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Fantic Presents the Caballero 700; Retro Scrambler With Thoroughly Modern Performance

You may or may not have heard of Fantic, a relatively small-volume Italian manufacturer that has been known for smaller displacement scrambler models, including the Caballero 500.

It turns out that Fantic has a relationship with Yamaha that allows it to use the wonderful 689cc parallel twin found in the Yamaha MT-07 and XSR700 models. At EICMA, Fantic has just announced the Caballero 700 utilizing this engine.

This isn’t just a design exercise (although the design is quite attractive, in our opinion) as the Caballero 700 features several modern and up-market specifications. A 3.5″ TFT instrument panel for starters, and modern electronics such as cornering ABS, traction control and three selectable rider modes, including Road, Off-Road and Custom.

The suspension is a good spec, as well. 45mm upside-down Marzocchi forks and a Marzocchi shock suspend the machine and its single-backbone chromoly frame.

The balance of the machine looks good with its 19″ front and 17″ rear wheels. Unlike Yamaha, Fantic chose to go with a single 330mm front disc brake utilizing a Brembo four-piston caliper.

The Caballero 700 comes in at a claimed dry weight under 400 pounds (397 pounds, to be exact). We doubt the bike will be made available in the U.S. market, but you never know.

55 Comments

  1. Fastship says:

    Anyone (of a certain age) here in the UK will remember the Fantic Chopper of the 1970’s!

    If you think this new model is sweet check out the Caballero 500 on their web site.

  2. DR007 says:

    Santa, IS that a real motorcycle? Yes, Timmy that’s a real motorcycle. And that’s what they are to look like. Merry Christmas.

  3. Mrpokey says:

    It’s new enough and old enough at the same time. Please, no TFT screens, a proper set of 2 analog clocks.

  4. Nick says:

    I don’t know if there are many/any UK riders on here, but I wonder if this Fantic 700 is part of the display on the stand at the Birminham NEC show this week? They don’t list it as part of their advertised 2022 range, so perhaps not. Just wondering if it’s worth 5 hours on the road to find out!

  5. motorhead says:

    Question answered: Every motorcycle maker in the world now knows exactly what the 60-75 year-old US biker buyers want: remake the Yamaha Enduro of the 60’s-70’s. Back then we were young, impressionable, passionate, enduro-adventurous and we want that feeling to go on forever. Our grandkids will most assuredly like what we like if we buy them little enduros. Next question: how do bike makers determine what the 15-25 year-olds want? How about the 25-50 year-olds? The answer: they want some of that money we 60-75 year-olds have hoarded up for our retirements.

    • Dave says:

      If they’re looking at this site then they know what a dozen or so 60-75 year-old US biker buyers say they want. If it came to the US, how many would go and buy one?

      FWIW, Everyone I know with a bike of this style is younger than me and I’m 50. I bet this bike sells to more younger guys than older ones.

    • Jon says:

      In my 40s here. This bike looks pretty damn close to perfect in my eyes.

      • motorhead says:

        I stand corrected! It’s a hopeful message that this bike resonates with a broad swath of bikers. I’ve asked the local Cabellero dealer for the first one they manage to bring stateside. Time for me to put up or shut up.

        • Dave says:

          I don’t think there’s a wrong/right. Older guys like it and younger guys do too. I find it encouraging that a broad range of age groups responding to this style. Every time something exciting comes along my hope is that people reward the effort with purchases.

  6. Tim says:

    Retro, but modern looking at the same time. I like it.

  7. MikeG says:

    I like it! Many of us would jump on a bike like this for its versatility, the occasional dirt road romp, etc., but constantly marvel at how much better it looks than the hideous (!) looking XSR700

    • Curly says:

      Are you thinking of the MT07? The XSR700 is the nicer looking round light model.

