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Fantic XF1 Casa Electric Mountain Bike Review Part 2: Ride & Range Test [VIDEO]
Apr 07, 2017
With their roots in off-road motorcycles Fantic brings their fun and extremely capable XF1 Casa full suspension electric mountain bike to the North American market.
After many miles of testing the Fantic XF1 Casa has proven its ability to handle rough terrain with its 120 mm of front and rear travel and 3″ wide grippy off road tires.
The smooth, quiet, torquey, and efficient Brose mid-drive combined with the velcro like Vittoria tires allows the Fantic XF1 Casa to climb even the most challenging terrain and go the distance for long weekend rides.
The Fantic XF1 Casa has a starting price of $5,490 ($5,790 w/ dropper post) with a quality component selection from Brose, BMZ, RockShox, SRAM, Vittoria, and more.
In this second part of the full review you will get an idea of the ride characteristics, range test results, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this electric bike.
To get acquainted with the Fantic XF1 Casa, checkout this video:
Riding the Fantic XF1 Casa:
Overall there are some characteristics of the Fantic XF1 Casa that really stand out when riding this full suspension plus tire size eMTB. To summarize they are:
An extremely capable full suspension eMTB that can handle a wide variety of terrain
The fun, stable, and comfortable ride feel of the plus size tires with massive traction
The smooth, quiet, torquey, and efficient Brose mid-drive system
The Look & Feel of the Fantic XF1 Casa
The Fantic XF1 Casa just looks like it is ready for any terrain with its aggressive 3″ wide Vittoria Bombolone tires and RockShox full suspension of 120 mm of travel front and rear.
The Fantic Full Suspension bikes (XF1 CASA and XF1 Performance) frames are designed by the Motorcycle Racing Department.
A 6061 aluminum frame with hydroformed tubes creates the main structure of this off-road machine. The hydroformed tubes have been shaped to provide strength in the right places while shaving weight where appropriate.
One of the highlights is the gold anodizing CNC aluminum rear suspension linkage with large pivot bearings.
The rear suspension provides 4.7 inches (120 mm) of travel with the RockShox Deluxe RL shock and it is definitely enough travel to fly through the rough stuff!
The rear shock can be dialed in to fit your riding style by adjusting its air spring and damping. It also has a lockout lever option for efficient riding on smooth terrain.
A RockShox Reba suspension fork with 120mm of travel matches the rear travel well and it also has the same adjustability as the rear shock. There is a remote lever on the handlebars for easy adjustment between the locked out position and full open suspension.
Clean integration of the Brose mid-drive motor is another highlight of the XF1 Casa and it is fully encased in the aluminum frame.
Fantic uses an additional bash guard to protect some of the cables routed near the motor.
The Brose motor uses a conventional size chainring which makes the suspension design very clean when compared to some Bosch systems full suspension eBikes that generally have a pulley wheel to route the chain to work with smaller chainring.
The bottom bracket height or motor height seemed slightly low and in technical terrain I occasionally hit the pedals on rocks. This is common trait among many other full suspension bikes on the market too.
One issue with the frame design is the height of the top tube. I generally ride large frame bikes and the Fantic XF1 Casa fit me well except for the height of the top tube. It has a slight upward arch that limits the stand over height. Considering this you may want to look at riding the next size down from what you normally ride.
Further down the frame there is a piece of reinforcing at the top tube and seat tube junction to create a triangular section that provides strength to the frame and it has adds some styling to this aluminum frame.
The headtube is a very solid part of the frame with the large sections of the top and down tubes connecting. The FSA low stack headset has a very clean look.
There is some integrated cable routing that provides for some cable/wiring protection and a modern, clean look.
Tire clearance for the 3″ wide tires on the front and back of the XF1 Casa is very good and it should perform well in fairly mud conditions.
The Fantic XF1 Casa comes in 4 different sizes (small, medium, large, x-large) to fit a wide range of riders. This is a nice feature because not all electric bikes come in multiple sizes.
Here are the geometry specs:
The Fantic XF1 Casa I tested was the Large 19″ frame size.
