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Mugen takes IoM TT Zero (electric motorcycle race) with 117.366 mph lap


June 1, 2014

With two previous IOM lap records  (1975 and 1976) eclipsed in the first two sessions of 2014 TT ZERO practice,  two more records tumbled in the third session when John McGuinness lapped at 115.597mph, surpassing Joey Dunlop's 1980 lap record of 115.2 mph (Yamaha TZ750) and 1981 lap record of 115.4 mph (Honda RSC1000). In the race, McGuinness took the Mugen to very close to the 1984 lap record.

With two previous IOM lap records (1975 and 1976) eclipsed in the first two sessions of 2014 TT ZERO practice, two more records tumbled in the third session when John McGuinness lapped at 115.597mph, surpassing Joey Dunlop's 1980 lap record of 115.2 mph (Yamaha TZ750) and 1981 lap record of 115.4 mph (Honda RSC1000). In the race, McGuinness took the Mugen to very close to the 1984 lap record.

Image Gallery (14 images)

After five runnings of the Isle of Man TT electric motorcycle race, four decades of progress had been achieved in four years.

After dominating all three practice sessions for the sixth running of the TT ZERO event setting a new lap record with every session, the Mugen Shinden San electric racebike delivered a clear 1-2 victory. Across the three sessions and race, average speeds have increased 6 mph, surpassing Joey Dunlop's 115.2 mph lap record from 1981 set on a Yamaha TZ750. It is very exciting to watch such massive progress being made in seemingly real time.

With four-time champions MotoCzysz staying away in 2014, the Isle of Man TT Zero race for electric motorcycles finally looks ready to fall to the Mugen Shinden San electric racebike, though the speeds continue to skyrocket past previous lap records with each session.

With two practices down for the 2014 TT Zero race, previous lap records from 1975 (Mick Grant Kawasaki KR750 two-stroke triple) and 1976 (John Williams Suzuki RG500 two-stroke square four) were obliterated.

In the third session, both Mugen teammates (John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey), broke all previous electric bike records with 115.597 mph and 113.642 mph respectively.

McGuinness' time beats both the 1980 and 1981 Joey Dunlop lap records set on a Yamaha TZ750 and Honda RSC1000 and represents a 6 mph improvement over the best time last year.

It's now down to energy management as to how quick the Mugen can go in the race. If it improves 50% as much again over the times posted in Q3, McGuinness or Anstey will reach 1984 levels (Dunlop on a Honda RS500 triple - an identical bike took Freddie Spencer to his first World 500cc title).

If it improves six seconds from Q3 to the race, it will reach 1989 speeds. Quite clearly we're seeing something very special evolve with each session of this event. Mugen is making significant progress every session and thanks to a quirk of fate, we are getting to see how many years of progress is being achieved by comparison with previous lap records.

Joey Dunlop was the king of the TT during the eighties, setting the lap record at 115.2 mph on the water-cooled two-stroke Yamaha TZ750 in 1980, then pushing it to 115.4 in 1981 on the Honda RSC1000 (four-stroke) and finally to 118.5 in 1984 on the three-cyclinder Honda two-stroke RS500

In the electric bike R&D; department, there appears to be massive development and while we know there has been collaboration with Mission Motors, it's not like Mugen doesn't know the odd thing or two about building race bikes. EVERY single part of the 2014 bike is different.

The 100 kW (134 hp) oil-cooled three-phase brushless motor now comes in a package that is lighter (though at 240 kg it’s not light), smaller and with improved aerodynamics.

Mission Motors has apparently been working with Mugen, though the extent of Mission’s involvement with the Mugen Shinden San is unclear.

Last month Mission’s Director of Powertrain Systems Engineering, Mark Sherwood announced the company was introducing some exciting new technology for the Mugen Shinden San race bikes. Sherwood said, "Our engineers have worked alongside Team Mugen Shinden to learn from their race data. For the 2014 Isle of Man TT, we have engaged in rapid new product development that truly raises the bar for electric motorcycles on and off the racetrack.”

The 2014 Mugen Shinden San electric racebike

The new Mugen Shinden San has an increased battery capacity and new control systems managing the immense torque of the motor which produces 162 ft.-lbs. of torque (220 Nm).

