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Whatever type of vehicle you’re driving, radar detectors are a useful piece of kit. They let you know if any speed detection equipment is nearby, so you can adjust your driving accordingly, and keep an eye on your velocity. We know it can be easy to let your speed get away from you – especially when driving a bike – so using a motorcycle radar detector is a great way to help you stay safe on the road, while avoiding speed tickets.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to selecting a radar scanner for your motorcycle. That’s where we come in: to help you make an informed decision, we’ve tracked down the top five detectors on the market right now. We’ve also taken the time to address some common questions and concerns about these devices, so you can rest assured you’re getting the most out of your new tool.
The Best Motorcycle Radar Detector
Kicking off our list is the Escort Passport. Escort are a well known name in the world of police detector products, and for good reason. With its easy to read LED display, the Passport will warn you whenever a speed gun is nearby, helping you to drive safely and avoid tickets. Their detector picks up on all radar bands, including X, K, Superwide Ka, and instanton POP.
The Passport is loaded with thousands of known speed gun locations, throughout the USA. This impressive database is always being updated, and you can even add your own “hot spots” as you come across new surveillance areas. Featuring real-time ticket protection technology, the device allows you receive warnings of police locations, reported by other Escort users on the road. The Passport is guaranteed to produce fewer false alarms than similar devices, putting an end to unnecessary distractions on your journey. For great accuracy, the detector offers 360 degrees of protection, with multiple front and rear laser detectors. Users agree that the detector tracks down speed cameras and areas of police surveillance with incredible accuracy, keeping you totally ticket free.
Speed camera and laser detector with LED display
Accurately warns you when speed detection is nearby
Detects X, K, Superwide Ka, and instanton POP radar bands
Pre-loaded with thousands of known speed gun locations
Users can program in their own “hot spots”
Fewer false alarms that other devices
360 degree radar detection
- Weight1.34 pounds
Radenso have also earned themselves a spot on our list, with their own radar and laser detector. Featuring excellent sensitivity, it lets you know when a fixed speed camera or police surveillance area is nearby, allowing you to adjust your speed. In fact, it’s sensitive enough to pick up on these threats from several miles away. It’s easy to read, too, thanks to an LED display with adjustable brightness settings.
Thanks to advanced traffic monitor filtering, false alarms are rare, saving you time, stress, and distraction. If any false alarms do occur, the Radenso remembers, so you won’t experience the same one twice – simply press and hold a button on the device to trigger a GPS lockout. The detector is packed with useful features, too. It can be automatically muted below a pre-selected speed, preventing unnecessary distractions. By plugging the device into a computer, you can also receive free updates from the Radenso database.
Radar and laser detector
Alerts drivers to police surveillance and fixed speed cameras
Sensitive enough to detect radars several miles away
Easy to read LED display with adjustable brightness
Minimal false alarms
False alarms can be recorded, to avoid repeat issues
Features automatic muting below a pre-set speed
Free updates for life, via the Radenso database
Quieter than other options on the market
- Weight1.2 pounds
Escort have earned themselves a second spot on our list, thanks to their RedLine radar detector. It’s one of the most sensitive options on the market, offering long range detection for every type of radar and laser signal currently used. With its ultra-bright LED display, it’s easy to see exactly when a speed camera or gun is nearby. Thanks to its dual antennae design, the detector can receive signals from all angles, giving you the 360 protection you need.
The device puts out a different alert depending on what type of signal is used. Full X, K, and SuperWide Ka each have their own specific alert type. This handy feature lets you know exactly what you’re dealing with when you hit the road. The device also features ‘Automode’; handy in-built technology that helps to avoid false alarms. For your privacy and peace of mind, the RedLine is also entirely invisible to radar detector detectors. Drivers across the board were impressed by the detector’s long range and ease of use. Each detector includes a one year guarantee, so you know can feel confident that Escort have faith in their product.
