Michigan Tests Police Bikes

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Testing done by the Michigan State Police (MSP) shows a remarkable difference in performance between motor units supplied by Harley-Davidson and units supplied by BMW Motorrad.

The MSP used motorcycles up until late 1941 before switching to automobiles. The agency rekindled interest in motorcycles for day-to-day patrol operations in 1993 — using Harley-Davidsons — until, in 2004, lawmakers asked the agency to provide the background information that influenced purchasing decisions regarding its motor fleet. It was at that time the agency was given the directive to expand vehicle testing to include motorcycles.

The MSP carried out its first-ever police motorcycle performance evaluation in 2007. The agency recently released its evaluation for 2008. The report is not an endorsement of products, but a means of learning which bike may allow an officer to do their job more effectively and safely.

The trials include a motorcycle dynamics test, an acceleration test, top speed test and brake test. Models tested included the Harley-Davidson FLHP, Harley-Davidson FLHTP and BMW 1200 RT-P.

To read the MSP's conclusions, see www.michigan.gov.

H-D FLHPH-D FLHTP BMW 1200 RT-P
Displacement1690cc1690cc 1170cc
Torque102 ft. lbs.102 ft. lbs.85 ft. lbs.
Brake SystemDiscDiscIABS
Alternator3 Phase, 50 amp3 Phase, 50 amp750 watts
Lean Angle – Left30 Degrees30 Degrees46 Degrees
Lean Angle – Right32 Degrees32 Degrees46 Degrees
Ground Clearance5.1 inch5.1 inch 5.6 inch
Wheelbase63.5 inch63.5 inch 58.4 inch
Fuel Capacity6 gal6 gal7.1 gal
Length93.7 inches93.7 inches 87.8 inches
Weight798 lbs.799 lbs.695 lbs.
Height61 inches61 inches 56.3 inches
Seat Height30 inches30 inches 32.2 inches
EPA Mileage – Hwy45 mpg45 mpg 65 mpg@55
EPA Mileage – City32.5 mpg32.5 mpg N/A
Top Speed109.1 mph106.2 mph130.9 mph
0-60 mph5.59 sec.5.64 sec.4.10 sec.
0-100 mph25.44 sec.26.05 sec.10,01 sec.
Braking From 60 mph171.4 ft.173.3 ft.139 ft.