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Motorcycle cops prefer switch to Hondas

Sunday, March 10, 2013 8:56 PM
Last updated Monday, March 11, 2013 1:13 AM
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After switching years ago, the Richmond County sheriff’s motorcycle division has almost completely moved away from the “traditional” police bike.

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Lt. Randy Prickett with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office motorcycle squad participates in training at the Fairgrounds in Augusta.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Lt. Randy Prickett with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office motorcycle squad participates in training at the Fairgrounds in Augusta.

“When you ask most people about a police bike, they think of the Harley-Davidson,” Cpl. Michael Lewis said.

Harley-Davidson’s long history with law enforcement began in 1908 when the first motorcycle was delivered to the Detroit Police Department. For years, police said, it was seen as the traditional police bike, just as the Crown Victoria was seen as the traditional police car, but with more options available some agencies switched.

The Richmond County Sher­iff’s Office now has two Harleys and eight Hondas. Five more Harleys are considered spares. The agency has ordered two more Hondas for the upcoming fiscal year.

Fleet manager Ron Crowden said the switch started after unresolved issues with a Harley-Davidson dealer, but police are satisfied with the decision after nearly four years on the road.

The Hondas are more expensive. In 2008, the last year the sheriff’s office purchased Harleys, they cost $14,300 each. The Hondas cost $16,671 the next year.

Sgt. Mark Chestang said that although the Harleys are traditional and “look good,” Hondas offer more safety features.

In addition to being about 300 pounds lighter than the Harley, Lewis said, the Honda is more maneuverable and has speeds up to 20 mph faster.

“The Honda will blow the Harley away trying to catch up to a violator,” he said. “It takes the Harley a while to build up speed.”

The position of the Hon­da’s motor, which is water-cooled, also makes a difference on a 100-degree summer day. Lewis said deputies on a Harley are essentially sitting on top of a hot motor.

Other features on the Honda including a retractable windshield, the positioning of the handlebars and a superior braking system make all the difference to a motorcycle officer, Chestang said.

One of the few issues with the Honda, Crowden said, is the rear tire needing frequent replacement. Because the bike is lighter and leans more in a turn, it results in more tire damage.

“I prefer the Honda hands down,” Lewis said during a motorcycle training session last week.

Comments (11) Add comment
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Ginot
162
Points
Ginot 03/10/13 - 08:34 pm
5
5
Sad

That's just a shame.... What next, Honda Accord cruisers?

CobaltGeorge
169906
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/11/13 - 05:27 am
4
4
yep,

we are a nation that will support foreign countries before taken care of our own. Thank the Nobel Piece Prize , The Hammer & Sickle Man.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 03/11/13 - 05:40 am
0
1
Or blame American
Unpublished

Or blame American manufacturers that make inferior products in certain categories.

jimmymac
45233
Points
jimmymac 03/11/13 - 06:02 am
13
2
HONDA'S
Unpublished

They're probably made in Marysville Ohio, not in Japan. Most Honda vehicles have more American made parts in them than the so-called American brands. Honda is the largest auto employer in Ohio, which includes motor cycles.

boomhauer
650
Points
boomhauer 03/11/13 - 07:47 am
0
0
You're right Jimmy, and if
Unpublished

You're right Jimmy, and if it's safer for the motorcycle division I'm all for it.

bdouglas
5567
Points
bdouglas 03/11/13 - 08:57 am
5
0
@jimmymac

Honda stopped making motorcycles in the US in 2009. Unfortunate. But fortunately, it appears that no employees were laid off in the process (or that was the plan anyway). http://www.autoblog.com/2009/07/30/goodbye-goldwing-honda-officially-end...

Young Fred
19319
Points
Young Fred 03/11/13 - 09:23 am
5
0
Hondas over Harleys?

Hondas over Harleys? Sacrilege!!!

bubbasauce
22957
Points
bubbasauce 03/11/13 - 11:34 am
4
1
Tragic I say. You all keep

Tragic I say. You all keep buying all this cheap junk made overseas. America, you will reap what you sew!!!!!

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 03/11/13 - 12:25 pm
4
5
Honda is not junk!!!

The quality, fit and finish of a Honda motorcycle is light years ahead of a Harley Davidson product. The is simply no comparison. I have owned both brands and the bikes made in Wisconsin are what serious enthusiasts refer to as, "poser jewerly". Underpowered, underbraked and lacking in any serious product innovation not related to aesthetics. I don't question private parties that choose to spend their money on Harleys, but don't we want our law enforcement on the safest and most cost effective equipment possible?

mooseye
266
Points
mooseye 03/11/13 - 01:17 pm
4
1
I believe in supporting our industry

but where is that line drawn?
If you closed all foreign owned(or perceived to be) companies in the United States, how many "Americans" would be out of a job?
As for the H vs HD, there is no real comparison. You can put 500,000 miles on some Hondas. I have never heard anyone claim that on an HD.
I happen to own both, so I am not just guessing about the quality.

ken8375309
1755
Points
ken8375309 03/11/13 - 05:38 pm
0
0
Harley's have ridiculously

Harley's have ridiculously outdated technology like single pin crankshafts, pushrods, and long strokes, but they are not without character, and are a blast to ride. The Honda ST1300's are just much better bikes overall for the purpose served. Nothing new using Japanese bikes for law enforcement.. They have been using Kawasaki KZ's for years.. Remember "Chips"?
Honda is an innovative company that has an enormous favorable economic impact on the US economy. They even have a new small jet manufacturing facility in North Carolina..

ken8375309
1755
Points
ken8375309 03/11/13 - 06:35 pm
2
0
Nothing new here. They have

Nothing new here. They have used Japanese bikes in law enforcement for years... Remember CHIPS and the Kawasaki's they rode? Georgia Highway Patrol has and still uses BMW oilheads..

Harley's are great bikes that certainly have a loyal following, but the long stroke twin, single pin, pushrod design engines are engineering dinosaurs.. They are fun to ride, but they are not the most practical bikes anymore for this application...

gaflyboy
5151
Points
gaflyboy 03/11/13 - 06:40 pm
2
0
"The Honda's are more expensive"?

When you're comparing 2014 prices with 6 years prior? Come on man!

Darby
28257
Points
Darby 03/11/13 - 09:25 pm
3
0
Shame on our government for....

using our taxes to enrich a foreign government. Private persons should have the freedom to decide where their take-home pay goes. Government should buy locally if a product is available. Even if it does cost more.

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