To get into Jerry’s home improvement store, one has to make a left turn across Hwy 99. I was just about to whip across, when out of seemingly nowhere, the cavalry appears, and I decide to cool my heels. Is that the whole Eugene PD’s two-wheeled brigade (hopefully)? Impressive sight. And nice taste in bikes.
CC Outtake: I Guess I’ll Wait On That Left Hand Turn
– Posted on May 10, 2013
Is there a donut shop in that complex?
(I jest, I jest …)
Having ridden a few sport-tourers, I can understand why police are giving up on Harleys in favor of something faster & more agile. But I never see Hondas in police service here in the US, just BMW. Anyone know why?
Honda America never tried for the American police market, despite the ST1300 being an excellent bike for the job. Among other things they’d have to go up against is Harley-Davidson effectively subsidizing their police sales in an effort to lock out other makes.
Basically, police departments don’t buy Harley’s (like they have to with BMW’s), they lease them. At very favorable rates. And H-D isn’t above calling out the local HOG chapter to be in attendance when the county commissioners (or whoever makes the decision on purchasing) vote on police bike purchases. To insure that American cops are riding American bikes, of course.
Never mind that every motor cop I’ve talked to who’s ridden BMW police bikes (Henrico County, a suburb of Richmond has a fleet of them) have little to no interest to going back to a Harley. Likewise the department mechanics, which is why H-D now leases them and has all the service done at the local dealer as part of the contract.
I see HD has finally fallen from favour as a police bike, I guess not being able to catch anything might have something to do with that. Fortunately BMW make much better motocycles than they do cars and these bikes are fast agile and reliable and more important Comfortable and smooth running. These poor sods spend hours everyday riding so the bikes need to be good.
A big twin Harley trying to catch a speeding muscle car,nothing like making life harder for yourself!
Don’t bet on it. Non-Harley riding police departments are still in the minority. Taxpayers still want American police bikes and American police cars. See my comments above.
“These poor sods spend hours everyday riding so the bikes need to be good.”
There’s food for thought, there. How many of us have thought, man, those guys have it MADE? I have. What better job than riding around town all day…occasionally doing penance cleaning up gore?
The devil’s in the details, and it ain’t always so sweet on the inside.
I have a dream job…so think many people. I run a railway locomotive. Sounds like fun, right? No…at its best it’s mind-numbing boring; minding minutia, watching to see everything stays right, paying attention to track undulations Up and down, bunched or stretched.
On more typical times…it’s a nightmare. Working on-call, short of sleep…fighting to keep awake. Train pulls apart; crossings blocked, John Law not pleased. On and on.
I can understand the thinking in wanting to give those guys good bikes. I’m just not totally sure I’m onboard with it.
Whose mug is that in the side mirror?
You had me stumped for a second, since I’m hardly smooth-skinned like that. It’s the car in front of me, actually, also waiting to turn. That’s the only possible explanation.
Those bikes cannot be too cheap.
in smalltowns you can stil see Harley Davidson police bikes like here in Reidsville north Carolina…..and why bmw over Hondas maybe government has been able to get better deals from germans.and yes they are not cheap.good day.
The police department uses Honda Goldwings down here in San Antonio, and the county sheriffs have a fleet of Harleys…
I’m calling BS on the GW. If you’ve ever riden a MC you would know why. Just because it has a big fairing and even bigger saddlebags doesn’t make it the ultimate CopBike. And that is probably why a lot of jurisdictions are dumping the RoadKings as the bike D’jour. They are big and lazy and darn near impossible to ride 8 hours a shift.There used to be a couple of Motor Cop sites that I would visit. Lots of stories on “how I was almost killed by a HD with anti-lock brakes” stories on them.
When I lived in FL I saw a few of the Honda 1300 cop bikes being used. One thing I think is just plain funny when you see a cop on a BMW or Honda is that they look way out of place riding around in shirt sleeves and tall riding boots. I’d like to see a Motor Officer like they have in Europe. Full riding leathers and a full face helmet. Those guys look serious when they go chasing speeders.
I had an old 80 Kawasaki KZ1000C3( no not the later “P”) cop bike. Just like the ones Paunch and Jon rode on CHiPS. When it came time to let her go the only real serious buyers were actual cops who rode for a living. Everybody had fond memories on how good these import bikes were and hated to let them go for the miligned HDs.
