Folding Fun: 1981 Honda Motocompo

I promise not to make too many Sturgis references about this original-owner 1981 Honda Motocompo. This thing would be like a dinghy or lifeboat on one of the gigantic black Harley-Davidsons (do they make other colors?) at Sturgis. Once you have docked your Harley you could unpack this Motocompo and ride around town, who would notice?! This tiny, packable scooter can be found here on eBay in Fraser, Michigan with a current bid price of $1,500 and there is no reserve. This post may read more like a Motocompo how-to than anything else since most people haven’t seen one in person and even fewer have ridden one.

I’m not sure why the seller has the seat partially-folded down in all of the photos, I hope that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t go up the whole way. It wouldn’t be comfortable at all to ride it in that position, not that they’re really that comfortable in the first place. Our own Jay B. wrote about a Motocompo here on Barn Finds back in February and that looked like a really nice one. The example for sale here has been sitting for about 15 years according to the seller. Since you’ll need a battery, don’t bother trying to find an exact match, you won’t find one. I finally found one on an auction in Australia and it was $400 for a NOS battery. After passing on that, I found one for $20 that’s about 1/4″ wider than the original exact-factory-sized battery and it fits perfectly.

In case you were wondering, yes, I have one. It’s red like this one but it’s in better condition and I paid up for it a few years ago. But, even at double the current bid price, this could be a good deal if it runs great. They really are fun to ride, I took mine out this past Sunday and I seriously need to get a video of me riding it. At 6′-5″ tall, it must be quite a sight. They’re under 3-feet in height and that includes the folding handlebars. Honda offered the Motocompo from 1981 to 1983 and over 50,000 of them were sold but there aren’t a lot of them in the US.

The red knobs on each grip can be loosened and then each handlebar folds down and into the body after taking out that black plastic panel with the keyhole in it. The little tab on the front right side of the seat is for lowering it down to the level of the red plastic housing. The safeguards, such as the key lock on that flexible plastic cover and cable tie that pulls out from the front left side so it can be locked to a rack or pole, are really for the ultimate in honest societies. Those things may not really be too helpful in modern life as you can literally just pull up on that black plastic panel to pull it off, and the cable tie is about as big around as a toothpick. But as always, anything is helpful if it slows down a thief even a little bit.

The seat and handlebars fold into the area of the red plastic cladding and then you can lift it into the back of your Honda City, or almost any other vehicle. I’ve carried mine in my former 1986 Nissan Stanza wagon and it fits in almost any backseat, just put down a blanket or something first so you don’t end up with a hole in your upholstery from a kickstand or anything else poking out. The Motocompo weighs around 90 pounds so they aren’t too heavy to lift into a vehicle. The black plastic top cover comes off and unfolds to cover up the ignition and choke area. The shiny square thing in the last photo is the gas gauge. There appears to be quite a bit of rust around the gas gauge which is a little worrisome.

This tangle of tubes, tanks, and wires is the top end of a 2.5-hp two-stroke Honda 49 cc single with oil-injection, so just make sure that white tank is up to the top line with oil and let’r rip, tater chip. The gas tank filler spout is just to the left of the oil tank in the above photo. You can see the seat release tab better in the above photo. There are no clutch or gears to worry about, just spin the grip and go, up to around 30 mph. Mine starts first kick every time and it’s a hoot. Any thoughts on these unusual, tiny Japanese market scooters? As the old commercial used to say, try it, you’ll like it. I defy anyone to ride a Motocompo and not enjoy it, unless you’re worried about what some others may think and I can’t help you with that.


  1. TBAU Member

    I see a bright yellow one on the inner city streets of Sydney Australia from time to time. The 20 something hipster in the pilot’s seat trys really hard to look cool but he can’t help grinning from ear to ear. Makes my day when I see/hear/smell him go by.

    Like 5
  2. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    I smell fishy water….

    Have been out racing for a week, and just before I left I noted this little ride on the local (Detroit) CL for $5K!

    On eBay
    “This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available.”

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.