Home » This May Be The Sketchiest Sort-Of-Honda Ever Crafted By Human Hands

This May Be The Sketchiest Sort-Of-Honda Ever Crafted By Human Hands

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I was going to say that I’ve been on a weird, barely known microcar kick this week, but let’s be honest – that’s my natural state, isn’t it? It is. And that may be why I felt such a deep, visceral delight when I saw this wonderful and perhaps slightly alarming-looking little microcar, which seemed to be called a Honda Caren. A bit more research revealed that the story is a bit more complex; yes, in one sense, the car is a Honda Caren, but it’s not just a Honda Caren, it also seems to be something called a Cydes Car URI-II. It’s a three-wheeled microcar, but, as you may have noticed, the front wheel is not, as you’d usually expect, centered. There’s a reason for this, which, if you’ll just calm down a moment, I’ll explain.

The first key to this strange little car’s layout and name has to do with this, the true Honda Caren:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Caren1

The Caren was one of Honda’s little 50cc mopeds – a charming little machine, friendly and practical. Like all mopeds, though, it’s just a motor and some wheels nestled in your crotch, so you’re completely at the mercy of the weather and wind and insects and birds and whatever else you may be driving through. It’s an open vehicle, not closed like a cozy car, and for many people, that’s a deal breaker. Most of us like to be indoors while we travel.

It seems there was a company that understood this desire, and somehow felt that there were enough people who simultaneously wanted moped price and performance and the enclosed quality of a car, so they took the little Honda Caren and turned it into this:

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Cydescar Ad

A little microcar! The company seems to have been called CydesCar, which is a play on “sidecar” which makes sense, because what they’ve really done, kind of, is added a sidecar to the Caren and then enclosed the entire thing in what is basically a little plastic shed. Here, look, this is how the wheels are arranged:

Wheellayout

See what’s going on there? That’s why the lone front wheel is stuck way over on the right side, because the base of the Honda Caren is there on the right side, albeit highly modified and integrated into this new body. The handlebars have been moved to the center of the body, which would be to the side of the moped itself, along with the seat. The left side has the lone “sidecar” wheel, and the whole thing looks gleefully precarious.

In fact, on the green one up there with the huge speakers in the back (from Bruce Weiner’s former microcar collection) even has a little caster wheel, possibly a shopping cart wheel, on the left side, I guess to help keep it from tipping over? This thing had to feel all kinds of unsettling in turns.

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Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time this sort of layout had been tried; in the early 1900s, some cheap “cyclecars” used a similar sidecar-style arrangement, like the infamous Scott Scociable:

Scottsociable

Oh, one more thing about that brochure; I ran it through a translation app, and got some really funny and puzzling results for part of it:

Translation

Is that really what that says? “It has the appearance of a girl and a slightly chubby guy?” Is that how you sell microcars, by analogizing them to a pleasingly plump androgyne? Maybe!

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The Caren, when converted to a microcar, seems to have been called the URI-II, and boasted some novel features, like a reverse gear of some kind, a little luggage rack, and a turning circle of under one meter!

Uri2 Specsjpg

The brochure here also shows it with the roof removed; I wonder if this was something you could actually do, or if they were just showing it this way to show the interior, which even had some luggage space available.

This is a very clever little thing, about as absolutely minimal a “car” as you could have. In many ways, this feels like a 1990 version of my Changli or similar absolutely minimal automotive solution. Basing the drivetrain on a popular moped like a Honda one is really clever. I can’t decide if this should be considered an add-on to the Honda Caren, or something entirely new, because so much of the original moped gets modified to make this work.

Carens Wild

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Either way, I’m pretty impressed. It’s not clear at all how many of these were actually made, but there are some pictures of these floating around the web, including that shot of one in the bed of a kei-class truck, just to give a sense of how tiny these things are.

I’d kind of like to try to drive one of these; the asymmetrical wheel layout has to be entertaining, at the very least, right? I mean, until you tip it over.

 

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Austin Vail
Austin Vail
8 months ago

I bet you could easily make a modern version of this for the American market using any number of little mopeds on the market and a simple rotomolded plastic body. Using a 49 cc engine it would be legal for 14 year-olds without a license to drive, essentially becoming an American sans permis car. It’d be ridiculously slow though, so perhaps an e-bike-based version would be better?

Of course many parents would be mortified by the lack of safety, but even so, I imagine it would be so cheap to manufacture that there would be a large enough market to make it profitable.

Just make it super angular and silver with thin LED light strips and everyone will want one…

Last edited 8 months ago by Austin Vail
Barry Allen
Barry Allen
8 months ago

Tuk Tuk supremacy. These are a joke compared to the true three wheeled masters of commuting.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago

“Like all mopeds… you’re completely at the mercy of the weather and wind and insects and birds and whatever else you may be driving through. It’s an open vehicle…”

Not all mopeds. As the owner of a 1981 American Microcar Tri-Ped, I must point out that these came with a removable windshield, top, and doors. For the moped purists, yes, they have pedals, too, even though they aren’t visible in this photo:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ZNiH6Qft8pM/T4GwoRlpMUI/AAAAAAABPvo/Yq4p4ukiq1M/s800/1980%2520American%2520Microcar%2520Tri-Ped.jpg

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

That looks pretty cool, not gonna lie. You have the best vehicles.

