Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test

Table of contents

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test

28 pictures

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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“Marble, stone and iron breaks, but my scrambler doesn’t.”

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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At least not in this comparison test with Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark, Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500 and Mash X-Ride 650 Classic.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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A trio that gets prettier the dirtier it is: airy midi scramblers.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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However, terrain is not the main task of the trio. If you notice the splash guard …

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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Who shines brighter? It is actually not easy for the sun against such seductively designed scramblers.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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Fancy a little jump? With pleasure, the Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500 goes straight to the heart.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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The material and color contrasting tank pad provides a great view.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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The milled footrest arm is not only spectacular for this price range.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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The standard side-by-side shotgun from Arrow shoots like in the best single-cylinder days.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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When it comes to the rear view, the Fantic is not stingy with optical stimuli.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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You also like to look into these eyes twice. Or the next morning.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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Dirty weather? No problem, the Mash X-Ride 650 Classic remains something for the eye.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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The mini cockpit looks old, but provides modern information. And a pessimistic fuel gauge.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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Nothing with ride-by-wire: classic throttle cables. And classic fittings

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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So that nobody has to search: The oil for the dry sump lubrication is in the
Frame tube.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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The oil level is checked here.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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There are, in turn, some “ambitious” welds on the frame tube.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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The retro mash breathes heavily the spirit of days gone by. Visually it pleases a lot.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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Tilt? Never mind, the Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark still strives forwards.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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Typical Ducati scrambler ingredients: the last air-cooled Desmo twin for a long time.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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And we also know the extremely high handlebars from the Duc.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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And beautiful details like the sweeping elbows.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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After the revision in 2018, the shock absorber is much smoother.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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The crescent-shaped, curved rear light has been part of the Scrambler line from the start.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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Has been looking good since 2015. So, the Ducati Scrambler. The driver has been a little longer.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
Arturo Rivas

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We had mud fun. Tip: it is better to plan two to three runs with the Karcher.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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Whether solid workmanship, chic retro design or gaudy stew – this trio offers something for everyone.

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
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Anyone who likes the robust version of retro is more than well dressed with the Ducati. If you also love a powerful motor, you will also find officially poured stews in the chicest hiking dress at Fantic and Mash.

motorcycles

Modern Classic

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test

Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test
With the Dreckwuhler trio in the quarry

Anyone who likes the robust version of retro is more than well dressed with Ducati’s Kraxler pioneer since 2015. For those who also love a robust motor skills, Fantic and Mash have also been able to find officially poured stews in the chicest hiking clothing for some time. So, let’s go to the sandpit!


Rene Correra

05/15/2021

In this article:

  • Design Mash X-Ride 650 Classic
  • Design Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
  • Design Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500
  • Ergonomics and driving impressions Mash
  • Ergonomics and driving impressions Ducati
  • Ergonomics and driving impressions Fantic
  • Conclusion

Well, the sandpit is one of those things. First of all, in our country, which is not exactly unregulated, it is not that easy to find a legally passable one. And second: a realistic application scenario for Scrambler they rarely show these days. If you really have ambition for the rough, you usually buy more relevant material. On the other hand: if you search, you will also find …

Well then, similar to many travel enduros, or their four-wheeled counterparts called SUVs, it’s more about one “You could” than around a “One should”. Especially since that “Could” if you take a closer look, it should only be of limited power anyway. Long suspension travel, coarse rubber studs, consumptive weight: can be found in our dirt burrower trio from Ducati, Fantic and Mash if rather isolated as an island talent.

Retro chic down to the last detail

On the other hand, there is full broadside on the aesthetic and historical front. Whether it’s the cool, technoid Ducati, the glorious yesterday’s Mash or the Fantic, which wandered between yesterday and today with assured taste: Everywhere the eye is invited to linger, everywhere there is plenty of quotation from its own history. Or that of others.

Design Mash X-Ride 650 Classic

Golden wire rims, drop tank, high beak: In the French Mash design studio, when developing the X-Ride 650 Classic, there was probably not just a picture of the blessed Yamaha XT 500. Not the worst blueprint, after all, the first real large-scale enduro. And not for the first time inspiration for modern material, just take a look at Desert Sled, another variant of the Ducati Scrambler. Even under the tank, Mash cites old sizes. The 644 single is a license replica of the Dominator from Honda and, like the whole motorcycle, is manufactured by Shineray in China. As is well known, only good things are copied, and in this case permission was even asked in advance. And as long as the result is so beguiling, nobody has to complain. Unless you look a little too closely. Questionable welds, fittings straight from the 80s and rustic components carved out of plastic and metal everywhere spoil the positive first impression a little.

