What’s The Best Motorcycle Radar Detector? Top 6 Revealed
There is no difference in the method of operation for automotive or motorcycle radar detectors. However, motorcycle owners have a couple of extra logistical hurdles to tackle in installation and use. The industry has taken strides to address many of these challenges and there is now at least one company, Adaptiv Technologies, that produces and markets a radar detector specifically for motorcycle use.
As of this writing, there is still only one motorcycle-specific brand, but many of the automotive brands have been designed with motorcycles in mind. We scoured the web forums and enthusiast pages to get an idea of the very best options on the market today. After all our research, we found six detectors that stood out from the rest. Find out more about the radar detectors that earned a spot at the top of our list
Motorcycle Radar Detector FAQs
Selecting the proper motorcycle radar detector for your specific situation is crucial. We have provided the radar detection basics below for anyone in the early stages of researching motorcycle radar detectors or for those who want a refresher.
1. What Is a Motorcycle Radar Detector?
A radar detector is a small device able to detect and alert the user to radio waves or light waves commonly used by police speed-clocking equipment before they encounter the source. Radar detectors are intended to act as an early warning system allowing users a small window of time to correct their speed and driving behavior before they cross the path of the police speed-clocking gun.
2. How Does a Motorcycle Radar Detector Differ from an Automotive Radar Detector?
Motorcycle radar detectors and automotive radar detectors are not different regarding function. The differences are largely in form. Automotive detectors are often corded units that plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and attach to a sun visor, windshield, or dashboard.
In contrast, a motorcycle radar detector will need a much more substantial mounting bracket to secure it to the handlebars of a motorcycle. It is also subject to inclement weather, so it will need to be water-resistant. Motorcycle riders are required to wear heavy safety equipment like gloves and a helmet. This gear can make set up and operation of a radar detector challenging. A motorcycle radar detector will feature controls that can be easily manipulated by gloved fingers and an alert system that can alert the driver through in-helmet audio or visual cues.
3. How Does a Motorcycle Radar Detector Work?
The short answer is that radar detectors detect the radio signals or light signals emitted by the two main types of police speed-clocking guns. The detector then issues an audible or visual alert which allows the rider to assess their current speed and adjust accordingly before crossing the path of the officer and their clocking equipment.
All detectors are not created equal, and neither are all police speed-clocking guns. Police radar commonly operates on three different radio bands:
- 1X Band: Easily detectable by all modern radar detectors from a distance of 2 to 4 miles
- 2K Band: Detectable by most modern detectors from a quarter of a mile to 2 miles.
- 3KA Band: Includes KA Wide and KA Superwide bands. Lower-end detectors unable to focus tightly on one frequency or band and must continuously cycle through all.
4. Where Can I Buy One?
All the motorcycle radar detectors on our top-6 list are available on Amazon, eBay, third-party resale suppliers, or direct purchase from the manufacturer. We have included a link to each detector’s Amazon page where users may learn more about purchasing options.
How We Reviewed
We started our quest to find the best motorcycle radar detector by going straight to the experts—the motorcycle riders who use them. We scoured the motorcycle enthusiast forums to get a solid handle on what worked for them and what didn’t. After we had our user-sourced list of favorite motorcycle radar detector brands and models, we studied the official specifications, testing data, and customer service policies for each. Finally, we looked at the current cost to purchase
Overall Price Range Of This Product (and Similar Products)
While you can find a few entry-level detectors in the $70 range, the best models with all the features you will want (or need) will cost more. Our top six models start around $120 with most priced between $250 and $500.
What We Reviewe
Adaptiv Technologies TPX Motorcycle Radar/Laser Detector
The TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detection System, like its predecessor the original TPX 2.0, is the only motorcycle radar detector on the market today which was specifically designed for use on motorcycles rather than automobiles. The TPX solves many of the challenges users face when adapting an automotive radar detector for use with a motorcycle.
Both the 2.0 and 3.0 TPX systems are waterproof and built to be resistant to damage from vibration and shock. The LCD is angled for easy readability even in bright daylight. The control buttons are large and back-lit for ease of use while wearing gloves. The TPX 3.0 adds the additional functionality of GPS data points which provide the real-time location of red-light cameras and speed cameras. GPS data points are updated frequently at no additional cost.
The TPX motorcycle radar detector can be found on Amazon an expensive price. Mounting hardware and hardware to transfer audio and visual alerts to the user’s helmet are available for an additional cost.
