The 2012 edition of the TT Zero just got a whole lot more interesting. Mugen, the Japanese performance firm who, rather significantly, lists some of its main clients as Honda Motor Co., Honda R&D Co., and Honda Motorcycle Japan Co., announced they would enter the SES TT Zero Clean Emissions Motorcycle Challenge on the Isle of Man a couple weeks ago. Now, Team Mugen has revealed both its electric superbike and rider.
John McGuinness is the chosen one, and with 17 wins on the famed 37.7-mile Snaefell Mountain Course to his name, clearly has more than just a passing knowledge of the world's most deadly asphalt circuit. When he takes to the saddle of the Mugen machine – named Shinden, meaning god of electricity – he will be aiming to be both win the race and make history by being the first to surpass the 100 mile per hour average speed aboard a battery-powered bike. This mark was just missed by Motoczysz in 2011.
Given the close relationship between Mugen and Honda, it had been widely speculated that the entry would be based on the RC-E concept debuted at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. While that bike was, indeed, quite beautiful, Shinden also has much to recommend it. Under the grasped-lightning-bolt paint lies a 3-phase, 90-kW (120.7-horsepower) DC brushless motor with 162 ft lbs of twist cradled in a lightweight twin-spar carbon fiber frame. Its 573-lb curb weight and 370-volt system suggests that it has a battery somewhere in the 14 kWh neighborhood of its competitors.
The entrance of such a high profile team and rider is sure to elevate and add legitimacy to the electric competition at the IoM Tourist Trophy races. It should also concentrate the minds of their American rivals Lightning Motors and MotoCzysz, making victory for the newcomers anything but certain. Hit the jump for footage of the unveiling of the Mugen Shinden and its race track debut demonstration.