Honda has revived its foldable Motocompo city bike for the modern era. It’s called the Motocompacto, as trademark filing in 2020 revealed, and it’s a little bike that folds into a tidy rectangle. This time around, it’s electric. The original was paired with the Japan-market Honda City hatchback, but the new one is a standalone product you can buy on its own. It’s still designed to fit in the trunk of a car, though not a specific one, but the best part is that you can buy one at a Honda or Acura dealership the US.
The Motocompacto was actually designed in the US, by Honda engineers in Ohio and California. It’s described as an e-scooter and was created, like its predecessor, to solve the “last mile” problem, where your parking space might still be quite a distance from your destination.
The original Motocompo used a 50cc air-cooled two-stroke single-cylinder engine. It was cute and (mostly) convenient, but it did generate considerable noise and smell. It stowed neatly into the trunk of a City, but weighed 99 pounds with a full tank of fuel. Lifting it in and out of the car wasn’t exactly easy.
The Motocompacto tips the scales at just 41 pounds and is as thin as a suitcase, measuring just 3.7 inches wide when folded. It’s more compact than its predecessor in every dimension, just 38.1 inches long when unfolded (Motocompo: 46.7 in.), 35.0 inches high (Motocompo: 35.8 in.), 17.2 inches wide (Motocompo: 21.1 in.). It even comes with a handle on top for easy carrying.
Here are some more comparisons. The Motocompo’s 2.5 horsepower and 2.7 lb-ft of torque could get up to a top speed of 30-50 kph (19-31 mph) depending on the rider’s weight. Honda rates the Motocompacto with a top speed of 15 mph, though that is also probably weight-dependent.
The biggest question when it comes to electric vehicles is always range, and here the combustion engine wins out. The Motocompo had a 2.2-liter (0.58 gal.) fuel tank and was rated at 70 km/l (165 mpg) when cruising at a steady speed of 30 kph. Do some math, and that’s 95 miles. In the real world, with lots of starting and stopping, range was more like 80-85 miles. On the other hand, the Motocompacto has a 12-mile range and takes 3.5 hours to fully charge from a 110v outlet. If it had bigger it probably could get similar range, but that would make it heavier as well.
Twelve miles seems totally reasonable for a vehicle like the Motocompo, so it’s a good trade-off. It makes thorough use of aluminum in its frame and wheels, but the kickstand is welded steel and has a loop for a standard bike lock. Interestingly, it is front-wheel-drive, not rear. We’re not converting our fleets to EVs yet, but an electric bike like this makes a lot of sense.
There have been other attempts at reviving the Motocompo, some from Honda and some from others. The Motocompacto is is the first official released from Honda. Currently it seems to only be offered it in white (though not the Shetland White of the Motocompo), but we’d would love to see it in the original’s Daisy Yellow or Caribbean Red. It stickers for $995 and will be available in Honda and Acura dealerships this November.
Images courtesy of Honda.