Bosis 125cc Fantic
Many of the machines used in the far away world rounds such as America and Canada were left there after the events and used by the various importer-supported riders. Some were sold after the event. Many were ‘Pukka’ works prepared machines, but some were standard ones where the riders took with them their suspension and engine tuning parts. These were a form of disposable machine, and in many cases, a rider would rotate around three or four machines during any one season. At the end of the competition season Fantic, together with many other motorcycle companies, was donating used competition machines to its riders and also to important members of their team. This is exactly what happened to this factory prepared machine that Diego Bosis had been using. Here Italian collector Carlo Ramella tells us the full story of the machine and how it came into his hands, and our foreign test rider Justyn Norek Jnr test rides the machine. Words: Justyn Norek Jnr, John Hulme and Carlo Ramella Pictures: Justyn Norek Jnr and Bogdana Norek
What is It?
CARLO RAMELLA: This factory prepared ‘works’ Fantic 125 found its way after its working life into the private hands of riders in the Piedmont region in Italy near where I am based, and it was used by different owners in clubman trials competitions. Eventually, it was acquired by my nephew Rodolfo who has used it, as had many young boys of his age before him, just for fun. After some time he asked me if I could sell it for him. I went and viewed the Fantic and did not realise that it was an ex-Diego Bosis machine and the significance of it. I advertised it for sale, and two teenagers came to view it, but we could not agree on the price otherwise this Fantic might have been lost forever....or even worse dismantled for spare parts!
One day my good friend and ex-trials rider Pippo Bartorilla visited me and I showed him the Fantic: “I am very interested in purchasing it” he said “as it’s a very special trials machine” — I was not interested in keeping it, so we quickly agreed on the price and I sold it to him.
After some months he came to me with this machine all perfectly cleaned up with new many new parts and he said to me: “This Fantic is an ex-works machine of Diego Bosis; I recognised it because during those years I was often riding with Fabrizio Cerchio who was the Fantic Team sports trainer, and I have seen this machine several times.
I Want it Back
CR: I could not believe that I am such a serious collector of trials machines and did not realise what it was… Pippo showed me some details confirming this is ex-Bosis machine like the special brake pedal, foot-rests, Mikuni carburettor, a ‘super soft’ clutch action, special mudguards and number plate holder, all relevant to this Bosis machine. The give-away I should have spotted was the 240 model frame as Bosis was training using a 240 engine before switching to 125 for competition use due do the age limit. At this point, I explained I wanted it back, and it duly came back to my collection, and so I was very happy, to say the least.
From time to time I use it for an ‘Old Trial Competition’ or mountain trips, just for fun, because it’s so light and easy to ride over any terrain with a good power delivery despite the fact it’s ‘only’ a 125cc. This machine now joins its other Fantic brothers as I have one of the prototypes Jaime Subira Fantic 300 ex-works models and an ex-works Renato Chiaberto Fantic 300. Yes, I love my three Fantic machines!
JUSTYN NOREK JNR: When I asked my good friend Carlo what trials machines we could test from his collection he suggested the Fantic 125cc ex-works machine of the late great top Italian trials rider of the eighties Diego Bosis, as along with him I am a secret Fantic fan! The machine test took place at Carlo’s mountain house where he has a wide variety of terrain to ride on. Carlo and Pippo (Bartorilla) were already waiting for us with the machine prepared and ready for some static pictures.
Without wasting too much time, we took the Fantic to various places searching for attractive shots. As I am keen on four-strokes, I was particularly curious to try this small two-stroke. One kick on the forward rather than backwards kick-start lever and the engine was running with its particular ‘Fantic’ sound that you easily recognise. The kick-start arrangement is unique in the trials world, but you very soon get used to it and appreciate the benefits of being able to start the engine while sat down on the machine.
With my father busy, my mother, Bogdana, had come along to take the pictures, and much to my delight I soon had her stood in position in the river! After a few minutes of riding around to get the feeling of the Fantic and I jumped down into the stream bed. The first thing that impressed me most is how light this machine feels; I believe this is very much a good feeling from all the Fantic trials machines I have ridden, they feel immensely light to ride and in action.
A Lightweight Sensation
I believe that this was due to the fact that they started with a 125cc engine capacity size before moving to 156cc and then to a 212cc before finally arriving at the 249cc. This lightweight sensation changed the way trials machines were ridden, introducing the style of Thierry Michaud and Jordi Tarres. The ease with which you could move the Fantic around was incredible. I must say that it feels very close to the modern machines but, of course, with limitations due to its age.
Another feature I also quickly felt at home with was the handling and riding position which was just perfect for me. It has excellent brakes, and the suspension is always allowing for an easy passage over obstacles while easily remaining in full control of the machine.
The main concern (or difference) for me when riding was that you had to rev the engine harder to get the performance from it. At the start of the test, I stalled the engine few times, but this was 100% rider error on my part. As I became more familiar with it, I was thinking of just how Diego would have felt about changing the engine from the 125cc for the 212cc one as it would have given it so much more power but continued with the lightweight sensation.
Another great aspect of the machine is a very light clutch action which resisted all my abuse when trying modern ‘tricks’. If I only we could fit the 249cc engine, but Carlo will not allow me to do that, so I have a solution. I will find and buy a 249cc Fantic as there are still plenty of such machines around and now I understand why those models are so popular in classic trials.
As you can gather, I was very impressed with this Fantic and my only regret was not watching Diego Bosis perform on it. And now for a little bit of advice: just go out and buy a Fantic whether it is a 125, 156, 212 or 249, just buy it!