Tatemel modular e-bike at CES 2023

CES 2023

This transforming moped is CES vaporware at its best

Do we need this foldable moped? Not really. But that doesn't make it any less fun.

Raymond Wong / Inverse

Sometimes vaporware just hits home. Take, for example, the Tatamel Bike from Japanese startup, Icoma.

This everything-moped, which we ogled for ourselves at CES 2023, is a lot of things. It’s customizable; it’s vaguely cyberpunk; it’s transformable; it’s a boatload of ideas that will probably never fully come to fruition. And you know what? that’s perfectly okay.

What is this thing? — The Tatamel is a concept moped that Icoma says is inspired by “Japanese transformable toys.” In a matter of seconds, the Tatamel bike can fold into a size that should fit inside most people’s closets — even people who live in say, a less-than-spacious apartment in New York City like myself.

Clearly, the only thing that Icoma cares more about than portability is customization. Part of the conceit of the Tatemel is that you can make it look however you want. Maybe that means adorning your futuristic moped in fake grass, or this puffy leather, or maybe this wooden panel reminiscent of a school desk.

It doesn’t really matter, what matters is that Icoma wants you to choose.

Icoma may call the Tatamel a bike, but it definitely toes the line between moped and motorcycle. It’s equipped with a full suspension and 10-inch wheels that are designed to make it resilient to the wear and tear of city riding. That doesn’t mean it’s as inconvenient as a motorbike, however.

Red leather really makes a statement. Icoma
Not what we meant when we said “go green.”Icoma
Can’t complain about wood grain.

Icoma says that its moped — which is electric, by the way — can be charged in just three hours by a 100V outlet like the one you’d use at home. The Tatamel utilizes its lithium-ion battery to charge small devices like your phone.

In the future, Icoma says that it envisions the Tatamel being used as a portable power source to be deployed in disaster prevention scenarios. One day, that could even include an attachable solar panel capable of generating power for the bike or other devices.

Me taking it all in. Ray Wong / Inverse
This screen is for show only.Ray Wong / Inverse
I could definitely use a traveling desk at CES.Ray Wong / Inverse

The vaporest of wares — Listen, I love the idea of the Tatamel, but it definitely works better in theory than it does in practice. For one, this thing still weighs 110 pounds, which definitely puts a bit of a damper on the portability selling point.

Also, even if the Tateml folds down — and it definitely does — it doesn’t quite constitute a small bike or moped. I personally think the JackRabbit, this teeny-tiny e-bike that weighs just 24 pounds but still hits 20 mph, is a more compelling offer.

But hey, it’s CES, and sometimes an exciting concept, even if ultimately impractical, is enough. We might not need the Tatmel, but you can’t tell me some part of you doesn’t want it.

INVERSE brings you everything from the fun and futuristic world of consumer technology at CES 2023. For all the latest technology coverage from the show, go to the INVERSE CES 2023 hub.

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