      • MikeG says:

        Curly,

        No, I’m thinking of the XSR. It has tiny frame tubes headed every which way, the goofy looking component covers under the front of the tank, looks like it’s missing side covers under the seat. To me, it’s a visual mess, and it doesn’t resemble *anything* from years past that I recall. Think of all the beautiful models Yamaha has to draw from: ’82 XJ650, for example. It was a standard bike with a beautiful tank, side covers over the under-seat components, frame tubes that didn’t look misplaced. The XSR700 just looks unfinished, and very ugly to my eye.

  8. Rico Bustamente Jr says:

    I like the Fantic
    I had a 1974 Kawasaki F-11, 250cc enduro (street/dirt) with a Hooker expansion chamber. Brrrrrraaaapppp….about 25-26 hp of wonderful 2 stroke power. Terrible suspension and drum brakes buy way cool. A wheelie machine. Redline and top speed matched at 7400/74 mph.
    I wish I would have kept it. Cost $949 brand new, out the door.

  9. joe b says:

    This looks to be the bike Yamaha should have made instead of the MT07.The rear shock is mounted vertical, almost hidden while the exhaust seems to have been routed alongside the shock up through the swingarm, I’m sure with heat shield, to the 2 small mufflers, very neat. Everything about it makes it seem to be more like the “Standard” machine of the seventies, other than the fashion like knobby tires. Why knobbies? Then you have real dirt bike people claiming its too big too heavy too wrong for the dirt. This just needs a good set of street tires. I like it. with so many of the new 270° twins coming out from Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, its surprising none of them have the retro look, this could so easily be modified to have. What is obvious, is they all seem to see, with their engine frame, its easily to change the machine, to be different flavors, bagger, retro, street racer, beginner, even off road adventure bike. This is nothing but a modern 650 Triumph from the sixties, many rode on the street, track, desert, everywhere. Is it comparable to a pure MX bike? Is it comparable to a pure street racer? Is it comparable to a big twin touring or bagger? It would loose in all, but it could to all, something the others cant. We finally have a real modern mid size, in the past this was a “big bike”, that can do it all. and no one can see it. we are living in the future.

  10. Johnnie says:

    I guess I am in the minority around here. Seems like an underpowered/overweight street bike with bad suspension, weak brakes for its weight, and lousy street tires. Too heavy and not enough suspension travel for off road work. I never understand these types of bikes. I would much rather (and do) have a good road bike and a good offroad bike instead of one bike that does both poorly, but I’m glad there are bikes for all of us. Anything that keeps people riding is good by me.

    • Motoman says:

      I’m with you overall but I really like the looks. Complete 180 for me to judge a bike this way but if I imagine myself riding less aggressively, I can see the allure of a bike like this for a dirty twisted piece of pavement or hard packed dirt or gravel.

    • cw says:

      Well, I think it depends what kind of off-road you have.

      I thought scramblers were meant to be something that could go through dirt, grass and gravel better than a street bike. They’re not so much for going over/through obstacles.

      In Massachusetts, there is the October Mountain State Forest. It has many dirt/gravel roads going through it where something like this would work fine, as evidenced by my large Standard Japanese Bike on worn ST tires handling them just fine as well as a small Cruiser-ish-shaped Standard Japanese Bike I saw there. In that same forest, there was also a dedicated off-road vehicle path where something like this would not be able to make easy progress…as evidenced by my large Standard Japanese Bike on worn ST tires NOT handling it just fine.

      I am working from the assumption the 4 piston on the front will make up some of the difference in not having another disc there, but I also get that “Scrambler” is largely a styling exercise with tires that won’t slip quite as much on slippery stuff and muffler placement that discourages passengers. As much as that’s the case, I think this still does a much more appealing job of “retro”, “vintage” or style than Yamaha did with the XSR line. This bike minus the high-muffs, the dirtbike-ish front and the knobby-ish tires might make for a lovely standard comparing to certain iterations of the SV650, Ducati Monster, etc.

