Think Fantic and your thoughts might drift wistfully to 1970s trail bikes, chunky off-road boots and Kickstart on TV.
Created by Mario Agrati and Henry Keppel-Hesselinkis in 1968, the firm began life exporting enduros, mini-bikes and even go-karts, before moving into the UK market in 1972 - producing a range of sporty 50cc sports mopeds.
Fantic Motor then moved into trials in the 1980s, before falling on hard times and fading away, ceasing tading in the UK market place over a decade ago.
However, now they’re back, loud, proud, Italian-owned and still strong to their off-road roots. Fantic are well and truly up and running.
There are already 21 UK dealers and in them you’ll find a 50cc-250cc enduro range, 50cc/125cc supermotos and even a Fantic electric mountain bike.
But what’s really floating our retro boat is the Caballero range, available in Scrambler or Flat Track flavours.
The 125s are already out and the 500 is due at the end of the summer, but right now we’re in Italy, just up the road from Fantic’s Treviso factory, to ride the Caballero 250 Scrambler, hot off the production line and in dealers any day now.
Aside from styling, the bike tested here is mechanically identical to and costs the same as the Flat Track.
The Caballero 250 Scrambler is an impressive piece of kit, especially for the price. Dripping with Italian designer labels, its build quality is superb and the styling is bang-on. Its modestly powered single-cylinder motor is refined, but characterful, with a charming, poppy, trails-bike-like exhaust note.
Even more remarkable is how taut and together the chassis is. It’s light, handles and brakes beautifully and is a piece of cake to ride.
It’s just the thing for zipping around town, thudding through tight terrain and even off-road. In a class dominated by big, heavy, contrived retros, the simple Fantic is a breath of fresh air.