Honda’s Motocompacto is scheduled to hit Honda dealers and its website for a cool $995.
Honda says the Motocompacto has a 12-mile range and can hit speeds up to 15 mph.
The Motocompacto weighs 41 pounds and is carried by the built-in briefcase-style handle.
One of the strangest urban mobility solutions was a cost-option addition to Honda’s perfectly named City. Like the Honda City and the Honda Today, this additional mobility solution didn’t formally make its way to the United States, but it has garnered its fair share of historical attention among collectors.
Dubbed the Motocompo, this two-stroke tiny motorbike was maybe a little too far ahead of the mobility solution curve for it to catch on like other minibikes of yore. So Honda is seeing if it can’t take advantage of a newfound scooter craze with this, the spiritual successor to the Motocompo.
Called the Motocompacto, this little collapsible ride-on scooter won’t revolutionize the concept of mobility, but it is trying to find space among final-miler problems, such as for folks who live on campuses or rely on public transit. This briefcase-style scooter is fully collapsible into a 41-pound package that spans 29.2 inches long, 3.7 inches wide, and 21.1 inches tall.
Unpacking and repacking the Motocompacto is easy enough, but it will take you a few times to master the process. The entire package folds into itself to make it extremely manageable. When collapsed, the Motocompacto is about as small as you’d want your ride-on scooter to be and is hidden behind the ABS-plastic shells that hide its skeleton.
That skeleton is an aluminum frame that can support up to a 265-pound rider. The white plastic shell also hides the inner workings of this scooter. The battery pack, motor, and controllers are all tucked away.
This apparently helps keep everything out of inclement weather, but also means you can’t swap batteries on the fly and extend your range well beyond the advertised 12 miles per charge.
After unfolding the Motocompacto, you’ll sit on a small, brown saddle. Like a modern motorcycle, your right hand controls acceleration, which is actuated by your thumb; the grip is static. This thumb-controlled throttle is easy to use, though you’ll mostly have it pegged at wide open.
Honda has stuffed two drive modes into the Motocompacto. The first drive mode caps the speed at 12 mph and has you walk to start the machine. The second unlocks its full 15 mph speed cap. You can swap drive modes on the fly by using the display mounted on the handlebars.
Power travels to the front wheel, so if you were hoping to ride wheelies on a mobile suitcase, you’re out of luck. The only brake is a mechanical rear drum, which does a good job of slowing you quickly and can easily lock up the small rear tire.
Actually riding the Motocompacto takes some time to get the hang of at low speed. This little BEV scooter has all the problems you’d expect from a short wheelbase with small tires at low speed. At full bore, though, riding this little e-scooter is just as easy as riding any other motorcycle.
Of course, you’re not going to scrape any knee pads, but you can lean into the corners and control this scooter with all the confidence you’ve gained from riding full-size motorcycles. It could also help a non-motorcycle rider get a grasp on the fundamentals of two-wheeled motion.
Keep in mind, the American suburb is a terrible use case for the Motocompacto. It’s not quick enough, or large enough, to handle road-going traffic. It doesn’t have enough range or storage to use for a quick grocery trip. It’s not designed to: Its whole purpose is final-mile mobility.
And considering its relatively low $995 price point—and its wacky design—we wouldn’t be surprised to see armies of these little Honda scooters in the same vein as the Honda Grom. Its limited speed and even more limited range could make the Motocompacto the modern-day Rupp minibike.
For some, the 41-pound weight could be a challenge with just a single handle. A larger strap might be the easiest solution for those who don’t have the muscle to carry this from the sidewalk to desk, but that’s not currently included in the packaging.
There’s also the pesky problem of dealing with local laws surrounding the use of bike lanes and sidewalks, something you should investigate before buying any of these e-scooters.
Even with the obvious limitations, the Motocompacto is fun. It could become a hit among college students and a more respectable replacement for a Barbie-themed Power Wheels.
Do you think the Honda Motocompacto is going to be a hit or a flop? Tell us your thoughts below.