Barzago, province of Como. A town that those who love taxed wheels know very well. This is where the legendary Fantic Caballero bikes saw the light and made many hearts beat, especially in the 70s. Fantic has never devoted too much energy to stradali models, but when at the beginning of the 80's, the fashion among 16 year olds began to favour stradali over professional enduros, the Barzago company entered the 125 stradali market with the Strada model. Simple and robust, the Strada was born air-cooled. In 1982, the Strada Sport was presented, which differed from the Strada with liquid cooling. This was followed by the HP1 in 1985, which, however, was presented too late compared to its competitors who were light years ahead of it. The curtain therefore closes for the glorious Fantic, which will resume production years later under new ownership and management. 125stradali.com deals only with the liquid-cooled 125 of the 80's and 90's, so for now we will not dwell much on the air-cooled Strada.
Here are the models produced:
125 STRADA SPORT - 1983 - type FM 400A
Presented at the Motor Show in December 1982, the Strada 125 Sport is the liquid-cooled version of the well-known air-cooled 125 Strada already offered by Fantic.
Compared to its air-cooled sibling, the Sport has, in addition to liquid cooling (with radiator circulation), only a separate mixing system and an extended final drive ratio. So this is not a new bike.
In 1982 and 1983 the top of the liquid-cooled 125 stradali market were the handcrafted two-cylinder Malanca and the expensive Zundapp Ks, which became a cult because of its high price combined with typical Teutonic quality. It is no coincidence that it became the motorbike of the first Paninari. The Laverda Lz, with the same engine and a chassis very similar to the Zundapp Ks, became the best-selling liquid-cooled 125 road bike, also thanks to its excellent quality-price ratio and pleasant lines. Among the 125 stradali, however, the prize of the most evolved 125 road bike goes to the Aprilia St 125, a bike that, compared to all the others, boasts absolute firsts such as, among others, a liquid-cooled engine with circulating pump, reed valve and single rear shock absorber. In this context, the Fantic Strada Sport became a second choice 125 on a par with the Garelli Tsr.
The Strada Sport is offered for sale at a price of Lire 2,456,000 in red or white. (The air-cooled sister costs 2,210,140 lire).
The bike in brief
The Fantic has a line similar to the 125 stradali presented at that time, whose characteristic seems to be the fairing that covers the front headlight and instrumentation, both of rather large dimensions. The Sport boasts a sportier presence due to the radiator cover painted to match the bodywork. The saddle and side panels also integrate very well with the tank, which is made of sheet metal.
Underneath the lockable seat are the filler neck for the mixer oil tank, air filter, battery, control unit and a small tool compartment. The expansion tank for the cooling system is located under the seat. The exhaust system is located on the left side with the transmission chain on the opposite side: a peculiarity common to Aprilia equipped with the Rotax engine.
Curious is the presence of the cooling fins on the cylinder almost as if not to underline the presence of liquid cooling.
The instrumentation is a well-designed CEV and equipped with numerous indicators: it is perhaps the most complete and attractive instrumentation compared to those of many other 125 stradali of the time. The handlebar controls are still CEV, but dated in design. The half handlebars, the steering plate and the anti-theft column integrated in the starter block are good.
The frame is a continuous double cradle in steel tubes. At the front is a 32 mm fork of Fantic production and at the rear a steel swingarm combined with two hydraulic shock absorbers.
The braking system is a mix of disc and drum, with a 260 mm Grimeca fixed disc at the front served by a single-piston caliper and a 160 mm drum at the rear.
The light alloy wheels are both 18".
The Strada Sport's engine is identical to that fitted to the air-cooled version. The differences of course concern the thermal unit and the presence of the radiator, which is part of the thermosiphon type cooling system, i.e. without a cooling pump.
The Dell'Orto PHBL 25 BS carburettor remains the same as the air-cooled version, but it is prepared for the automatic mixer (which only the Sport has) and has a different carburetion.
For both versions the gearbox is a 6-speed, but the Sport has a longer final ratio, thanks to the delivery of its water-cooled engine that improves the Fantic engine's lengthening qualities. The air-cooled powerplant, on the other hand, has more torque in the low and mid-range, but loses some of its length. This is why the air-cooled version has a shorter final drive ratio.