The police aren’t usually trying to catch a speeding muscle car. Usually they are trying to catch a speeding Hyundai, or mini van that forgot to signal a turn, or a real menace to society like me; a guy with a ball hitch partially obscuring the license plate.
All harley in milwaukee naturally. Even a slow bike with a radio will catch a very fast car.
As a former BMW cycle owner…all I can say is, SHAME!
Nothing wrong with the bike. What’s wrong is the PRICE TAG – close to $20,000 for a tricked-out cruiser.
I have a problem with that, when there are other bikes that will do as well for less. A BMW will handle pursuits…up to 150 mph. WHAT…traffic stop…requires THAT!
This is just throwing taxpayer money down the toilet.
Agreed. In today’s economic climate, what governmental agency (local state or federal) has the money for ultra premium bikes like this? Admittedly, these are nice machines, but there are other options out there that are way cheaper.
Go price any modern serious long-haul tourer in civilian garb. (See my note below).
San Jose California uses Honda ST1300’s. the California Highway Patrol is transitioning from many years of BMW (1100, 1150, 1200) to Kawasaki 1400’s. My home town Santa Cruz, uses mostly Harley’s, with at least one BMW 650 single.
Well Lt. bs or not at least some of the bikes of the SA police are gold wings.
Thomas and JPT are right. A radio replaced the need for speed. I just got a bike and it is not built for speed. Would never have gotten that passed by the wife.
Afaik most police forces out here use BMWs
San Diego cops use the BMW’s, very important for hiding behind buildings and bushes to catch people on their cell phones. I’m sure the revenue they raise by doing this pays for the BMW’s, but I still think they are a waste of money.
BMW R1200RTs are the favorite for county and highway patrol duty… any role where many miles are covered regularly. They’re agile (torquey, low center of gravity, short wheelbase), very safe (ABS), very efficient (~50mpg), and very comfortable – after all, it’s the patrolman’s office day in and day out – the electric windshield and heated grips and seat are not luxuries, they’re tools for fatigue-free year-round duty. A typical police bike has a 60k service expectation, and the BMWs easily accomplish that and can be converted and sold, recouping ~40% of its initial cost.
Harleys are actually better suited to urban city police duty and short-distance use – low height, excellent parade and motorcade performance (that wasn’t a slight on them!), and enough noise to make their presence known. A BMW in urban stop-and-go traffic doesn’t make much sense, especially with its dry clutch.
BMW and Harley are the only marques that offer factory-built police bikes. Police R1200RTs are specifically built that way, not modified at the dealer prior to delivery – so they ship with reinforced engine guards, light mounts, aux power system, police panniers, etc preinstalled and accounted for in the suspension tuning.
Honda’s ST1300 has gained more momentum, but there is a reputation (if slight) for inadequate handling at speed, possibly attributed to the extra police gear being installed on an essentially civilian-spec bike. The ST1300 (in my experience) also ducts a lot of engine heat back on the rider – a feature or bug depending on where you are. The V4 engine (like all V4 engines) is very nice, though. The accountants like them because the acquisition cost is very slightly cheaper (on paper, at least), but also because there are more dealers, especially in rural areas.
An independent supplier took a stab at distributing Kawasaki Concours 14’s, and quite a few agencies signed on, but again… converting a civilian-spec bike to police duty wasn’t a great idea… many electrical issues, and because the bike wasn’t a fully brand-sanctioned venture, it left a few agencies high and dry who are now returning to BMW or Honda.
At the end of the day, police bikes from any brand are well over $20k each – and between acquisition and running costs – there is very little difference in total cash outlay regardless of choice. It’s up to the agency to pick the best tool for their needs.
Personally, my favorite was the police-spec BMW F650GS single-cylinder dual-sport… highway, backalley, trail, staircases… they do it all.
Before anyone starts complaining about the cost of a police bike, go to your local motorcycle shop and price a civilian bike. I was looking at a new Harley Street Glide two weeks ago,. $20.000+. A Yamaha FJR in our showroom is $16,000. Gold Wing? $24,600, and the F6B (Honda’s answer to the Street Glide) is $20,500.
There’s nothing anymore in a serious tourer for under $15,000.