How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Radar Detector and Not Get Busted

How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Radar Detector and Not Get Busted

By Wesley Pestana | Updated Sep 04, 2018

Best motorcycle radar detector

If you ride a motorcycle, it’s very likely that you’ve taken it out for a ride and found yourself going waaaay above the speed limit at some point. You twist the throttle and get lost riding down an empty highway or along a curvy mountain road. Then one day you’re too late seeing that highway patrolman. You look down at your speedometer and your heart sinks.

So, what to do? You can vow to slow down, but speeding isn’t always intentional. Sometimes you’re just not paying as close attention to your speed as you are to the ride itself. That’s exactly why I mounted a motorcycle radar detector on my bike this weekend - and if you don't trust me, give this a read.

Everybody knows I’m a gearhead, so it’s no surprise that when I decided I needed a motorcycle radar detector, I researched just about every one available. It was pretty easy to narrow down my search to what I believe are the top five detectors, offering the best features and receiving high marks in independent reviews. While any of these detectors would likely serve your purpose, one stood out as a clear winner to me. The criteria I used to compare the detectors included which bands were covered, ability to screen out false alarms, type of indicator, user- and glove-friendly design, and type of mount.

Quick Review Keyword Quick Review

Product Best For Our Rating
1. Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 3. 0 Radar Detector Overall
2. Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 2.0 Radar Detector Value
3. Escort Passport 9500ix Radar Detector Versatility
4. Escort Redline 0100025-1 Radar Detector Long Range
5. Radenso Xp Radar Detector Budget Car Radar Detector

Top Choice: Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 3. 0 Radar Detector

This radar detector has to be the seen as the best detector specifically designed for motorcycle use. It is fully featured and will keep those pesky speeding tickets far away.

1. Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 3. 0 Radar Detector
Best For

Overall

Our Rating
2. Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 2.0 Radar Detector
Best For

Value

Our Rating
3. Escort Passport 9500ix Radar Detector
Best For

Versatility

Our Rating
4. Escort Redline 0100025-1 Radar Detector
Best For

Long Range

Our Rating
5. Radenso Xp Radar Detector
Best For

Budget Car Radar Detector

Our Rating

Types of Detectors and How They Work

Two main types of speed detection devices exist today: RADAR which use radio waves, and LIDAR which use light waves. Both work similarly, aiming a beam of radio waves or light waves toward a moving object and detecting speed based on how long it takes for the radio or light waves to bounce off the selected object and be received by the detector. Radar detectors are still the most common detectors in use, but LIDAR detectors are far faster and more difficult to pick up because of the focused beam of light emitted. Most radar detectors today detect both radio and LIDAR waves.

How Radar Guns Are Used

Let's take a look at the different classes of radar guns:

Constant On

easiest to detect by a radar detector, as a constant signal is emitted like a calling card from the gun.

Instant On

Challenging to detect, and only detectable if your detector picks up the radio signal being shot toward a vehicle near you. With Instant On, the officer waits until the last second to fire the gun toward a selected target, allowing no time to pick up the signal, so if you’re at the front of the line, you’re toast.

Quick Trigger

Similar to Instant On, but the officer turns the gun on and off quickly. Quick Trigger is difficult to detect in the same way that Instant On is, and again, if you’re at the front of the line? Well, see above.

Pop

Transmits a pulse of radio waves every 67 miliseconds making it almost impossible to detect; but, information derived from a POP burst is non-evidential and cannot be used alone to issue a citation.

Typical Bands Used

X-Band

Easy to detect as far away as 2-4 miles.

Range: 10.5 - 10.55 GHz

K-Band

Detectable from 1/4 to 2 miles away.

Range: 24.05 - 24.25 GHz.

Ka-Band

Most commonly used band for law enforcement. Includes Ka Wide-Band and Ka Super Wide-Band.

Range: 34.2 to 35.2 GHz.

