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Today’s eco friendly fleet manager has many things to consider when upgrading their fleet but never has this been truer than with the purchase of modern motorcycles. Managers must consider the obvious like reliability, longevity, cost, and performance, but also the officers desire for performance since motorcycles are commonly used for traffic enforcement. In traffic enforcement closing the distance quickly but safely is of paramount concern for officer. While for the fleet manager serviceability is just as an important factor. When selecting a motorcycle brand, it is also wise to consider how many dealerships are available locally and whether those dealerships are willing to prioritize police fleet customers. Thanks to more compact equipment options, more agencies are installing moving radar systems, computers, and printers on their motorcycles. More fleets are installing video systems as well as rifle and shotgun racks, both outside the vehicle and inside saddlebags. When adding equipment, fleets should consider payload, weight distribution, and vibration, among other factors. Fleet Managers should also consider the importance of tires, run flats with stiffer sidewalls are a safer choice.

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One common mistake that agencies make when purchasing is not updating bid specs. If an agency buys a few motorcycles every year, it can be easy to recycle motorcycle buying specs. While agencies might end up with the lowest bid they may miss out on new safety features. Keeping up on new technology is a must, especially in the Police motorcycle world.
Instead, agencies should take the time to document current needs and the specific equipment they will need, which ultimately assists the motorcycle OEMs when preparing complete and accurate bids. New safety features like anti-lock braking systems (ABS), traction control, slipper clutch, electronic adjustable suspension, and electronic cruise control can improve performance on some new motorcycle models.
Fleet Managers should give serious consideration to having a motorcycle-training officer go out and demo the different motorcycles, or invite an OEM to visit the agency to put on a demo. Let the people who use the tool every day have the greatest influence in the selection of that tool. After all it could literally save their life. Here are some of the Law Enforcement offerings available for 2020.

BMW

F 850 GS-P
The F 850 GS-P provides the widest range of capability.  The 850 GS-P is not only capable of doing 100+ mph on the street, but can also tackle secondary roads, trails, greenbelts, parks and recreation areas, airports, dams, reservoirs, power plants, docks, ports, college campuses or anywhere else motors work best. Very few police motorcycles on the market today provides the level of value found on the F BMW 850 GS-P. With performance, even seasoned motor officers will be pleasantly surprised with the acceleration that few will evade on or off pavement.
The standard ABS brakes provide superior stopping power which can be disabled on-the-fly when terrain demands Superior cooling allows for fan-driven water-cooled single won’t over-heat in parades or congested traffic. Fuel economy is 57 mpg on regular fuel, 6,000-mile service intervals and 3-year/36,000 miles limited warranty. State-of-the-art emergency lighting system, with take-down & alley lights, wig-wag headlight, are available with customer specific configurations. The sure-starting system linked auxiliary battery powers emergency lights and pre-wired equipment with engine “off” ensures restarting Customizable versatility allows for multiple saddlebag options.  The GS-P can fit through narrow gates and crossings that stop ATV’s in their tracks.
R 1250 RT –P
The R 1250 RT-P is the newest generation police motor derived from the K52 platform. The R 1250 RT-P model includes an unmatched list standard features: Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), ABS brakes with traction control, rain or road riding modes, heated handlebar grips, cruise control, tire pressure monitors, electrically adjustable windshield and weather protection.
The new generation R 1250 RT-P contains a multi-plate self-adjusting wet clutch that can be changed in an hour. The R 1250 RT-P includes the first police motorcycle engine with variable valve timing. A long list of standard equipment includes: an unmatched standard emergency lighting system including take-down lights and alley lights, handlebar switch system, power management system for all authority accessories, plus a host of special conveniences including electronic radio box latch release, saddlebag lights, alternating headlight system, selectable emergency light start sequence, narrower/lower seat with heat-reflective material (18° cooler in sun), adjustable dashboard angle, integrated PTT/PTPA switches, etc.
 Factory options include Ride Modes Pro enabling the selection of riding modes Rain, Road & Dynamic.  Also, Gear Shift Assist Pro which allows you to shift up or down once the motorcycle is in motion without use of the clutch.  Additional fog lights, which also wig-wag with the headlight when there is sufficient ambient light controlled by dashboard light sensor and Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment. The R 1200 RT-P includes 6,000-mile oil change service intervals, comes with a 3-year / 60,000 mile limited warranty at no extra charge and now with EU4 management can be run on regular 87 AKI fuel.

