Yamaha and Fantic will be working more closely together in 2021, if all goes to plan. While Yamaha is familiar to all American motorcyclists, Fantic is primarily a boutique Italian brand associated with trials bikes, even though Fantic withdrew from trials after 1994. In Europe, Fantic built a reputation as a builder of a wide range of motorcycles, from 50cc choppers for schoolboy riders to enduro racers. We covered the 2020 Fantic Caballero scrambler series late last year. Additionally, Fantic has added pedal-assist e-bikes to its brand lineup.
The Yamaha/Fantic partnership expansion is dependent upon Fantic Motor obtaining 100 percent ownership in Motori Minarelli from Yamaha by the end of this year. Minarelli has a rich history, starting in 1951. Minarelli focused its efforts on building two-stroke motors for other companies, including Fantic. Minarelli also won two 125cc Grand Prix World Championships with Ángel Nieto piloting the racers to titles in 1979 and 1981.
According to a joint Yamaha/Fantic press release, Yamaha recognizes Fantic’s “deep market knowledge, innovation, and proactivity,” while Yamaha provides “reputation, high quality, and strong manufacturing expertise.” By acquiring Minarelli, Fantic gets access to “a skilled workforce, an updated industrial asset to support its growth, the increase of Industrial and R&D capacity, and the access to selected Yamaha engines and components with the latest technologies.”
“This operation is also in line with Yamaha Motor’s global engine manufacturing strategy, already underway, which leverages on the increase of efficiency through the global deployment of engine platforms,” the press release goes on to explain, “and on the optimization of production capacity through the consolidation of the combustion engine manufacturing in the main volume markets.”
Yamaha scooter aficionados already know that its Jog series of scooters sold in the United States from 1986 to 2001 was powered by a Minarelli motor. The 50cc engine went on to find a home in the Yamaha Zuma scooter.
A future goal for Minarelli is the production of electric-powered motors, in addition to supplying traditional engines to existing customers.