In the two-wheel world, some of the most exciting developments these days aren’t just around going fast, but also getting around a city more easily. Case in point: a Chinese bike manufacturer unveiled something at the 2023 Tokyo Motorcycle Show that could do exactly that, and apes Honda’s long-gone but still beloved Motocompo scooter of the 1980s.
Meet the FELO M One. It’s a 3.8-foot-long, 81-pound mini electric motorcycle with a 62-mile range that can fit in the trunk of your car or easily hang off of the back of an SUV. It’s totally a Honda Motocompo for the 21st Century.
The Chinese motorcycle industry has been advancing by leaps and bounds in the past decade. It’s been amazing to watch the industry grow from building motorcycles you’d buy only because you didn’t have much cash to building motorcycles that you’d actually want to ride. Out of this wave of advancement comes a bunch of startups. FELO EV is the research and development arm of Hiyee-tong (Shanghai) Industrial Co. The company was founded in 2019 and gets funding from Kymco, a known name in the motorcycle world. FELO and Kymco joined forces with another Chinese brand, Super Soco, to develop and sell affordable electric motorcycles with swappable batteries.
One thing I like about FELO is that a couple of its designs seem to revive long-dead Honda concepts. Last year, the company unveiled the FW03, which looks like a modernized and electrified version of the futuristic Honda Cub EZ90 of the 1990s.
FELO doesn’t even hide the motorcycle’s inspiration, just check out this promotional image showing a pair of FW03s dressed up like an EZ90:
We’ve been seeing a number of concepts like these lately and they make a lot of sense. Some companies pitch the idea of a deployable scooter as a way to solve the problems of getting around a city. Basically, you park your car outside of a city core and get around on a kickscooter or an electric motorcycle. For example, Polestar and Cake see you hanging an electric motorcycle off of the back of your car to deploy once you park. This is even better than that and it’s not even a new concept.
Let’s trace this idea back to its early days.
Honda has long built tiny motorcycles that fit in the back of cars. In the 1960s, the marque created the Z Series “Monkey” minibike, which conveniently fit into the back of a Honda S600 sports car. The Z Series was created almost by accident. Honda created little baby motorcycles for use at an amusement park. When it turned out that children and adults adored riding the tiny things, Honda decided to make production minibikes.
In 1981, Honda released its experiment into solving mobility issues in dense Japanese cities. The Motocompo scooter was a 49cc scooter that folded up just small enough to fit into the back of a Honda City or a Honda Today. Honda made 53,369 of these 2.5-HP two-stroke scooters and the idea was that you could park your Honda city car, deploy the scooter, and zip off to your final destination. However, they were sold for just three model years between 1981 and 1983.
Today, Motocompos are beloved by importers and enthusiasts of Japanese domestic market vehicles. It’s arguably more iconic than the cars it came with. You could also say that the little scooter perhaps inspired future concepts of scooters and motorcycles that fold small enough to fit into cars. Even Honda hasn’t given up on the idea and the company has occasionally lobbed off concepts for a mini scooter that fits in a car.
If you’re looking for the closest thing to a Motocompo reimagined for the modern day, it seems that the FELO M One hits the spot.
The FELO M One
The first thing to note about the FELO M One is that just like the Motocompo, this scooter is just 3.8-feet wide. That should allow it to fit into a wide variety of vehicles. I mean, the original Motocompo was made to fit in small Japanese city cars. I’m already imagining this thing sitting in the back of my BMW 530xi wagon.
It’s not just a shameless clone, either. FELO appears to have improved on the original idea. The M One is built with a magnesium-aluminum alloy integrated frame. Attached to it is a body that FELO designed with attachment points for equipment like Bluetooth speakers or auxiliary lighting. FELO sees buyers hanging things off of the bike for whatever their lifestyle calls for.
Looking at the thing, it’s like a foldable scooter from the Halo universe. When you aren’t riding the thing, the handlebar folds into the stem and the stem folds into the body. The seat follows suit, turning the scooter into a big suitcase just like the original Motocompo.
Also different is what’s under the futuristic body. This scooter sports a 48V 20Ah lithium battery. That powers a 0.53 HP motor capable of a 1.34 HP burst. That is less power than the 2.5-HP 49cc powerplant from the Motocompo, but at least you don’t have to smell two-stroke smoke. Also notable is that the FELO weighs just 81 pounds or 18 fewer pounds than the Motocompo that inspired it.