YAMAHA

In 2018 the Yamaha FJR1300P police version of its iconic FJR1300 Sport Touring motorcycle was made available to law enforcement and municipal organizations in the USA. The FJR1300P blends the performance, handling, and incredible reliability of the standard FJR1300Awiththe capability of adding an arsenal of equipment designed exclusively for police use.  Thanks to development feedback obtained directly from police departments and municipal organizations in various European countries, the FJR1300P sets a new benchmark for performance and reliability, critical for the demands of police departments across the United States. The FJR1300P makes a great candidate for serving law enforcement agencies thanks to a host of standard base-model FJR1300A performance features.
A compact and lightweight, 1298cc, DOHC, 16 valve, liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine. A versatile six-speed transmission. Yamaha’s exclusive Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) ride-by-wire system. Traction control, Cruise control, D-Mode adjustable engine mapping, All-LED headlight and position lights, LED tail light, Adjustable rider seat height and handle bar positions, Push-button control for an electronically adjustable windscreen, Detachable side cases, Shaft drive, 6.6-gallon fuel tank.
In order to assist with the rigorous demands of police operations, the FJR1300Palso comes prepared to support equipment that is exclusive to law enforcement use. Special features include: Pre-wired electrical connectors for easy installation of front and rear flashing lights, Pre-wired electrical connectors for easy installation of a siren and speaker, A pre-wired handlebar control switch, A compartment with pre-wired electrical connectors for an auxiliary battery, A windscreen that is taller than the standard model, Knuckle visors (integrated into the rear-view mirrors), Wind deflectors for the rider’s feet and Engine guards.
When put to the test by European law enforcement agencies, the FJR1300P received praise for its ride comfort and ease of handling. US agencies will now have access to the same level of performance thanks to special ordering opportunities through authorized Yamaha dealers.
Yamaha has sold through all available inventory in the US and are excited to bring their 2020 FJR1300P police motorcycle to market this May.  Although the spec is unchanged from current model year, Yamaha continues to develop partnerships with multiple lighting up-fitters to better support Law Enforcement Agencies with the equipment they desire. More details on that coming soon as Yamaha expects to announce these partnerships in 2020.  Yamaha is a very diverse Motorsports company and with that, they are also evaluating several new models that could be utilized for law enforcement applications.  Yamaha currently offers Motorcycles, ATV’s Side by Sides, and Snowmobiles to accommodate nearly any style of riding.   Yamaha continues to evaluate market needs and leverage vendor partnerships to offer the products that Law Enforcement agencies across the Country demand. Visit https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/fjr1300p-police-bike.

ZERO

Zero Motorcycles is the next step in public safety transport with stealthy, clean and efficient, electric motorcycles that provide a new tactical advantage in law enforcement, emergency services and military applications. With no gears, clutch or noise, Zero motorcycles are easy to operate and improve situational awareness. While in crowds or indoors, the absence of exhaust eliminates ventilation concerns and creates new patrolling scenarios.

Zero Motorcycles are uniquely suited for Patrolling public lands, parks, beaches, trails, running paths Event safety and crowd control at concerts, parades, sporting events, traffic enforcement in dense urban centers, pedestrian areas and surface streets, stealth patrol for drug enforcement, border/perimeter security, college campuses and any situation where silence is an advantage and where maneuverability and agility are key.
It goes without saying but there are many reasons to go electric but of course number one being the economic benefits with the lowest operating costs of any police motorcycle. Easy to maintain with a powertrain that requires no scheduled maintenance all while being built to last with batteries that exceed the life of the motorcycle. Building bridges with the community is always something a fleet manager has to consider, environmental impact is a reality so going electric provides positive community connection with such a quiet and environmentally conscious mode of transportation.
Good for the environment but all while not giving up any tactical advantages with no shifting, and instant torque from 0 rpm, silent idle and stealthy pursuit, lightweight, highly maneuverable, rapid acceleration up to 102 mph and rugged on/off-road versatility.
Fleet Managers can completely eliminate gasoline complications with reduced noise and exhaust with no tail emissions. They can completely eliminate gas and oil spills, eradicate burn and fire risks because the officers never stop for gas, they simply recharge from any regular outlet.
The Z-Force® motor was designed by Zero Motorcycles in Santa Cruz, California, and engineered for optimum performance, efficiency, size and reliability. With no fluids to maintain and a single moving part, the motor delivers trouble-free performance for the life of the vehicle. Up to 116 ft-lb of instant torque and 70 hp smooth, rapid acceleration in all conditions and requires no routine maintenance because it’s air-cooled with no coolant to change or leak and has regenerative braking to extend range.
The Zero Police lineup starts with the Zero DSRP their most powerful police motorcycle, highest performance dual sport with their Z-Force 75-7R motor with high temp magnets. A generous 116ft-lb of torque and 70HP providing rapid acceleration and a 102 MPH top speed.
The second Police offering is the Zero FXP a compact quick and responsive off road ready machine that ideal for tight quarters such as arenas, congested areas, parks, beaches that are heavily crowded. Its light weight of 302lb allows for quick acceleration with the motor torque of 78ft-lb. Adding to this is the very low price and operating costs.
There are two police packages available, the standard package consists of Whelen® TIR3 Emergency Lights, front, side and rear-facing. Whelen® Siren with PA and Microphone, Front battery/frame protection bars (drop bars), Stealth mode switch for headlight cut out, which includes taillight, dash light cut switch, and a locking tank trunk. The second package provides available police options like a Power tank to extend range on the Zero DSRP, charge tank that reduces charge times on the Zero DSRP and Off-board Quick Chargers (reduces charge times on all models) More options like rear rack, top box, side cases, 12 V accessory socket kit, Hand guards, aggressive foot pegs, rain guard, chain kit, windscreen, telescoping pole light, LED license plate holder, parking brake, smartphone mount.
Making things easier by leveraging technology is what Zero is all about. Zero allows fleet managers or officers to customize performance and managing their fleet of motorcycles easily with the free Zero Motorcycles mobile app. While riding, the app provides the officer some real-time data and serve as a supplemental dash display. While parked, with the app you can customize top speed, max torque and regenerative braking, see detailed analysis of battery and charging status, view data on energy use, “fuel” economy and cost savings, send diagnostic information to Zero Motorcycles and save time and money by updating firmware.