      • Johnnie says:

        Hey CW, I think you’re probably right; our ideas of what offroading consists of probably determines a lot of this. Because I live in the SW, my idea of offroad is desert riding with deep sand and lots of whoops and jumps, often doubling through big desert whoops in 3rd gear. You really need either an MX bike or proper Enduro bike. I guess I just can’t see picking a bike for dirt roads; when I used to ride on the street, I often rode dirt roads on a sport bike.

    • motorhead says:

      When I was a kid in the 70’s, Red Bull and extreme sports didn’t exist (except for Evel Knievel) and our overweight, under-powered bikes were fine for doing just fun stuff. We didn’t risk our lives, we didn’t post videos, we just liked the bike we had. Today younger folks want a quiver of bikes, one for each extreme thing they tackle: racing, jumping, flipping, cruising, climbing mountains and sand dunes. This scrambler doesn’t do any of those things, and can only be used for what we old timers did in the 70’s – biking in a pleasant, old-fashioned way and commuting. We let Evel do the insane things.

  11. Toad says:

    Looks great and they won’t send it stateside. Color me shocked.

    • Mick says:

      I think that it’s odd that people wonder why the US can’t seem to sell the kids on street bikes. They can’t go to a showroom that has this bike and its pretty inexpensive 500 brother, it’s a 450 really.

      There are a lot of other examples in the world market. But, in general, bikes that they can afford that can they fall in love with before they leave the dealer for a look see. If you’re not into cruisers, that’s unicorn horn in the US, unless you’re a dirt biker.

      The bikes here in the US are all so bland or seemingly visually hostile. They actually want to cause you pain by looking at them. You’re not gonna sell a kid on that idea.

      I rode dirt bikes since I started school. We rode to a dealer every week to ogle all the bikes there. Motorcycle oil flowed in my veins. It wasn’t until I was 26 that I bought a street bike on spec to see how I took to the activity. The bikes were starting to get my attention at the time like the Frankenstein beasts before them never did. There was the occasional interesting street bike. But it was usually a wow look at the size of this sort of thing. They were so huge and crude.

      Now days I often wonder what a decent designer costs. Really, look at most of this stuff on the market. You have to look for the occasional pleasing element, instead of having to look closely for the occasional wart. This bike is fairly well put together. Back in the day it would meet all the standard minimums of aesthetics and maybe earn a few jeers. But now? Wassup? It seems so simple. Where have the old minimums gone?

  12. Kevin P says:

    It’s neat. Yamaha did make the XSR 700 (and XSR 900) which was a retro styled naked bike and there’s nothing stopping a buyer from adding TKC 80 tires and you’d have a similar bike. These scramblers are 80% road 20% dirt road bikes not made for single track any more than a V-Strom 650 due to ground clearance, travel, weight, etc. But the style of the Fantic is cool.

  13. ORT says:

    First bike I actually owned was a ’74 Yamaha DT175. Enduros were the rage in the 60s and 70s with good reason. You could ride just about anywhere without fear of the enviro-cuckold-crowd attacking you cuz they didn’t exist. Of course I promptly bought a “desert tank” (more capacity!) and BINGO!

    E-Ticket to Adventure Land.

    I’ve read that Honda has a CL500 coming out and have seen a photo that doesn’t look all that good. I doubt that one will come here either which given its lack of looks is fine by me. This Fantic is looks a bit nicer.

    How difficult can it be to pay homage to your own past with a few nice Scramblers or instead of ripping off Harley-Davidson’s styling history? I would NEVER ride a “Starley” but a new DT350 or XT500 motorbike that actually paid respectful homage style-wise with modern touches such as tubeless spoke wheels, fuel injection and switchable ABS with a decent sized tank?

    Hell yeah!

    ORT

    • dt-175 says:

      mine was a ’78.

      petite little stroker, dressed up in blue,
      how lucky i was to first have met you.

      you taught me all that i needed to learn,
      the tricks of the trade: jump, slide, wheelie and turn.

      the brakes could be used deep in a bend,
      too bad that v-dub snapped off your front end.

      i think of you now as you lie somewhere dead,
      what you had to offer is still in my head.

