single cylinder. The stroke is rather short for this single-piston mechanism. Liquid cooled, single camshaft and 4 valves make up a technology that is simple and proven if not remarkable. The block develops 40 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 43 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. We regret (historically) this exotic choice, but profitability at this level probably also makes it possible to offer some beautiful pieces elsewhere. Like the footrest plates and the upper tee in aluminum cut in the mass. And also the Arrow superimposed double silencer. The shoe unfortunately does not protect the original collector, exposed.

The single-cylinder of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500The single-cylinder of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500

The Rally version takes care of its equipment and stands out from its sisters by the adoption of an aluminum swingarm, an engine guard, a radiator and headlight grille and a high mudguard attached to the tee. inferior. The handlebars receive a force bar wrapped in foam. But above all its suspensions debate over 200 mm (+50). The inverted FRS fork of Spanish origin goes to 43 mm (against 41), fully adjustable with differentiated function (compression on the right, rebound on the left). It can be combined with a shock absorber of the same origin which can also be configured in hydraulics. Combined with 19 and 17-inch spoked aluminum rims, the set is a real invitation to cross the landscape by wild roads. Our testing machines are also fitted with Michelin Anakee tires in 110/80 and 140/80.

The Rally is fitted with Michelin Anakee Wild tiresThe Rally is fitted with Michelin Anakee Wild tires

To stop their rotation, a front 320 mm single petal disc is clamped by a ByBre caliper (the Asian subsidiary of Brembo) with two pistons and radial mounting. The rear, single piston element squeezes a 230mm fret. The whole thing is monitored by a two-channel Continental ABS that can be deactivated for efficient offroading..

The deflections are more important than 50 mmClearances are 50 mm greater

The overall finish is contrasted with a beautiful set of equipment, but an integration of the electrical connections that could be improved, especially at the engine level. Surface treatment and finishing of mechanical parts is, however, no problem. Difficult to integrate all the cables, hoses and other essential son on such a sleek machine. It will therefore be necessary to deal with the fairly visible presence of these and with a fairly exposed low collector. The fixing of certain elements by screws and bolts could be more careful. Optional on our model, luggage carrier and carbon anti-scald side protection on the manifold.

The Fantic Caballero Rally 500The Fantic Caballero Rally 500

In the saddle

The Caballero Rally wants to be efficient in crossing and pushes its saddle to 860 mm high. Don’t panic, the narrowness of the machine largely limits this altitude, even if a pilot of 1.70m will not put both feet on the ground. Specific, its vintage topstitched finish combines with a welcome thickness. The induced position is natural, the legs slightly bent. Straight bust lets hands fall on a wide hanger.

Driving position of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500Driving position of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500

We appreciate the original curved left commodo, surrounded by a rotating ring to switch from codes to full headlight. There is also the pusher cutting the ABS. The turn signal switch is more difficult to operate and no lever is adjustable in spacing. Also no handguards.

Fantic Caballero Rally 500 CommodosFantic Caballero Rally 500 Commodos

Under the eyes, the instrumentation is reduced to a narrow circular LCD window but which houses the essential: under a semi-circle displaying fuel and temperature gauge are placed the clock and the tachometer. Odometer and partial scroll via one of the two control buttons. A long pressure to the left replaces the gauges with a very basic and difficult to read tachometer. A more rewarding and effective element would be welcome.

In the city

A few hiccups and the uni-cylinder gently hammers the air with the crackle of its stacked exhausts. The music is pleasant, a strong point of the personality expected on a transalpine machine. The Caballero Rally does not disappoint on this point, creaking with every gas stroke. Light, the machine takes off quickly under the liveliness of its engine. The front wheel does the same with ease if you play more. The block is also available picking up easily at low revs in third gear. While the selection could be smoother, it is precise and locks well. Finally, we note a good retrovision.

Fantic Caballero Rally 500 road testFantic Caballero Rally 500 road test

Facetious, the Fantic honestly vibrates and is carried away with ease in traffic. Its contained size is a pleasure, as is its ultra-short turning radius. Logical for a machine with marked enduro genetics. At ease in an urban environment, the little Italian girl also finds herself very well outside the walls..

Motorway and expressways

Lack of protection, 40 horsepower is not ideal for the highway and the mono is no more comfortable there than its biker. The Rally, like you, will endure incursions there that we will try to make brief.

The Fantic Caballero Rally 500 in a straight lineThe Fantic Caballero Rally 500 in a straight line

Departmental

Voluntary, the living mechanics of the Fantic Caballero Rally energize developments on the secondary network. Healthy, although a little lively on its large-travel suspensions set too flexible, the stylish enduro takes off at a good pace. Fitting a mixed tire is not to help with accuracy. We can bet that with an adjustment of the hydraulics and tires with a more road profile, the Transalpine will be even more pleasant. Because you hardly get bored on your handlebars. Led by the sustained modulations of the exhaust, the crew flies from curves to turns without dragging. Here again, the reduced weight of the Fantic works wonders, optimizing good cycle part liveliness. Intuitive, the Rally can be driven with a smile, its technical simplicity calling for another: that of relaxed riding.

