The riding position is spot-on with both bikes, being spacious (hey, are we selling real estate here?) and relaxed like dirt bikes should be – only instead of a piece of polished mahogany to sit on (as you get with competition enduros) you get fairly plush full-width saddles. It would be sacrilege not to be able to make bikes of this stature (and just 130kg) handle decently – so it’s as well they do, yep, nice and neutral – in fact positively accurate, with well-damped suspension too. The only surprise is the strength of the brakes, but we shouldn’t be surprised there, with a whopping 320mm disc and twin-piston caliper these should be razor-sharp. In fact we’d call these two over-braked were it not for the safety net that is ABS.
Now the reason, we think, two of our riders preferred the 125 – styling aside, because the Flat Tracker is just so cool – could be that the 250 fails to make that quantum leap that lifts a town bike into a do-everything town-and-tour bike. The 250 motor (made by Zongshen) just doesn’t quite have the power – despite a claimed 28hp – or the feel, for that matter, of a faster, longer-distance bike. It’s performance feels to be about 10-15mph up on the 125 everywhere and it accelerates that much faster, but you could still see it getting hassled by cars on the open road, especially on hills. This 250 motor works well in Fantic’s trail riding enduro models, but it seems we’ll need to see the 500cc versions of these Caballeros and Flat Tracks to find real all-roads capability in the model range.
A little caveat here – our test bike came with just 240 miles on it, and it was definitely still new-bike ‘tight’, there’s a fair chance with more use the engine will loosen-up and become that little bit faster and freer-riding. But based on this experience, for running around town, and maybe the edge of town, or for quiet country roads, yeah the 250 is a great machine. Just avoid the big roads!
So, what we have here are two absolutely exquisitely styled motorcycles. We want them just to look at them, and for sure whether you’re a millennial (somebody tell me what that is) or a baby boomer (hi Dad!) these are 100% eye candy. They’re also built to a super-decent standard, and what a lovely list of quality components they boast – Arrow, Tomaselli, Domino, Braking, Brembo – not to mention the CNC milled engine plates and fork yokes, it’s top shelf all the way.
Great bikes for reasonable coin, but for us older 14-stone (that’s 90-kilo, 200-pound) lard-asses, yeah we can’t wait for the 500s…!