    • todd says:

      I still have a ‘72 RT2 (DT360). I use it for all the off road excursions I do, except when I rent a bike on tours. It actually ends up still being a very good trail bike. The seat is low to easily paddle through the really rough stuff. The low height also means it does hill climbs better than the MX bikes that always want to loop out. It starts on first kick every time, even after I dump it on a sandy single track. The only problem is poor fuel mileage and a tiny tank but fitting a Rotopax to the rear rack has expanded that. It’s also light and much easier to carry to the trails on the back of my Westfalia than many of the bigger/heavier bikes.

    • Mick says:

      You guys should check out Mash motorcycles. Total XT revisited kind of thing. They were all over Paris when I lived there, very popular. Yet another forbbiden in the US fruit.

      That and just about every manufacturer has a couple of really cool 125cc DP bikes in Europe. The kids over there ride because every motorcycle dealer has candy on the floor. Not so much here in The States.

      • clasqm says:

        Those are made by Shineray in China, and sold under different brand names in other countries: Invictus in Australia and Bradley in South Africa are two that I know of. Nice little Honda knockoff engine, retro styling, what’s not to love?

  14. Gary+in+NJ says:

    There is no denying it, for those of us that rode in the 1970’s this bike pulls on the fond memory strings. It makes sense for a small manufacturer to produce a bike like this, because the population of rides who rode in the 1970’s is shrinking – every day. A large manufacturer like Yamaha has to build bikes for the 80th percentile, not the 20th. With that said, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for Yamaha to offer its vast distributor network to Fantic so they could move more product.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Based on the previous comments, many of us like a clean, functional, light weight bike without styling gimmicks. I hope the product planning people from manufacturers hear this.

    • motorhead says:

      The huge number of rave reviews on this bike suggests that most of us are in our late 50’s to 70’s. The 1970’s were the go-go years of kids riding motorcycles. I’m ordering the Cab700 before it even becomes available here.

      • todd says:

        I’m younger than that age group and the bike appeals to me. I wanted to like Yamahas retro 700 version but it was nowhere near as gracefully done as the Kawasaki W, an Enfield, or a Triumph. This Fantic has them all beat. Years ago I was a little into the moped scene and Fantic was a respected brand.

  16. Artem says:

    Fantic is very famous on the world of trial bikes.

  17. larlok says:

    WOW! And Yamaha can’t do this because?

    • Mick says:

      Frantic is owned by Yamaha. Yamaha did do this.

      It’s a bit like wondering why Honda doesn’t make a trials bike. Until you see a Montessa.

    • Dave says:

      ..because they are a large scale manufacturer that employs a shared platform model. Without the MT07 they couldn’t justify the lower volume XSR700. Starting with the XSR likely limits them from reaching this bike’s proportions and design shapes.

      I think this is beautiful. I wonder how much of the MT’s content it uses and what it will sell for?

  18. EZMark says:

    Looks a ton better than the XSR700 Yamaha.

  19. todd says:

    For some reason, Yamaha themselves can’t design their engine into a bike as good looking as this. I like it, a lot.

  20. My2cents says:

    Now that’s cool and reliable. Italian looks and a Japanese heart.

  21. bob says:

    This would be a perfect all around motorcycle. It looks great.

  22. Nick says:

    A very neat and purposeful-looking bike. MUCH more appealing than the current crop of plastic Japanese offerings. Odd that Fantic should suddenly emerge from their previous world of buzz-box mopeds to create something as good as this. It could suit so many riders who don’t require ballistic performance. Me for a start!

  23. motorhead says:

    Yes. Yes. Yamaha. 400 lbs. Scrambler. It is exactly what I need. Make it black and yellow with “enduro” written on it and it is my dream bike reincarnated.

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