UPDATE - 11-07-18
Naturally we all loved Honda's second go at the Mean Mower when it was unveiled last week. I mean who wouldn't? There is literally nothing designed for the garden which wouldn't be made better by the introduction of a CBR1000RR Fireblade engine, least of all the HF 2622 lawn tractor. In fact, the combination is plainly so virtuous it's a wonder that the lawn tractor team didn't land on it sooner in the design phase.
We can say that now without any debate whatsoever because there is video evidence of the Mean Mower doing what is obviously a superb job of cutting the grass at Goodwood. Huge speed and oversteer are clearly assets in the 12,000 acre task, and the lack of suspension no hinderance at all. Of course, we predicted last week where the V2 would be first deployed, although we weren't so sure that it would actually make its dynamic debut at the Festival of Speed - but that has come to pass, too.
"The Honda Mean Mower V2 is a serious bit of kit," said the Duke of Richmond and Gordon (nee March). "It will be really exciting to see it burning up the Goodwood Hillclimb." We're inclined to agree with that. Dare we say that the mower will probably be even more suited to smooth tarmac than it is a parched lawn. Either way, it's yet another reason to make your way down to West Sussex this weekend...
ORIGINAL STORY - 04-07-18
So back in 2014 Honda (which is quite handy when it comes to the business of building lawn mowers) decided to make one with a motorbike engine in it to remind us how good it was at pushing engineering boundaries when the mood took it. That Mean Mower had 109hp, revved to 9,000rpm and went on to crack 116mph - making it the world's fastest grass cutter at the time.
Since then, needless to say, the record has been broken. Evidently, Honda wants it back, and tasked Team Dynamics (Honda's apparently not very busy BTCC partner) with the job of remaking the Mean Mower in meaner still format. That it has achieved spectacularly. The V2, based on the look of a HF 2622 lawn tractor, is mostly the work of bespoke engineering - hardly surprising when a CBR1000RR Fireblade's engine had to be accommodated.
The 999cc four-cylinder unit delivers 190hp at 13,000rpm. Which Honda says roughly equates to 1,000hp per tonne in the V2. Which it rightly describes as 'eye-watering'. Certainly the thing sounds the business (see video), and we'd imagine that a 'sub 3 second' 0-60mph time is no idle boast - not when Team Dynamics has transferred the Fireblade's six-speed transmission (with paddle shifters, obvs) and fitted special-order Hoosier slicks.
It doesn't stop there either. The chassis is made from T45 steel rather than the usual mower chromoly, has Kelgate four/six piston calipers on vented discs, Goldspeed ten-inch ATV wheels, the Fireblade's LCD display and a 3D printed airbox when the standard one wouldn't fit under the tractor's cowl. It'll also - in case you were wondering - still cut grass, with carbon fibre blades on a marginally revised cutter deck (owing to the chain running to the rear wheels).
Dave Hodgetts, Managing Director of Honda UK, said: "The original Mean Mower was a great challenge for us and the result was an amazing machine. 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 150mph very much in our sights."
Honda has apparently enlisted the help of Jess Hawkins - a 23-year-old former karting champion - to help it retake the record; something we'd imagine it doing in the very near future, given the weather. We look forward to that video, and the obligatory one of it actually cutting grass, too. The infield at Goodwood, for example...