Home » Man Does The Seemingly Impossible By Riding A Honda Motocompacto 100 Miles In Less Than A Day

Man Does The Seemingly Impossible By Riding A Honda Motocompacto 100 Miles In Less Than A Day

Moto Compacto 100 Ts1
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Back in September, Honda caused quite a stir when it announced the Motocompacto electric scooter. Sure, the $995 scooter is basically just an eBike in a cool form factor, but it is an affordable and charming successor to the famed Honda Motocompo mini scooter of the 1980s. People are finally getting their hands on these little scoots and they’re doing amazing things with them. In early March, YouTuber Mike from HondaFit4Adventure did what sounds like the impossible. He took the little Motocompacto, which normally has a range that’s at best 12 miles, and rode it 100 miles in less than a day. Here’s how you can ride a suitcase-sized scooter so far.

The Honda Motocompacto has generated a bit of a cult following. Scroll through the handful of Motocompacto groups and you’ll see people doing all sorts of fascinating mods. Some people are working on getting more power and more range while others are adorning their scoots with sweet graphics, turn signals, and comfortable seats. We’re not even six months since the Motocompacto started reaching customers and people have already torn the things down to their bare parts and built them back up. Of course, there are countless photos of Motocompactos in and around all sorts of cars from Honda products to Chevrolet Corvettes and beyond. That’s the beauty of a $995 transportation device!

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Something the Honda Motocompacto world hasn’t seen yet is a crazy long ride. Mike changed that.

Motocompacto Dusk

 

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Mike’s adventure on the Honda Motocompacto didn’t come from nowhere. If you visit his YouTube channel, you’ll find that he does some inventive experiments with a Honda Fit. He’s turned the tiny hatch into a road trip warrior with 900 miles of fuel range, a little off-road adventurer, and so much more. The car is a camper, has slim solar panels on its roof, and gets to do what most of its kind will never get to experience. A Fit wasn’t built for this, but his now is.

Mike has been doing things like this for a while. He tells me that a decade ago, he swung a leg over a Honda Ruckus and toured the states neighboring Illinois. One of his photos is of his Ruckus as far east as Ohio.

Now, if you don’t know what a Ruckus is, I’ll explain. The Ruckus is Honda’s smash success scooter for the kind of people who want something more butch than a Vespa. But it is not a touring machine. We’re talking about a little scoot with a 49cc engine and a top speed roughly around 35, maybe 40 mph. Ohio is normally a boring, uneventful drive from Illinois. To do that on a Ruckus must have been a riot.

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Naturally, when Honda released the Motocompacto, Mike began tinkering.

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Honda Motocompacto Endurance

So, you’re probably wondering how it’s possible to ride a Motocompacto 100 miles in a day. The spec sheet from Honda doesn’t inspire much confidence. You have a top speed of 15 mph, a range of up to 12 miles, and a charge time of 3.5 hours.

To travel 100 miles on a stock Honda Motocompacto, you will likely need to charge 11 times. That’s assuming you’ll get 9 miles of range out of the factory 6.8 Ah battery. Using Honda’s quoted time of 3.5 hours per charge, that means you’ll be spending 38.5 hours just charging the thing. Let’s say you’re riding the scooter in Mode 1, which limits you to 10 mph. That’s at least another 10 hours on top of the 38.5 hours. Mike’s route saw him starting in South Elgin, Illinois, blazing a path north on Illinois’ bike path system, reaching Wisconsin, and then heading back to base.

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So, how did Mike manage to ride a Honda Motocompacto in far less time? I’ll let him explain:

I used two 10ah batteries and the stock 6.8ah battery. The stock battery gets about a 9 mile average range in eco mode and the after market batteries get about 13.5miles per charge. So I have about a 36mile range. The batteries are and are not plug and play.

Battrees

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Mike sent me a couple of videos explaining his setup. He disconnected the stock battery’s wiring from the scooter, then added extension cables fed through the scooter’s drain hole. The batteries aren’t wired together. Instead, Mike essentially made a battery-swapping system, allowing the scooter to achieve a higher range. The batteries also got USB hand warmers because if they’re operated in a cold enough temperature, such as a Midwestern winter, then they’ll shut down.

