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Mugen prepares to tackle the Isle of Man course with an electric superbike

Why it matters to you

The auto industry's shift towards electrification is extending to the world of motorcycles, and fans of torque couldn't be happier.

After making a name for itself at home and abroad by modifying Hondas, Japanese tuner Mugen wants to electrify the octane-addicted world of high-performance motorcycles. The brand introduced a pair of mean-looking prototypes named E.Rex and Shinden Roku, respectively, during the Tokyo Motorcycle Show.

The E.Rex is the first battery-powered dirt bike developed by Mugen. It started life as a regular Honda CRF 250, according to Autoblog, but it was transformed into one of the meanest-looking bikes we’ve seen in a long while thanks to new bodywork that mimics the rib cage of a Tyrannosaurus rex. The 250’s single-cylinder engine is gone, though Honda isn’t ready to divulge what replaced it. All we know is the E.Rex is — as its complete lack of an exhaust system implies — fully electric, and consequently a lot quieter than the carnivorous, havoc-wreaking giant it’s named after.

Developed to compete in the grueling Isle of Man TT, the Shinden Roku is a comprehensive update of last year’s race-winning bike. An electric motor rated at about 160 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of instant torque will help it tussle for dominance in the TT Zero Challenge category, which is only open to zero-emissions bikes. The motor gets electricity from a 370-volt lithium-ion battery pack.

Weight is a performance machine’s biggest enemy, whether it has two or four wheels. A frame made entirely out of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) helps offset the mass added by the battery pack. Mugen hasn’t published performance specifications, but we expect it will be blisteringly quick; after all, its name loosely translates to “god of electricity.”

The E.Rex and the Shinden Roku are prototypes developed and built to test new technology, so Mugen won’t sell you one even if you ask nicely. However, the company will continue to work closely with Honda to bring an electric, high-performance motorcycle to the market.