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American COP May/June 2010 - Page 30

CARS AND CRASHES sURvIvING IN YOUR MOBIlE OFFICE. JAsON HOsCHOUER M E otor ulling Nobody likes to see this in their mirror — except us. HD’s status as an icon in the motorcycle world, but being iconic doesn’t always mean it’s the best. In 2009, I began riding the Honda ST1300. It doesn’t have the cool factor of the HD and some say it sounds more like a Kenmore sewing machine. Which one is the better ride? Every few years the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tests and evaluates police motorcycles. They publish their data to assist law enforcement agencies select the appropriate bike for their needs and help manufacturers provide better products. In October 2009, LASD tested the 2009 BMW R1200 RT-P, 2010 HD Road King and Electra Glide and 2009 Honda ST1300-PA9. I can’t surmise all of their findings, but I’m experienced in both The Harley-Davidson is an imposing beast, Harleys and Hondas. And while I’ve never but the CDI-factor can be off the charts. ridden a BMW and can’t offer an opinion ver since 1984, when I first rode regarding them, I know many CHP officers on my dad’s Honda Goldwing who give them glowing recommendations. Aspencade, I’ve been hooked on The Harleys and BMW are both air/oil motorcycles. I was only 12 years cooled while the Honda is liquid cooled old and we were on a trip to the Grand — an important factor when doing slow Canyon — life was good. Because of my maneuvers during the heat of the day. My experiences during my youth, you could experience and the testing showed the say I’m a Honda guy. In 2006, I became Harley has a tendency to cut out cylinders a motor officer and I was assigned a 2002 if ridden at slow speeds or over extended Harley-Davidson Road King. I won’t argue distances where there’s a lot of stop-and-go riding. The BMW and Honda don’t The BMW R1200 RT-P comes from the have this problem. factory as shown so there’s almost no My biggest retrofitting to be done. Sweet. complaint with the Harley during summer months was the exorbitant radiant heat emanating from the engine while I desperately searched for a shady spot. Of the test bikes, the Road King’s radiant engine heat was 300.5 degrees and the exhaust was 201 degrees. The Honda engine was 209 degrees and exhaust 30 was 228 degrees, while the BMW was a mere 178 and 158 degrees, respectively. The significant difference can’t be argued, unless you work in a cold climate like Alaska, but for most of us, wearing wool breeches and a Kevlar vest provides more than enough heat. Performance W ith respect to response and handling, all the test bikes had their virtues — and some drawbacks. My old Harley had a small, but noticeable delay when I’d roll on the throttle and the current models tested confirmed it’s still a problem. And while they handled well overall, the Harleys were considered to be heavy and slow to respond. Their lean angles were poor and resulted in underperformance due to footboards and crash bars dragging. The Honda and Beemer’s acceleration/ power band were exceptionally responsive and smooth. The testers noted it was easy to get the front wheel of the Honda off the ground, and both bikes showed a slight break in rear traction during tight turns. You’d need a tow truck to get the front wheel of a Harley off the ground. My Honda feels much more fluid and agile and the test riders agree the Honda and BMW handled better than the Harleys. The Beemer felt top heavy because of its high center of gravity and the Honda’s foot pegs posed minor problems with shifting while in sharp left turns. While quarter mile times for the three were similar, after that, the Honda and BMW trounced the Harleys. Check out the exact times and figures, go to vehicle-test and watch the Harleys squeal. And just for you administrators out there, here are some financial considerations. In my experience, the Harley can be cost prohibitive. It’s in the Honda’s maintenance cost you’ll find the savings. In the last 18 months of riding my assigned Continued on page 60 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2010

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