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A Genuine Italian Budget Scrambler

The Fantic Caballero 500 is a modern-classic motorcycle that exudes style and performance. This Italian machine has been capturing the hearts of riders since its launch in 2019.

If like me you were put off the first edition Ducati Scramblers because, well, they couldn’t actually scramble, then the Italian Caballero Scrambler 500 may well be the bike you’ve been looking for.

It’s a dual sport bike, a genuine scrambler, that performs very well on the tarmac and is able to tackle off-road with ease and as an added bonus, it is very competitively priced.

Overview of Fantic Caballero 500

The Fantic Caballero 500 is a stylish and modern motorcycle produced by Italian manufacturer Fantic. It features a 449 cc single-cylinder engine, blending power and performance with a 70’s design.

This bike definitely sets out to appeal to riders interested in a retro aesthetic. With its classic look and modern technology though, the Caballero Scrambler is so much fun in both urban environments and outdoor adventures.

Some key components of the Fantic Caballero 500 include Brembo brakes, adjustable suspension, and an efficient fuel system. It also comes standard with ABS and LED lighting for improved safety and visibility.

Boasting an accessible seat height and ergonomic design, the 500 model is a comfortable option for various types of riders. Fantic’s attention to detail is evident in the bike’s build quality and overall feel.

Design and Style

As already mentioned the Fantic Caballero 500 is undeniably inspired by the classic scrambler motorcycles of the 60’s and 70s. I’m thinking of bikes like the Honda XL250 and Yamaha XT500

The use of bold colors on the fuel tank, side panels, and seat further enhance its vintage appeal.

This blend of old-school charm coupled with modern Fantic engineering makes the Caballero 500 an attractive choice for those who love the classic scrambler looks but wants some off road riding capability to back up the styling.

Engine and Power

Engine Specifications

The Fantic Caballero 500 features a Zongshen 449cc single cylinder 4-stroke engine. The engine has a bore of 92mm, ensuring efficient combustion.

Yes the engine is Chinese made but it’s delivered to the Fantic factory in Italy where the rest of the caballero range of motorcycles are all built and assembled.

The engine is built to the Fantic engineers specifications and it is a cracking thumper with plenty of torque, producing a very creditable 43 Nm from 42 horsepower.

Suspension and Handling

Front Suspension

The Fantic Caballero 500 features a beefy 41mm USD (Upside-Down) fork. With a front suspension travel of 6″ (150mm), it smoothly soaks up bumps and uneven terrain. The Rally and Explorer models come with 8″ travel (200mm) and adjustability for those looking to do more off road than tarmac.

Rear Suspension

On the rear, the Caballero 500 comes equipped with a pre-load adjustable mono-shock absorber. It’s connected to an aluminium swingarm, providing a rear suspension travel of 6″ (150mm). As at the front, the Rally and Explorer models have an extra 2″ of adjustable suspension travel.

Riders will appreciate the handling capabilities of this bike. The balanced combination of front and rear suspension ensures confidence in corners and stability on various surfaces.

Brakes and Safety Features

ABS System

The Fantic Caballero 500 comes equipped with a modern ABS system as standard. This provides riders with increased control during hard braking situations. In another nod to its off road abilities, the ABS can be switched off whenever you hit the trails.

Brake System

Fantic Caballero 500 features a ByBre brake system ensuring solid braking performance. The front brake boasts a powerful 320mm disc complemented by a 4-piston caliper.

The rear brake system consists of a 230mm disc and a single-piston caliper.

Both front and rear brakes work harmoniously to provide the rider with confidence in their stopping ability.

Chassis and Weight

All the Fantic Caballero 500 range features a Chrome molybdenum steel central tube frame which contributes to the motorcycles lightness.

Each component and curve of the chassis is designed to maximize stability and precision. This allows for agile handling and confidence-inspiring cornering.

Riders will appreciate the well-balanced weight distribution. The Caballero 500 tips the scales at a remarkably light dry weight of 150 kg (330lbs). That’s about 100lbs less than your typical “pretend” scrambler.