Radar and laser detector
Ultra-bright LED display for ease of use
Dual antenna design for 360 degrees protection
Different alerts for different types of signal
‘Automode’ minimises false alarms
Completely invisible to radar detector detectors
Includes a one year guarantee
- Weight1.63 pounds
The next radar detector to earn a spot on our list is by Adaptiv Technologies. Its compact and durable build is specially designed for motorcycles. It’s totally resistant to shocks, water, and vibrations. This latest version of the detector features improved sensitivity, and three new user modes. It’s capable of detecting all currently used laser and radar bands, providing both audio and visual alerts when speed guns and cameras are in range.
Thanks to its oversized, backlit control buttons, the device is incredibly easy to use – even while wearing motorcycle gloves. Users say that the detector is sturdy and reliable, and were impressed with how compatible it is with life on two wheels. It’s simple to install, features an easy to read display, and stands up to the wear and tear of everyday riding. All this has earned the device a spot on our list of the best motorcycle radar detectors.
Laser and radar detector, designed specifically for use with motorcycles
Compact and durable design
Waterproof, and resistant to shocks and vibration
Capable of detecting all radar and laser signals currently used
Oversized, backlit controls for easy use while riding
Easy to read display
Simple to install
- BrandADAPTIV Technologies
- Weight1.28 pounds
Last, but not least, is this Cobra radar detector. Unlike the other options on the list, it works in conjunction with a smartphone app, which displays nearby speed cameras, radars, and lasers on a handy map. The useful app interface also allows users to dismiss false alarms, stopping them from recurring on future journeys.
This conveniently compact device is capable of detecting signals from the full 14 bands of speed detection technology, including K-Band, X-band, Ka-Band, and POP radar, as well as all six laser types. When a speed gun or camera is nearby, the detector announces its presence with both audio and visual alerts. As well as speed traps, the radar detector’s smartphone interface also displays your current speed and direction of travel. Because it’s connected to your smartphone, the detector is automatically updated with verified camera locations on a regular basis, too. All this adds up to a versatile, thorough, and convenient radar detector.
Motorcycle radar connector with smartphone connectivity
Smartphone app displays speed camera, radar, and laser locations
Allows users to dismiss false alarms for future reference
Conveniently compact for motorcycle use
Detects signals from all 14 bands of speed detection technology
Produces audio and visual alerts when speed guns or cameras are nearby
Automatically updates on a regular basis
- ModeliRAD 200
- Weight4.8 ounces
Motorcycle Radar Detector Buying Guide
These five radar detectors are the best of the bunch, and we’re confident that motorcyclists across the board will find something to suit their needs. To help you work out which option is right for you, and how to get the most out of your new device, we’ve put together this handy buying guide.
Features to Look for in a Motorcycle Radar Detector
When it’s time to select a radar detector for your own motorcycle, there are a few key features to watch out for:
A good radar detector can pick up on speed traps from a good distance. Look out for a device that can detect speed cameras, lasers, and radars from at least one mile away. This will give you plenty of time to adjust your speed if need be.
Look out for a radar detector with a large database. This will ensure you don’t miss any speed traps during your journeys. Many good quality radar detectors also allow you to update the on-board database regularly, or tap into network of information provided by other users, so keep your eyes open for these handy features two. Number one on our list is a good example of this.
- Detection Ability
Law enforcement officers use a wide range of detection equipment to dispense speeding tickets. For this reason, it’s a good idea to watch out for a radar detector that can pick up on all of the signals they use. Check that your radar detector can track down X, K, Superwide Ka, and instanton POP radar, as well as the six bands of laser.
- False Alarms
Unfortunately for road users, speed traps aren’t the only type of equipment to emit radar signals. This means that even the best radar detectors are subject to false alarms from devices such as automatic doors. Because these false alarms can be distracting and irritating, it’s important to look out for a radar detector that allows you to dismiss them for future reference.
- Ease of use
Like any piece of equipment, it’s important that your new radar detector is convenient to use. What this means exactly will depend largely on your personal preferences - for instance, if you usually mount your smartphone somewhere visible while driving, you may find an app-enabled detector, such as number five on our list, the easiest option to use. Otherwise, watch out for a bright but adjustable screen, and a detector that emits both audio and visual alerts.
