Honda Odyssey ATV Top Speed
More than Meets the Eye—but Not Really
Because this isn’t, as you might expect, a purpose-built record-setting vehicle that’s been made to look like a lawn mower. No, it’s a lawn mower rebuilt to stand some chance of holding together at speed, with the engine from a Honda VTR Super Hawk motorcycle—but it’s still fundamentally a piece of garden machinery. It drives enough like a lawn tractor to make 30 mph feel positively daring and 60 mph outrageously fast. The man who drove it to a speed of nearly two miles per minute, a British journalist named Piers Ward, clearly had either no fear or no imagination. Or more likely, none of either.
The mower was built in the U.K. by the team that runs Honda’s cars in the British Touring Car Championship, Team Dynamics. It’s based on a Honda HF2620 riding mower but has been given a new chassis made from high-strength steel, suspension and wheels from a Honda ATV, and four-wheel braking. The 109-hp, 996-cc V-twin engine was chosen for its combination of power and the ability to fit in the space left by the standard tractor’s 20-hp V-twin. The transmission is a bike-derived six-speed sequential gearbox with electric actuation, and it drives an ATV rear axle via a chain. There’s no reverse gear, but as the mower is said to weigh only 308 pounds without a rider, it doesn’t really need one.
One of the stipulations for the Guinness world record is that the mower still has to be capable of cutting grass. To that end, the Mean Mower has a bolt-on fiberglass cutting deck—it can be separately bolted on or off as required—complete with two electric motors operated from the 12-volt electrical system. (The mower normally runs without the deck.) The company claims the Mean Mower can cut grass at up to 15 mph—twice the top speed of the standard HF2620. The space normally occupied by the clippings bag contains the fuel tank, radiator, and an extra oil cooler.