Honda aims for 150-plus-mph and the world's fastest lawnmower record
Honda makes superbikes. Honda also makes lawn mowers. The Mean Mower was thus inevitable. A hyper-mower if you will, with more than 190 horsepower at the wheel thanks to a screaming Fireblade engine, the Mean Mower V2 has been unveiled with a theoretical top speed over 150 mph (240 km/h).
This monstrous garden care implement was built by Team Dynamics, Honda's partner in the British Touring Car Championships, and it's the follow-up to a previous Mean Mower built in conjunction with the Top Gear team back in 2013, which became the world's fastest mower at 116.575 mph, or 187.6 km/h.
You'd think that kind of record would stand, but Europeans like their lawns mowed at speed, so a Norwegian team went and stuffed a 408-hp LS1 V8 from a Corvette into a Viking T6, plonked a roll cage on it and blasted down an airstrip at 134 mph (215 km/h).
Britain has always taken its turf seriously, though, so Team Dynamics hit the shed again with the intention of toppling the Scandinavians with something even faster. The heart of Mean Mower V2 is an SP1 Fireblade engine. It's a 1,000cc, inline 4, producing a little over 190 hp at 13,000 rpm. That's a far cry from the gigantic Viking V8, but it's also much, much lighter and more compact.
The team has also kept a bunch of the Fireblade's electronics, including the quickshifter, the dash, and the traction control and wheelie control elements. Power is fed to the rear wheels by a long chain reaching back from the front of the vehicle, and the driver gets paddles to shift with on either side of a custom-built race steering wheel.
The chassis is also custom, a tubular trellis job made from T45 steel tube. Not carbon, not chro-moly, as they needed this thing to flex a bit since the mower has no suspension to help keep its wheels planted. The bodywork is standard, believe it or not – the team felt that keeping the mower's looks was so important that it went and designed and 3D-printed a custom airbox that'd squeeze in under the front cowl.
Does it cut grass? Hell yes it does. The team has had to modify the cutter deck slightly to accommodate the chain drive, but the electric cutter should work just fine. They're even thinking of fitting it with carbon fiber blades. According to Top Gear, "Last time around, the mower aspect worked, but you couldn't cut grass at silly speeds. This time, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to mow the lawn at 100 mph. Honda – answering a question no one has asked since 1948."
Magnificent. The driver this time around will be experienced racer Jess Hawkins, who's currently working as a stunt driver in the Fast & Furious touring show. Godspeed, Hawkins, we're unreasonably excited by this attempt and hope to see a monolithic speed record set. Why are these guys spending so much time and money on a project so fundamentally silly? If you have to ask, you'll never understand.
"The original Mean Mower was a great challenge for us and the result was an amazing machine," says Dave Hodgetts, Managing Director, Honda (UK). "This time we have moved the game on considerably to build an incredible piece of real engineering, using advanced design and production techniques and calling upon some very clever thinking to bring the performance and power but still retain the look of the production mower. We're in testing phase now and everything is looking good, with a top speed of more than 150 mph very much in our sights."
Check out the Mean Mower V2 in the video below.