Richmond County tests Honda motorcycles

Honda or Harley-Davidson?

Richmond County sheriff's deputies are testing two Honda ST 1300 motorcycles to see whether they are cheaper to operate and repair than the current fleet of road bikes, which are Harley-Davidsons.

Their 10 Harley-Davidsons are air-cooled. At slow speeds or while idling they can overheat and cause maintenance problems. The water-cooled Hondas might be cheaper in the long run, Lt. Scott Gay said.

"When we are at a funeral or a parade where they are driving at slow speeds there's not a lot of air circulating to cool the motorcycles off," he said. "With the water-cooled there's a constant flow of water that cools it off."

Lt. Gay said the sheriff's office will evaluate the performance of the new motorcycles at three-month and six-month intervals. If they work out, he said, the bikes could eventually replace the Harleys.

"Traditionally, everyone has always bought the Harley-Davidsons," he said. "It's an economic decision."