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How fast is an electric TT bike vs a British Superbike?

Just how fast is the Mugen Shinden Hachi compared with a trick British Superbike Championship machine?

THE ICONIC Isle of Man TT kicks off this week with thousands set to flock to the tiny island to watch motorcycle racing at its most extreme and on the limit.

With records falling each year as technology gets better and balls get bigger, one class in particular is expected to see big gains in 2019… so long as it doesn’t rain!

Now in its tenth year, the TT Zero class for all-electric bikes has made vast steps over the last decade, in terms of technology and speed. 

In 2010, Mark Miller clinched victory with a 96.820mph lap – 23m 22.89s – but today that has improved to a current record of 121.824mph achieved by Michael Rutter, which has sliced a huge five mins off that first benchmark at 18m 34.956s.

By comparison, the Superbike lap record sits at 135.452mph/16m 42.778s achieved last year by Peter Hickman. With a smaller rate of gain in Superbikes though, it stands to reason the gap between it and the TT Zero class is set to come down further this year. 

This year, Japanese tuning power house Mugen enters its latest Shinden electric bike, the Hachi (Hachi meaning ‘8’ for 8th generation) and while managers are keeping coy about what it is targeting, it is only ever looking to improve.

Getting its first public outing in a 15-lap demonstration during the Donington Park BSB weekend, it gave audiences the chance to watch the bikes quiet action. It also gave us the chance to conduct a – slightly unscientific – test of lap time between it and the British Superbikes.

In the hands of Rutter and John McGuinness, the bikes stopped the (manually operated) stopwatch at approximately 1min 16secs.

To put into perspective, this is around ten seconds slower than the British Superbikes were achieving in qualifying trim and eight seconds off the British Supersport bikes.

National Superstock 1000 – probably the most natural comparison for the Mugen Shinden Hachi – was a 1m 07secs pole-winning lap, though 1m 12s would be enough to get on the grid.

Breaking down that statistic for a moment, it is worth pointing out this was a shakedown and it was the first time either Rutter or McGuinness had ridden these particular bikes. Moreover, they were running the Dunlop tyres they will use at the TT and the set-up is primed for the bumpier, more abrasive roads rather than the smooth, flowing Donington Park. 

With more time, it’s reasonable to assume this time would come down by one, two or more seconds.

Nevertheless, the Mugen Shinden Hachi is not destined for short circuit racing and with Rutter and McGuinness’ battle for honours destined to be one of the stories of this year’s race, it could well push this zero emissions marvel to speeds deemed impossible only a few short years ago… 

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