Things to Consider

Mounting Options

Mounting a radar detector intended for a car to your bike can be a challenge as the most common option is a suction cup mount designed to be attached to a car’s windshield. Even if you wanted to attach something to your bike using a suction cup, it’s likely that the bike’s vibration would cause the eventual loss of suction in the cup--and the loss of that nice little gadget that was attached.

Alarm Type(s)

Both audible and visual alarms are available on each of the five units I’ve selected. Some detectors have alarms that tell you which band is being picked up, and indicate the general direction of the source with arrows. The best detectors will allow you to filter out false alerts either manually or, best-case, automagically. Keep in mind that visual alarms may require you to take your eyes off the road in order to determine the type of alert and transmission location; and audible alarms may or may not be loud enough to hear over the rumbling of your speeding steed. Hence, the best radar detector for bikes will have some means of transmitting a visual alert in your periphery, or an audible alert in your helmet.

Ease of Use

If you wear gloves while riding (ATGATT), you’re going to want large buttons on your detector. And regardless of what you wear, you’re going to want to be able to see the radar detector’s screen without having to contort your body unnecessarily. Ease of use also goes to whether the detector is pretty much plug-and-play, or you need a Ph.D to set it up. Some radar detectors would challenge even the greatest minds.

Sensitivity

It’s nice to have a radar detector that allows you to adjust the sensitivity. If you’re riding down the highway, you’re going to want to be alerted to pretty much any signal out there. If you’re riding down the main strip in town though, you’re probably going to want to crank that sensitivity way down, since all kinds of signals are being transmitted from things like automatic door openers and proximity alarms on that car in the lane next to you.

False Alert Filtering

Along with the ability to adjust your radar detector’s sensitivity, it’s also nice to have the ability to filter out false alerts. The best motorcycle radar detector will store each alert, and after three exposures to the same signal in the same spot, the detector will filter out that particular alert so you won’t be bothered by it anymore.

Price

Radar detectors range anywhere from less than $100 to well over $2000. All the units I’ve selected are between $250 and $600. One can argue that the cost of even the more expensive models is insignificant relative to the expense and hassle of multiple speeding tickets, associated court costs, and increased insurance rates.

radar detector for bikes

Motorcycle-Specific Considerations

Is there a motorcycle-specific mount, or will you be cobbling something together with duct tape and twist ties?

Is a wiring harness available to direct-connect the detector to your bike, or can you plug it in to an auxiliary USB or 12V port mounted on your bike?

Is the radar detector waterproof?

Can you set up the detector to send audio alerts to your helmet?

Main Review Keyword Review

Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 2.0 Radar Detector

Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 2.0 Bike Radar Detector

The Adaptiv Technologies TPX 2.0 Radar/Laser Detector is the best budget plug-and-play option for motorcycles.

The TPX 2.0 is the a radar detector designed specifically for motorcycle use. It is weatherproof and connects directly to your battery with heavy-duty weatherproof cables. The motorcycle-specific mounting system allows you to easily remove the TPX when you park your bike? The TPX radar detector has five top-mounted buttons which are easy to locate and press even when you’re wearing gloves, and the buttons are backlit, which improves nighttime operation. The LCD display is located on top of the unit and angled upward, making it easier for the rider to check alerts with a quick glance.

  • Weather and shock proof
  • Great visual alert add-on
  • Large, back-lit buttons
  • Motorcycle-specific mounts
  • No GPS

Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 3. 0 Radar Detector

Best Radar Detector for Motorcycle Use

Adaptiv Technologies Tpx 3.0 Bike Radar Detector

This radar detector has to be the seen as the best detector specifically designed for motorcycle use. It is fully featured and will keep those pesky speeding tickets far away.

The TPX 2.0's big brother. This radar detector is also designed specifically for motorcycles and thus can withstand the vibrations, shock and water that comes with riding a motorcycle.

Unlike the 2.0, this radar detector comes with a GPS and database which is updated monthly (for free). The oversized buttons make it easy to use, even with your gloves... It is fully featured and can detect all the radar and lidar bands effectively - Definitely the best radar detector for motorcycle use.

