I started the bike at 8:40 in the morning and turned it off at 17:20, with only an hour of lunch break in between. In the end the roadbook showed almost 170 km, but considering how many times I got lost and had to go back, I must have done at least twenty more. Despite the many hours in the saddle at the end of the day I wasn’t too tired and above all not too sore, apart from a little pain in my butt, but it had been a long time since I was on the bike all this time. So from the point of view of comfort, that is one of the main aspects to be evaluated when approaching a motorcycle dedicated to this type of use, the Fantic XEF Rally is fully promoted. To tell the truth, there are many things that promote it: among these, the ease of approach. It’s a bike that, right from the start, doesn’t put you in a crisis, but what makes the general balance a strong point. This engine, configured in this way, satisfies everyone; it does not disappoint those looking for a peaceful bike to cover many kilometres, but neither do those who have the ambition to tinker with some racing ambitions. I remember that Davide Guarneri, in a comparison a few years ago, told me that the Yamaha engine was so generous that: “If you want to go slowly, go slowly, if you want to go fast, go fast”. It seems trivial, but in reality there aren’t many engines that have this elasticity, which translates into a wide delivery, gentle if you dose the gas well, aggressive if you fiddle decisively. The gear ratio is well spaced, with the short first gear and suitable for tackling very technical parts, to then lengthen relationship after relationship, with a length that is not infinite, but sufficiently deep. Before leaving the engine, a few words on the noise: the Rally derives from the enduro and cross versions, which have the filter box instead of the tank and therefore under the nose. This housing gives you a very invasive suction noise, which I have not always appreciated; let’s just say you have to get used to it. I was so curious to understand how much this feature could be a limit in terms of comfort, on a bike dedicated to doing many km. In reality, the intake noise is much attenuated compared to the cross or enduro, you want for the different cover or I don’t know for what, but it’s less annoying; it is felt, it is present, but it is not so bad.
Let’s move on to ergonomicsanother of the details that you have to pay attention to on a rally. The two large front tanks are very pronounced and when you move forward with your knees you feel that the bike is bulging decisively; this constrains the riding a bit when you go to load the weight on the front and here too you have to get used to it a bit. Conversely, I would have liked a wider midsection. The footrest area has a good volume in the lower part, but then tends to get smaller going up towards the saddle, which is far too narrow. The fact is that when you push this bike it has vigor and I felt the need for some leg grips to lighten the grip of my arms on the handlebars. With the narrower saddle area I had to forcefully squeeze my legs, making it more difficult. But I soon found a solution in the exhaust manifold which, if on the one hand it was a major limitation, on the other, as mentioned, it was decisive. Its location is not optimal, because passes too close to the right platform, limiting the possibility of loading the platform with the forefootby working the ankle. But precisely this position she came to help as a support: by planting the heel on the carbon protection I was finally able to lighten my grip on the handlebar, using the exhaust as a support constraint in the fastest sections.
Let’s move on to the chassis, which has also been promoted. I really liked the balance they gave to Fantic’s technical suspensions, soft at the start and then very progressive. In traditional use (that is, more or less fast woods) they behaved very well and only in the cross field did the rear prove to be particularly soft and very wild. But it was an extreme circumstance, where you don’t easily find yourself with a rally bike. Also, there’s a saying that “the perfect enduro bike is the one that goes wrong everywhere”, as on a race day you go from the fast cross test special to the extreme. For rallies this maxim is even more valid, also because you have to deal with supplies. Between the start and the finish, in theory, 30 kg dance and having an ideal setup is impossible… Fantic has made a choice aimed at increasing the stability of the bike, loading the rear a little more, with the front end very high. In doing so, the bike is extremely sincere in the fast sections, even very battered and throughout the day it never made a joke. It is certainly a bike more devoted to open spaces rather than narrow riding, also for the fork completely slipped on the plate. It must be said that despite this, the bike does not have the typical behavior of a high center of gravity, quite the opposite; in this the development of the tanks downwards helps a lot, in addition to the rotated head, born precisely with a view to centralizing the masses. Let’s close with the brakes: the 300 mm front was indispensable because in any case the speeds that are reached are important. It behaves well off-road, sufficiently powerful and very modular, while in intensive use on the road it tends to heat up and lose strength; after all, the system is native to cross and on the road you shouldn’t exaggerate too much.
In conclusion: for us it was an unforgettable day, hilarious. Thanks to the context, the Fantic atmosphere, the ride, Titian’s roadbook and above all the bike. Today we told you about the bike… but it’s not all about the experience with the XEF Rally. Stay tuned
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