Mugen's TT-Zero bike – Honda in disguise?

And McGuinness is going to ride it...

THIS is Mugen's TT-Zero competitor – the firm's first electric bike and the machine that John McGuinness is set to use in his first attempt at the battery-powered TT.

Revealed at Suzuka's 50th anniversary 'Fan Day' over the weekend, officially it's an independent entry from Mugen, the motorsport firm set up by Soichiro Honda's son. Despite close links with Honda, Mugen isn't owned or part-owned by the Japanese giant, but even so there are some clear similarities between the new bike, dubbed “Shinden” (Electric God in English), and the RC-E concept Honda revealed last year. The position of the electric motor is the same, as is it's use as a structural chassis part – the motor/transmission case doubles as the swingarm pivot. There are even, arguably, echoes of the RC-E's shape in the bodywork – or perhaps that's just wishful thinking.

Unlike the Honda concept, the Mugen bike's frame and swingarm are both carbon fibre, helping keep the bike's weight down. Even so, the massive lithium-ion batteries, which make up the majority of the bike's bulk and put out “more than” 370 volts, push its overall weight to a VFR1200F-style 260kg. In terms of power, the motor is claimed to make 122bhp, but as with most electrics, it's the torque that really impresses; at 162lb/ft it's double what a typical superbike can manage.

With Motoczysz looking totally unchallenged last year - Michael Rutter came close to taking the £10,000 purse for the 100mph record, lapping the TT course at 99.604mph - it's good to see a serious, well-financed entry to challenge the American firm in 2012. And it's got to give McGuinness a mighty good chance of racking up yet another TT win...

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