Sunday, April 6, 2014

Want To Cut Your Grass Faster?

Photo: Honda
Worlds fastest lawn mower and one hell of a cool build

Many a time on the back stretches of my lawn I postulate on ways to cut it faster or how many cans of beer I can drink while mowing. Yes, these are time tested problems and ones in which this shorebilly tinkerer thinks of what else can be created with a lawn mower. Did you see our lawn mower pirate ship?

Knowing that there are other gear heads out there who aspire to greatness with what might be simple tools is a great feeling. My grease soaked hat sends a cheers out to these Brits that just conquered a Guiness Book World Record with a lawnmower that hit 116+ mph. Bravo!!!!

For some, there’s nothing better than spending a lazy Sunday cutting the grass on a riding mower. For others, ripping around a racetrack is the perfect way to unwind on the weekend. Honda thought they could combine the two, and the result is a 109-horsepower beast that just set the world speed record for lawnmowers. Yes, that’s a thing.

Honda’s U.K. division joined up with its British Touring Car Championship partner Team Dynamics and tore apart a Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor before revamping the whole thing with a custom-fab chassis and a 1000cc engine from a Honda VTR Firestorm motorcycle. For good measure, the team took the suspension and wheels from an ATV to cope with the extra grunt.

Of course, this is a lawn mower we’re talking about. Guinness, sticklers that they are, required that the Mean Mower be able to actually cut grass. So Team Dynamics created a custom cutter deck out of fiberglass and installed a fuel tank, high-capacity oil cooler, and secondary water cooler for the radiator in the mower’s grass bag to preserve as much of the look of the original tractor as possible.

There’s a six-speed paddle shift tranny, along with a custom racing seat and exhaust, and since they couldn’t find the right size steering rack for something this small, they pilfered one from a Morris Minor. All that adds up to a mower geared for a top speed in excess of 130 mph with the 109 hp 1000cc engine propelling its 308 pounds from 0-60 in just 4 seconds.

Photo: Honda
Damn you Honda for beating me at something I have always dreamed of, worlds fastest lawn mower

Two electric motors were installed on the cutter deck, with 3mm steel cable spinning at 4000 rpm making to keep the judges happy. It can actually cut grass at up to 15 mph, more than double the speed of the machine on which it was based.

The world record was set at the IDIADA Proving Ground, in Tarragona, Spain on a 2km stretch of tarmac. Top Gear writer Piers Ward was behind the wheel, averaging 116.57 mph over two runs in opposite directions through a 100 meter speed trap, crushing the previous lawn mower speed record of 87.83 mph.

Ward wrote that the mower was stable, with “no wobbles, no drama.” Sounds safe enough, even if it doesn’t have a seat belt.