Here in America, we don't often see the quirkier small bikes that Europe and Asia enjoy. Whether it’s the screaming Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R or the lovely little FB Mondial Flat Track 125, the grass always seems greener across the pond and the Pacific. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the small-capacity machines from a distance though, and Fantic’s Caballero is the perfect range to admire from far.
Based in Italy, Fantic specializes in enduro bikes long with mini-bikes, but the street-legal Caballero family fuses the company’s off-road prowess with sharp on-road styling. Historically consisting of 125cc, 250cc, and 500cc variants, Euro 5 emissions forced the Treviso-based brand to nix the quarter-liter models in favor of updating the eighth-liter and half-liter versions. Luckily, the Caballero 125 lineup gained additional options as a result and the update renders the entry-level Cab a much more attractive beginner bike as a result.
For 2021, the new Minarelli engine recently bought from Yamaha meets Euro 5 standards thanks to a variable valve actuation system and slipper clutch. While most 125cc machines rarely see such technology, the upgrades not only yield cleaner emissions but improve throttle response and efficiency. The slipper clutch also reduces lever pull by 20 percent and helps beginners stay out of sticky situations by preventing rear wheel lock-ups.
The updates don’t stop with the engine though. Fantic also added a quick disassembly saddle, new side panels, and a longer license hanger to protect from flinging road debris. While the Flat Track and Scrambler variants return for 2021, they will be joined by a Deluxe trim frequently found on the Caballero 500.
To reach Euro 5 compliance, the bigger Cab received ECU, exhaust, and cooling system tweaks along with new intervals between the 450cc single’s ratios. The Cabellero 500 also gained new side panels, a quick disassembly saddle, and a longer license holder in 2021, but the lineup includes a Rally and Anniversary edition along with the Flat Track, Scrambler, and Deluxe trims.
The more off-road-worthy Rally variant benefits from bulkier 43mm fork tubes over the standard 41mm option and an increased rear shock travel of 7.9 inches versus 5.9 inches on the other versions. As a result, the Rally’s seat height resides at 34.9 inches while the Flat Track, Scrambler, and Deluxe check-in at 32.3 inches.
Both the 125 and 500 Caballeros boast a 320mm front disc and 230 rear rotor with disengageable two-channel ABS. They both have a fuel capacity of 3.2 gallons and the half-liter weighs in at 330 pounds while the eighth-liter trims that figure down to 286 pounds. Prices for the models and trims are as follows:
- Caballero 125
- Flat Track and Scrambler: €5,190 ($6,318 USD)
- Deluxe: €5,290 ($6,440 USD)
- Caballero 500
- Flat Track and Scrambler: €6,690 ($8,144 USD)
- Deluxe: €6,840 ($8,326 USD)
- Anniversary: €6,990 ($8,509 USD)
- Rally: €7,290 ($8,874)