Design Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark

The Italian neighbors show how it can be done better. The bike from Bologna, which rekindled all the scrambler hype in 2015, still knows how to please. Routine mass production standards meet casually curved, modern pen strokes without looking overly troubled retro capers. “Freedom born in 1962”-Sayings on the gas cap or not. The line of Ducati scrambler fits, and it doesn’t take a quarry and November weather to cope with the “Skerrrrrembleeerrrr”, as the Italians like to say, always cut a good figure.

Design Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500

Even better, it is not far from Bologna, namely in Treviso, north of Venice. The grandezza that the not so long revived off-road legend Fantic pumps into their largest Caballero is outstanding in terms of the price tag. Examples? Gladly: fork bridges and footrest brackets milled from solid. A small but fine portion of carbon on the manifold. Stylish shape and color. And all sorts of loving details that a garage conversation with the “Man of honor” (Caballero) from Italy to be a satisfying evening activity.

But it’s not that far yet, the sun is still high in the sky. A state that had already lost a lot of drive in terms of frequency, duration and intensity in late November. And what good is the most beautiful suit if you just leave it hanging in the closet? So, go outside, as long as you can.

Ergonomics and driving impressions Mash

The eldest is given precedence. Or the one who at least looks like it. Although the latest motorcycle in the trio, the Mash seems to have flown straight from the Eighties to the present via Marty McFly’s time machine DeLorean. An impression that is cemented the first time you sit down. You have to climb a seat height of almost 85 centimeters. A measure by which you can easily see whether a manufacturer is trying to position his motorcycle in a way that is suitable for the widest possible range. Because apart from real specialist material, nowadays one is very careful to pick up as many potential customers as possible. Just like Ducati’s Scrambler with its almost six centimeters lower seat but much higher sales figures. Well then, respect to Mash for such a consistent retro-enduro feeling.

Reach for the wide handlebars, look at the tiny, but extensively informative cockpit and press the button. And the journey through time continues. Voluminous, sounding and sensual rattling single-cylinder shoots: Where else can you find that today? Such vibrations are no longer easily found today. Once you have grabbed the tight clutch, hacked down the rustic gear and turned the sluggish throttle grip, the intense expressions of life of the single cylinder expressly dictate its comfort zone. Life with the X-Ride takes place between 3,000 and 5,000 revolutions, underneath it hacks, above it rattles.


Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test


Arturo Rivas

The retro mash breathes heavily the spirit of days gone by. Visually it pleases a lot.

Speaking of intense and emphatic: two words that don’t necessarily fit what is going on in this small speed window. Cozy is better than that. The old Honda model doesn’t have that little to drag around the Mash, after all, when the emission standards were even less drastic, it had a little more power and was in a lighter environment. Not with relish, but persistently it pounds up the narrow speed range. On the subject of weight: You don’t really understand what a designated low-tech motorcycle with an air-cooled single weighs in at 180 kilograms. Fortunately, the Mash knows how to hide its pounds well when it rolls. Refreshing, almost astonishing, how quickly it swings from slope to slope. The Metzeler M7 rubbers are also a small competitive advantage, they even donate a delicate pinch of SuperMoto feeling. Wait, sports tires on a scrambler? At least that’s how the hastily brought dealer motorcycle came. Not a disadvantage in view of the rather poor grip standard tires from China. At least outside the sandpit.

Precision and feedback are still not the parade disciplines of the X-Ride, but it’s still fun, especially since the old-school shooter doesn’t have any nasty surprises in store. Only to be expected, because the miserable the ground, the more it hits the back. The rear strut doesn’t get stuck like it did on the last test machine, but it still works “real feeling”. A lot of hardness, little damping. The fork leads very well-mannered, acts more graciously. And the brake? Let’s put it that way, the fork can safely afford its added comfort, because the risk of going into the block when decelerating is rather low. You have to get in quite a bit for an official delay. Just like in the past.

Ergonomics and driving impressions Ducati

But: Pas deproblemème, if you want to stick to the Italo sisters on the Franco-Chinese, you shouldn’t take the brakes anyway. The Ducati in particular is then out of sight within a very short time. Sure, twice as many cylinders, twice as much smoothness, with good will almost twice as much power and, in fact, hardly any more pounds: The scrambler pioneer of the modern era delivers driving dynamics like from another world in this scrambling round. His V2 has a band, the finest manners, punch in the basement and a lot of ambition upstairs. In addition, it does not shoot, but such a metallic-guttural rumble is also quite good in the ear canal. The chassis has shed the exaggerated harshness of the first few years, but still provides enough cushioning reserves to allow it to tackle crisply. The Duc is not endlessly stable, but it is fun to use. Also a merit of the handlebars, which are almost indecently swung upwards.

