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Fantic’s Caballero 500: Finally, a Real Scrambler?

Fantic Caballero 500 Scrambler

Pretend scramblers. Bikes that look the part, but don’t “walk the walk.” The market is full of them, now, because they are “cool”. What about a scrambler that really works well off road?

Fantic Motorcycles debuted the Caballero 500 at EICMA last Fall in two versions. The “Scrambler” and the “Flat-Track” Caballero 500s favorably impressed journalists and enthusiasts with their simple, functional design, but the little-known Fantic has yet to introduce production models.

Each of these models features a 449 cc single-cylinder engine rated at 43 hp. We understand that curb weight for each of the bikes is in the neighborhood of 320 pounds. More than 100 pounds lighter than most other, street-legal “scramblers” currently on the market.

Fantic Caballero 500 Flat-Track

Fantic granted an exclusive first test to the Italian magazine Motociclismo (which we have not seen) for the July issue of that print magazine. We understand Motociclismo has indicated an expected on-sale date in Europe later this year for both models with a price of the neighborhood of 7,000 Euro (currently $8,000 U.S.). Whether these bikes will ever make it to the U.S. market is an unanswered question.


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59 Comments

  1. Willy Leavitt says:

    Looks like a Rokon! Like the flat tracker though

  2. Mick says:

    I don’t think that any current larger OEM will make a new big street thumper any time soon. KTM is KTM. They are Austrian and therefore rock harder than Rammstein. The Japanese don’t seem to want to rock that hard. And that’s OK. The Japanese are busy making ever cooler parallel twins. Though I think KTM will keep them honest here too.

    I feel that a parallel twin could be made to provide really nice low vibe power in a package that has less weight and less gyro than a big thumper that provides the same max power, and still passes emissions. I think that they can do it without making the engine much, if at all, wider as well.

    Time will tell. Why must this be so slow?

  3. Doc says:

    Finally, someone got it right. Love em both. As a side note, looks like an old Bultaco tank.

  4. Norm G. says:

    DIRCK ALERT: not to take anything away from this thread for it’s a fine thread but…

    #LAGUNASECA

    #PANIGALERFE

  5. John says:

    Looks fantastic. Seems like the Scrambler could use just a little more suspension, just an inch or two.

  6. caribooster says:

    I like it…!

  7. rider33 says:

    no, we will not see them stateside. They are entirely too cool looking and functional to make it over here. Add about a hundred pounds, detune it a bit and add some fake plastic racer graphics and maybe. We get things like the new Venture, this helps to keep those pesky millinials out of the sport. ‘Damn kids, keep off my lawn….

  8. Tom Taggart says:

    I have owned Fantic 240,300,301,303,305 and Fantic Keyroo trials motorcycles in the 70 and 80’s.Small mfg that made top shelf bikes with which won many World Trials Championships .THey made other bikes but trials bikes were the only ones imported to U.S. I believe.

  9. motorhead says:

    If only bike manufacturers made bikes like the old scrambler, then I would give up my hypothetical money for one. Wait. These are the real thing. Now, to turn my hypothetical dollars into real dollars, I’ll buy this scrambler.

  10. Norm G. says:

    is there a shot of the other side…? i like the “piece of swiss cheese” pipe gaurd and i wonder if they’ve mirrored that design element in some way or just left it open.

  11. Simon Jester says:

    Unobtanium

  12. Tim says:

    Great looking bikes, and with a seat height which, by appearance at least, doesn’t require the rider to be 6’2″ and up. I’m drawn to tall bikes and would love a 690 KTM, but at 5’8″, I literally can’t reach the kick stand with my other foot holding the bike up. My KLR is manageable but a bit heavy and under powered.

    • mickey says:

      Have to laugh, I rode my son’s FJ-09 the other day, and it took me ar least 10 stabs to get the sidestand out far enough to stay. I’d push as far as a could, and it would not lock in, just snap back up. That was with my toe on the ground on the right side.

      Being taller would open up a whole new world of bikes that I could ride.

    • Stratkat says:

      really you guys kill me with these stories… coast to a stop and just before, hop off the bike, deploy the side stand and done. once you can handle a bike and the physics of it, you should be able to ride anything!
      same with these stories about not being able to touch both feet down. go to a parking lot and practice sliding your butt to one side, you only need one foot on the ground, practice, practice, practice.

      • mickey says:

        sorry Stratkat, I’m 67 with 2 bad knees. The days of coasting to a stop and “hopping off” to stand beside a tall bike before it falls over are in my past. Same with the butt slide to 1 side thing. 5 years ago yea, these days, not taking the chance. If I can’t get at least a toe to touch on each side, chances are I’m not riding it. Now, I have done it recently, like the FJ-09 and Super 10’s I’ve ridden, but getting the side stand deployed becomes a problem even though I can get a toe down at the stops. I purposely haven’t ridden a BMW GS 1200, a Kawasaki Versys 1000 and a Suzuki V Strom 1000 just because they were too dang tall.

        BTW I saw a guy try and do the butt slide one day going up into a gas station parking lot out of the street following a car. Just as his front wheel got up on the sidewalk the car stopped, so he jammed on his brakes and he was left dangling. He slid to one side to try and get one foot down, but the gap to the street was just too much and the bike was on a 45 degree angle before his foot hit. It was too heavy for him to hold at that angle and down he went.