Valentine One Radar Detector
The Valentine One Radar Detector has been leading the pack since the first model was introduced in 1992. The company and their radar detection devices still enjoy the fierce loyalty of their consumers. There are many motorcycle and automotive aficionados who will use nothing but Valentine detectors.
Valentine One Radar Detectors provide the user an unprecedented amount of information thanks to its dual-antennae configuration. While most devices scan the surroundings using one forward antenna, the Valentine One scans with one front-facing and one rear-facing antenna. The dual-antennae configuration allows the detector to estimate how many threats it has detected and each threat’s location with impressive accuracy. This data is then presented to the user on the large LCD screen.
The information dashboard display is the feature that sets the Valentine One apart from the rest. When radar activity is detected that is likely to be police radar, the Valentine emits an audio alert and displays the estimated distance from the vehicle to the detected radar source and the number of unique sources. Bright directional arrows light up showing you where the radar sources are in relation to your vehicle.
Like its competitors, the Valentine One can detect all types of radar and laser used by police departments across the United States. The Valentine One can also detect signals on the KU band, frequently used by European and Australian law enforcement.
The Valentine One Radar Detector is available on Amazon for an expensive price. Mounting hardware and hardware to transfer audio and visual alerts to the user’s helmet are available for an additional cost.
Escort Passport 9500iX
The Escort Passport 9500iX has all the high-end functionality of its competitors but also brings a host of fun additional features. The Escort Passport offers a live crowd-sourced database that provides near real-time reporting of traffic hazards and speed camera locations. The first three months of service is included free. Annual subscription charges apply beyond the initial trial period.
The Escort Passport 9500iX is available through Amazon for an expensive price. A paid subscription service contract is required to sync and update database information after the first 90-day free period ends.
Escort RedLine 0100025-1 Radar Detector
The Escort Redline claims to be the world’s most sensitive radar detector to date. The Redline’s front and rear antenna and varactor-tuned receiver ensure the longest range of detection in every band. All US radio frequency bands are detected. Escort Redline uses Beltronics TotalShield RF to render the device invisible to all law enforcement radar detector detectors (RDD) including the Spectre and the VG-2. The Escort Redline features a safety warning system that can be programmed to alert you in the event of 64 different hazards occurring in the vicinity of your vehicle.
The Escort Redline can be found on Amazon for an expensive price.
Radenso XP Radar & Laser Detector
The Radenso XP radar detector boasts high sensitivity capable of detecting radar and laser activity from a distance of several miles. GPS lockout capability allows users to “train” the device to ignore known false alarms. A red-light and speed camera GPS database is built-in and updates are free. Radenso’s customer care plan is its standout feature. The company provides telephone and e-mail technical support based in the United States. The Radenso XP also comes with a one-year manufacturer’s limited warranty, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a one-year radar speeding ticket guarantee.
The Radenso XP can be purchased on Amazon for an expensive price.
Whistler XTR-145 Laser Radar Detector
The Whistler XTR-145 Laser Radar Detector rounds out our list of the top six motorcycle radar detectors. The Whistler stands out for the variety of unique features it brings to the table.
The safety warning system uses the system’s ample radar-detection capabilities to detect and display warning messages regarding nearby emergency vehicles, traffic control, and roadwork projects. At present, there are over 60 different alerts available. Users can opt to receive alerts and information updates from weather services, local news, public transportation, highway construction crews, and emergency responders.
The Whistler also features a new “Stay Alert” feature which, when engaged, requires the user to perform a simple action in response to randomly timed audio stimuli. If the user does not respond to the stimuli by performing the required task within a pre-specified amount of time, the system immediately flashes and emits a high-decibel siren-type alarm until manually disengaged.
The Whistler XTR-145 can be purchased for an affordable price.
Each of the six radar detectors reviewed today ranked highly regarding performance. While there were many stand-out features on all these models, we have to give the top honors to the Adaptive Technologies TPX 3.0 Pro Radar and Laser Detection System.
The TPX system was the only system tested specifically created to address the unique challenges faced by motorcycle riders. Any of the automotive radar detectors listed above would be an excellent selection once adapted and reconfigured for use on a motorcycle. The TPX 3.0 Pro Radar Detection unit provides the same strong performance as the others do and goes the extra mile by adding a waterproof case and an easy-to-read display.