18 September 2009

Police riding Harley Davidsons?

| Serendipity
Join the conversation
35

Whats this I see?

Two leather clad motorcycle cops, both of a more mature age, riding two brand new looking white Harley Davidson motorcycles sedately down Northbourne Avenue this week.

The bikes had blue and red lights and police signs on the panniers so they must be real police bikes and the riders were in police uniform. So whats happening here?

With the current interest in bikie gangs have the local coppers decided that the best way to catch a Harley Davidson riding bikie is to ride Harleys themselves? Has anyone else seen them around?

Maybe they are getting new bikes for those VIP escorts they do.

For mine, I don’t really care what sort of motorbikes they ride as long as they are doing their bit to keep our roads safe.

Join the conversation

35
All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Latest

I have owned 5 Harleys and apart from some minor issues with my 1975 Ironhead sporty they have all run with no major mechanical issues at all including my 1945 WLA. Those ‘bikes’ lined up out the front of the shop in Fyshwick (Robbo’s) are for sale NOT there to be fixed you goose, the repair shop is out the back and cannot be seen from the street.

Harleys are definately the worlds fastest tractors but having said are quite capable of running in excess of 180klms P/H which I think you find is quite quick enough to catch the average ‘P’ plater drag racing with his mates. You want to see what the police Beemers are like? go over to mick Owens in Fyshwick he has the contract to fix em and out the front of his shop are alway at least 10 broken one’s not bad considering there are only 20 bike cops in Canberra.

Hey, sorry to dig up an old thread, I work at a servo and one of these bikes came in yesterday, snapped a pic if anyone doesnt believe me.. They have the police add on’s just no ‘Police’ markings or anything. Asked the cop and he said that yeah they are just testing them out to see if they can give HD some buisness.

astrojax said :

agree, v – anyway, as old chinese proverb notes: radio is faster than japanese bike!

Yeah but using radio to call ahead and get spike strips put down for bikes tends to be frowned apon. 😉 And the Yamaha 1300s which are currently being phased in to replace the Beemers go like the clappers: I doubt a Ducati sports bike could support the amount of kit (weight and amperage) required for a cop bike.

agree, v – anyway, as old chinese proverb notes: radio is faster than japanese bike!

V twin venom9:09 am 21 Sep 09

quote comment=”234326″]I had another thought today. How come the highway patrol cars get V8’s etc, and the bike cops get stuck with something pretty ordinary? Surely the AFP should spring for some new Ducatis…

After seeing a HIGH speed pursuit on Tidbinbilla Road yesterday involving a 2 wheeled flash of black Japanese technology and 2 of those fancy looking high vis and black Police cars, it has to be said that nothing the Police have or are looking at should be used in a way that requires the full performance of the machine. It’s just too f#@cking scarey. Harley, Ducati, Beemer or Vespa it really doesn’t matter what they use.

Disclaimer: no it wasn’t me. My bike is red and we were going the other direction.

cranky said :

Did they convert them to left hand drive before sending them over?

Actually they probably do make some changes. Some bikes (my F650GS for example) have adjustment dials to turn the headlight a tiny bit to the left or right. The instruction manual says to use this when entering a country that drives on the other side of the road

I had another thought today. How come the highway patrol cars get V8’s etc, and the bike cops get stuck with something pretty ordinary? Surely the AFP should spring for some new Ducatis…

When you look at the cost of HD parts, and the number of cop bikes lined up outside the bike shop in fyshwick waiting to be fixed, I don’t think the AFP can afford to use them.

maybe they were some how associated with the exhibition that simon corbell opened at cmag last night, on the history of criminal justice in canberra… http://www.museumsandgalleries.act.gov.au/cmag/CaughtACT.html

but maybe not…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prJnJWW2JII

Cruisers can certainly turn. I had a Honda VT750 for a day loaner last time our CB400 went in for service and had little trouble turning on it. It did feel pretty weird having my feet all that way in front of me, especially in U-turns.

I really like the BMW boxers but I don’t think the Harleys should be written off that flippantly

Did they convert them to left hand drive before sending them over?

Pommy bastard7:45 am 19 Sep 09

Serendipity said :

2. Harley have provided two USA factory built police specials, one a Electra Glide and the other a Road King. These bikes come from the factory with most of the police add ons like flashing lights, sirens, crash bars, police signs, radio boxes etc as standard fittings for police use. They also come fitted with a larger and more powerful motor than standard (103 cubic inch which is about 1700cc), upgraded brakes/ABS, increased ground clearance, fly by wire technology, upgraded suspension and a air suspension seat.

1700cc??? My god that’s a lump. I’ll bet my left one they still wont be as powerful, quick, maneuverable and as easy to ride as the average Japanese or European 1000cc

Serendipity said :

3. Harley Davidson reckoned their bikes are as good as anything else available so they were asked to put up or shut ut. They supplied the two bikes for a month or so evidently and have to undergo a pretty intense evaluation process.

They are either very brave or delusional.

old canberran9:35 pm 18 Sep 09

The coppers in Washington DC ride Harleys. At least they did in 1988 when I was there.
Canberra coppers rode Harleys years ago, and Aerials, Triumphs and Nortons plus a few others I can’t remember.

very cool though

Have to agree with Pommy Bastard here. Has anyone ever tried to corner a Harley, or any other cruiser for that matter?? Your pegs are scraping VERY, very early. Which really restricts how fast you can corner.

Crusiers are nice for just that. Cruising. Using them as cop bikes is ludicrous! Unless it’s a parade or similar.