  • Weather and shock proof
  • Great visual and audio alerts
  • Large, back-lit buttons are easy to push
  • Specifically designed for motorcycles
  • GPS Support
  • A bit pricey

Escort Passport 9500ix Radar Detector

Best Radar Detector for Car and Motorcycle

Escort Passport 9500ix best motorcycle radar detector review

This is the best overall performer of the five and does offer a headphone jack and 12V power cord.

The Escort Passport 9500IX is the best overall performer of the five radar detectors I selected and comes closest to a good fit for use on motorcycles of any of the detectors designed for cars. Although it doesn't come with a specific mount, these can be purchased, and this detector can be powered by your motorcycle, and includes a headphone jack.

It offers red light and speed camera detection as well as radar and LIDAR, and picks up POP bursts better than any of the other detectors here. Its best feature is the built-in GPS which works with an Autolearn function to identify and suppress false alerts. Sometimes, however, the Autolearn function gets a little carried away and treats real police radar as a false alert.

  • GPS
  • Automatically adjusts sensitivity based on speed
  • Headphone jack allows you to use the Passport on your motorcycle
  • Power cord plugs into 12V port
  • No motorcycle-specific mount included
  • Not waterproof
  • Expensive

Escort Redline 0100025-1 Radar Detector

Best Long-Distance Detector

Escort Redline 0100025-1 Radar Detector radar detector for bikes

While the Escort RedLine may not filter out all the bank alarm systems, home security signals, and garage door openers you might encounter in town, its ability to detect signals as far away as fourteen miles makes it the best detector out on the open road.

This is one of the most sensitive radar detectors on the market and provides the longest range for every signal out there. It includes full X, K, and SuperWide Ka radar capability and front and rear laserdetection. The Safety Warning System is one of my favorite features, alerting users to highway maintenance and construction, weather hazards, and slow-moving vehicles.

The TotalShield RF Technology makes the RedLine all but invisible to radar detector detectors. However, reviewers have noted that the RedLine is also quite “chatty” because its filtering system is suboptimal, leading to annoying, ongoing alerts.

Overall, this is a great radar detector, but doesn't fit well for use on a motorcycle.

  • Detects radar and laser signals as far as 14 miles away.
  • Superior Hill/Corner detection
  • Full band detection
  • Safety Warning System
  • Detector is heavy, causing mounting hardware to fail.
  • Detector is “chatty”—filtering system is suboptimal.
  • No motorcycle-specific mount
  • Not waterproof
  • No easy way to power unit on bike

Radenso Xp Radar Detector

Radenso Xp Radar Detector best radar detector for motorcycle use

This is probably the best radar detector under $400 with impressive sensitivity to police radar, even in a K-band polluted environment.

This is an excellent mid-range unit with a lot of features for less than $400. Many reviewers consider this to be one of the quietest radar detectors out there because of its ability to accurately filter out false alerts. It has optional X, K, and Ka sensitivity reduction at low speeds and is fully customizable. There’s a beginner mode which allows you to get up and running quickly, but the expert mode allows you to unlock a huge array of options. And Radenso offers free lifetime database and firmware updates.

However, there is no easy way to use this radar detector while riding your motorcycle - and without serious hackery, is not a good fit.

  • GPS Lockout
  • BSM (Blind Spot Monitor) filtering
  • Bright display is easy to read but not overbearing at night
  • Shorter range than other radar detectors
  • No motorcycle-specific mount
  • Not waterproof
  • No easy way to power unit on bike

The Best Motorcycle Radar Detector

Two of the five radar detectors fell off the list pretty quickly once I took a serious look at them and considered how they’d work on my motorcycle. The Adaptiv Technologies TPX models and the Escort Passport 9500IX were really the only two contenders. And while I was sorely tempted by the superior functionality of the Passport, I chose the TPX 3.0 because it has adequate functionality and is designed with motorcycles in mind. I've since had the detector set up and installed on my bike and was off on a ride in less than an hour, with a bit more peace of mind.

what's the best motorcycle radar detector

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