Tokyo Show special - Mugen V-twin concept

Japanese firm tests the water for brand new 1,400cc V-twin engine at Tokyo bike show

Mugen MRV1400 engine concept

Most folk nowadays know the Mugen name from its electric racebikes, particularly those run at the Isle of Man TT each year. But the firm has a fascinating history, closely linked with Honda cars and bikes. Mugen (meaning ‘infinite’ or ‘unlimited') was set up by Soichiro Honda’s son, Hirotoshi, in the early 1970s, and has produced aftermarket parts and tuning packages for road and race Hondas, on both two and four wheels, ever since.

Now, though, Mugen has shown a new engine concept on its Tokyo bike show stand. The design – for a four-valve OHV air-cooled 1,400cc V-twin – has its roots in a near-mythical bike Mugen built in the 1970s, the MRV1000. That prototype used a one-off 1,000cc twin-carbed engine design, which looked a lot like the classic Vincent V-twin engine from the 1950s. But the MRV would have been too expensive to build back then, and never made it into production.

Fast forward forty years, and Mugen is now thinking about doing something similar again. A mock-up of an all-new V-twin engine sat next to the new Mugen electric TT racebike on the Mugen stand, with a design drawing of a sleek naked roadster and a request for feedback on whether the firm should make the new ‘MRV1400’.


The engine layout has the same Vincent feel as its ancestor, with distinctive pushrod tubes and a separate transmission. It looks both old and new at the same time – the classic OHV layout balanced by the high-tech oil system fittings and header pipes. It's also running Keihin carburettors, which won't be able to pass road emissions tests nowadays. So they'll need to fit fuel injection, or keep it as a non-road-legal machine.

It’ll be a few years until we see anything more definite on this – Mugen says it’ll be 2020 before the engine might begin production. But we’re certainly hoping they manage to make more than one this time…