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Johnny Pag Police Motorcycles

Written by John Bellah

The police motorcycle and the police bicycle can go many places where the police sedan or SUV cannot go. The typical, high-performance police motor is normally used for traffic enforcement. On the other hand, the police bike offers a cost-effective method of patrol, especially with $4 gasoline now a reality.

Up until now, there has been no real middle ground between the police bike and police motor. The police bike, while being inexpensive to operate, does not have the performance to effectively work traffic enforcement. The police motor may not be able to maneuver in spaces that the bike can negotiate.

Enter the Johnny Pag Police / Escort Motorcycle. At about half the weight of the traditional police motor, the Johnny Pag fills in the gap between the bicycle and traditional motorcycle, making it ideal for patrolling congested areas, such as narrow streets, parking lots, alleyways, college campuses, mall ways, and similar urban environments where maneuverability and rapid response is required.

The Johnny Pag Company has extensive experience in racing and has been a master custom motorcycle builder in the Southern California area for more than 30 years. These motors are manufactured to Johnny Pag’s rigid specifications in China. Don’t laugh. The running gear of these motors has been utilized by law enforcement agencies in China for the past 15 years. Additionally, the manufacturer of these bikes is an OE supplier to the “Big 4” Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.

Performance, operating costs and especially initial price of these motors warrant a second look. With a 4-stroke, 300 cc engine, the Johnny Pag also has enough performance to make the occasional traffic stop. The Johnny Pag’s liquid-cooled DOHC 2-cylinder engine develops 24 hp at 6,500 rpm and 19 ft-lbs of torque at the same engine speed. The engine, being liquid-cooled and having an electric cooling fan, the Johnny Pag can be idled for extensive periods. Formerly optional, a heel-and-toe shifter is now standard on the police motor. A 5-speed transmission takes advantage of the torque curve.

The Johnny Pag has a top speed of 80 mph and can cruise at 75 mph. It has a fuel consumption rated at 65 mpg, which is markedly more fuel-efficient than the traditional police motor.

The price? The MSRP is $4,295. That is less than the Vespa and Piaggio motor scooters utilized by New York City and New Orleans Police departments. Of course, it is much less than the price of a traditional police motor. Unique to the police motor community, the Johnny Pag comes already upfitted with emergency lighting. These are red and blue halogen lights to the front and an amber strobe mounted on the rear. LED lights are being considered. Additionally, the Johnny Pag comes with a PA-siren system, including twin speakers and a wireless microphone for the PA system, which allows it to be clipped to the rider’s helmet.

Double front disc brakes and a single disc rear brake with stainless steel braided hoses connecting the master cylinders to the calipers handle braking chores. Locking fiberglass saddlebags and a storage compartment on the rear fender contain additional police gear. A nice touch is the citation clip mounted on the rear storage compartment. A rear seat and foot pegs allow for an additional passenger. These motors can handle a rider and gear totaling up to 320 pounds.

These motors are box-shipped in from the manufacturer and then are routed to the dealer for final assembly. J.R. Pag, the owner of Johnny Pag, stresses that it is vitally important for the dealer to pay proper attention during the assembly and dealer prep of these motors to ensure customer satisfaction. The Police / Escort Motorcycle is covered by a 6-month warranty, and any needed parts are shipped out from the 20,000-sqare-foot facility in Irvine, CA the same day.

Ten police departments across the country have purchased Johnny Pag Police / Escort Motorcycles. Most purchasers have been small municipalities. Johnny Pag police motors are basic transportation. They are simple and easy to work on. Like the old days, they have real carburetors that can be adjusted, as can the valves, and ignition timing to compensate for varying fuel grades and altitude. Later this year, the new models will have fuel injection and ABS brakes.

Captain Richard Zapal of the Savannah Chatham, GA Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD) describes the Johnny Pag as “…a good solid bike.” His department bought three bikes in September 2006. The officers liked them so much that they purchased another three bikes shortly afterwards. These bikes, however, were first generation bikes with a single front disc brake and drum rear brake. SCMPD intends to purchase another six Johnny Pags next year. 

Zapal is the commander of the Southside precinct. It is heavily populated, and 50% of his precinct consists of businesses. While the 600-officer SCMPD has a traffic division consisting of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Zapal utilizes the Johnny Pag as a patrol bike, a vehicle that can travel where the police sedan can’t, i.e., crowded malls and walkways, narrow streets and alleys, parks, and parking lots. The department also uses the Johnny Pag for special events or to deal with special problems.

According to Zapal, the Johnny Pag motor has held up well while in service with his department. It was purchased from a dealership out of his city, and a local independent motorcycle shop handles any maintenance issues. Aside from initial adjustments required when the bikes were new, few issues surfaced other than routine maintenance. Zapal said the Johnny Pag is easy to maintain. He also commented that the Johnny Pag holds up a lot better than the Piaggio motor scooters the department purchased, which cost almost twice as much as a Johnny Pag.

Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police extensively use the Johnny Pag during their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, a huge three-day event, drawing 400,000 visitors in addition to the 200,000 residents of the city. Assisted by traffic officers with their Harley-Davidsons, this group of motor officers effectively helps in maintaining order and controlling the throngs of people.

Apart from routine patrol duties, especially in congested areas, the Johnny Pag is also utilized for dealing with special problems, such as residential burglaries. In these situations, the Johnny Pag motorcycle is extremely effective, as it is quieter than the traditional motorcycle. Additionally, since the crooks are used to keeping a sharp look-out for the SCMPD’s white Ford CVPIs, they often overlook the officer riding up on the Johnny Pag. One regret Zapal has, common with police departments across the nation, is that he can’t deploy the motors on a continuous basis because he doesn’t have the manpower.

Zapal is pleased that the Johnny Pag is virtually a “turn-key” bike. As the emergency lighting, siren and PA come standard, the only things necessary to put them into service is to mark them with the department’s logos and register them with the state. No communications gear was installed, as the officer’s handheld radio can handle that function.

The Johnny Pag has won acceptance with the officers and the public as well, due to their cool look. They have the appearance of being a downsized Harley-Davidson. To the few derogatory comments about the police motor being made in China, Zapal’s answer is simple. It starts with, “If the taxpayer wants to ante up more than $20,000 for a different police motor…”

John Bellah is the technical editor of Police Fleet Manager. He is a corporal with a Long Beach, CA area police department and a 30-year police veteran. He can be reached at pfmteched@yahoo.com.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jul/Aug 2008

Rating : 10.0


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