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Rating the 2011 Police Motorcycles

The LASD releases its 2011 evaluation of five widely available police motorcycles.

May 19, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: Paul Clinton.
Photo: Paul Clinton.

A new horse was in the starting gate for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's 2011 evaluation of police patrol motorcycles in November—the Kawasaki Concours 14. And now, we learn how it ran.

Emergency vehicle operators with the drivers' training divisions of the LASD and LAPD evaluated the Kawasaki Concourse 14, Honda ST1300, BMW R1200 RT-P, Harley-Davidson Electra Glide and Harley-Davidson Road King. The testing regimen includes a 32-lap high-speed course, vehicle dynamics pursuit evaluation, hard-braking test, and ergonomic review.

As with the patrol cars, drivers provided subjective review notes of the vehicles after driving them. View the evaluation of the patrol cars, if you missed it.

32-Lap High-Speed Course

For the 32-lap evaluation, four riders take each bike out for eight laps and push it to record a top speed. Lap times are recorded via a GPS device mounted to the bike.

BMW's R1200 had "great lean angle and steering," wrote Officer Poland, who also said the bike was agile and very quick.

The Kawasaki "accelerates hard with smooth transmission operation," Officer Noland noted. Deputy Brown noticed a "slight peg scrape in turns."

The H-D Electra Glide "comes up to speed slow but smooth," according to Officer Noland, who also reported frame drag and wind turbulence under the fairing at higher speeds.

H-D's Road King was credited with steering that's "very light and predictable," wrote Deputy Bryant, who also noted slight pulsations in the ABS braking.

Honda's ST1300 "steers and handles well," Deputy Bryant wrote. The bike would benefit from traction control because the rear tire breaks loose under hard acceleration, he added.

Pursuit Course: The pursuit course is a 2.45-mile city street course with virtually no straightaways that's meant to simulate real-world driving conditions officers would face. The course has virtually no straightaways and consists of left and right turns and obstacles in the roadway.

Braking: Officers evaluate braking response and efficiency with three different brake evaluations—hard-braking, transitional braking from a dry to wet surface, and transitional braking from a smooth surface to sandy surface.

Ergonomics: Each motorcycle is driven four times through a 157-mile loop covering 33 miles of city streets, 75 miles of freeways, 20 miles of coastal highway, and 29 miles of mountain canyons. Riders also perform a minimum of 10 simulated traffic stops on city streets.

For more officer comments, read the full report via the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Web site.

Related:

Police EVOC Trainers Give Driving Notes on the 2011 Patrol Cars

L.A. County Sheriff Tests 2011-12 Patrol Vehicles

L.A. County Sheriff Releases 2010 Motorcycle Evaluation

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


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