cabinet of wonders: a yellow box of motocompo


I had no intention of uploading this shot of the very cute Team Moto-Liberty Honda Motocompo, until I was pointed in the direction of a very fine Madness advertisement for the Honda City, which also includes a cameo by the Motocompo.  The Motocompo is basically a transformer bike, a motorcycle that folds up like a suitcase, that was designed to fit perfectly in the trunk of the City.  If you don’t own a City, you can always just hoist the folded Motocompo by its side handles and deposit it in whatever closet in your house still has room for more stuff in it.

I took that shot of the Moto-Liberty bike — the cutest bike in the paddock — at an AMA event at Sears Point Raceway sometime back around 1993 or 1994, I think.  I had no idea at the time that Moto-Liberty was so closely connected with Japan and the Japanese racing scene, or that it had an office in Osaka.  That would explain why they had access to a Motocompo, however, a bike that’s very rarely ever seen in the US.  (I had also forgotten that Nicky Hayden, former Moto GP World Champion, spent 1992 as a Moto-Liberty rider in the 125cc class.)

The Motocompo still seems to have a cult following.  And as with just about every beautifully ridiculous piece of motorization out there, it seems there are at least a few people who who can’t resist hopping them up, and then producing bathetic glamor videos featuring a young woman who rides the thing around in heels in a world that has become all fisheyed and cutie techno.

When I close my eyes and think of the Motocompo, young women in heels are the last thing that comes to mind.  Instead, I think of the Motocompo as the perfect escape vehicle for the Yellow Submarine.  I imagine John, Paul, George, and Ringo unpacking their banana-yellow Motocompos, kickstarting them to life, and then blazing off into a psychedelic Peter Max sunset, making sure to avoid the Sea of Holes.


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