Last edited 8 months ago by Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago

Thanks! The problem with removable items, however, is that they are removable. Mine no longer had its windshield, top, or doors when I got it and so far I haven’t found anyone with spares:

https://live.staticflickr.com/8650/15974049153_8a66ff5ca5_c.jpg

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Oh, yeah, I can imagine sourcing spares may be a nightmare. Maybe fabricating new parts from scratch is the only way to go here? The removable bits seem like fairly simple pieces of plexiglass or something similar. This one even has a soft plastic cover that I don’t hate (seems more practical to pull off a soft cover and fold away than removing 3-4 individual plexiglass panels).

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Never heard of those and now I want one. If they made a 49cc version, it would be – well, really slow, but also legal for 14 year-olds to drive without a license, basically an American sans permis car! That could be nice for a kid to drive themselves to school in and whatnot.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

The only engine offered was a 49cc Minarelli so as to keep them licensable as mopeds.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

That’s awesome. I wonder if a modern e-bike version would sell today?

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

Someone is trying to do exactly that:

https://americanmicrocar.com/

CSRoad
CSRoad
8 months ago

It needs titanium rub strips for night use.

CRX89
CRX89
8 months ago

I want to see the Caren, in the bed of a kei truck, in the bed of a super duty, on a flatbed tow truck.

Black Peter
Black Peter
8 months ago

and a turning circle of under one meter!

Umm it says “2.6 M” did you think that was feet?

Actually it might be 2.5M, I cant tell because the pictures won’t expand when clicked!!

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
8 months ago

I was expecting a one make oval track racing series, because who needs the left tire when you’re only making left turns?

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
8 months ago

Reminds me of a Road & Track Cyclops!

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
8 months ago

This raises the question.

What’s the sketchiest sorta-honda without the human hands stipulation

Canyonero
Canyonero
8 months ago

I’m going to agree with everyone else. That thing looks like it would be terrifying to drive. I wonder if it’s more or less stable than a Reliant Robin?

Also, I hate to be that guy, but the Honda Caren isn’t a “moped” as it doesn’t have pedals. It’s just a scooter.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
8 months ago
Reply to  Canyonero

“…until you tip it over.” I wonder if Clarkson is available and interested.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago

That’s what I call recycling.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago

Nope. Still not the sketchiest Honda out there. That crown is won by the myriad 90s civics that have exhausts bigger than their cylinders and have been unsafe since their 8th owner somewhere around 2005.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
8 months ago

> It has the appearance of a girl and a slightly chubby guy

Like the average manager-pestering Karen?

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
8 months ago

If this thing didn’t get banned by the government like the Honda ATC then its not the sketchiest Honda.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
8 months ago

Is that really what that says? “It has the appearance of a girl and a slightly chubby guy?” 

No, it says its length is 1.57m, about the height of a girl. Its weight is about the same as a fat guy at 70kg. It is gaining popularity because it is as easy to ride as a bicycle.

Your translation app is sketchy as hell, how did it “translate” 1.57m to 1.573m?

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago

70kg is considered fat? Ouch.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Yeah, I’m in trouble apparently. Time to go on a diet. I hear the Santa Clarita diet is pretty good.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

I understood this reference. Giving myself a gold star!

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Take two, they’re small.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

Ooh shiny!

Bork Bork
Bork Bork
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

That’s XL-sized in Japan.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
8 months ago

More like a Honda Careen…

Jayson Elliot
Jayson Elliot
8 months ago

I found a video of a CydesCar being driven – it looks gloriously terrifying. Jump to 11:52 to see it in action: https://youtu.be/xl4fw-LKl6U?si=2saSnR7FguMrJfK3&t=712

Black Peter
Black Peter
8 months ago
Reply to  Jayson Elliot

Wow, it seems to have decent acceleration!

Look, a Volvo!
Look, a Volvo!
8 months ago

When I first laid my eyes upon this… this thing, I was baffled. The more I read, the more my concern grew. It’s barely a meter and a half long, one of it’s wheels are that of a shopping carts… When does this madness end?

With that being said I need a roofless one now.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
8 months ago

It looks more like something you put a kid in so they can pretend they’re driving while you push them around than an actual car.

Jbavi
Jbavi
8 months ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

this is totally it, the Little Tykes Cozy Coupe (and it’s an actual coupe!) when one of the front wheel axle/posts gets stripped out of the plastic carriage

NewBalanceExtraWide
NewBalanceExtraWide
8 months ago

Karens have had asymmetrical bobs for years, it appears (insert that woman from TLC years ago with all the kids . Jpeg)

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
8 months ago

I apparently started my unique love of vehicles early. At 16 purchasedca Smiley-Demm moped. Very rare and a hoot to drive. Not transferable to a plastic fun car.

Data
Data
8 months ago

It’s a Honda Minion. I shall call it Bob.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
8 months ago

The basic idea of encasing a motorbike and side car in a single enclosure seems sound enough, but I question what was really gained by moving the driving position to the center

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
8 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

It added smallness!

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
8 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

They created a drivable side car

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