Home » Here’s How The Honda Motocompacto Scooter Impressively Folds And Unfolds

Here’s How The Honda Motocompacto Scooter Impressively Folds And Unfolds

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I rode the charming Honda Motocompacto scooter last week at Honda’s North American headquarters, and while riding impressions are embargoed, what isn’t embargoed are impressions of the pièce de résistance of this sequel to the legendary 1980s Motocompo: The elaborate folding operation.

Here’s how the $995 Motocompacto folds and unfolds, here’s how quickly Honda itself was able to unfold it from a rectangular suitcase into a functioning electric scooter, and here’s how heavy the scooter felt once all folded up.

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Undoubtedly the strangest but also most charming media drive of all time, my experience last week at Honda’s North American HQ in Irvine, California involved me joining in group of journalists and scooting around the gorgeous campus as a Honda employee led the way. It was quite epic:

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The ride ended in a little parking area, where Honda set up a motocross course. The little electric scooter felt [redacted], and when I really took it with some speed into the corners it was as [redacted] and [redacted] as I could possibly have imagined.

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OK, I didn’t actually redact anything there, but riding impressions come on Wednesday. Today, we have to talk about how this little 40-ish pound scooter folds, because it’s worth of its own post.

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First things first: A bit of a lay of the land. The Motocompacto is a front-wheel drive electric scooter that pumps out about two-thirds of a horsepower. The frame is made of aluminum, the body is made of ABS plastic, the tires are semi-solid rubber (i.e. not pneumatic), and the single brake is a rear cable-operated drum. The whole thing is IPX4 water resistant.

The main components that need to be folded/unfolded are:

  1. The seat
  2. The handlebar
  3. The rear wheel

That’s pretty much it, and while initially, I wasn’t particularly great at it, after I learned how to fold the Motocompacto, I was able to do it in less than a minute. Honda was able to unfold it in under 30 seconds! Anyway, let’s break it down, starting with the seat.

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Right on the back of the scooter is a “push to release” button, which unlatches the seat post from the scooter’s body:

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You can see above that there’s a latch on the seatpost itself. You pull up on the bottom section of that, and it releases tension on the top part of the latch, which drops down. Here’s a closer look at the latch, which feels quite sturdy.

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With that latch pulled up and then down, there’s still one more sliding latch needed to get the seat all folded up:

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That gets pulled down, allowing the actual seat to pivot on the seat post like so:

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With the seating surface now parallel to the seat post, the whole thing can be tucked into the Motocompacto’s body, right between the ABS plastic side panels:Screen Shot 2023 10 30 At 8.15.35 Am

Once the seat is tucked away, it’s time to collapse the handlebar. Step one is to collapse the steering column by undoing a latch on the side and pulling a little chrome knob at the front, just under the carrying strap:

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Once the column has been collapsed, it’s time to allow the handlebar to drop down into the body of the scooter, just on top of the seat we placed into that space earlier.

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To do this, you pull up on a nice, red anodized aluminum button attached to a paddle, then you pull the paddle down. This releases the column and drops it into the body of the scooter. To get the handlebar to fit into that space, you have to turn the handlebar 90 degrees by releasing this latch at the center of the bars:

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This allows you to rotate the handlebars until they’re vertical:

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At that point, the whole column and handlbar assembly will tuck nicely into the scooter’s body, making a nice, satisfying “click.”

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Note that, while the scooter is being folded or unfolded, the bike displays a lock on the screen to denote that the vehicle will not work until everything is latched up and safe. Per Honda, there are sensors checking the position of the handlebar (specifically noting whether it’s vertical or horizontal) and the rear wheel (which we’ll get to in a second).

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From there, you’ve got to kick the rear wheel, which is unpowered and sits just behind the main body of the scooter:

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On the right of the Motocompacto is a black paddle that has to be pulled out and rotated into an “unlock” position.

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Once that’s done, you have to press a button just below the taillight, and then you just kick the rear wheel under the bike:

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If your kickstand was down, you just push that up, and if the side foot-rests were out, you simply push those in. (It is worth noting that getting the footrest down when your foot-rests are tucked in is rather difficult, as there’s not much space between the two to fit your foot:

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Anyway, with the seat stowed, the handlebar down, the rear wheel shoved in, and the foot-rests and kickstand up, you simply grab the handle on the front of the handlbar (which is now lying flat), and boom! You’ve got a little suitcase-scooter you can carry around.

