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L.A. County Sheriff Releases 2010 Motorcycle Evaluation

Five police bikes were rated in a variety of categories, including acceleration, pursuit dynamics, braking and ergonomics.

February 19, 2010  |  by - Also by this author


The Los Angeles Sheriff Department's EVOC unit released a report summarizing its evaluation of five 2010 model year motorcycles. Photo by Paul Clinton.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has completed its annual evaluation of police vehicles and released a pair of reports that POLICE Magazine has obtained. We'll provide it to you in two parts, and include the reports so you can take a look for yourself.

First up, we'll take a look at the motorcycles. In the second part, we'll look at the patrol cars.

Since we're focusing on results here, you can learn more about the testing by reading our coverage of the LASD Vehicle Testing Day in October.

Each year, police fleet manufacturers provide vehicles to the LASD. During the testing day, drivers from various agencies and the department's Emergency Vehicle Opearating Center (EVOC) driving unit take the 2010 model year vehicles out to a speedway track to evaluate them for high-speed performance, braking, ergonomics, ease of maintenance and driving dynamics.

In October, EVOC drivers evaluated five motorcycles, including Harley-Davidson's 2010 Electra Glide and Road King, the 2009 Honda ST1300, and BMW's R1200 and G650 motorcycles (both 2009).

The crux of the evaluation of the bikes involves police riders running them on a 32-lap high-speed course and pursuit course , then providing their subjective notes (almost Zagat style) on the bikes, which are also tested in circular and U-turn cone patterns of between 16 and 20 feet in diameter.

Unlike the Michigan State Police evaluation, the Los Angeles sheriff doesn't record top speeds. Special attention is paid to overall acceleration, stability, loss of rear wheel traction, and whether or not the front wheel lifts off the ground uncontrollably, according to the report.

In the zero-to-60 mph accelaration test, the Honda ST1300 reached the mark quickest, at 1.97 seconds. Harley-Davidson's Road King was next up at 2.01 seconds.

For the Honda, this was the first year evaluation results were released.

"We are glad the Los Angeles sheriff published the test results this year," said Marc Samulewicz, law enforcement manager of Huntington Beach Honda, the nation's largest ST1300 police supplier. "There is a little something in the test for each OEM to hang their hat on. For us at the dealership level, operating in the new economy, we see most departments ease into their buying decision by talking to other departments."

In the hard-braking test from 60 mph to zero, Harley-Davidson's Electra Glide travelled 116.6 feet in 3.5 seconds.

EVOC also uses a digital sound-level meter to evaluate engine noise at 40 mph, 60 mph and 80 mph. A mictrophone is mounted six inches from the rider's ear to record sound levels during acceleration. The loudest bike at 60 mph was the BMW G650, registering 123.0 dB.

A two-way radio test is also performed to determine if outside radio transmissions known as "spurious signals" will interrupt an officer's communication with dispatch.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies use the T-Band radio frequency (450 to 512 MHz) to send and recieve transmissions from dispatchers, as well as to tap into data sources to run license plates or access criminal databases.

Agencies typically review the report and use it as one element in their purchasing decision. View the full LASD vehicle evaluation report.

Tags: Harley-Davidson, BMW, L.A. County Sheriff, Honda, Motorcycles, Vehicle Testing


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