In 1981, one of the better products in the Honda range was the City. Bigger and wider than a traditional kei-car, it was also more powerful and substantial, with a 1.3L 63ps motor and a curb weight of 675kg. It did quite well in many western markets.
But one of the interesting “options” for the Honda City in Japan was a tiny little motorbike called the Motocompo.
Designed to fit inside the hatch of the City, the Motocompo was powered by a 2.5ps 50cc 2stroke that enabled it to hit a dizzying top speed of 30km/h (sorry no VTEC). Of course given that it’s roughly the size of a footstool that is probably not a bad thing that it doesn’t go any faster.
Its 2.2L fuel tank would give it a reasonable riding range of about 130kms too.
I guess the idea behind the concept was that the Motocompo would live inside the boot of the City. And for the typical Japanese city where there are scarce parking spots near a train station, you could simply park up a distance from the station, then unload your minibike, and ride to the station.
The problem with this of course was that, at 42kg, the little runt-bike would have been quite unwieldy, and lifting an oily (it’s a 2-stroke remember) motorbike out of the boot of your car in your pristine work-clothes is probably not a good look….and of course lifting a 42kg bike with roadgrime all over it and a red hot exhaust back into the car at the end of the day probably isn’t any picnic either…..but as you can see in the promotional pics above, when you’re not riding around, it does make an excellent coffee table or sideboard.
It was the 80s….everyone cool played the saxophone
So for most people, getting a proper scooter and riding that from your home to the station is a much better idea, which is what many people in Japan do….still…this didn’t prevent the Motocompo from selling like Japanese redbean hotcakes, with Honda shifting 5million of the damn things between 1981 and 1984.
The price of Y80,000 seems cheap now (A$800) but in 1981 it would have represented 10% of the purchase price of the Honda City itself.
80’s boy-band pose?
But anyway, nobody *needs* a knee-high, 30km/h motorcycle that you can put in the boot of your car…and yet I am strangely moved by it.
Anyone got one for sale?