The newest entry to the police motorcycle market turned heads at the Michigan State Police's annual vehicle testing of 2011 model-year vehicles, running away with top scores in performance and braking.
The Kawasaki Concours 14P recorded the highest speed of the four two-wheel vehicles tested, reaching 131 mph on the 4.8-mile speedway at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich., on Sept. 18.
The Michigan State Police's Precision Driving Unit also tested BMW's R1200 RTP, Harley-Davidson's Road King and H-D's Electra Glide.
With the bike, Kawasaki is re-entering the police motorcycle market after discontinuing the KZ1000P in 2005. It's a conversion of a civilian Concours 14 with more durable brakes and other police-specific features.
The police Concours 14 also reached 0-60 mph fastest, hitting the mark at 4.5 seconds. The BMW bike, which reached a top speed of 127 mph, came closest in that test with a 4.7-second time.
Because motorcycles are intrinsically more challenging for riders and require specialized skills, acceleration from a dead stop to catch speeders can at times present more perils to the motor officer, according to Sgt. John Steele of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's motorcycle training detail.
"We're looking for a motorcycle to get up to that [0-60 mph] time frame and do it safely," Steele tells POLICE Magazine. "You have to look at the big picture."
Kawasaki's police bike also reached a dead stop from 60 mph quickest of the motorcycles, needing 141 feet to stop. BMW's bike, which also arrives with ABS, was close behind, needing 142.9 feet.
Grabbing a handful of brake on a motorcycle can also be perilous, and this is where ABS offers a crucial safety feature to the motor officer. Essentially, the bike instantly calculates a safe braking distance and decelerates the bike at a steady pace rather than locking the brakes.
Look for more in-depth coverage of the testing in our December print issue. And view our archive of Michigan State Police testing from past years.