Types of Detectors
Every radar detector works through the same essential mechanism. However, there are some key variations to be aware of:
- Corded Radar Detectors
This type of detector, as the name suggests, is powered by a cord. They’re usually mounted to the dashboard or windshield through a series of suction cups. They tend to offer the best level of protection, thanks to their superior range of detection.
- Cordless Radar Detectors
On the other hand, cordless radar detectors tend to be powered by batteries. Without any cords to get in the way, they can be sleeker, and easy to move from vehicle to vehicle. However, as their batteries run low, you may not receive the same level of protection against speed traps.
- Remote-Mount Radar Detectors
Contrary to what their name implies, this type of detector is permanently attached to your vehicle. They tend to be smaller and more discreet than other models, protecting them against potential thieves. Because they’re permanently wired in, these devices also sidestep the potential to fall out of position.
Different Kinds of Radar Guns
Although there is only one ‘kind’ of radar gun, they do come in a variety of different models.
Exactly how many models exist is hard to say, since police officers are unlikely to be forthcoming with this information. What we do know is that most radar guns utilise a specific range of frequencies to measure a vehicle’s speed:
- X Band - frequencies ranging from 10.5 to 10.55 Gigahertz (GHz)
- Ku Band - frequencies ranging from 12 to 18 GHz
- K Band - frequencies ranging from 24.05 to 24.24 GHz
- Ka Band - frequencies ranging from 34.2 to 35.2 GHz
In this US, law enforcement officers are most likely to use radar in the K, X, and Ka bands.
Best Motorcycle Radar Detector FAQ:
Q: What is a motorcycle radar detector and how does it work?
A: Radar detectors warn drivers when a speed trap is up ahead, allowing them to adjust their speed and avoid a speeding ticket.
To understand how radar detectors function, it’s important to note the basic principle of their adversary: radars.
Radar speed detectors work by harnessing the doppler effect. They emit a radio wave in the direction of the vehicle they hope to monitor. When the wave reaches the vehicle, some of its energy is reflected back to the radar device.
If the vehicle is moving, different parts of the wave are reflected back at different points in space. This phenomenon effectively ‘stretches’ the wave, if the vehicle is moving away, lowering its frequency. If the vehicle is moving towards the detector, the wave is equally ‘compressed’, resulting in a higher frequency.
This new, lowered frequency travels back to the radar device, which measures how much the frequency has changed, and uses this information to calculate the vehicle’s speed.
Radar detectors work by picking up on the electromagnetic waves emitted by speed traps.
Q: What is the range of these detectors?
A: This depends on the individual device in question. Many can detect radar devices several miles away, while others can only pick up on signals from a mile away. You can check the manufacturer’s specifications for this information.
Q: Is my windshield bad for detector range?
A: No. The electromagnetic waves that radar detectors pick up can travel through glass, so there’s no need to worry.
However, the range of detection may be adversely affected by windshield tints - especially metallic ones.
Q: Are motorcycle radar detectors legal?
A: Generally, yes. Equipping your private vehicle with a radar detector is completely legal in every state except for:
- Washington DC
Radar detectors are also legal to possess and use in European countries such as the UK, Italy, Norway, and Russia.
In Canada, radar detectors are legal in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.
Our Top Pick
In our opinion, the best radar detector on the market right now is the Escort Passport. Capable of detecting fixed cameras, radars, and lasers several miles away, this device is the perfect solution for motorcyclists hoping to avoid those dreaded speeding tickets. Multiple sensors throughout the device offer 360 degrees of protection, keeping you well informed wherever you roam.
Thanks to its national coverage, the detector can track down thousands of areas where speed surveillance is in place. It can also tap into a network of other Passport users, whose devices contribute information to a constantly refreshed database. All the information you need is simple to access, thanks to a bright, easy to read LED display. If you’re approaching a speed trap, you’ll receive a handy audio-visual alert - attention grabbing without being too distracting.
- How Radar Detectors Work - HowStuffWorks
- 7 Myths About Motorcycle Safety That Need To Go Away - HuffPost