Since the very early days of motoring, the emergency services have relied on motorcycles as one of the quickest and most convenient forms of response on the highways and byways of the world. In the UK the sight of a white BMW, Honda Pan European or Yamaha FJ1300 with a blue flashing light attached is familiar to every motorist, though not necessarily one you want in your rear view mirror! – As well as local and regional civilian Police forces, motorcycles are also used by military police forces, transport police and emergency breakdown services such as the AA and RAC.
Whilst the British motorcycle industry flourished, most UK police forces used Triumph and Norton machines (often the Triumph Saint and Norton Interpol models), though several used BSA motorcycles as well. During the 1950’s and into the 1960’s more than fifty local forces used the legendary Velocette LE (famously known as the ‘Noddy Bike’) making it a very common sight on British roads of the time.
In recent years BMW and Honda motorcycles have become the preferred choice for most UK forces, with both manufacturers offering police specification motorcycles. Honda’s Pan European (originally in ST1100 form, latterly the STX1300) is a high speed sports touring bike that was used extensively until very recently, though BMW police bikes now appear to be favoured by most forces. BMW produce a specific version of the R1200RT for use by emergency services, known as the R1200RT-P. This bike features additional equipment including engine and pannier crash bars, single rather than dual seats, plus uprated electrical systems. Whilst large capacity road machines are most common, you might find other ex police bikes for sale including off-roaders such as Suzuki’s DRZ400 or the Yamaha WR250 and WR400.
Ex Police motorcycles tend to be very sought after on the used bike market. Many ex police bikes will have seen day to day use and have covered extremely high mileages, but will have been extremely well looked after while in service and will have received fastiduous attention when required. A used police BMW or Honda can make a great buy and very often they represent superb value for money for sports touring enthusiasts on a budget.