Since 2010, the annual Isle of Man TT races have featured a contest to see who’s got the fastest electric motorcycle. Dubbed the TT Zero, entries must have a two-wheeled bike “powered without the use of carbon-based fuels and have zero toxic/noxious emissions” to compete for the 10,000 euros in prize money. MotoCzysz has won the TT Zero all four years but is not participating in 2014. That leaves Mugen with rider John McGuiness as the favorite to best the record TT Zero lap of 109.675 set by Michael Rutter in 2013. McGuiness has was just a shade off at 109.527 mph and has bested that speed in the past (he hit 111 mph in the 2014 trials), but he’ll have plenty of competition from debut and returning bikes at the 2014 Isle of Man races. Here are seven electric motorcycles gunning for the TT Zero title.
7. Brammo Empulse R (Darvill, Electric Arena)
Not one but two teams are bringing a Bramm0 electric bike to the party at the Isle of Man. Tuuka Korhonen will power a Brammo for Electric Arena Racing while Neil Champion is entering on an Empulse R for Darvill Racing. McGuiness et al will have to deal with the bike that can top 110 mph in stock configuration.
6. Buckeye Current RW-2.x
The Ohio State University electric motorcycle team returns with Rob Barber on board following a third-pace TT Zero finish in 2013. Barber managed a top speed of 90.403 mph on a 25-minute lap, but the OSU team says it has arrived at the Isle of Man with a superior bike ready to leave its old times in the dust. It remains to be seen if the Buckeyes can pull it off with the Current RW-2.x slotted eighth at the 2014 TT Zero.
5. Sarolea SP7
If any bike can do damage at the TT Zero, the Sarolea SP7 would be the one. Sporting 180 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque while weighing in at 440 pounds, this superbike can blast up to 155 mph with factory specs. Robert Wilson will pilot the SP7 for Team Sarolea and look to outgun every electric bike on the course with this carbon fiber beauty. After fifty years off from making motorcycles, Sarolea unveiled the SP7 just in time to compete for the prize June 4 on the Isle of Man.
4. Yamaha R6e
Mark Miller is piloting the Yamaha R6e for Italy’s VercarMoto in the 2014 TT Zero. After winning the inaugural 2010 race for MotoCzysz (for whom he raced for all four years), Miller jumped to the VercarMoto team that placed fifth in the 2013 race with Chris McGahan riding. An electric variant of the Yaamaha YZF-R6, the R6e produces up to 75 hp with a weight of 495 pounds, affording the beast a top speed of 155 mph.
3. Ion Horse
Ecotricity and London’s Kingston University sponsor the Ion Horse with Shaun Anderson riding for the 2014 Isle of Man electric bike race. George Spence placed third in the 2011 TT Zero in the Ion Horse’s first appearance and came in fourth for Kingston University in 2013. Capable of a furious 188 hp and a top speed of 150 mph, there’s no telling what Anderson will do on the Ion Horse in this year’s TT Zero, but it would be no surprise to find Ecotricity and Kingston U back on the podium.
2. ARC EV3
Russ Mountford is piloting this all-electric burner for ARC EV Engineering in the 2014 Isle of Man race. Though not much is known about the ARC EV3, it is the third bike produced by the UK-based company that delivered the winner in the European TTX75 championships of 2011. Mountford will try to put ARC on the podium in the team’s first TT Zero appearance.
1. Mugen Shinden San
There’s no question the Shinden San of Team Mugen is the electric bike to beat June 4 at the Isle of Man race. The so-called “God of Electricity” will be powered by John McGuiness, who is no stranger to the TT Zero podium. McGuiness placed second in 2012 and 2013, falling both times to Michael Rutter and Team MotoCzysz. In the 2014 TT Zero, there will be no MotoCzysz to get in McGuiness’s way.
While other formidable challengers will be on hand, a betting man has to like Team Mugen’s chances with the all-new Shinden San racing for top spot. It packs more horsepower (134 hp) than last year’s entry along with 162 lb-ft of torque. Aussie Bruce Anstey will also ride a Shinden San for Team Mugen in hopes of claiming the TT Zero prize.