HARLEY DAVIDSON

For those traditionalists Harley-Davidson offers three pursuit-rated models for the 2020 model year: the 1,868cc FLHP Police Road King and FLHTP Police Electra Glide, and the 883cc Sportster Iron 883. That said we all know that other H-D police model bikes have also been used over the years, and it’s not uncommon to see many older versions of each of the above still in use. For the 2020 model the newest cop cruisers are packed with H-D’s latest electronic features, like Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS)  and H-D Connect, both powered by an oil-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine claiming to crank out 123 pound-feet of torque.
H-D says RDRS has the usual list of active-system acronyms, four of them “cornering enhanced,” which means that they are informed by an on-board Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) provided to monitor vehicle lean angle and able to compute the effect of that angle on these functions: linked braking, ABS, traction control, and throttle-based engine-braking control, which H-D gives the grand title Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS). H-D is clear in explaining such systems cannot make grip, they seek to make optimum use of the grip actually available. These systems do not influence vehicle direction, an important difference from four-wheel automotive stability-control systems. The rider is always responsible for speed, steering, and path corrections.
Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) is also in the package. The rider of a bike so equipped gives an extra squeeze to the brake after coming to a stop, thereby engaging VHC. This reduces the number of controls the rider must manage simultaneously when making an uphill or downhill stop and restart.There is a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which alerts the operator if low tire pressure is detected.
The 2020 FLHP Road King weighs in at about 842 pounds, while the 2020 FLHTP Electra Glide weighs about 844 pounds (plus optional police gear). You’ll see it cruising through plenty of cities and towns around the world, but especially throughout the US and Canada, in both huge metro areas as well as the smaller jurisdictions.

HONDA

The popular ST1100 Pan European is still in wide use around the world, but these days the ST1300PA is doing much of Honda’s front-line duty for the men and women in blue, with a compact 1,261cc V-4 engine longitudinally mounted for max drivetrain efficiency, a low center of gravity for easier low-speed handling, a specialized handlebar, patrol speedometer, and mounting brackets. A remote preload adjuster makes it a snap to change the suspension settings, and the seat is three-position adjustable; lockable, integrated saddlebags hold 35 liters each, and a special rear cowl and rack offer additional carrying capacity. ABS, a motor-driven, adjustable windscreen, and the 7.7-gallon, dual-section fuel tank round out the list of desirable features. It’s the standard choice for many Asian forces.

The still-capable ST1100 is currently on duty in places like Scotland and Western Australia, while the VFR800P model gets rolled out by Japanese police forces, most commonly for training. We’ve even seen CBX750s in use on Gibraltar and Uzbekistan, as well as CBX500s and even Gold Wings repurposed for traffic duty.
In a very cool and unique application the Redondo Beach Police Department was the lucky recipient of two Roland Sands-modified Africa Twins back in 2017, with the RSD team rigging both bikes with an Öhlins FFHO 101 fork, Dunlop D908 Rally Raid tires, and the full complement of police duty equipment including a custom police wiring harness, a locking AR-15 gun mount, AltRider crash bars with custom PA system, laser/radar gun mounts, a SoundOff Signal Blueprint LED police lighting kit, and level IV rifle plate armor. Now that’s getting the right tool for the job!
The Michigan State Police and LA County Sheriffs vehicle testing are likely the premier motorcycle testing programs in North America. Both test results are published annually for Fleet Manager reference and provide a fair and impartial operational test of all police vehicles and motorcycles available for each model year.
Sergeant Brad Brewer is a 30-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He was an eight-year member of the Ford Police Advisory Board and regularly gives presentations at law enforcement conferences on mobile computing, wireless technology and police vehicle ergonomics. He can be reached at sgt1411@gmail.com.
– Photos courtesy of Brad Brewer