The Honda Motocompacto has to be one of the weirdest e-bikes we’ve ever seen. It’s not just the strange skinny shape, it’s also the fact that it doesn’t appear to offer any real advantage over an electric scooter except a rudimentary seat. Just 3.7 inches wide, it’s made out of aluminum and plastic, and boasts a max speed of 12 mph and a range of 15 miles per 3 hour charge.
While we may scoff at the quirky design, there’s no denying that it stands out from the crowd. In a world full of boring me-too electric bikes and scooters, this is an example of…well…Japanese design gone wild. Honda has done this stuff before, of course, with the almost interesting Asimo robot. For those with a long memory, it launched in 2000 and retired in 2022 having done nothing more spectacular than wave to crowds at car shows.
At least the Motocompacto has gone on sale to the public. And at a reasonable price for a change. The bike is just $995 retail, which makes it an option for those who only want a train to sidewalk shuttle to pop into the car in the morning. But again we have to ask, how much better is this than a basic folding scooter? They both feature zero weather protection, and the Motocompacto is slower and has a shorter range. It’s a mystery.
Anyway, here it is. Don’t bother buying one if you’re under 14 years old or weigh over 265 pounds. Or indeed if you want to look cool rolling up to the office on a Monday morning. Because cool this ain’t. It does come with an app – natch – on both iOS and Android. This gives you the basics like state of charge, location and some sort of trophy challenge. Oh and there seems to be some sort of cheeky product character so beloved of Japanese tech designers.
But we’re still not convinced. In fact the only real value we can see to this little gizmo is to slap on an advertising wrap and turn it into a credit card shaped roving billboard. And they seem to have already thought of that. Ho hum.