        • Stratkat says:

          if you have medical issues thats a diff kind of challenge, doesnt sound like this is the bike for you. and as for you example of the that fell. i can give you example myself of a bike getting away from me. i think we can all tell stories, after all we are dealing with 2 wheels, things are gonna happen. im talking about every day situations. ive ridden bikes for years where i cant touch down with both feet, ive also been in a situation where ive had to switch to the other foot, its not that dificult, i dont even think about it!

      • Tim says:

        I can still mount them while moving, but at 57 years old, the moving dismount on an $11,000 motorcycle is a little intimidating. If it involved beat up $2000 dirt bikes, I wouldn’t be so reluctant to practice it.

    • carlos says:

      I’m 5’4 and owned an 03R6, FZ8, and Buell 1125CR. Also rented a KTM690 in austria for a day. Rode all 4 of those without issues except for the Buell where to pull in the kickstand i have to use my toe on middle of the kickstand leg.

  13. Wendy says:

    Okay, the flat track is gorgeous.

  14. clasqm says:

    Fantic? I’m flabbergasted that they are still around. Haven’t heard from them in thirty years. Is this a revived brand?

  15. skybullet says:

    KTM could sell a lot more 690 Dukes if they looked more like this. Or… they could just offer a “Naked/Retro” model for those of us who want looks AND performance.

  16. ApriliaRST says:

    I really like the scrambler over the flat track. But other than tires and trim, how much different are they? 500cc with more power than the KLR 650cc. Nice!

  17. Jim H. says:

    Sweet. That is the size and style I would like to see more readily available brands produce. Seems like only the obscure manufacturers can produce a classic look like this. Yamaha 660 single in something like either of these, and I am in.

  18. dt 175 says:

    old number 19 there looks like the cover art for my new album, featuring the hit single “smells like mid-life crisis”. wow that’s a good looking bike…

  19. CrazyJoe says:

    I want this if only it was built to my 10 dollars a cc rule; 250 cc 2500 dollars, 500 cc 5000 dollars. I keep waiting for Japanese to do this, If it doesn’t live of to the name ye old scramblers, whatever that was, they could call them Nakid adventure bikes.

    Ok, I’ll say it, a scrambler is a street bike with nobbies and a couple inches added to the suspension. Not something with 12 inch travel that could compete in mo to cross.

    • Kyle says:

      The problem with that rule is a that a Honda XR 50 will never be $500. Further if you had a 1cc bike, it wouldn’t be $10 because the rolling chassis alone would sell for at least $500. I don’t think it works for 500cc. It works great for any bike above 650 though!

      Any bike worth its weight needs to be rolling on at least $3000 worth of frame and suspension.

      • CrazyJoe says:

        Not an iron clad rule but it does happen or instance, fz 07 & 09, bolt, sportster, scout just to name a few. I wouldn’t consider a 300 cc adventure bike for 6000.

        I would consider breaking the rule for a bolt on to my bicycle. I would love to peddle 60 miles again. Can’t do it anymore on my own.

    • Brian says:

      You’re probably gonna keep waiting. Inflation.

  20. Chase says:

    The venerable KTM RFS lives!!!!!
    Love this bike

  21. mickey says:

    Pretty cool looking bikes.I like the scrambler.

    speaking of which, I saw my first Ducati Scrambler on the road today. Rare sighting in these parts. Nearest Duc dealers are a couple hours away. Wonder where the nearest Fantic dealer is lol.

  22. AlohaTerry says:

    Very nice…I like thumpers and at 320 lbs or so this look like the right size for urban or in the woods fun!

  23. todd says:

    Or get yourself an XR650R that someone made street legal.

    • Fred M. says:

      That just makes it into a dual-sport, rather than a scrambler, the latter of which has a much lower seat height. If we’re going to go that direction, just buy a used KTM, Beta, or Husky 500cc class dual sport, all of which will eat a tagged and lighted XR650R for lunch.

  24. WSHart says:

    Nice. Similar to but not as sweet as the Benelli Leoncino.

  25. Bubba says:

    Looks great. The motor looks a little two stroke like on my phone but must be four stroke.

  26. Gutterslob says:

    Fantic is missing a ‘tas’ in the middle, because that’s how these bikes look.

  27. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    Now get them in the Kalifornia!

  28. Thor says:

    I love thumpers! If only the Japanese would build something like this. I would even settle for a KLR650 engine in a simple, classic, light weight design like these two examples instead of the ugliness of the current KLR or other big Japanese dual sports. The Duke 690 is almost there but I can’t stomach the price premium given how maintenance intensive KTMs are known to be. If the Caballero works as well as it looks, that would be wonderful, but too expensive and no dealer network makes it a tough sell.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      > KLR650 engine

      Could really use more power.

    • Kyle says:

      keep wishing/dreaming/praying, ain’t never going to happen (the whole, I wish the Japanese would…)

    • VStrom Pilot says:

      KTM … maintenance intensive? My LC4-640 had over 40K miles on it and all I ever did was change oil & filters, and checked valve adjustment. Rarely had to even actually adjust the valves.
      And yes, I “rode it like I stole it”!

    • MotoMaster39 says:

      I think that would be really cool too, if the Japanese manufacturers revived their dual sport lines. Unfortunately, I think the EPA throws a huge wrench in their spokes with regards to all the cost and red tape associated with a newly developed model.

  29. atlantarandy says:

    I have to say, I think both are home runs. A little pricey, but I wouldn’t mind the PAIR sitting in my garage. Exclusivity is something I’ve always enjoyed in my “eclectic” purchases over the years. If they perform like they look, sign me up.

  30. Jeremy in TX says:

    Neat little bike.

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