This lightness contributes to the nimble and responsive behavior of the motorcycle. The accessible seat height is 35.4 inches, making it suitable for various rider profiles.

The bike boasts impressive acceleration for its class thanks to its power to weight ratio.

Fuel Consumption and Capacity

The Fantic Caballero 500 is known for its impressive fuel consumption. It’s quite efficient, making it ideal for riders looking to save on gas. The fuel capacity of this motorcycle is 12 liters – a generous amount that allows for longer rides without constant refueling stops. This is achieved due to its well-designed fuel tank, providing ample storage for fuel.

The 500 consistently receives praise for its performance in this regard. Both casual riders and enthusiasts appreciate its practicality and efficiency on the road. So, whether it’s a weekend trip or a daily commute, the Fantic Caballero 500 can handle it with ease and keep your wallet happy at the same time.

Equipment and Features

The Fantic Caballero 500 comes with plenty of equipment to make the ride enjoyable. Its ABS system ensures rider safety during braking.

The dash is on the basic side but is sufficient with speed and time easily visible. Rev counter and fuel gauge is not so easy to see though although there is a low fuel warning light that’s easily spotted.

Caballero Range

There are currently 6 models in the Caballero range.

Caballero Scrambler 500

Fantic Caballero Scrambler 500

The Scrambler 500 is the stylish and versatile base model in the Fantic Caballero 500 lineup. It’s designed for on and off-road adventures, with a classic scrambler design and modern technology blend.

This machine features a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. The Scrambler 500 boasts a comfortable saddle, making it ideal for long rides and city explorations.

Caballero Flat Track 500

Caballero Flat Track 500
Caballero Flat Track 500

The Flat Track 500 variant takes inspiration from iconic flat track racing machines. It sports an aggressive look with its uniquely designed seat, side panels, and exhaust system.

Equipped with 19-inch wheels both front and rear, the Flat Track 500 offers excellent handling.

Caballero Deluxe 500

Caballero Deluxe 500
Caballero Deluxe 500

The Caballero Deluxe 500 is the 500 Scrambler, but with a new look and details like a crossbar and the handlebars and a modern coloured grey fuel tank and mudguards, which contrasts nicely with the brown leather.

The spoked 19″ front and 17″ rear wheels are fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Rally knobby tyres to complete the urban scrambler looks.

Caballoro Anniversary 500

Caballoro Anniversary 500
Caballoro Anniversary 500

Released in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Fantic Caballero unveiled at Eicma in 1969.

It comes with a new tank cover featuring the Italian flag, off-road handlebars with crossbar, tank bag, engine skid plate, headlamp protection grille and front number board.

Caballero Rally 500

Caballero Rally 500
Caballero Rally 500

The Caballero Rally 500 is tailored for those who enjoy off-road challenges and expeditions. Its long-travel and fully adjustable suspension and 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels wearing off road tyres ensure ample clearance and maneuverability when riding off road.

Rugged protection elements include:

The Rally 500, like its siblings, carries the 449cc single cylinder engine, making it a capable and thrilling choice for off-road junkies.

Caballero Explorer 500

Caballero Explorer 500
Caballero Explorer 500

Based on the above Rally model, the Explorer model includes accessories such as a rear and tank rack, and side panniers.

It also comes with new side protection, together with the engine protection plate and other protection grills plus off road tyres, the Caballero Explorer 500 is ready for just about any adventure.

Practicality and Comfort

The Fantic Caballero 500 offers a comfortable riding experience with a seat height of 820mm. It provides an easy reach to the ground, even for riders with shorter inseams.

The motorcycle is designed for fun rides, handling twists and turns with ease. Its lightweight and agile nature make it enjoyable for both new and experienced riders.

At low speeds, the Caballero shows impressive stability and control. This makes it a great choice for city commutes and tight traffic situations.

In terms of practical features, the bike includes a luggage rack and passenger grab handles. These additions make it a versatile option for both daily use and weekend adventures.

Performance and Acceleration

Due to it being so light, performance levels are a pleasant surprise the first time you ride it and you will find yourself questioning if it really is just a 450cc single cylinder engine. It’ll maintain freeway and motorway cruising speeds with ease although it’s not going to be comfortable with the upright seating position.

