John McGuinness rides Honda’s electric race bike

Dailies, Galleries -


“The bike was, as you would expect from a company such as Mugen, a well-designed and well put together proper race bike,” stated 17 time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness shortly after his first ride aboard the Mugen Shinden. “As soon as I got underway it felt natural and I almost forgot it was fully electric while I was also learning the Twin Ring Motegi circuit for the first time.”

“We are very happy with the performance of the Mugen Shinden at this first major test for the bike,” continued Team Mugen Principal Satoshi Katsumata. “The package performed as expected and, despite some unseasonal weather on day one, we were able to run through our planned programme and collect some very valuable data. Of course having a rider with such experience as John McGuinness, and the unique TT-specific feedback he is able to give us is a tremendous boost to the team and the whole Team Mugen TT programme.”

The Shinden, “Electric God,” uses what appears to be a very similar motor and locates it identically to last year’s Honda RC-E concept. This arrangement is unique to the Shinden and RC-E, other electric superbikes like the Mission R and MotoCzysz E1pc position the motor in a similar location, but don’t use it as the swingarm pivot. Having said that, the race bike develops a far healthier 121bhp and 162lb/ft. The Mugen also uses that motor to connect the swingarm to the twin-spar frame, with the swingarm pivoting on the motors center. But here, that frame and swingarm are carbon fiber. Bodywork and suspension are unique to the Mugen, but, extrapolating the motor’s size, the whole package appears to be in similar proportion to the Honda concept. Mugen is a japanese race team and tuning company that’s long existed as sort of a Skunk Works-like, external R&D company for Honda. Having said all that, there’s no public link between Honda and the Shinden. On the other hand, McGuinness is contracted, in ICE racing, to the Honda TT Legends team and Motegi belongs to the giant manufacturer.

No lap times were forthcoming.

  • Troy R

    Awesome. Glad to see they really have something that actually goes and not yet-another vaporware concept.

    That goofy graphic though? I could do without it.

  • Chris

    I hope this bike performs well, it looks killer, and I love to see Mugen involved.

  • the_doctor

    This kind of forebodes Mugen taking this to the Isle of Man, doesn’t it?

  • RT Moto

    Looks damn good! I hope it does well so it encourages other manufacturers to jump into the electric game. Hopefully in my lifetime I see top teir racing switch from ICE to electric.

    • Dr. Gellar

      I’m hoping for the same thing. You never know, electrics could be what someday brings MotoGP back to a golden age of sorts.

      • rohorn

        They have the least restrictive chassis rules in motorcycle racing – the opportunity for innovation (and results) is wide open.

  • protomech

    Honda has stated that the RC-E used a motor at least based on the Honda Insight’s motor.

    I strongly suspect the Shinden uses the YASA-400 motor.

    The specs line up:
    * Mugen claims 90kW, YASA claims >85kW cont. (165kW / 220 hp peak)
    * Mugen claims 220Nm torque, YASA claims 220Nm cont. torque.

    And it looks and feels right, too. Honda’s Insight motor is nowhere near the amount of power needed for a racebike, but it IS basically the same dimensions as the YASA motor.

    YASA-400 motor weighs < 20kg. Sevcon Gen4 Size10 controller probably is in the 15kg range (150kW cont, 300kW peak).

    How much does a carbon fiber race-chassis roller weigh? Plus 20kg motor, 15kg controller? Radiator to keep everything happy? Maybe 130kg?

    So then you have 130 kg left in your weight budget for batteries. EIG C020 cells are 175 wh/kg, let's say 155 wh/kg with packaging. That gives us a 20 kWh pack.. using generous assumptions, granted. 5C discharge continuous is fine for Shinden's 90 kW continuous power.. 10C discharge peak would give short bursts for 165 kW..

    And EIG doesn't have the densest cells out there.

    Lots of guesses, no answers.. but I think we'll see the 100 mph mark absolutely shattered this year.

    • Kyle

      I dont think it is a YASA simply because they and the controller are not available yet. Also it is not really possibly to fit that many EIG cells and the large Sevcon Size 10 into a bike, at least with packaging and proper terminations. Add in that the tail appears to be empty and you need room for a radiator (with room for airflow around it). More than likely it is a Honda designed motor and controller. Batteries may be EIG, but no need to have 20kWh at those power levels.

      PS – what cells are denser than EIG? Panasonic 18650s?

      • protomech

        If the Yasa-400 isn’t available at all, then of course you’re right. And no doubt Honda, I mean Mugen, would rather use a Honda motor.

        But on the other hand.. if anyone could get access to a pre-production Yasa motor, it would be Honda. Or Mugen with Honda’s backing.

        20kWh is an optimistic WAG. A 37.733 mile course run at 100 mph is 22:38. If you fully discharge 20kWh (or likely slightly less capacity at high discharge) then you have 53 kW averaged over the entire course to play with. I think there’s certainly room to use 20 kWh worth of energy in the TT Zero..

        If sevcon’s size 10 controller is too large to package, they could be using the size 8 controller. It’s significantly lower power but probably okay for the TT Zero.

        Panasonic 18650s and whatever cells Brammo is using for the Enertia+ and Empulse are probably denser than EIG.

        • Kyle

          True that Honda could probably get the motor if they wanted it.

          I guess what I mean about 20kWh is that once you try packaging that much battery, you might as well spend more time on aerodynamics to go faster.

          I believe the Empulse RR uses leyden cells which claim over ~220 wh/kg. But I dont think those are being used in the production bikes because they arent large format. Definitely not the Panasonic cells because they wouldn’t be able to handle the current level needed.

          Anyways its all WAG as you’ve said. speculating is just too much fun

    • Scott-jay

      “…short bursts for 165 kW.. ”
      165kW = 221 hp

  • Coreyvwc

    I wonder how many people have seen this pic yet?

    So much for that motor swing arm pivot idea huh…?