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Why do Harley-Davidson police motorcycles have a top speed less than a Toyota Prius?

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  • retired1995
    replied
    Drifting along in retirement here, having fond recollections of duty days spent on a Harley Electra-Glide nearly 50 years ago, struggling around in city traffic with a 800-lb. pig (including radios, etc) fighting me every minute of the day. Later on we had the Kawasaki 900 and Kawasaki 1000 series (seriously fast and quick bikes). To and from work I rode a Honda 250-cc Elsinore.

    Fast forward from the early 1970's to about 2004, and see this old retired cop zipping around town on a Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster (great for the city, not so good for the road trip). Then the bug bit me harder and I ended up with a Dyna Super Glide (capable of just about any road trip requirements).

    I enjoyed them all, right up until the arthritis and lumbar spine injury made it impossible for me to ride for 30 minutes without paying the price in pain for several days afterward. Had to give up that part of my life for good. I miss it at times, but make up for it with the occasional 2-hour rental of a Cessna 182.

    Motorcycles are useful for a very narrow range of law enforcement duties. Very maneuverable in city traffic, but very vulnerable to every idiot sharing the road. Within that performance envelope top speed is seldom an issue; rather it is the ability to maneuver into and out of traffic and limited spaces. I once ran down a 1975 Corvette on an interstate highway with a Kawasaki 1000 model, and I never got above 4th gear, but I did have serious shakes when I finally got stopped and had to put down the kickstand and deal with the driver.

    The fact that a Prius (or any other vehicle) might outrun a patrol motorcycle is irrelevant. No one can outrun the Motorola radio, bringing in additional units from every direction. Use the motorcycles for what they are best at doing; leave the high-speed chases to properly equipped pursuit vehicles.

    Leave a comment:


  • angeredmgmt
    replied
    The department I retired from uses HDs because they are free from our local HD dealer. Every couple of years or so(I don't remember the frequency) we'd turn our 'old' bikes in for new one. The dealer would then sell those 'old' bikes for pretty good money. I don't remember now, but I'm betting we did pay for service and parts.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aidokea
    replied
    Hell, a Honda RS125R would outrun a Harley.

    ...and Harleys don't sound "cool". They sound impotent...

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  • Laurendale
    replied
    Dear Lord, I ride a 300 and it will outrun this thing.
    This agency needs to seriously rethink their bike aquisition. Like C3SD said, a Harley does nothing well but sound cool. And it doesn't really even do that well once it rattles itself to pieces.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hagen
    replied
    This thread has been an eye-opener for me, being as far from bikes as possible. I always imagined HDs to be road kings similar to CVPIs precisely because US cops use them, and you guys know your stuff. I mean, even NYPD uses Harleys, in that hellish traffic!

    Local agencies use BMWs, including offroad models, and Yamahas, as far as I know. People are jealous that they don't get any Harleys lol.

    bike.png

    Leave a comment:


  • Aidokea
    commented on 's reply
    Motorcycles other than Harley-Davidsons are usually sold to individual riders as motorcycles for riders to ride.

    Harley-Davidsons are typically sold to individual owners as "lifestyle accessories". They are simply the largest, heaviest, and most expensive element of a costume for the purpose of posing, but have nothing to do with actually riding.
    Last edited by Aidokea; 09-22-2019, 01:42 PM.

  • FireCop203
    replied
    I’ve noticed agencies in my area have switched over to the BMW. They look really sharp. I stopped by the local BMW shop to see a similar one up close. They are larger in size than I expected and EXPENSIVE. I don’t know if the agencies are getting a discount, but I know I couldn’t afford one. The YouTube videos of the police motorcycle rodeos look like the BMW is giving HD a run for their money. Very impressive videos of both the motorcycles and the officers.

    Looking back, I see my buying a HD was more of a mid life crisis. I was having thoughts of road trips back to my home state, but after riding around in city and highway traffic, I realized it wasn’t for me. I’m glad the former owner bought it back.

    Leave a comment:


  • orangebottle
    replied
    The solution?

    D5rPuMXIQgIqEiIN_tnD2Og1eJLP6P07QtFJIbV-rvcPVJynilDnxkfiiC5ICojpUh2Qi1cJBDmFl7NQuWv5fjqZZGLSwCbhNkkJ2uwhWOovdv_Y5tfQ1N4cTNCGbMnmLCUYSV5cjQ=w2400.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • Aidokea
    replied
    So far, we've been looking at comparing Harley-Davidsons to some fairly pedestrian vehicles, both two and four wheeled- nothing fancy.