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At just over 40 pounds, the Motocompact is easy enough to carry. I was even able to curl it (well, basically; my hand interfered with the body, so I couldn’t quite do a full curl, but I would have had no trouble). [Editor’s Note: Showoff. – JT]

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Overall, it took me about a minute to break down the Motocompacto, and Honda’s rep only needed 30 seconds to get it back up and ready-to-rock.

 

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A post shared by The Autopian (@theautopian)

Check out the videos in this post to see a breakdown and a build-up of Honda’s charming new electric scooter, a modern take on the charming Motocompo. And come back on Wednesday for my full impressions.

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EVDesigner
EVDesigner
7 months ago

I thought Honda’s HQ was always in Torrance? I’ve been in Irvine a ton and have never seen it.

WaxhawFive
WaxhawFive
7 months ago

For a second I thought the helmet was backwards in the carry and curl pics.

TDI in PNW
TDI in PNW
7 months ago

The videos on The Autopian are effectively unwatchable. Ads interrupt the stream about every 30 seconds or just randomly. It seems like something isn’t set up quite right.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
7 months ago
Reply to  TDI in PNW

They don’t play at all for me. Probably my browser/ad-blocker though, or my cookie settings.

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
7 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

Yes, I’ve chosen to install an ad blocker.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
7 months ago
Reply to  TDI in PNW

 It seems like something isn’t set up quite right.

You are correct! We don’t want to crowd your screen with non-stop ads. Matt is working on a fix for this. 🙂

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
7 months ago

Plot twist: *this* is the upcoming Prelude, and the leaked concepts were just hype building

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
7 months ago

FWD? No thanks. Way cool helmet there DT! Bwahahahahah!

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
7 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Because with 1/2 a horsepower it’ll totally make a difference

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
7 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Of course.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
7 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Just ride it in reverse, then it’s RWD!

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
7 months ago

Soo, does this fit as a carry on?

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
7 months ago

It’s a bit too large to be taken onboard an aircraft as a regular carry-on. I do wonder if an airline would be willing to fly in a cabin like some people are able to do with instruments.

Toyota_Twatsicle
Toyota_Twatsicle
7 months ago

If I were to get one of these, I’d put a fart-can exhaust, ricer wing and a bigger bigger battery for more fun!

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
7 months ago

Too bad its FWD, can’t do wheelies.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
7 months ago

A driving feel embargo for a scooter that is more marketing gimmick than anything. Seems excessive

10001010
10001010
7 months ago

These would be handy to keep on a boat or RV.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago

Well, look at that, a Honda Scoot Case.

AC2DE
AC2DE
7 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

COTY! Sorry I missed it yesterday; thay made me laugh.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
7 months ago

I think the seat should have been able to just fold away into the body without having to pull it off, but I can see why they went that way.

Sbzr
Sbzr
7 months ago

really don’t like that this is just a standing scooter but with a seat instead, doesn’t feel like a motocompo to me

3WiperB
3WiperB
7 months ago

I hope you brought one home for the trunk of the Leaf.

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
7 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

The irony of the scooter having more range than the Leaf

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
7 months ago

Hi, Honda? PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY! My body bank account is ready. 😀

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
7 months ago

How has there been 3 ads (the same one at that) before even finishing a 3 minute video…

Last edited 7 months ago by Jdoubledub
Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
7 months ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

We’re working with our company to create two ad sets, one for shorter videos and one for longer videos because, yeah, that’s annoying.

3WiperB
3WiperB
7 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Yeah, I was still getting 2 ads every 30 seconds of video on the low rider video this morning. I gave up about 3 minutes in.

Ana Osato
Ana Osato
7 months ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

Adblocker, my friend.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
7 months ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

You only got 3? lucky
Each ad plays double for me. Not like I got the same ad at the next break (although I got that too) each break played double ads.

Last edited 7 months ago by Chartreuse Bison
Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
7 months ago

Can you roll it on the ground in compact mode, like suitcase or do you have to carry it?

I wonder what ADM will be on these?