Just to add to my original post, I thought I would follow up the Harleys thing. Well this is what I found out.
1. ACT Police have an ongoing program of testing cars and motorcyles to establish what is best for their multitude of uses. Usually these vehicles are not marked up as police cars when they test them so the general public is not necessarily aware that the car or bike is being assessed.
2. Harley have provided two USA factory built police specials, one a Electra Glide and the other a Road King. These bikes come from the factory with most of the police add ons like flashing lights, sirens, crash bars, police signs, radio boxes etc as standard fittings for police use. They also come fitted with a larger and more powerful motor than standard (103 cubic inch which is about 1700cc), upgraded brakes/ABS, increased ground clearance, fly by wire technology, upgraded suspension and a air suspension seat.
3. Harley Davidson reckoned their bikes are as good as anything else available so they were asked to put up or shut ut. They supplied the two bikes for a month or so evidently and have to undergo a pretty intense evaluation process.

I was also told that the bikes have suprised a few of the coppers already as being much better than they thought they would be. Evidently they stop, turn and go much better than expected. I was also told that as a result of testing bikes last year that the coppers went from BMW to Yamahas with their road bikes and Suzuki to KTMs with their trail bikes. My mate said that they tested half a dozen different road bikes and about ten different trail bikes before they made their decision to buy what they did.

So thats the update.

Maybe it’s just to do with the amount of gear to be carried/fitted? Evaluation models?

Wasn’t there a law passed recently disallowing bikies such as these uniformed officers on harleys from consorting?

Pommy bastard said :

Would anyone care to post the performance figures for a Harley (top speed, torque, 0-60, turning circle, weight, braking,)against a bike of similar displacement, cost, or style?

http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/Content/Pages/Specs/full_specs/full_specs_09_popup.jsp?model=flhtcu&market=US&measureCheck=Metric&locale=en_US&dwp=

At 125Nm it is actually worse for torque than my 1.2L/four-cylinder BMW, and only marginally better than the 1.2L/boxer-twin BMW I had before it.

I would speculate that the Electra Glide would also have inferior acceleration, especially considering that on the traction-control-equipped BMWs you can snap and hold the throttle wide open in any gear and not only will it try hard to prevent the rear wheel breaking traction, but it will also keep the front wheel on the ground. I tested this recently in torrential rain on my 112kW/130Nm K1200GT. It works [i]very[/i] well indeed.

There aren’t many 1.6L bikes out there. Honda have their 1.8L Goldwing, and the Big Four have a big cruiser or two each. Triumph have their 2.3L Rocket III. The wet weight of these big Harleys makes my 280kg BMW (or indeed the R1200RT police bikes AFP have now) look like a skinny gymnast, and that’s [i]before[/i] they install the crashbars, lights, sirens, aerials, communications gear, radar and extra battery that the police bikes do generally have.

Search Youtube for “Ride Like a Pro.” US motorcycle cops seem to have pretty good bike skills

Just for info – in the TV show “CHiPs” the bikes were kawasakis

Photo, or it didn’t happen!

mrnamjama said :

There’s nothing wrong with Harleys. They can be manouvered just fine by a trained rider, including doing a controlled u-turn in less space than most supersports riders can manage.

You’ve hit the nail on the head. It has very little to do with the bike being a Harley (or supersport) and far more to do with rider skills. That said, being able to ride a Harley well doesn’t stop it being rubbish!

I am going on memory alone here but I think the big Harleys (at least the models that are typically used as a starting point when building police bikes, eg. Electra Glide) have a greater load capacity than the BMW R1200RT and Yamaha FJR1300A models currently used by the AFP for most of their road-oriented police bikes. This may be part of the reason for the testing of them as police bikes here

It took me quite some time to build the confidence to do really tight U-turns on my BMW K1200GT. At 280kg if I stuff it up and it starts to fall there’s no way I’m going to be able to stop it.

Pommy bastard1:43 pm 18 Sep 09

Would anyone care to post the performance figures for a Harley (top speed, torque, 0-60, turning circle, weight, braking,)against a bike of similar displacement, cost, or style?

caf said :

I await the purchase of soft-top MX-5s as patrol cars with interest… although, where would you put the flashing lights?

No way – Vespas are next!

Pommy said:

“If they are needed for an emergency response.”

LOL.

Sounds like someone’s been watching too much CHiPs!

I await the purchase of soft-top MX-5s as patrol cars with interest… although, where would you put the flashing lights?

The cat did it12:25 pm 18 Sep 09

I hope they are only ‘evaluation’ models. ACT police need a proper working bike, not a bike that screams ‘mid-life crisis’.

Pommy bastard said :

in fact there is nothing good about Harleys.

HEY!

Pommy bastard11:16 am 18 Sep 09

I ridden more than a few, horrible machines.

Rad Dave – I think you might be right.

There’s nothing wrong with Harleys. They can be manouvered just fine by a trained rider, including doing a controlled u-turn in less space than most supersports riders can manage.

Maybe 20 years or so ago when I was living in Perth the WA police had a fleet of HD’s. Weren’t the best allround performer by all accounts but gee did they get their money back and more when it came to sell them off.

Pommy Bastard- You sound like you’ve never ridden one..

Pommy bastard10:01 am 18 Sep 09

Good grief! Police would be better off on horses for ceremonial escorts not Harleys.

If they are needed for an emergency response Harleys are awful, slow, cumbersome, heavy, poor steering, poor brakes, abysmal turning circle, in fact there is nothing good about Harleys.

They should be left for middle age men to have as “mid-life crisis” bikes.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.