FELO doesn’t mention anything about top speed but says that range is around 62 miles. I’d expect cruising speed for this to be something like 15 mph, not that you’d want to go much faster.
Also neat is that the FELO M One has vehicle-to-load capability. It has a 220VAC 50Hz outlet, allowing the scooter to be used as a lithium power station. I love that idea; you could use it to get around a campground and then use it for power at your campsite.
Sadly, FELO has made no indication of bringing this scooter to America. As of right now, the company says that the scooter will be available in Japan starting in the fourth quarter of this year for 380,000 yen, or roughly $2,900. That said, I bet you could probably import one of these as an off-road-only vehicle into the United States. (It worked for Jason’s Changli!)
I’m just glad that this exists. The Motocompo is one of those weird wonders that seems like it would be a good idea in today’s world of city congestion and car-free zones; it was a great idea that never got capitalized on. The price is pretty attractive as well. It’s cheaper than any original running Motocompo while also being the same price as a new Honda Ruckus. I could see myself taking this thing on every camping trip. It’s basically a power station that can move itself!
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I thought this was cool until I got to the bit where it’s cruising speed is the same as a bicycle.
I can fit a 26” wheel MTB in the back of my Z4 and ride back from my mechanic at 15mph. Thanks to BMW I do just that every few months.
If I were in charge of naming this thing, I’d call it the Boot Scoot. Imagine, if your car broke down or you were caught in gridlock when you absolutely needed to get somewhere, all you’d have to do is pop your trunk, grab your Boot Scoot ‘n’ boogie.
This is a rad concept and I wish it, or something similar, would make its way to the US. Polestar and Cake kinda did something in the same vein with some limited-edition Makkas being able to be transported and charged via a Polestar 2, but those scooters don’t fold.
But I think Honda might be mulling a Motocompo return: https://www.cycleworld.com/story/motorcycle-news/honda-motocompacto-scooter-concept/
81lbs is still pretty heavy to get into a car trunk, especially if it is high. I am saying that as someone who had to move 20″ Trinitron monitors around in the late 90s/00. But the good thing is it won’t need to cool down vs an ICE engine?
A Honda City that doesn’t smell like gasoline in the passnger compartment somehow seems incomplete.
I’m pretty sure there are e-scooters that are more compact and that can be unfolded for better riding, the Motocompo design is iconic but very outdated especially for evs
62 miles is a hell of a lot further than I’d want to attempt to ride on that, which is the first time I’ve ever ever said that about an EV. Also, I really want one, which is only maybe the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve said that about an EV, so of course it isnt coming here
The BMW GS inspired headlight works surprisingly well here, big fan. Though the 81 pound weight is definitely better than the Motocompo, it’s still 81 pounds.
I wonder if Honda’s Motocompo revival will address the weight issue.
I wanna see a video of somebody alone lifting an 81-pound scooter and putting back in the trunk of a car, in the rain.
Will this fit in the back of a BRZ? I’m asking for a, well, for me actually.
I once put my Suzuki moped in the back of my FRS, and this wouldn’t need to be drained of oil and gas which is nice. Seems like this should be narrow enough to sit through the trunk pass-through if it’s laying on it’s side? And folding handlebars get rid of that wide-point.
Finally something I could use to get home from dropping of my car at the shop. I would not need a ride home if this was in the back.
I actually have a hard time getting a Motocompo into a trunk, not so much the weight (about 40kg’s), but it’s always just a bit too long or too tall to fit. In the cars that I’ve tried, the rear wheel arch usually gets in the way. The easiest way is to let it sit in the back seats.
It’s really cool looking, but if I had $3k burning a hole in my wallet I would not be spending it on something that would hold up traffic in a school zone. My sons Razor RSF350 will almost do that stock and with a few hundred in upgrades will easily surpass that, albeit with much, much less range.
Yeah, this, like the original Motocompo, is not really something you’re going riding on in traffic. You’re basically going to be putting alongside people with Bird scooters and ebikes.
Think they can get Madness to do another commercial for it?
I guarantee that kind of advertising would work on me.