Team Mugen’s new TT Zero racebike, the Shinden, will be piloted by 17-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness.
Team Mugen has confirmed 17-time TT winner John McGuinness will pilot its entry in the 2012 TT Zero. The Japanese company also revealed the electric-powered mount it will use to campaign the upcoming electric race – the 120-horsepower Shinden.
The name of McGuinness’ new mount means Electricity God (Shin=God, Den=Electricity). Mugen’s official announcement elaborates on the name, saying the deity is a “wishing God who in nature dominates all kinds of electricity including from thunder to static, would support us for the race, and for this the name was chosen.”
There remains speculation as to who exactly the electric immortal will lend its divine countenance upon at the TT. While Mugen operates as an independent racing company, it has long been associated with Honda (having been founded by the son of Honda founder Soichiro Honda). There has been no public confirmation that the Mugen project is fronted by Honda, but the association has given rise to much speculation.
Mugen’s participation in the TT Zero was announced shortly after the debut of Honda’s RC-E electric superbike at the Tokyo Motor Show (Team Mugen (Honda?) to Race 2012 TT Zero). The Shinden exhibits some obvious variations from the Honda concept, like its use of carbon fiber for the frame and swingarm. The Mugen machine also utilizes Showa suspension and Nissin brakes (the RC-E sported Ohlins and Brembo). There do appear to be some similarities, like the positioning of the motor at the swingarm pivot axis (though they appear mounted differently).
Honda did not provide power stats for the RC-E concept, but Mugen is more accommodating. The Shinden claims 90 kW (120.7 horsepower) and 162.3 lb-ft torque from its brushless DC motor. Lithium-ion batteries are promised to put out more than 370 volts, and the battery pack figures to be a considerable amount of the hefty 573-pound claimed curb weight.
As the winningest active rider in TT racing, McGuinness is an obvious choice to give the Shinden its best chance for a maiden race victory. But the Team Mugen rider selection does nothing to dissuade the Honda rumors. The King of the Mountain is a long-time CBR rider – currently under contract with the TT Legends and Padgetts Honda teams at the upcoming road races. Extra motivation for McGuinness at the 2012 TT will be the standing £10,000 bounty offered for the first 100 mph EV lap on the Mountain Course. Last year’s TT Zero winner, Michael Rutter, fell 0.04 mph short of the prize (Isle of Man TT Zero Results 2011).