Isle Of Man TT videos are losing their shock value. Yes, it's fast. Yes, it's dangerous. Yes, we're in awe of their two-wheeled talents. But this run by TT legend John McGuinness is different. He's on an electric bike setting a new world record. And it's an odd combination of tranquil and terrifying.
Now we all love the sound of an internal combustion engine, and it's even better when revving directly through your seat and into your spine, but this sounds like a very fast, very apoplectic future. And it is.
With McGuinness on board, the Mugen Shinden set a record in the all-electric Zero class with an average speed of 117 mph. Again, that's average.
That might not sound like much considering super bikes from the 1980s were generally around the 115 mph mark, but the trajectory of electric bikes at the TT over the last few years is astounding.
When the Zero series kicked off in 2009, most of the bikes struggled to hit an average of 90 mph – just on par with the motorcycles racing in the 30s. In 2010, they were on pace with the bikes of the 50s. And in 2012 they finally broke the ton to line up with the smaller V-twins from the 80s. Now they're up against the screamers from that decade, with no signs of slowing down.
This year, four-time champs MotoCzysz didn't compete, leaving the Mugen team to dominate the field. Mission Motorcycles – the same company that's making a Tesla on two wheels – helped with the engineering, and with an oil-cooled, 134-hp electric motor the Mugen blasted through the 37.7-mile Snaefell Mountain Course in 19:17.
But the times and speeds aren't as impressive as McGuinness hurtling the 530-pound porker through bends, scraping over corners, and flying in the air before fighting to keep it upright down the damp straights. And all with just the wind and an electric whine to join him.