Fantic on the up: New factory, new engines and even new bikes from resurgent Italian brand

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Fantic are going from strength to strength, with big plans for the future, according to CEO Mariano Roman. Having only been revitalised eight years ago, the brand now has 30 importers and 1000 dealers across 50 different countries.

Despite the pandemic, turnover doubled last year compared to the last pre-Covid year. To say things have been a success for Fantic would be an understatement.

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The man responsible for driving this renaissance is Mariano Roman, 66, who helped to create Aprilia’s first superbike – the RSV Mille 60º V-twin – as well as its Tuono, Caponord, Falco and Futura 1000 models while he was Technical Director. With a long list of such past successes, is it any wonder that Fantic is now doing so well?

Fantic CEO Mariano Roman

“My vision for the Fantic brand has been to build growth by carefully developing affordable new products in different sectors which embody lots of emotion – Enduro, Flat Track, Scrambler, Rally,” says Roman. “That’s why we revived the Caballero brand – it was the dream of every teenager back in the 1970s and 80s to own a Caballero – well, either that or a Fantic chopper!”

Of course Roman is all too aware that just aiming bikes at nostalgic older riders doesn’t help bring in the next generation of customers. Keen to help revive the motorcycle market, Roman says one of his biggest desires is to get young riders started on Fantic’s 50cc and 125cc models and then get them to progress up the capacity ladder into lifelong motorcyclists.

One of the side effects of their success has been their ability to purchase Minarelli from Yamaha, so not only are they now in a position to start building all their own engines, they’ll also be supplying them to others. Within two years Roman says every Fantic will be 100% built in Italy, with their own engine, so they will no longer have to rely on Zongshen.

Fantic's new factory in Santa Maria di Sala

And what next? Right now, Fantic only has a single-cylinder range. Taking the Benelli 502K, Italy’s best-selling motorcycle last year as an example, would they consider making a twin-cylinder Street Enduro range? 

“I believe at the next EICMA Show in November this year we’ll have a nice surprise for you in this segment! The success of the Benelli twin has been too great to ignore!” reveals Roman.

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Alan Cathcart

By Alan Cathcart