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Requiem For A Tiny Friend of the Environment The Honda MotoCompo


It’s a brief case! No, it’s a motorcycle. No, it’s a well, a twenty-nine year old Honda Motocompo which, it appears, is a briefcase and a motorcycle.

Designed as part of the Honda City series, this minibike folded up and was made to fit in the trunk of your car. For those who lived in the Tokyo of those times the value of space, on the streets and inside your living room, was the impetus for the designers at Honda who came up with this tiny, 50 cc machine.

The Motocompo died and went the way of many things from its era in the early 1980’s – the Walkman, say, and the getup the model is wearing in the advertising photo above – and it’s now a largely forgotten exercise in forward thinking that failed to capture the imagination of the motorcycling public. It’s pretty likely that it worked better as an end-table to hold your pineapple then it did as a motor vehicle.

The really shocking thing is that, with a top speed of 22 mph, Honda managed to build and sell as many of them as they did.

The Motocompo was introduced as a “trunk bike” to fit inside subcompact cars like the Honda Today and the Honda City. The bike’s handlebars, seat, and foot-pegs folded into a rectangular plastic , box-shaped bike about the size of a commercial sewing machine. Honda actually believed they could sell 10,000 Motocompos a year, and all in all nearly 54,000 Motocompos were sold by the end of the three-year production run  in 1983.

If you want one, and I guess I’m not sure why you would, you can find them on eBay once in a great while and the prices reflect its lack of status as a viable alternative to the scooter or the folding bicycle. If you’re really hot to have one, there’s a Honda Motocompo Facebook page you can check out.

One thing the Motocompo had, though, was (at least according to the ad agency who put together the campaign to sell this tiny anomaly) the power to make your hair a curiosity and insure that you look like someone lost on the way to a BeeGees concert…

Honda MotoCompo Specs:

Produced from: 1981-1983
Power 2.5 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Engine AB12E 49 cc air-cooled two-stroke
Torque 0.38 kg-m @ 4,500rpm
Transmission single-speed, automatic clutch
Tires 2.50-8-4PR
Dimensions L 3.8 ft
Width 1.75 ft
Height 3 ft
Weight 93 pounds
Fuel capacity 1 gallon
Oil capacity .5 gallons
Fuel consumption 44 mpg @ 22 mph
Turning radius 4 ft


Thank your lucky stars you didn’t buy a Honda Motocompo, because chicks just don’t dig motorcycles you can store in your briefcase any more than they like plaid pants.
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