After many miles of riding this full suspension plus size (3″ wide tires) eMTB, it has proven itself to be an extremely capable electric mountain bike that is comfortable on a wide variety of terrain: sand, hard pack trails, and mud. I didn’t have a chance to ride it in snow but with the 3″ wide tires and lower tire pressure it will probably do very well.
Even though the Fantic XF1 Casa is made for tough off-road conditions it is also a very comfortable and stable eBike for riding around the city. The suspension lockout options provide for a fairly efficient ride around town.
The Vittoria Bombolone 3″ wide tires provide a very stable ride feel with their large surface area and volume of air in the tires. Plus size tires can run lower pressure (+ or – 20 psi) than traditional mountain bike tires because of the large volume of air that they contain.
The Fantic XF1 Casa comes stock with traditional inner tubes but the tires and rims can be converted to a tubeless system with the proper rim tape, valve stems, and sealant.
A tubeless setup eliminates pinch flatting the tube and the sealant eliminates most flats from thorns, glass, and other small objects. The tubeless setup allows you to dial in the lower tire pressures with almost eliminating the worry of getting a flat.
With the right tire pressure the 3″ wide Vittoria Bombolone plus size tires are able to absorb a lot of rough terrain and they create a bit of a suspension effect.
To take full advantage of the Plus size tires it is very important to find the right pressure for your weight and riding style. There is a bit of trial and error to dial that in and I know some riders are using a digital pressure gauge because the difference between a few psi can make a big difference in the overall ride performance.
With the right pressure the 3″ wide tires have amazing traction because they are able to mold around rough terrain (rocks, roots, etc.) in the road or trail.
Plus size tires have created a sweet spot between the normal 2″-2.4″ wide traditional mountain bike tire and a 4″+ wide fat bike tire.
They have a similar “monster truck” feel of a fat bike that rolls over almost anything while mostly avoiding the sluggish turning and cornering affect that fat bikes have.
They pick up more of the agile cornering and turning feel of a traditional mountain bike tire.
Here is a good video comparing the attributes of a Fat bike vs. Plus bike:
Another interesting tidbit is that 27.5″ Plus size tires have a diameter that gets close to a traditional 29er tire so they pick up some of the big wheel ability to roll over a lot of obstacles well.
In some areas where I rode the Fantic XF1 Casa I had to adjust my riding style because I was not used to having so much traction. The Bombolone tires grabbed on to some rocky areas like velcro!
With the high torque Brose mid-drive and the grippy 3″ wide tires I had to get used to the fact that the Fantic XF1 Casa can climb some of the steepest technical climbs with ease. I found that I had to adjust my mental focus when approaching a tough climb from “I hope I can clear this climb” to “This will be a lot of fun!”.
Combining the full suspension with the “tire suspension” and “velcro” traction allowed me to pick direct lines through very rough terrain that a normal bike would struggle with.
Like most electric mountain bikes you can feel the weight of this 55 pound eMTB in technical low speed areas. It takes some adjustment to get used to how the bike moves a little slower when weaving through tight terrain. And at 55 pounds you aren’t bunny hoping much but the full suspension and plus size tires definitely helps to roll over rough terrain.
Okay, now let’s take a look at the Brose mid-drive motor system.
One of the highlights of the Brose mid-drive is how quiet it its. This is the quietest mid-drive motor that I have ever tested and it is also very smooth in the way that it blends the electric assist with your pedal power.
The only noise that is detectable when riding is if you are pedaling at a very high cadence at lower speeds. In this scenario you can hear some of the internal gear noise from the motor but in general you will probably not be pedaling at these high cadences.
The Brose mid-drive is a torque sensor based system and it does a great job of of amplifying your pedal power with an intuitive feel that follows your lead by providing you with the right amount of assist when you need it. If you are pedaling hard the Brose system give you a big boost and if you are just cruising the Brose system provides you with easy going cruising power.
The system provides instant engagement of the motor as soon as you start pedaling and stops the assist as soon as you stop pedaling.
