Radar effectiveness against a motorcycle.

Gabby

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I know 18 wheelers are much easier for the cops to nail because of their enormous surface area to reflect back the signal.
On the other end of the spectrum would be a motorcycle....not alot of flat surface area to reflect a signal.
So, I'm wondering if anyone knows how close do the cops need to be to get an accurate fix on me on my highway cruiser?
If there are any cops that might want to share their experience with motorcycles, I'm curious.
I really don't speed very much on my bike....not much between me and the pavement, and I usually enjoy a slower more leisurely ride , but occasionally I do like to open it up briefly for the adrenaline rush.
Thanks for sharing.
 

protias

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Doesn't matter if you are on running on your own two feet or driving an 18 wheeler, radar has no problem getting reflected back.
 

dudeinnz

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If there are any cops that might want to share their experience with motorcycles, I'm curious.
Not a cop, but a few years ago during radar detector testing I tried to get a reading of some motor-cyclists, and it was definitely not as "long-range" as that for cars. I would guestimate about a 20% reduction. What was even more difficult was getting a laser reading of a biker, but I am sure a cop "trained appropriately" (and using newer/better tech) would do better.
 

thebravo

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I'm sure it depends on many factors but this little image is probably a ballpark estimate


rdrng(2).png
 

MASI

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@thebravo graphic is a very good guide. Bravo!

Generally speaking, the bigger the reflective surface (the amount of metal perpendicular to the signal path) the more signal will be reflected. The more signal reflected back to the gun, the greater the range. Trucks generally have a larger reflective area, and reflect more signal, so they can be clocked a greater range. Conversely, motorcycles generally have a far smaller reflective surface, so they generally reflect less signal, so they can be clocked at a lower range. The key factor is the amount of reflective surface area, perpendicular to the signal path.

Metals reflect radar very well. Carbon fiber, glass, and other primarily non-metallic materials less so. But they still reflect, just at a lower rate compared to steel and aluminum.
 
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LouG

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Also bear in mind that radar reflectivity is not the same as frontal area. Some low slippery shaped sports cars with retractable lights may have a smaller reflectivity than a large cruiser.
 

GreyGhost37

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Back in the ‘80s (the days of 55mph national speed limit!) the Texas DPS Mustangs had no trouble radaring me on my Suzuki GS850GZ from all angles on both 4 and 2 lane roads. Daylight and dark. Five tix total in a 5 year span. Defensive driving class led to several dismissals....Final analysis? Cop radar can be very effective at measuring a motorcycle’s speed. ✌️
 

Biohazardous

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My 89 in a 65 tells me that radar has no issues acuiring speed of motorcycles.

Having been clocked and stopped on the bike, my experience tells me that if they target you, distance isn't a factor.
 

wjbertrand

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Back when I used to contribute and help out with road tests for MCN (Motorcycle Consumer News -RIP) we used radar to do all of our 0-60 and 1/4 mile timing. We set the gun up pointing at the rear of the bike and then measure time and distance as it accelerated away. Most of the time this was not an issue but every once in a while we would have some difficulty. One bike we had that I was present for (A Triumph Thunderbird) kept dropping off the radar so quickly as it pulled away that we could not get the data, even for 0-60, which comes up at a shorter range than the 1/4 mile. Turns out we had to fit a metal trash can sized reflector to the back of our test rider in order to "see" the bike long enough to collect the test data!
 

rwsmith123

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I’m pretty surprised I’ve never gotten a ticket on my bike.
 

RoverTtx

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Just to add my experience,
Radar guns differ a lot based on brand, model, age, etc. For example, my 33.8 ka gun is notoriously crappy. I can't read speeds of cars that aren't perfectly lined up to the antenna, close and moving at a decent speed. However, better radar guns like Stalkers are much improved at getting signal and thus a reading. Having seen how terrible some radar is, I bet I could see a cop running a bad unit and slow down before their gun even read my speed. All of these issues with radar get magnified when we're talking about motorcycles.

That graphic is an awesome tool - and for many radar guns the scale is much smaller. There's no way my crappy little MPH Python KA gun would read from 1 mile away... and there are constables near me actively using this old and worse equipment.
 

wjbertrand

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They can measure the speed of a baseball using radar.
Agreed, not sure how they do that, special radar unit? Of course they are operating at a much closer range than most vehicle speed measuring enforcement radar.
 

Heywood

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Agreed, not sure how they do that, special radar unit? Of course they are operating at a much closer range than most vehicle speed measuring enforcement radar.
Not really. Lots of us use Bushnell Velocity K band guns for testing. Same kind of guns you’ll see at a ball park.

Way cheaper than a normal radar gun... but it does the trick.

It may not give you the speed reading as far back as a Leo grade gun... but the detectors can find it a ways back.
 

JustinP

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I've noticed on a few occasions when I come across a cop running I/O they leave the gun transmitting significantly longer when targeting me vs the cars ahead, especially at longer range.
 

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