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Old 07-24-2014, 11:04 AM   #1
HanShotFirst OP
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Police bikes quesion

So in the late '70's on up through around 2000 the Kawasaki Kz 1000 all but owned the police bike market.

Then Harley made a HUGE comeback, and now BMW with the R1200GS.

Kawasaki makes a police version of the Concours. Yamaha makes a police version of the FJ1300.

I find it hard to believe that BMW could under-cut Kawi and Yamaha in a price war. And while BMW has this great reputation for quality, the reality is, they do break down more than the Japanese bikes (and that's backed up by the consumer reports 3 year study). Traditionally the Achilles heel of the Japanese bikes is the price of parts. I've never owned a Bimmer so I don't know how they are on parts price, but I would assume they would be more expensive.

Now if I were a full time cop, I'd be happy with the BMW, Connie or FJ. I'd probably lean toward the BMW, but I'd be happy with any of them.

So what I don't understand is why I never see a Concours or FJ Police bike in the US?

Anyone have any ideas? Is it a cost thing?
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:21 AM   #2
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Glock took over the Police market by discounting items and packaging in so many accessories the department purchasing agents could't say no. Is BMW proving the riding gear as well? I'm sure the margins on that stuff is insane and could almost be given away with the bikes.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:26 AM   #3
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Not sure about the Connie or FJR, but a local PD is switching over from the ST1300 to the BMW and it was for 2 reasons according to the cop I spoke with.

#1 - Officer request, more nimble feeling, comfortable, faster, etc.

#2 - With the Honda they get the bikes, and then have to have all the "cop stuff" installed after the fact, radar, holsters, etc. BMW delivers the bike ready to ride per the departments specs.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:33 AM   #4
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If I were a cop I'd get the NC700X and stash doughnuts in the top compartment.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:35 AM   #5
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I think there are 3 primary reasons: 1) The "American" perspective/perception in going w/HD; 2) They also have an old, proven, easy-to-use PD set-up and the history that goes along w/it; and then, perhaps more than anything, 3) the low c.o.g. on an HD, along w/the low-end power and excellent fueling, is very conducive to the slow speed, precision, escort/procession/parade/funeral/traffic, etc. details that motor cops spend most/a lot of their time doing.

cls screwed with this post 07-24-2014 at 05:32 PM
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Sneaky Steve View Post
If I were a cop I'd get the NC700X and stash doughnuts in the top compartment.
I'm not an NC rider, but I'd suspect the engine heat would even keep them nice and warm, stored in the frunk.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cls View Post
I think there are 3 primary reasons: 1) The "American" perspective/perception in going w/HD; 2) They also have an old, proven, easy-to-use PD set-up and the history that goes along w/it; and then, perhaps more than anything, 3)the low c.o.g. on an HD, along w/the low-end power and excellent fueling, is very conducive to the slow speed, precision, escort/procession/parade/funeral/traffic, etc. details that motor cops spend most/a lot of their time doing.
This.

Was at a police bike "rodeo" competition a few months ago, guys from all over the east coast. HD made up 90% of the bikes. The 4 BMW riders, although great riders, couldn't hold a candle to the HDs in the very slow manuevering skills events.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by blk-betty View Post
This.

Was at a police bike "rodeo" competition a few months ago, guys from all over the east coast. HD made up 90% of the bikes. The 4 BMW riders, although great riders, couldn't hold a candle to the HDs in the very slow manuevering skills events.
In slow maneuvering (which is a highly over-rated "need" IMO) the low center of gravity makes the Harley's easy to flick from one side to the other. But then they have lousy ground clearance once you get them over...not a big deal at low speeds unless you really dip it too far.

But the reality is, even cops spend less than 5% of their time doing the low speed stuff. I think low speed handling has become a benchmark because it's an easy thing to setup on a small course.

But cops aren't killed in low speed stuff, they're killed at speed. Low speed is just dropping bikes, breaking little things, and embarrassing themselves.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MikePDX View Post
Not sure about the Connie or FJR, but a local PD is switching over from the ST1300 to the BMW and it was for 2 reasons according to the cop I spoke with.

#1 - Officer request, more nimble feeling, comfortable, faster, etc.

#2 - With the Honda they get the bikes, and then have to have all the "cop stuff" installed after the fact, radar, holsters, etc. BMW delivers the bike ready to ride per the departments specs.
I can understand #1, that makes sense. From the factory Japanese bikes ALWAYS have uncomfortable seats, when will they EVER get that??? And Bimmers are very comfortable in comparison.


As for #2, that tells me that Honda just didn't want the business all that bad. If they did, that bike would be turn key like the Harley and Bimmer. And if the parts situation were the same, I'd expect the Honda (or any of the Japanese bikes) to be more reliable and need less in the way of repairs.

I wonder why the Japanese aren't more aggressive in going after that market. They certainly are in Europe and Asia. I wonder if there's something about the US market that makes it less lucrative for them...the mystery continues.

I have to say if I were a cop who was riding every day, and I don't have to pay the bills and do the repairs, I'd take the BMW in a New York minute.

If I had to pay the repair bills, I'd be buying Yamaha and just replace the seat.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by cls View Post
I'm not an NC rider, but I'd suspect the engine heat would even keep them nice and warm, stored in the frunk.
Add an internal cup holder and I'm sold! A built in coffee/donut warmer, nice feature to have while the're using the radar gun.
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:30 PM   #11
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Many agencies stick with the HDs simply because they are so (I don't want to say fool-proof)....forgiving. You can drop a police model Road King or Electraglide 1000 times and never damage it or reduce its resale value. If you're CHP and your riders are all top guns, then buy BMWs. But many agencies have riders who don't train or ride only once or twice per year. The HD doesn't accelerate or brake dynamically, which is exactly what these guys need. Loose and sloppy. I evaluated the Honda ST police bike. It was glorious. The guy after me dropped it a couple of times. It was so badly damaged that Honda donated it to be destroyed on a motorcycle MVA technical reconstruction course.
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:42 PM   #12
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BMW includes 100% maintenance with the price of the bike.. Till it hits an age number (I forget exactly the time) so basically the RT's are almost free for the cops to run till they hit their lease end.. That s why you find 3 year old ones with like 12K on them cheap..
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:19 PM   #13
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I ride an 06 Electra-Glide daily for work. I have ridden a local jurisdictions motor (BMW 1200RTP) and I while it is a different riding experience I liked it. I actually prefer the BMW for the type of riding I do but my agency keeps the HD's in the lineup. I've heard all types of reasons from "the state agency wants to use American made motorcycles", to "did you see that BMW in the shop split like a tractor for a clutch replacement?".


We had a couple of BMW's back in the day but I guess it didn't work out.

Our state requires all motor vehicles to be owned and most of the agencies around here lease for a few years and get new ones. That might have something to do with it as well.



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Old 07-24-2014, 04:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by HanShotFirst View Post
I find it hard to believe that BMW could under-cut Kawi and Yamaha in a price war.
The manufactures don't look at cop bike sales from the short term profit view but more to the long term product exposure benefits. Cheap advertising.
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:39 PM   #15
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BMW's were not included maintenance when we tried a few of them for a few years. They ate us up in maintenance and parts. That's been a while back, so maybe the include maint. is something new? I haven't kept up.

The slow-speed stuff is a big part of the job. It is also where a lot of special skill is involved in heavy traffic, tight quarters, on parades/display/show, etc. It's a part of the job and the image. If you can't do it, it's going to cause all kinds of trouble. Most folks can plain ol' ride w/o much trouble.

My thoughts. A couple of them, anyway...
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