The Fantic XF1 Casa is a Class 1 pedelec (pedal assist only) that can assist up to 2o mph and with its Brose 250 watt mid-drive it can efficiently climb steep hills using the lower gears of the bikes drivetrain.
The Brose system has been designed with mountain biking in mind by providing a lot of torque for help with getting started in technical and steep terrain. It provides up to 90 Nm of torque and that does really help when riding on rough roads and trails.
250 watts may not seem like a high performance spec but the high torque Brose motor really makes a difference when riding in steep and/or technical terrain with the ability to leverage the lower gears of this eMTB. The 250 watt mid-drive can maintain 20 mph speed on relatively flat terrain in the higher gears of the bike.
It is important to remember that lower wattage motors “sip” power so you will generally get more range and you will see this in the Fantic XF1 Casa range test results below.
There are 3 levels of pedal assist that vary that amount of amplified power the motor provides you:
Cruise = 50% assist
Tour = 150% assist
Sport = 320% assist
Cruise is good for technical off-road terrain where you want just a little assist so that you can navigate obstacles in a slow and methodical way.
Tour is good for higher speed off road riding and general road riding.
Sport is good for long sustained climbs and high speed off road riding and zipping around town.
In some riding situations it would be nice to have a little more assist in the Cruise mode.
Energizing the Fantic XF1 Casa is a BMZ 36 Volt 11.6 ah (417 watt hours) lithium battery that is located on the downtube of the frame.
The downtube battery location and mid-drive motor provides for a very centered and low weight distribution which is good for overall bike handling.
The BMZ lithium battery can be charged on or off the bike and fully charging an empty battery takes 6 to 8 hours.
Once the battery has been unlocked with the supplied key (it comes with 3 keys) it slides forward and lifts off the battery mount for removal from the frame.
Removing the 7.4 pound battery pack brings the weight of the Fantic XF1 Casa to 47.6 pounds which makes it a little easier to load on a car rack.
There is an option for the 630 watt hour Long Run battery for an additional $400 and that will provide about 50% more range.
Fantic provides a 3 year warranty on their battery packs.
Okay, now let’s take a look at the controls and display on the XF1 Casa.
The Brose display has a large format layout with bright backlight that provides a lot of good information without being overwhelming.
The display provides a lot of information like the pedal assist level, speedometer, odometer, trip distance, battery level, ride time, current time.
The display can be quickly removed from the bike by unclipping it and sliding it off of the handlebar mount. The handlebar mount also has a USB connector so that you can charge a smartphone, tablet, or other USB powered device on the go.
The Brose system on the XF1 Casa has a lot of nice features and it would be nice to have an estimated range feature on the display like the Bosch and Shimano systems have.
The pedal assist levels are easily adjusted with the control pad on the left side of the handlebars with the up arrow or down arrow buttons and the information on the display is cycled through with the center button on the control pad.
This control pad can be moved to be exactly where you want it on the handlebars so that you can easily adjust it when riding on rough terrain.
Okay, now let’s take a look at the ride position on the Fantic XF1 Casa.
The Fantic XF1 Casa has a typical performance mountain bike ride position that is somewhat hunched over for stable handling in technical terrain.
If you are looking for a more upright position an adjustable stem can help to dial in your preferred handlebar height and fore/aft position.
The wide handlebars give the feeling of stability and they provide a lot of leverage for handling the 3″ wide tires. The combination of the Fantic XF1 Casa wide tires wide flat bars, and full suspension creates a very stable ride feel.
The grips have a collar that tightens to the handlebars so that the grips don’t move around for a solid and confident ride feel.
The San Marco saddle has a narrow performance style profile with a relief section in the center. It’s a good saddle for performance riding but not the most comfortable for everyday cruising.
The Fantic XF1 Casa that I tested came equipped with a manual KS dropper post but the production version of this bike will feature a KS dropper with a handlebar remote.
A dropper post moves the seat down and out of the way so that you can lower your center of gravity and move around the bike better in challenging terrain. They also make a big difference when cornering by moving your center of gravity down so that you can carve a corner easier.