    But how do Harley-Davidsons compare against really good motorcycles?

    Fortunately, there is an online database of motorcycle performance numbers originally compiled by Sport Rider, and currently maintained by Cycle World:

    https://www.cycleworld.com/sport-rid...mance-numbers/

    In June of 2010, Sport Rider tested the BMW S1000RR- it ran the standing quarter-mile in 9.57 seconds at 156.1 mph. That's not the quickest motorcycle they've tested.

    But even those numbers don't really tell the whole story.


    The thing about reaching 156.1 mph in 9.57 seconds from a standing start on a motorcycle is, that by the time you even begin to approach those kind of performance numbers, the motorcycle's acceleration becomes wheelie-limited. You can't use wide-open throttle with the clutch all the way out until the top of first gear (at least 100 mph) or the front wheel will come up so high that you have to abort the run. So the acceleration from 100 mph on, once the clutch is all the way out and the throttle is all the way open, is absolutely blistering as compared to the 0-100 numbers.

    0-60 mph acceleration times of 2.3-2.6 seconds may sound quick, but that's not even close to the top of first gear, the clutch isn't even all the way out by then, and the rider is still fighting to keep the front wheel down.
    Last edited by Aidokea; 09-19-2019, 02:40 AM.

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  • Aidokea
    replied
    Here are some other fun numbers from that report:

    It took the Harley-Davidson FLHTP an average of 19.49 seconds to reach 100 mph from a standing start.

    It took the Yamaha FJR1300P-AB an average of 8.39 seconds to reach 100 mph from a standing start- 11.10 seconds quicker.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aidokea
    replied
    Regarding the stereotype of the age of the riders of sporting motorcycles- this is an onboard video of an AARP-aged cancer survivor, doing 209 mph at the 2019 North West 200:



    We watched him race a few years ago, when we visited the Isle of Man TT. We rented a big-bore Ducati and rode the course two-up, at about half of race pace (no more than about 100mph or so).
    Last edited by Aidokea; 09-15-2019, 08:20 PM.

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  • Aidokea
    commented on 's reply
    Do tell...

  • phillyrube
    replied
    What kind of oil do you use in a Harley?

    Leave a comment:


  • Aidokea
    replied
    Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post

    ...it also indicates that stupidity isn't brand-specific.
    I didn't say that Harley-Davidson owners were stupid. Heck, a lot of them were smart enough to graduate from dentistry school.

    What I said, was that most Harley-Davidson owners demonstrate an almost total lack of riding skill.

    You don't have to be a genius to be a good rider- I can teach almost anyone to do it. The only ones I can't teach, are the ones that are unwilling to receive proper riding instruction because of their own ego problems.
    Last edited by Aidokea; 09-15-2019, 02:28 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aidokea
    commented on 's reply
    Harley-Davidson owners are not the only motorcyclists that demonstrate a lack of riding skill, but Harley-Davidson owners are where you're most likely to encounter lack of riding skill.

    "Crotch rocket" is not a type of motorcycle. I think you may be referring to supersport motorcycles.

    Supersport motorcycles are fully faired, have wheelbases of no more than about 55", and have engines sized for the specific sanctioned road racing production class(es) that they are intended to compete in. The most common supersport classes are 600, 750, and 1000.

    Not all fully faired motorcycles are supersports though. Sport-touring motorcycles are fully faired, have longer wheelbases, larger more sedate engines, and are not designed for any form of sanctioned competition. The Hayabusa would be a good example.

    And your perception of the average age of supersport owners is probably skewed by a very visible minority known as "squids". Squids are most often seen on older Japanese 4-cylinder 600 supersports with noisy aftermarket slip-on mufflers, blacked-out windscreens, lots of previous crash damage, and little to no proper safety gear.

    In reality, Supersport motorcycle owners can be any age. I am a lot closer to 60 than 50, and I have ridden and raced supersport motorcycles for years, usually 1000 and 750 class. My last race bike was a Yamaha R1, and my current supersport is an MV Agusta F3 800 hand-built in northern Italy. Most older guys are financially successful enough that they do not have to rely upon their motorcycles for general transportation use, so you're not seeing them on public roads as much. Many older supersport riders (like myself) ride only in the mountains, at track days, do road racing, and/or instruct on track, so you're just not seeing them. Even when you do see an older supersport rider, they'll almost always be wearing full safety gear, which would leave you guessing as to their age.
    Last edited by Aidokea; 09-15-2019, 06:57 PM.

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