Bad news for electric motorcycle race fans, as the organizers of the Isle of Man TT have announced that they will no longer hold the TT Zero event for the 2020 and 2021 editions of the iconic road race.
The Isle of Man’s Department of Enterprise says in a press release that it has become “increasingly challenging” to run the electric class and to find competitors for it each year.
Of course, anyone watching the TT Zero race will see that the only promising entries came from the Mugen team, that the starting grids were single-digits in number, and that both factors made for lackluster viewing.
It was two years ago that Mugen caught some serious attention for an electric motorcycle. No, it wasn’t an electric superbike like the Mugen Shinden Hachi, which just broke cover in Japan, instead it was a dirt bike…with the bones of a dinosaur.
Called the Mugen E.Rex, the bike showed how the Japanese tuning brand was applying its electric vehicle knowledge into new spaces. And to be frank, there was a lot going on with the electric dirt bike concept.
First up, there was the appearance of the machine, which was…interesting, to say the least. But also, it was important to note what the Mugen E.Rex meant for the electric motorcycle space, as Mugen and Honda are very closely linked.
Now today, with the Honda CR Electric prototype debuting…along with a revised edition of the Mugen E.Rex, we see that these two bikes have an even deeper link to each other, as they are virtually identical.
Another debut from the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, the next iteration of the Mugen Shinden has debuted and its ready for the Isle of Man TT.
The bike is officially dubbed the Mugen Shinden Hachi – and for those who don’t know, “hachi” means “eight” in Japanese, with this being the eighth iteration of the Mugen Shinden electric superbike.
On the spec sheet, we see that nothing has changed on the 2019 bike versus the Mugen Shinden Nana that raced last year. But, a quick visual inspection sees that the Japanese tuning brand has been busy optimizing its aerodynamics package.
As such, the front intake for the Shinden Hachi has been revised. The tail section has also been reworked, and looks a bit more slippery.
After two years of stagnation, 2018 was do or die for the TT Zero electric race in terms of forward progress. Before the race even started, the race saw some drama, with Team Mugen’s three-bike strategy having to be rethinked due to news from John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey.
As such, Mugen ultimately would field a two-man team, with Michael Rutter and Lee Johnston on the helm of the Mugen Shinden Nana.
In total, only seven entries would lineup on Glencrutchery road for the TT Zero race, with all eyes wondering if we would finally see a 120 mph lap from the electric bikes.
The Bothan Spy Network is strong this week, as we have learned some more about Mugen’s latest TT Zero entry, the Mugen Shinden Nana.
Unveiled to the public at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, three riders – McGuinness, Johnston, and Anstey – will compete at the Isle of Man TT onboard the Mugen Shinden Nana.
Mugen was tight-lipped on its spec-sheet for the Mugen Shinden Nana though, with the specs for the Nana mimicking those seen on last year’s bike, the Mugen Shinden Roku. That isn’t exactly the case, however.
Yes, Mugen will run its special aerodynamic fairing for the 2018 Isle of Man TT, which is a piece that has been under development for over a year now. But, the Japanese brand has other tricks up its sleeve as well.
The Tokyo Motorcycle Show wrapped up this weekend, but the Mugen Shinden Nana isn’t the only surprise that the Japanese brand has in store for us. Mugen also debuted this interesting engine concept.
Mugen is pretty tight on details, but word out of Tokyo is that this is a 1,400cc, four-valve, air-cooled, push-rod motor design that Mugen is considering putting into production as a crate engine for bike builders, with a delivery date somewhere in 2020.
Take a good long look at it, because here is the electric motorcycle that is going to win this year’s TT Zero race at the Isle of Man TT.
That might seem like a presumptuous thing to say, but with Mugen fielding a three-rider lineup, and no real competition coming out of the woodwork, it would be hard to imagine a different result.
The question of course is which riders will be onboard the Mugen Shinden Nana when it takes the #1 position? John McGuinness? Bruce Anstey? Or, Lee Johnston?
Your guess is as good as ours, as all three road-racers are more than capable of putting down a race-winning lap on the Mugen.
We are still about three weeks away from the official unveiling of the Mugen Shinden Nana, the seventh iteration of the Isle of Man TT winning electric superbike, but news is starting to trickle in about this racing effort.
In case you didn’t know, Mugen is looking to make the 2018 Isle of Man TT its fifth-straight victory at the iconic road race, and the chances are very good of that result happening.
This is because with scant competition coming from the other race teams, Mugen is set to race itself again this year, but for 2018 it will be with not one, not two, but three riders on the grid for this year’s TT Zero race, as the company confirmed via Twitter.
The 2017 Isle of Man TT will go down as a tough year for the electric bikes racing in the SES TT Zero race. With few laps around the course because of weather, and with record-holder John McGuinness stuck on the sidelines with injury, the speeds haven’t been what we were expecting.
Bruce Anstey filled in for McGuinness on the Team Mugen bike, and was only able to post a 113 mph lap in qualifying – well off the 119 mph pace that McGuinness set in 2015.
With the 2017 SES TT Zero race being Guy Martin’s best hope for a TT race win, there was a bit of intrigue heading into the race, though it was clear that Martin’s head was still stuck on his crash in the Superbike TT race.
The Isle of Man TT is rapidly approaching us, and the top road racing teams are doing their final days of testing before they cross the Irish Sea. One of those outfits is Team Mugen, which has been readying the sixth iteration of its electric superbike, the Mugen Shinden Roku.
This year, John McGuinness and Guy Martin will fight for the top honors in the TT Zero race, with both riders looking to be the first man to do a 120 map lap at the Isle of Man TT onboard an electric motorcycle.
A 125 mph lap isn’t out of the question as well, and Team Mugen is the heavy favorite (no pun intended) to take the top honors in the TT Zero race.
Helping them to that goal is an updated Shinden motorcycle, which as we have pointed out already, comes equipped with some interesting aerodynamic touches that are inspired by nature.
As battery technology slows down though, will we see a rise in the importance of aerodynamic touches, like the ones Mugen is displaying (note the chevron cutouts on the fairing edges)? Only time can tell.