The Fantic Caballero Rally 500 on a curveThe Fantic Caballero Rally 500 on a curve

The sympathetic vigor of the block quickly requires testing the brakes. If the front axle plunges (too) quickly, its adjustment is surely the cause. Although too flexible on our machines, the fork however correctly takes the bite of the caliper. The easily adjustable pressure of the axial master cylinder gives a good feeling and control to the grip of the lever. Transparent in its implementation, ABS allows powerful decelerations without painful intrusion. Deactivated, we will test the stops. If the rear caliper does a good job, the lug of its ultra short pedal strikes a little approval.

The Fantic Caballero Rally 500 on the roadThe Fantic Caballero Rally 500 on the road

Dynamic, the relaunches allow to heat up on the bitumen before testing a more uncertain coating.

Offroad

A machine with claimed versatility, the Caballero Rally knows how to cross areas outside asphalt. Standing on the footrests, the position could be more efficient and pleasant if the openwork sides were not so prominent. In particular on the right side where collectors and silencers increase this volume. If we adopt a perfect attitude forward, this gene is no longer sensitive. The machine is then efficiently managed on a gravel or even more brittle track..

The Fantic Caballero Rally 500 on the roadsThe Fantic Caballero Rally 500 on the roads

The lightness and compactness of the Fantic always work wonders and allow easy piloting. If the supports on the feet are not the most frank to control the machine, the large hanger allows a significant leverage. Ideally placed under the gloves, it contributes to efficient guidance.

The Fantic Caballero Rally 500 in off-roadThe Fantic Caballero Rally 500 in off-road

Again, the flexibility of the fork does not allow you to see the Rally at its best. The harshest shocks sometimes make the tubes snap to the stop. And the machine waddles more than reason on the more or less marked inequalities of the ground. However, the traction remains convincing and the mechanics ensure an efficient work to assault the Italian slopes. Another good point, without ABS, braking still shows excellent lever control. What to keep a good rhythm without being afraid.

Fantic Caballero Rally 500 off-road testFantic Caballero Rally 500 off-road test

The availability and a certain sportiness of the block deliver a real pleasure in any terrain. Lively, the uni-cylinder quickly makes the Fantic drift, the deviations of which are managed naturally. Predictable, she is docile and agile under the mischievous load of her big piston.

The Fantic Caballero Rally 500 allows some glidingThe Fantic Caballero Rally 500 allows some gliding

Part-cycle

Light, efficient, but very classic, the Caballero Rally deliver real driving pleasure and are healthy on all occasions. We regret a too flexible damping that we did not have time to adjust to further analyze the equipment.

The frame of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500The frame of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500

Braking

Powerful, but flexible, the decelerations provided are satisfactory, but lessened by the flexibility of the suspensions. Also, in offroad, the too short lug of the pedal does not allow full control..

Comfort / Duo

With its thick saddle, the Rally will take you far without suffering. Especially since its high-travel suspensions further improve the comfort of a natural position. Taking a passenger on a short trip is possible. He will nevertheless have to accept a toad position, legs apart..

Fantic Caballero Rally 500 saddleFantic Caballero Rally 500 saddle

Consumption

Not measured.

Conclusion

Combining assertive style and real versatility, the Fantic Caballero Rally 500 is a seductive little steed. Armed with essentials and efficient elegance, the Transalpine dreams of both a charming utility and an unabashed adventurer. Comfortable and safe, the set allows you to calmly trace your route or path. On board, we dream of mixed journeys without complex, always accompanied by a seductive style.

Fantic Caballero Rally 500Fantic Caballero Rally 500

Priced at € 7,190, the Fantic Caballero Rally 500 convinces without difficulty despite a few finishes that are a little too fair. The additional 400 euros (Scrambler and Flat Track ask for 6,790 €) are amply justified by the equipment and a much higher versatility of the last offspring of the family. The competition is not strong, especially at this price. A KTM 690, much more efficient (but with Austrian style and comfort….) Claims 8,990 €.

Attractive and reasonably capable, the Caballero Rally might just be that light, easy, and straightforward trail you’ve been looking for in the back of your mind. Fantic puts you back in the stirrup for a daily escape.

Strong points

  • Personality and engine availability
  • Lively cycle part
  • All-terrain claims
  • Versatility
  • Disconnectable ABS
  • Precise selection
  • Flattering sound
  • Overall efficiency
  • Rate

Weak points

  • Too soft suspensions
  • Brake pedal lug too short
  • Prominent sides
  • Basic instrumentation not easily readable
  • Connection finishes too fair

The technical sheet of the Fantic Caballero Rally 500

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: winding roads with variable surface, dry, track
  • Weather: variable, 20 ° C
  • Motorcycle mileage: 100 km
  • Problem encountered: RAS

Test equipment

  • AGV AX9 helmet
  • T.UR J-One jacket
  • Jean Vanucci Armalith 2.0
  • Dainese Storm Boots

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2 thoughts on “Fantic Caballero Rally 500 motorcycle test

  1. in prettier blue, but in red and in real yuck! matter of taste but at this price a gt with 250km between each refueling what misery! it is nonsense !!

  2. The problem is going to be the distribution network (especially here in Belgium), otherwise here is a simple, light, go-anywhere motorcycle that recalls certain old-fashioned pleasure standards. For my part, I would consider the Rally with the tires of the Flat Track. Beautiful achievement in any case.

    Thank you for this enlightening article wink

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