Accordingly, with none of the other elite electric bike teams in attendance, it appears to be a race between Mugen teammates John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey.

Top speeds increase every year too, with the Sulby speed trap clocking Anstey at 163.3 mph in the second practice session and McGuinness at 164.9 mph in the first practice session

The institution that is TT Week on the Island continues and you can watch the action unfold through the official IOM TT site and listen to the races via the streaming TT Live radio.

As far as the evolution of the electric racebike, the lap record of the winning machine this year represents an increase of over 7 mph lap speed average of a 30 mile course - if this rate of progress continues, the electric racing motorcycle should reach parity (at least inside the curious confines of a single 30 mile stretch of road on an island off the coast of England) with the internal combustion engined motorcycle sometime in the next five years.

Power will not be an issue in bridging this gap as electric motors can be far more powerful than they are, far exceeding the 250 hp MotoGP bike output.

The limiting factor is storing the energy to power that engine.

Just a final note that the winning Team Mugen issued a statement to us during the week emphasising that the team is a Mugen internal programme and is not associated with Honda.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Don't forget these lap speeds are also from a standing start not a flying lap time. So even more impressive.. Yes KIWI's can fly, eh Bruce.

George Wilson

Compared to gas powered motorcycle races, these electric motorcycle races will seem so quiet. I think it is neat that they achieve such high speeds with electric motorcycles.


Mike--Not to take anything from Geoff Duke (on bikes or in cars), who was one of the very best riders/drivers of that era, but another rider, who is also a hero of mine and a contemporary--John Surtees--hit the Isle in '50 or '51, as best that I recall, and turned a single lap at over 100mph, and subsequently won that race. In the following year, when Surtees also won, he AVERAGED over 100mph for the entire race.

I don't recall what Surtees rode in those years, but I think it was an MV.

Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California


Electric is the future, and I hope to see every manufacturer offering eCycles instead of just a few; especially since eCycles are now able to do 100+ and have a larger enough range to replace gasoline engined Cycle.

If you want the noise add base speakers and RIDE ON...


Why didn't MotoCzysz show up? They are leaders in this field?


I was confused by the chart at first but the e-bikes are on the left compared to the petrol/gas records on the right side.

@CaptD Yamaha announced electric bikes in May (http://www.gizmag.com/yamaha-electric-bikes-release-2015/31983/)

I did find some more specs on the Mugen Shinden San and it looks like its 240 kg (529 lbs), 100 kw (134 HP), and uses a 370 volt battery.

Another bike in the race is Sarolea SP7 @ 180 HP, 295 lb-ft of torque, and 440 lbs


@chidrbmt You are right MotoCzysz won every year from 2010-2013 and so far it doesn't look like they entered a bike for 2014. Their usual driver Mark Miller is piloting the Yamaha R6e this year. There documentary Charge on Netflix follows them to 2010 TT. I think the reason they are not there this year is that Michael Czysz was diagnosed with Cancer before the 2013 race.


I last did the IOM TT in 1983. Must be eerie at quarter bridge not hearing the roar of engines. At cronk-y-voddy the sound of rushing wind and whining armatures would be spooky.


Ralph Seifer your memory is deceiving you, it's ten years out! And the Gizmag table above is wrong, having been rounded up to 100mph in 1955 when everyone knows that Bob McIntyre set the first 100mph lap on a dustbin-faired Gilera in 1957 (the last year 'dustbins' were allowed until the first electric race in 2009). John Surtees did indeed average 102mph when he won the senior, but it was in 1960, with a best lap at an astonishing 104mph. Rob Barber used a dustbin fairing when he came second to Mark Miller in 2010.


Having ridden with the team in the previous two years TT Zero events John McGuinness will be returning with TEAM MUGEN, bringing with him once again his brilliant track record and expertise on the mountain course, and this year he is joined by the highly experienced Bruce Anstey, himself a nine-time TT winner. With this talented rider line-up, and the experience and development gained in 2012 and 2013, the aim of the team is for SHINDEN SAN to raise the bar to a new level with a target at the same time, of course, to achieve victory.

Thanks, Alfie Stewart

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