Motocompacto Battery

Mike says it is possible to wire these batteries together so you don’t have to manually swap them, but the connector he sourced from Amazon wasn’t reviewed or tested, so he played it safe.

As Motocompacto tuners have learned, the scooter is somewhat resistant to mods, but Mike found a workaround. He has the factory battery hooked up to the scooter’s brain while the aftermarket battery powers the front wheel. The scooter is started and the drive wheel is turned. Then, the aftermarket battery is hooked up. Apparently, if you try to start this process with the aftermarket battery, the scooter will display an error message and not work. Clever stuff!

The Ride

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Just a guy walking his penny farthing, nothing to see here.

Armed with more juice, Mike set out on his wintry adventure. He explains how riding a long-range Motocompacto works:

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I started at Panton Mill Park in South Elgin and planned out spots to charge every 15 miles. I also rotated or changed out the batteries every 5 miles so they would wear evenly and charge faster.

Example: It would take 90mins to charge the 10ah battery if I only drove it for 5 miles. If I drove the after market battery the full 13.5miles, it would take 5 hours to charge! The quickest and most efficient way to charge the battereies would be to only drain them to 30% and charge them back up to 80%. The last bit of charging to make it 100% is very time consuming. However, I did charge the batteries to 100% on the first half of this trip and I’m glad I did. I left at 3:50am Saturday morning with an outside temp of 34degrees. My first stop was “Algonquin start and stop” The second stop was McCollum Lake in McHenry. I tried to make some lunch in McHenry but realised I brought empty fuel canisters!

Night Ride Honda Mototcompacto

 

Anyway, McHenry to the Wisconsin border was 12 miles one way with no charging outlets along the way, making the last stretch to Wisconsin 24 miles without charging. Easy right? Well the last 10 miles of the bicycle path is not paved. When the asphalt ended it switched to crushed well compacted gravel which wasn’t too bad, but then the crushed gravel turned to loose gravel, then gravel and dirt and then eventually just dirt and rocks. This really drained my batteries and killed my range.

What I found fascinating about all of this is that Mike rode straight through my town of McHenry. Thankfully, the bike path system does mean that Mike didn’t have to fight traffic, but the varying surfaces of the bike path aren’t ideal. Remember, the Motocompacto has a tiny solid tire for traction and no suspension to speak of.

With that in mind, I bet you’re wondering how Mike survived riding on the hard seat for so long. A lot of people mod out their seats to be more comfortable, but Mike’s solution was simple. He sat on a sweatshirt for comfort. Mike comments that his rear end was fine despite the tiny seating area and length of the ride. Perhaps unexpectedly, what felt bad was his legs after straddling what is more or less a wheeled briefcase for 100 miles.

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Mike continues with his ride notes:

The first 10Ah battery had 7.5 miles on it. The second battery I drained completely as well as the OEM battery. Even though I had a few miles left on the first battery pack to get me back to McHenry, I was unable to use it. I later found out that if the OEM battery goes completely dead, it won’t recognise the aftermarket batteries at all. So I had to walk 2.5 miles with the scooter to a random building I found with an outlet on the back. I eventually got back to the car completing the 84-mile round trip and decided to continue on just to say I did 100miles in one day. Strava said I did 105 miles, but I subtracted 2.5 miles for the walking I did and another 2 miles for GPS errors while I was standing still charging.

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So there you have it. Honda’s last-mile successor to the rad Motocompo can be used in a manner perhaps nobody but Mike imagined. Most people will never use their Motocompacto for anything more than a toy or a little gadget to get around a city. But, if you wanted to scoot your way to another state, you could do it. I’m sure a lot of our readers will draw parallels to the famous Dumb and Dumber film’s minibike road trip and when RevZilla replicated the same. This might be even more extreme.

As for future shenanigans? Mike tells me he’s not done with making a Motocompacto travel a lot of distance in not a lot of time. When things warm up this spring, he plans to beat his 100 miles in under a day’s time. For sure, we’ll be watching around to see what else these little folding wonders can do.

