Honda has revealed – Oops. What we meant to say was the Honda-associated Mugen Motorsports has revealed its electric race bike which will enter the 2012 TT Zero on the Isle of Man.
Let’s get the caveats out of the way first. Mugen, a Japanese tuning company, is not an actual Honda company. Mugen was, however, founded by Hirotoshi Honda, the son of Honda founder Soichiro Honda. Mugen also specializes in tuning Honda cars and motorcycles, but officially, the two companies are separate entities.
That’s what makes the newly unveiled Mugen Shinden electric race bike so intriguing. The Shinden may not be an official Honda electric racebike, but it’s the next closest thing.
With that Honda connection, the obvious move is to compare the Shinden to the Honda RC-E electric sportbike concept which was unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show in November. Honda never revealed specifications for the RC-E, but we can observe some physical similarities and differences between the two motorcycles.
The frame and swingarm are different, with the Shinden sporting a twin-spar frame and swingarm made of carbon fiber. The Shinden also sports suspension from Showa (another close associate of Honda) rather than the concept bike’s Ohlins set-up. Mugen also installed Nissin brakes while Honda used Brembos on the RC-E.
Design-wise, the Shinden is sleeker with a sharper rear and the upward-sloping belly pan looks less bulky than the bottom of the RC-E (pictured below).The positioning of the motor appears to be the same however, serving extra duty as the swingarm pivot.
The Shinden uses a three-phase brushless DC motor claiming an output of 120 hp and 162 ft-lb. of torque. The motor is powered by a 370V lithium-ion battery. The large battery comes at a cost however, with Mugen claiming the Shinden weighs about 260 kg (573 pounds).
The name “Shinden” translates to “God of Electricity“, which suggests the high hopes Mugen has for the bike in the TT Zero race. Mugen intends to win the time-trial format race as well as claim the 10,000 pound (US$15,867) bounty for being the first electric bike to set an average speed of 100 mph on the Isle of Man’s 37.75-mile Mountain Course.
Helping tip the odds in Mugen’s favor is its rider, John McGuinness, a multiple-time winner at the Isle of Man and the lap record holder with an average speed of 131.578 mph. And yes, that lap was completed on a Honda.
“I’ve followed the electric bike race for the last couple of years and I was keen to take part if the bike was right,” says McGuinness. “There are a few other good machines in the line up so I think there’s going to be a bit of competition this year, particularly with the chance to make history with the first 100mph lap.”
Mugen Shinden Specs:
Ground clearance(mm): 130
Seat height(mm): 840
Curb weight(kg): 260
Caster angle: 23°
Trial length(mm): 96
Frame: CFRP Twin-Spar-Type
Motor type: Three Phase Brushless DC motors
Battery: Lithium-ion Battery
Battery output(V): 370 or more
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