Taller suspension and blocky rubber gives the Rally a tougher stance, genuine off-road potential and more room for taller riders, but the suspension sinks low enough not to be a problem for shorties at a standstill either.
Stability and grip are hampered slightly by the off-road rubber, but thanks to the Fantic’s chunky front end and balanced chassis the Rally is still grippy and predictable. Fitting the Scrambler’s Pirelli Scorpion STR dual purpose tyres would be a big improvement for pure road action.
Powered by a robust 43bhp, 449cc liquid cooled single cylinder motor, produced by Zongshen in China, the Fantic has a light clutch, smooth gearbox and easy power delivery.
Packed with character the Rally is easy to control at low speed, but wind up the wick and you’re rewarded with a deep airbox bellow, a spitting exhaust note on the overrun and just the right amount of power for backroad blasting and green lane heaven. Never once do you ever feel like you’re riding a ‘small’ bike and yearn for something bigger, even on A-roads.
Tried and tested Italian chassis parts shouldn’t cause any major problems and although it’s early days, there have been no reliability issues for the Caballero 500 range so far.
The Fantic Rally 500 is remarkable value for money when you consider the level of equipment, styling touches and thrills on offer, especially compared to its scrambler-shaped (but bigger-engined) rivals like the Ducati Scrambler, Desert Sled, BMW R nineT Scrambler and Triumph Street Scrambler.
A rugged Caballero Scrambler 500 on stilts, the Rally has 50mm more suspension travel, adjustable forks, remote rear compression damping, cross-braced handlebars, sump bash plate, radiator guard, headlight grill and an aluminium swingarm, replacing the Scrambler’s steel item. Michelin Anakee Wild tyres and an army-green plastic fuel tank complete the more serious off-road look.
Like its Caballero 500 sisters the Italian-built machine is loaded with quality kit: Arrow pipes, a carbon fibre exhaust guard, spoked wheels, anodised rims, a radial Bybre caliper, wavy disc and a Brembo master cylinder. Yokes and bottom frame sections are CNC machined from aluminium – something usually the preserve of Italian exotica rather than a sub-seven grand mud-plugger.