The maximum power measured at the wheel for the Sport is 16.85 hp at 7900 rpm (16.41 hp at 7700 rpm on the Strada) and the maximum speed measured is 126.448 km/h. (120.110 km/h on the Strada). (120.110 km/h the Strada).
HP1 125 - 1985
Introduced in the autumn of 1984, the Fantic HP1, where HP stands for High Power, due to financial difficulties was not marketed until July 1985.
The heir to the Strada 125 presented in 1981 is also the last road-going 125 produced by the glorious Barzago company which, after various vicissitudes, concentrated production only on enduros until the closure of the historic Barzago factory in 1995.
The price in 1985 is Lire 3,737,390 and the available colours are Grey/White/Red and White.
As with the Garelli GTA, Laverda LB and GS Lesmo, the Fantic HP1 was presented in a market that every year saw the release of a new model that prematurely aged the previous ones so as to make them immediately obsolete. In a market where commercial success was decreed first and foremost by the technical data published in the magazines of the time, the HP1 was presented as a motorbike with an outdated line and without technologies such as an exhaust valve, balancing countershaft and electric starter, now considered indispensable by the 16-year-olds of the time.
It was a pity that Fantic was not able to present a bike that could capitalise on its brand, which was still one of the most loved by young people.
The HP1 is the last 125 road bike produced by Fantic.
The bike in brief
Like other 125 stradali presented at that time, the HP1 has a rather conventional line. The fairing is well matched to the tank, the radiator cowl and the toe cap form a rather aggressive whole, which is particularly well accentuated by the beautiful colouring. The saddle and side panels are also very well integrated with the tank, which is made of sheet metal, and the rear light cluster is very well made.
Underneath the lockable seat are the filler neck for the mixer oil tank, air filter, battery, control unit and a small tool compartment. The expansion tank for the cooling system is located on the right side of the radiator in an easy-to-monitor position. Very nice is the exhaust system which is located on the left side with the transmission chain on the opposite one: a peculiarity common to Aprilia equipped with the Rotax engine.
As with the Laverda GS, the presence of cooling fins on the cylinder is curious, as if not to underline the presence of liquid cooling.
The instrumentation is a CEV equipped with numerous indicators and a thermometer for the coolant, but is dated in design. The controls on the handlebars are still the valid CEV common to many other Italian motorbikes of the period. Good half handlebars, steering plate and the anti-theft column integrated into the starter block.
On the whole, the finishes are good, even if the HP1 reveals a certain coarseness in certain assemblies that is, however, partially balanced by the typical solidity without frills of Fantic motorbikes.
The frame is a closed double cradle with square steel tubes, in line with the mid-80s fashion. A 32 mm fork with anti-dive system is used on the front, and a steel swingarm in square tubes is used on the rear, combined with a progressive suspension called the "single shock system" and equipped with a non-adjustable hydraulic single shock absorber.
The braking system is a mix of disc/drum, with a pair of fixed 240 mm Grimeca discs at the front served by a single-piston caliper and a 160 mm drum at the rear.
The six-spoke light alloy wheels accommodate 100/90-16 tyres at the front and 100/90-18 tyres at the rear.
The HP1 engine, produced by Fantic, is derived from the latest liquid-cooled evolution of the Strada 125 Sport. With no exhaust valve, reed valve intake, balancing countershaft and electric starter, the HP1's engine gives very little to the latest technologies and fashions. The automatic mixer and sixth gear remain.
The thermal unit is revised with respect to that mounted on the Sport and maintains an extensive cooling fins despite the liquid cooling on the HP1 is forced circulation with dedicated pump and no longer thermosiphon as on the previous Sport. The carburettor is a new Dell'Orto PHBH 26 and the hardened steel exhaust is specially designed for the HP1.
The power delivery is good and being without reed valve intake, the Fantic engine is also very prone to over-revving, not suffering from the typical reed valve tendency to wall off.
The maximum power measured at the wheel is 18.24 hp at 8250 rpm and the top speed is 132.95 km/h.