MoneyINC Logo
Years of

What Kind of Motorcycles Do Cops Most Drive in the U.S.?

As a young motorcyclist, you may have wondered what types of motorcycles cops drive in the United States. While every officer has a different preference, most police departments across the country employ many of the same types of models. The most commonly used motorcycle by American police officers is the Harley Davidson. Harley Davidson motorcycles have been a favorite bike of many officers for many years. Since local police departments first started using them in 1941, they have been considered one of the best for patrolling and chasing down criminals. They've developed their relationships with police and rescue teams, to the point where it's a significant part of their business as a company.

Why Cops Use Harley Davidson

The reason that so many cops use Harleys is that they are a good compromise between speed, weight and maneuverability. While they are quite maneuverable, their short wheelbase makes them fast in city traffic. The bikes also have a high power to weight ratio, which can be useful when you're trying to chase down an escaping criminal. Additionally, these bikes are durable and relatively inexpensive to maintain, and have very affordable servicing costs over time.

The Harley Davidson Super Glide was the model that started it all back in 1941. The police department in Fort Worth, Texas chose the bike to replace their Indian motorcycles and over time, other departments began to follow suit with this decision. The Motor Company's partnership with police departments and the military is largely based on the success of the Harley Davidson WLA. This model was used during World War II, as well as in the post-war years by small town police departments across the United States. By 1945, Harley Davidson had sold over 70,000 of these bikes to various branches of the US Military and local police forces.

The History of Harley Davidsons And Police

The bikes that the police departments started using in the 1940s include the Super Glide, WLA, Bobber and Trike models. The WLA model was the top-of-the line in the 1940s, and was produced from 1942 to 1950. It had a small tank, a simple, stylish saddle, as well as cushion grips, which were a first for Harley Davidson. Even though this model was very popular during World War II, it was retired from production after the war. The Bobber model came out in 1948 and was very similar to the WLA. It came with a small tank, simple saddle, and cushion grips. The police departments that received these bikes loved them because they were very affordable and dependable. Once the WLA was retired from production, the Bobber model was discontinued. Finally, the Trike model has been in Harley Davidson's line-up since 1983. It is similar to the WLA model in design but with a longer wheelbase for better handling.

In 1967, Harley Davidson introduced their Police Sportster. This model was based on the Bobber, but with a lighter swing arm and a more streamlined design. The 1968 Harley Davidson Police Sportster was one of the first models to include levers on the left side of the handlebars which served as controls for lights, horns and other safety items. The Twin Cam engine ran smoother and had more horsepower than their other models. However, they were able to maintain a low cost because there were no additional parts that needed maintenance. The Police Sportster was produced until the 1980s, and has been continuously in production since 2007.

The Harley-Davidson Police WLA was the standard police motorcycle for over 30 years, and has been used by more than 300 police departments around the world. It is also one of the most recognizable police motorcycles. This is because it has a small fuel tank, a single saddle seat, simple handlebars, and cushion grips. In the early 1970s, Harley-Davidson introduced the Police Interceptor which has a more aggressive look than the WLA. The fuel tank was moved to the rear of the motorcycle and other changes were made to improve performance. In 1977, Harley-Davidson released their first Cruiser. This model had an all alloy frame similar to their other models, but had a large fuel tank, and improved suspension. Harley Davidson was also able to maintain its low cost because there were no additional parts that needed maintenance.

A New Type Of Police Motorcycle: Yamaha FJR1300P

Yamaha's first foray into police motorcycles was the FJR1300P. While it may be small, it has all the necessary functions to be adapted for law enforcement use. It has an alarm, an immobilizer and a theft deterrent system built into the bike itself. This model is also known as 1300 Police or Yamaha FJR1300P (Police). It began gaining traction in 2018, and has stemmed to other models including the Yamaha XJ900P, the Yamaha XJ600P, and the Yamaha XV250P.

Police Motorcycles And The US Military

Police motorcycles have also been used in military application for many years. The Yamaha FJR1300P/XC1300P, as mentioned above, has been in military use since 2003. This model has had a rough road since it was first introduced though, with reports of quality issues. However, the 2013 model looks to be a great starting point for improving this motorcycle's reliability and performance. The "Marauder" Military Police Motorcycle has been in use since 1975. This model has provided U.S. military and law enforcement officers with the road-holding, maneuverability and fuel economy needed on the battlefield. This model was built by Kreighoff of Germany and continues to be a reliable four-wheeled police motorcycle for US military police today. The Marauder motorcycle is also used for transporting VIP's, senior officers, dignitaries, rescue workers and other VIPs in matters of civilian emergencies.

Final Thoughts

Motorcycles are an incredibly effective way for police to apprehend criminals and keep their communities safe. Even though police are often the face of law enforcement, they can only do their jobs if they have the tools and equipment to do so effectively. That's why you should think about buying a police motorcycle from one of these best names in motorcycle technology. It will give you the power, maneuverability and the speed you need to deal with dangerous criminals on a daily basis. You'll be able to maintain your composure in the face of daily challenges, as well as provide a sense of security when you have to make an arrest.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

Related Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with our most recent guides and articles on , freshly curated by our diligent editorial team for your immediate perusal.
As featured on:

Wealth Insight!
Subscribe to our Exclusive Newsletter

Dive into the world of wealth and extravagance with Money Inc! Discover stock tips, businesses, luxury items, and travel experiences curated for the affluent observer.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram