Katalis Spacebar: A Honda Motocompo for the 21st century?

Photo: Katalis

Remember the Honda Motocompo? The trunk-sized minibike sold in the early ’80s, aimed at the urban commuting market? With fold-down handlebars, and a tiny 2.5 hp engine?

Well, there’s a modern-day equivalent on the market, at least in Asia, and it’s environmentally friendly. The new Katalis Spacebar is designed to be basically the same thing, but with an electric engine.

Actually, the Motocompo might be the most memorable mass-market release of a bike in this style, but it’s an old idea. The concept of an ultra-compact, easily-transportable motorcycle goes at least as far back as World War II, when Allied soldiers had the Welbike. It was made for air transport, not a car trunk, but it was the same general idea, with folding handlebars and tiny wheels.

The Spacebar takes that idea to the 21st century with a 1200-watt/48V electric motor, and claimed battery range around 50 kilometres. The Spacebar runs on 10-inch wheels, and comes with front and rear racks for utilitarian purposes. It’s the brainchild of Katalis, an Indonesian design firm.

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While this is likely to remain a niche item, and probably won’t come to Canada, it’s still cool to see designers think outside the box. Or maybe, think inside the box, but a really, really cool box that goes all the way back to WW2, The Big One? It does seem like you can order one here, if you want to take a risk.

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