Despite the low seating position, the Duc can be moved really smoothly. In addition, it shifts and brakes crisply, and a delicate lady’s underarm is enough for the clutch. This quickly results in an intuitive driving flow on the scrambler alla bolognese, in which all the cogs interlock almost automatically, as in a well-oiled machine.


Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test


Arturo Rivas

Has been looking good since 2015. So, the Ducati Scrambler. The driver has been a little longer.

Even if the typical motorcycle show values ​​show that the Ducati rumbles in a different world than the two single-cylinder, it is this sophistication, this evolution that can be felt with the routine of large-scale production, which creeps into the synapses through all the senses and that of the Fantic a little and the mash a little more missing. A fundamentally sympathetic motorcycle that combines the liveliness and lightness of a scrambler with the dynamism and aesthetics of a Ducati. All of this is not cheap, but inexpensive. You can understand why the Italians landed such a hit when they reinvigorated the scrambler genre out of nowhere.

But you also understand that the charisma has diminished somewhat over the years. Enough time to get tired of the perfection of the Ducati (who would have thought that these words would coincide) and its neo-retro design. If there was only one scrambler that was edgier and less avant-garde than the Duc, but cooler and lighter than the Mash …

Ergonomics and driving impressions Fantic

It exists and it comes from Fantic. The already stationary desirability of the highly attractive Caballero is remarkable. And at the latest when you press the button on the right hand and the gaudy single starts, it immediately becomes an outpatient. This water-cooled engine, generously ennobled as a 500cc engine with 449 cubic centimeters, is made in China (Zongshen), but is otherwise miles away from the coziness of its larger-displacement counterpart in the Mash. The shooting is really tough here. Acoustically and dynamically. The single cylinder can be accelerated early, reacts quickly to every small hand movement and climbs ambitiously and far up the speed ladder. The almost too short translation means that you can hardly keep up with shifting when you have must. There is also just under 40 hp, but they always seem alert and have easy play with the Fantic’s barely more than 160 kilograms.

In addition, the clutch, transmission, brake and chassis are functionally closer to the Ducati than to the Mash. Easy and precise to use, but always with a juicy output. Above all, the spring elements stand out, are still graciously adjusted, but still offer ample damping. In addition, a nice active seating position, less sloppy than on the Ducati, but more suitable for width than on the Mash. If you throw all of this into a mixer at the top, the result is a wonderfully perfectly tailored, agile motorcycle that gets the most out of its possibilities. Only the slight tilt in medium inclines does not fit into the picture, especially since the tried and tested Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR is actually not known for it. We’ll keep an eye on that for future test machines. Just like the clutch, which started to slip easily at the end of the test. Which unfortunately prevented a measurement of the driving performance. Initial research suggests an individual case, initial investigations suggest that clutch springs are not pretensioned enough. Anyway, the root cause research is ongoing and the measurements will be made up, I promise.


Scrambler from Ducati, Fantic and Mash in the test


Arturo Rivas

You also like to look into these eyes twice. Or the next morning.

Which doesn’t change the fact that the Italians, who have risen from oblivion, have perhaps achieved the most authentic, lively and airy scrambler feeling. Which also applies to the sandpit. After all, it’s about losing a reputation, Fantic and Offroad, that was synonymous for many years. And while we’re there …

The longest suspension travel, the largest front wheel, the coarsest rubbers, the lowest weight and a powerful, sophisticated engine: if you really want to jump and dig in the dirt, it can only be the Caballero. The Scrambler follows at some distance, whose wheel dimensions and tires are more road-oriented and whose extra weight can be clearly felt. The X-Ride, on the other hand, is the least suitable with its pure, hard road chassis, the combination of a mild engine, comparatively high weight and sports skin. But no one looks better here either. And that is almost the most important skill of a scrambler these days. As I said, the sandpit is one of those things.

The detailed 1000-point evaluation, measured values ​​and diagram are available in MOTORCYCLE 1/2021 as PDF for download.

Conclusion

Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500: What a gig. The Caballero is visually and functionally beguiling, light as a feather, made of high quality, fairly priced. In addition, a gaudy stew and veritable scrambler qualities. Only the test defect tarnishes the otherwise great result a little.
Mash X-Ride 650 Classic:
No one can do better retro, there is no more beautiful yesterday. But this also applies to the design and driving behavior, which puts the low price into perspective. Neither off-road nor on-road a burner, but it is heartwarming.
Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark:
The standard meter of the scrambler renaissance. Drives in a league of its own on this lap and still offers a little something for the heart. The neo-modern design is a matter of taste, the solid construction is not.

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