The idea of a folding motorcycle that can be packed away into a suitcase-sized shape has been around for decades, with Honda’s Motocompo most successfully implementing it in a production model 40 years ago. Now another Japanese company, called Icoma, has sprung up with a similar machine, the Tatamel.
An award-winner at this year’s CES event in Las Vegas, the Tatamel is essentially a modern take on the Motocompo idea, using the flexibility offered by an electric powertrain to fold even smaller than the original Honda version did. Just like the Motocompo, the bike is aimed at short “last-mile” journeys and inner-city use, with a relatively limited range and performance but using a design that’s light and compact enough to be easily packed into a car. Currently a concept, it’s intended to be launched in production form later this year.
Powered by a 51.2V, 12Ah lithium iron phosphate battery driving an electric motor rated at 600W (0.8 hp) but with a maximum output of 2kW (2.7 hp) for short periods, the bike’s performance is in the moped class, with a top speed of around 25 mph with about 19 miles of range per charge. Unfolded, it is 48.4 inches long, 25.6 inches wide, and 39.4 inches tall, but the wheels, bars, and footpegs can all be folded in, creating a briefcase-like shape. In that form it measures 27.2 inches long, the same distance in height, and only 10.2 inches wide. The idea is that you can slide it under your desk at work or pack it into the trunk of your car. Since a full charge only takes only three hours from a standard wall socket, it can be fully charged again in time for your return journey. In the future, the company plans to offer extended battery packs up to 29Ah, more than doubling the bike’s range.
Despite its size, the Tatamel still has suspension at both ends, with a 10-inch front wheel suspended on a conventional fork and a monoshock for the tiny 6.5-inch rear wheel. The main structure is aluminum, with 3D-printed external panels that can be swapped to change the bike’s look. Weighing 110 pounds ready to ride, the bike’s maximum recommended load is double that figure at 220 pounds. When folded, a pair of skateboard-style wheels at the back mean it’s easy to move around without picking the whole thing up.
As well as a commuting vehicle, Icoma sees the Tatamel as a useful addition for camping trips, acting as both short-distance transport and as a mobile power pack with USB sockets to charge phones and, optionally, an AC outlet for larger electronics. At the moment, the company has an ambitious target of getting the bikes onto the market in the US in April 2023, with a base MSRP of $3,999.