The traditional Italian motorcycle brand FANTIC successfully branched out into the eMTB market several years ago, and the FANTIC XF1 180 Race displays their motorsports heritage with pride. But how much of an all-rounder is it?
Click here for an overview of the best eMTB 2020 group test.
The look of the € 6,390 FANTIC XF1 180 is polarising. The silhouette of the front triangle with its distinctive kink in the top tube and the colourful paint scheme is reminiscent of a 90s motocross bike. Instead of a two-stroke motor, the light and powerful Brose Drive S Mag provides 90 Nm of torque to drive the voluminous 27.5″ tire on the rear.
Components, weight and technical details of the FANTIC XF1 180 Race
Staying true to the motocross style, FANTIC combine the 27.5×2.8″ rear tire with a 2.6″ wide 29er up front which offers improved rollover and steering precision. The 630 Wh battery is only partially integrated into the down tube of the aluminium frame. Keeping the centre of gravity low and central, the coil shock cuts through the seat tube, with its travel matching the 180 mm fork. The positioning of the shock limits the seat tube length across all three frame sizes meaning they only accommodate short travel dropper posts. Ignoring this and the puncture-prone EXO casing tires, the spec of the FANTIC XF1 180 Race is near faultless. The componentry is robust, durable and designed to perform on the trail. The MAGURA MT7 brakes paired with a huge 220 mm Galfer rotor up front wouldn’t look out of place on a full-on downhill bike, offering tons of stopping power.
FANTIC XF1 180 Race
Motor Brose Drive S Mag 90Nm
Battery TP FTC-03-35S 630Wh
Fork RockShox Lyrik Select+ 180 mm
Rear Shock RockSHox Super Deluxe Coil Select+ 180 mm
Seatpost Switch Dropper 100 – 125 mm
Brakes MAGURA MT7 220/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 1x12
Stem FSA Grid 35 mm
Handlebar FSA Grid 800 mm
Wheelset Mavic EXM/Miche XMH 550 SH 29"/27.5"
Size S M L
Weight 24.19 kg
Perm. total weight 140 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 115 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount TRUE, mit speziellem Insert
Geometry and size of the Fantic
FANTIC have also gone their own way in terms of geometry, ignoring the current trend of longer, lower and slacker. With a reach figure of only 436 mm, the XF1 180 Race is the shortest bike on test. However, the 65° head angle is slack and the stack height is very tall.
|Seat tube||390 mm||440 mm||490 mm|
|Top tube||570 mm||604 mm||631 mm|
|Head tube||105 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Seat angle||407 mm||407 mm||407 mm|
|BB Height||368 mm||368 mm||368 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,206 mm||1,235 mm||1,257 mm|
|Reach||381 mm||413 mm||436 mm|
|Stack||607 mm||615 mm||628 mm|
The Fantic XF1 180 on the trail
Despite its aggressive appearance, the pedalling position of the FANTIC XF1 180 Race is very comfortable and upright. On forest roads, the tall front end and the rather short main triangle make you feel like you’re riding a chopper but the FANTIC still gets up steep climbs with ease. Though the front wheel has to be actively weighted, the supple suspension and wide MAXXIS Minion rear tire generate so much traction that the rear wheel doesn’t spin even if you pedal while standing up on loose gravel. FANTIC have done a great job of fine-tuning the Brose Drive S Mag motor. It makes its 90 Nm torque available in a very controlled and natural manner.
Grip, precision & composure: every imaginable line is possible aboard the FANTIC XF1 180 Race
Steep, steeper, FANTIC: the XF1 180 Race thrives on demanding descents. The extremely tall front end prevents any sign of over-the-bar feelings and instils you with confidence. The outstanding performance of the suspension, the huge amount of traction generated by the front and rear wheels and the excellent steering precision in steep terrain make the bike seriously capable going downhill. The faster you go, the better the suspension performs, eating up obstacles without feeling undefined. Our only criticism of the FANTIC XF1 180 Race is the annoying saddle, which you can’t get far enough out of the way because of the short dropper post. For those of you who don’t consider yourselves downhill racers, be forewarned: unless you ride the FANTIC down the roughest tracks you can find, you won’t be having that much fun. On flat and flowing trails, the CF1 180 Race feels underwhelmed and requires a lot of physical effort to manoeuvre around tight twists and turns.
At high speeds, the FANTIC’s 180 mm travel suspension outperforms the entire test field.
Tuning tip: swap the rear tire out for a 2.6″ model with a thicker casing | get the most compact dropper post available (OneUp V2) to compensate for the seat tube’s low insertion depth
The FANTIC XF1 180 Race is only for those who want to go downhill as fast as possible. With the exception of its limited dropper post length, the bike’s geometry and suspension perform brilliantly at high speeds in the bike park and hitting big jumps. On more relaxed, moderate trails, the bike feels cumbersome and the tall front end requires a lot of effort to manoeuvre.
- excellent suspension
- incredibly composed and precise on steep descents
- natural feeling power delivery
- seat tube is too long and the insertion depth is limited
- puncture prone rear tire
- unwieldy on flat terrain
- tire rubs on the mudguard
You can find out more about the FANTIC XF1 180 Race at fantic-bikes.com.
The test field
You can find everything you need to know about our test for the best eMTB of 2020 right here!
All bikes in test: BULLS SONIC EVO AM 6 | Cannondale Moterra 1 | Canyon Spectral:ON 9.0 | COMMENCAL META POWER 29 TEAM 2020 | CONWAY XYRON 927 Carbon | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 160 HPC | FANTIC XF1 180 Race | FOCUS JAM² 9.9 DRIFTER | Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro | Haibike XDURO Nduro 10.0 | Liteville 301 CE MK1 | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K | Moustache Samedi 27 Trail | Norco Range VLT C1 | NOX Hybrid Enduro 7.1 | Orbea WILD FS M-LTD | Pivot Shuttle 29 | Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition | ROTWILD R.X750 ULTRA | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo | Trek Rail 9.9 | Whyte E-180 RS V1 | YT DECOY CF Pro Race
Relaxed and comfortable riding on surfaced roads, both uphill and downhill.↩
Easy climbs up trails with few obstacles, wide turns and a moderate incline.↩
Active and playful descents on easy trails with few obstacles, wide turns and a moderate slope.↩
Single-track climbs on challenging terrain. Loose ground, steps, roots, tight corners and occasionally extreme inclines.↩
Singletrack descents on challenging terrain. Loose ground, steps, roots, tight corners and small jumps as well as some very steep descents.↩
High speed descents on sometimes very rough trails with large jumps and obstacles that you can’t roll over.↩
The rating used for riding characteristics refers to the bikes in the group test and the current state of development of eMTBs. The best bikes managed to blend supposedly opposite riding characteristics, feeling both lively and stable at the same time. The handling describes the balance of the bike on downhill sections. The information regarding motor-power refers to the ride-feeling in the overall context of the bike and not exclusively to the motor – that’s why the same motor can present different values.↩
Words: Felix Stix, Robin Schmitt, Jonas Müssig Photos: Finlay Anderson, Robin Schmitt, Felix Stix, Markus Frühmann