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New Harleys Tested by MSP

In addition to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the two new Twin Cam 103 Harley motors were also tested by the Michigan State Police. The MSP conducted some tests before their annual patrol vehicle testing, some during and some after. The testing involved four motor officers. Two of the motor officers were police motorcycle instructors from the MSP Academy. The other two were MSP troopers assigned to motor patrol in Detroit.

The acceleration and top speed testing for the motors took place during the patrol vehicle testing at DaimlerChrysler's Chelsea Proving Grounds. Four zero-to-100 mph runs were conducted. At the end of the fourth acceleration test, the motor officer continued around the 4.7-mile, heavily-banked oval. The top speed reached anywhere on the oval was recorded.

The Road King reached 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and 100 mph in 20.4 seconds. The Electra Glide hit 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, but got to 100 mph in 17.6 seconds. The Electra Glide topped out at 104 mph, while the Road King reached 107 mph.

The MSP conducted two very different braking tests with the Harleys. The first was a straight forward series of stops from 60 mph after a couple of 90 mph stops to warm up the brakes. This is the same brake test as the patrol vehicles, except the motor brakes cool so quickly, they are not given a 4-minute heat soak like the cars. The ABS-equipped Electra Glide averaged 157-foot stops from 60 mph, while the Road King halted in 159 feet.

The second MSP brake test was an evaluation of how well the ABS system on the motor was able to handle changes in road surface during braking. The divided friction (split-Mu) braking started off on dry asphalt, which had a 0.70 coefficient of friction. After 30 feet, the road surface changed to a wet, seal-coated, skid-pad surface, which had an ice-like 0.08 coefficient of friction. In the acid test for ABS systems and overall motor stability, the Electra Glide came to a stop in 148 feet from 40 mph, and the Road King halted in 152 feet.

The handling and dynamics portion of the motors testing was done at the MSP Academy grounds in Lansing, MI. In addtion to a massive skid pad for EVOC training, the MSP has a 0.9-mile, 13-turn road course. The MSP road course has some very slow and tight sections and some very fast and open sections. Each of the curves has a different degree of radius, and each is banked differently. Each of the 4 motor officers ran a warm-up lap, six hot laps and a cool-down lap in both motors.

On the road course, the Road King was consistently faster than the Electra Glide for each motor officer. The Road King had an average lap time of 76.4 seconds, while the Electra Glide was a few ticks behind at 77.5 seconds. The speeds averaged about 45 mph.

Lieutenant David "Doc" Halliday, assigned to the Academy's Precision Driving Unit and patrol vehicle test coordinator, was very clear on the MSP motor test protocol...the test are still being developed to properly evaluate the motors. This first year serves as a baseline test. Many aspects of the motor test protocol could be added, deleted or changed.

Even the equipment on the motors during the actual test could be changed. The police sedans are tested without lightbars and without spotlights. How should motors be tested? Fairings affect both acceleration and top speed, and to a certain extent, dynamic handling. Emergency lights are also aero drags, and may affect engine cooling. Sirens and speakers add drag, increase braking, and their extra weight also changes the center of gravity and how the motor handles. The same goes for saddlebags and ballast in saddlebags.

Over the years, the MSP patrol vehicle test protocol has changed to match reality. Specifically, their brake testing has become much harsher. In the same way, the MSP motor test protocol, and allowable or required upfitting, is a work-in-progress.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Nov/Dec 2006

Rating : 6.0

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