A. Barth
A. Barth
7 months ago

The biker gang pic is pretty epic. 🙂

The latch that holds the handlebars in place resembles a quick-release (QR) skewer on a mountain bike. As you demonstrated in the video, the latch handle is on a hinge and cam arrangement and basically goes over center to close, putting tension on the assembly so the bars don’t move.

Fun fact: the Allen fastener with the knurled exterior in the middle of the hinge pin* can [most likely] be turned to adjust the tension in the latch. For example, if you wanted a tighter grip on the bars you could run the screw in a bit, and if the latch didn’t want to cooperate (i.e. close) you could loosen it a bit.

I’m looking forward to the road test followup on Wednesday!

* This is the item I mean: https://images-stag.jazelc.com/uploads/theautopian-m2en/394964186_7121727641219559_3193878039967190200_n-2048×1152.jpg)

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
7 months ago

It’s not clear to me whether this will be sold at Honda Automobile dealers or Honda Powersports dealers, but either way…

Local Honda auto dealers charge a minimum of $2000 per vehicle in ADM. I’m not paying $3000 for this.

Local Honda Powersports dealers charge a $500 assembly fee plus a $500 DOC fee. I’m not paying $2000 for this.

For a grand, I’d be all over this. But there is absolutely no way that any sort of Honda dealer will sell it for a grand.

TheBarber
TheBarber
7 months ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

You can buy it from a Honda or Acura dealer, Honda Powersports won’t be included. Or you will be able to buy it online from Honda’s DreamShop store front and either pick it up at your local dealer or have it shipped to you from a dealer. It’s listed in our catalog as an accessory so Honda is the one dictating the price here.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
7 months ago
Reply to  TheBarber

Honda always dictates MSRP. But Honda (and Acura) dealers aren’t required to sell accessories for list price. Around here, they’re usually 50% over list price. But I guess dealers can’t mark them up if they’re sold online for $1k.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
7 months ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

I’d go buy a Honda Navi but the fees practically double the out-the-door price. Powersports dealership model makes zero sense for really cheap bikes. For $1200 I can attach a front wheel, add oil and go to the DMV myself but whatever.

JDE
JDE
7 months ago

Supposedly available at dealers for only $995. that is kind of a steel actually, especially considering Honda reliability that hopefully gets baked into these.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
7 months ago

I feel like from their work with Asimo, and what we’re seeing from Robosen transformers, some of that could’ve been automated.

MrLM002
MrLM002
7 months ago

Nice. It looks pretty dang slick

Toecutter
Toecutter
7 months ago

Top speed of 15 mph and a range of 12 miles. Given how heavy this is, the specs aren’t exactly impressive, but perhaps a less energy-dense battery was chosen in exchange for good longevity with frequent deep discharges? The fact that it can hold riders up to 265 lbs might have a lot to do with the extra material used and the associated mass.

The fact that it is compact and foldable does a lot in its favor. It looks very useful.

Ana Osato
Ana Osato
7 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Frequent deep discharges 😉

Last edited 7 months ago by Ana Osato
Toecutter
Toecutter
7 months ago
Reply to  Ana Osato

I see what you did there.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/6v_gmWRz38s

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
7 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Yeah how are the specs so low on a 40lb thing. A 40lb segway scooter does 18mph and up to 25 miles and folds, plus half the price. I can tell you as I have a segway scooter it is not easy to lug around.

Last edited 7 months ago by Brian Ash
3WiperB
3WiperB
7 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

Yeah, we have a Segway ES4 and I think it’s about 30 pounds, but it’s super awkward to carry and I feel like I’d rather have something with a seat. It’s way to easy to wipe out on the upright scooters.

That said, they should have design this to wheel around like a carry-on bag.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
7 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

Yeah, I feel like they could’ve designed it so a little bit of the handlebar sticks out along with the unpowered rear wheel, then you could just drag it behind you.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
7 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

It does look useful. The specs are somewhat similar to my $800 Lectric Lite e-bike. That is also <50 pounds, folds up to fit in a trunk, top speed of 20 mph, and a range of around 20 miles. BMX geometry and pedals mean I can hop off curbs and shrug off potholes on my bike, I wouldn’t try that on the Motocampo!

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