Top speed is a claimed 110mph.

The Fantic Caballero 500 boasts impressive acceleration (again thanks to its low weight), with its max power reaching 40 hp at 7500 rpm. It also has a max torque of 43 Nm at 5000 rpm, which contributes to its strong performance.

Handling the Fantic Caballero 500 is a breeze, thanks to the well-tuned suspension and quality brakes. You can expect to navigate through winding roads with ease and confidence.

In summary, the Fantic Caballero 500 delivers a solid performance with energetic acceleration and reliable handling. Riders will find this bike to be the perfect blend of power and agility without unneeded complexities.

Price and Affordability

The Fantic Caballero 500 is priced moderately in the market. It offers a good value for those seeking a stylish scrambler that can actually scramble.

Competing bikes in the segment have similar prices. However, the Caballero delivers a unique combination of both performance and aesthetics.

The Flat Tracker and Scrambler 500 will set you back £6,550 (about $8,144 USD) while the top of the range Rally 500 costs £7,199 (around $9,000

Affordability is subjective, as it depends on personal budget and priorities. For me though, the Fantic Caballero 500’s off road capabilities justifies the price.

Owners’ Reviews and Ratings

On the Fantic Caballero 500 fan page owners generally express satisfaction with their purchase. They often mention the bike’s unique design and eye-catching aesthetics.

The ride quality is praised, with riders commending its smooth handling and comfortable suspension. Cornering is a breeze, thanks to its lightweight construction.

Owners find the engine to be both responsive and reliable. The 500cc engine delivers enough power for both city commutes and spirited weekend rides and there’s plenty of photos of them on the trails.

Despite the mostly positive feedback, some minor criticisms have also been noted. A few owners have mentioned that the seat could be more comfortable during long rides.

Additionally, some riders have expressed concerns about the availability of spare parts. However, this seems to be improving as Fantic gains popularity.

Overall, the Fantic Caballero 500 receives high ratings from its owners with the consensus being that it’s a stylish, fun, and reliable motorcycle that offers an enjoyable riding experience.

Final Thoughts

The Fantic I remember from my youth was the crazy ‘Easy Rider’ inspired 50cc chopper. What I didn’t know back then though was that Fantic were producing fantastic enduro machines and winning countless Scottish six days trials events with their 50cc, 100cc and 125cc Caballero models.

Today the range are back as 125cc, 500cc and 700cc models. They’re full on 70’s Scrambler inspired retro motorcycles that can also handle some dirt. If you want to do some serious off road riding then the Rally 500 and Explorer are genuine green lane machines and only cost about £700 more than the standard Scrambler.

Fantic produce highly regarded Enduro and Motocross motorcycles so they know their stuff. I think they’ve done a great job with these retro Scrambler bikes and being able to handle off road riding makes them stand out from the majority of cheap Scrambler motorcycles on offer today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Rally specs?

The Fantic Caballero 500 Rally features the same 449cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine as the rest of the models. However, it also sports fully adjustable suspension with 200mm travel instead of the standard 150mm, dual sport tires, bash plate and hand guards.

How tall is the seat height?

The seat height of the Fantic Caballero 500 stands at 860mm (33.85 inches). There is also an optional thicker seat for taller riders. Owners have reported the standard seat gets uncomfortable after an hour where as the upgrade is good for several hours.

What’s the top speed?

The Caballero 500 boasts a top speed of around 110 mph (177 km/h). However, keep in mind that factors such as rider weight and road conditions can affect the exact speed.

What’s the price of the Rally version?

In 2023 the Rally version of the Fantic Caballero 500 is priced at $9,375 in the US and £7,199 in the UK. Prices may vary depending on location and dealer options.

Where can I find one for sale?

To find a Fantic Caballero 500 for sale you can visit the Fantic website and do a search for your nearest dealership.

How reliable are Fantic motorcycles?

Fantic motorcycles are known for their off road competition motorcycle build quality and durability. Regular maintenance and proper care will ensure a long-lasting and reliable riding experience.

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