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(Images: Mike HondaFit4Adventure)

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Don Mynack
Don Mynack
1 month ago

His balls must be numb as hell.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

So the Motocompacto is actually an adventure bike? Sounds like an adventure to me.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
1 month ago

“I can get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog!”

MEK
MEK
1 month ago

Personally, I’m giving this a ‘like’ just because he uses a mop for a battery warmer. Repurposing at it’s finest.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 month ago

That man is my hero.

Not the one the article is about.
The one with the penny-farthing, dressed in period correct villain attire.

You do you my friend.

Zeppelopod
Zeppelopod
1 month ago

A rare encounter with Lord Crankenflaps, en route to ‘liaise’ with Lady Gearspedrille and the libertines of the Moon Commune!

Here’s One Of The Best Speedometers At The Monterey Historics: Cold Start – The Autopian

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago

I rode a MotoCompacto around a big parking lot. It was fun but I was ready to give it back after 10 minutes. Kudos to Mike.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chronometric
Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
1 month ago

That’s a wild trip! Good for him!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

Great article: Mike is an enthusiast doing shit above and beyond.

This prompts a question, though. What do you call a group of Motocompacto riders?

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 month ago

Cool.
But can he ride it from from Nebraska to Aspen, Colorado?

Patches O' Houlihan
Patches O' Houlihan
1 month ago

I’m sure hoping the “Max Speed 89.2 mi/h” is just a glitch from Strava, otherwise that guy was pulled downhill from some significant balls.

As cool as this is, I can’t help but realize how useless it is. 10 mph on flat is pretty slow, even with a folding bicycle like a Brompton or something.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
1 month ago

Or got in a car and forgot to pause/end the recording like I always do.

MrMcGeeIn3D
MrMcGeeIn3D
1 month ago

While impressive, my taint is going numb just thinking about 100 miles on that seat.

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
1 month ago

This is great

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
1 month ago

People’s ingenuity is always great.

That said, kind of demonstrates how pointless these are. An eBike is faster, more powerful with better range and usually come with swappable batteries. The Honda MC is also more expensive and less portable than an eScooter.

Harmanx
Harmanx
1 month ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

People have made bigger sacrifices in the name of Style.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
1 month ago
Reply to  Harmanx

Feel like the novelty wore off about a day after they started selling these though

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

This kinda of reminds me of Wan Lee’s epic voyage across the US on a Ruckus all those years ago. It was chronicled on totalruckus.com which apparently is now defunct but I found at least one of the threads on the Internet Archive. It was a very, very, VERY long read but well worth it. Apparently there was some mystery towards then end when he stopped posting, I always wondered where he ended up.

https://web.archive.org/web/20120314142756/http://totalruckus.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12143&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

T Love
T Love
1 month ago
Reply to  10001010

I was on TotalRuckus a lot back in the day (my build thread for a sidecar for my dog is still archived somewhere based on the feedback I get) and remember sort of following Wan’s ride. Then one random winter day I driving toward Page, Arizona and passed a heavily laden Ruckus slowly making it’s way up a steep incline. I swung the pickup around, rolled down the window, yelled “it’s Wan!”, and caught up with him for a picture. He admitted he was a fair bit freaked out as I was apparently the first person to recognize him just riding along the road and his limited English made him wonder why someone in a truck was chasing after him, honking, and yelling. I gave him some local maps, info about a nearbycampground, a couple beers and, I think, some jerky. About a year later he mailed me an “I Met Wan” patch that promptly went on my riding jacket. My longest single Ruckus ride was about 35 miles with half on a Jeep road and everything on the suspension and engine stock apart from better rollers, but still nothing compared to his ride. He gave a couple web and magazine interviews after his ride and return to Korea. I hope he made his dream of eventually riding across Africa.

10001010
10001010
1 month ago
Reply to  T Love

Unfortunately I didn’t find the thread about his journey until after it was over. It was disappointing because he rolled through town at some point but I missed it.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 month ago

This is great, and I love the fun mods coming from all over the place, however I will likely keep mine stock. I have an overpowered e-bike that is so much easier to upgrade, and could hit 60+ with the right set up. Nothing inside me wants to ride the motocompacto at anything faster than 15, as it’s not exactly comfortable there.

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