An 11 speed SRAM GX drivetrain is a nice spec for the Fantic XF1 Casa. SRAM drivetrains are known for durability and solid and concise shifts. The 10-42t cogset combined with a 32t chainring creates a good range of gears for riding on all sorts of terrain.
The SRAM derailleur has a clutch to tighten the chain and reduce chain slap on the chainstay of the frame. The clutch can be released with a button to make removal of the rear wheel easier.
Slowing the Fantic XF1 Casa down is handled by the SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes with 200mm rotor on the front and 180mm on the back.
These brakes have a very solid feel and their stopping power is impressive with predictable progressive modulation.
The brake lever reach can be adjusted to fit your hand size with a small allen wrench on the back side of the brake lever.
Okay, let’s see how the Fantic XF1 Casa did out on the open road!
Fantic XF1 Casa Range Test Results:
Here is the real world information on how the Fantic XF1 Casa electric bike performed on a riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.
While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed. I tested the Fantic XF1 Casa in the highest pedal assist level (level 3 – Sport) with relatively easy pedaling on paved roads.
Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the Fantic XF1 Casa traveled 36.6 miles and did a total elevation gain of around 3,100 ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled very lightly this is pretty good range for a 36 Volt 11.6 ah battery pack (417 Watt Hours) with a 250 watt motor assisting up to 20 mph.
There is an option for the 630 watt hour Long Run battery for an additional $400 and that will provide about 50% more range.
Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack. This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.
Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weigh less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range. These results are from tough testing.
Speed: The Fantic XF1 Casa will assist up to 20 mph with pedal assist only, there is no throttle.
Weight: The Fantic XF1 Casa tips the scales at 55 lbs which is a fairly average electric bike weight. Removing the battery brings it down to around 47.6 pounds which makes it a little easier to load onto a car rack.
The weight distribution of the Fantic XF1 Casa is very good because the battery and motor are low and centered on the bike.
Full Suspension w/ Plus Size Tires: Full suspension electric mountain bikes are a lot of fun but when you add 3″ wide tires with gobs of traction it is a whole new riding experience. And then you add a quiet high performance mid-drive motor….
Quiet & Smooth Brose Mid-Drive: The Brose motor is the quietest mid-drive that I have ridden and it is also one of the smoothest in the way that is blends the electric assist with your pedal power. The Brose motor and BMZ battery are an efficient system that provided for nearly 37 miles of range in pretty tough testing of this eMTB.
Quality Components: The component spec from RockShox, SRAM, and Vittoria round out the Fantic XF1 Casa to create an extremely capable off-road machine.
Frame Sizing: One issue with the frame design is the height of the top tube. I generally ride large frame bikes and the Fantic XF1 Casa fit me well except for the height of the top tube. It has a slight upward arch that limits the stand over height. Considering this, you may want to look at riding the next size down from what you normally ride.
Estimated Range: The Brose system on the XF1 Casa has a lot of nice features and it would be nice to have an estimated range feature on the display like the Bosch and Shimano systems have.
Overall the Fantic XF1 Casa is a fun and extremely capable electric mountain bike. It can handle rough terrain with its 120 mm of front and rear travel and 3″ wide off road tires. The Brose mid-drive is smooth, quiet, and provides a lot of torque so that the Fantic XF1 Casa can climb even the most challenging terrain and go the distance for long weekend rides.
The Fantic XF1 Casa offers a lot for the starting price of $5,490 ($5,790 w/ dropper post) with quality components from Brose, BMZ, RockShox, SRAM, Vittoria, and more.
Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.
Do you have any questions about the Fantic XF1 Casa? Do you own a Fantic XF1 Casa? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Review Note: Each company pays a fee for a review on Electric Bike Report because of the considerable amount of time that it takes to provide an in-depth review of each eBike. A lot of time is spent on the full range test with distance & elevation profile, the wide variety of detailed pictures, in-depth video, and the write up with the specifications, ride characteristics, pros, cons, and overall thoughts. The reviews on Electric Bike Report are focused on providing you with a detailed “virtual” look at each eBike to help you determine if it is the eBike for you or not.