What's the best Radar Detector?

Besides outstanding performance, an RT rider needs a Radar Detector that can be heard at highway speeds. There are only a couple that offer audio output jacks that can be connected to an ear-bud or intercom system:

Everyone seems to agree that the Valentine One is the very best Radar detector that you can buy. Phil Ketchum pketchum@kc.rr.com has a  V1 and loves it. “A little pricey but so was your RT. If you're going to buy the BEST you might as well have the BEST radar detector that money can buy, right? It wins all the shootouts in Car and Driver and in Motorcycle Consumer News too. They claim their latest model can detect radar at 10,000 ft. That's almost 2 miles and I think that's an exaggeration but 1 mi. line of sight is confirmed by me. Only 1 ticket since purchased and I figure that's because I couldn't slow down fast enough.”

Jim <jsciullo@columbus.rr.com> agrees: “Get the Valentine. It is exceptional for both my RT and 528i. I use the RCU Shelf but others have had success with it on Seng and other brackets.

Dan danderson@siera.net has the Valentine 1 also “works great, little pricey. also have an Escort solo, worked well but the audio went out, sent it back under warranty and got the V1. RCU shelf is great. The V1 seems more sensitive...good range, pick up the cops way before I see them. A friend uses a BEL and seems happy with it. Whichever, you must get an adapter for an earplug. You cannot watch the road, traffic and gauge curve and watch the Radar Detector. They will not protect you against instant on nor laser if you are a lead vehicle. Drive smart.

Another V1 fan says “I have to agree with Dan, I've had the escort and several others (in the car) but the Valentine tells you which direction the radar is coming from. I've found the Valentine to read a much greater distance in every comparison test (car magazines). They're always coming out with new units so it may be that Valentine doesn't have the longest range any more but they've sure been a consistent in the past."

Bill wrich1@worldnet.att.net  has a different take and likes the BEL: “Some people will tell you that the very expensive Valentine is the only way to go, but I just got a BEL 946 Express cordless detector and I'm very happy with it. Saved my butt today, as a matter of fact. It runs on two AA batteries or 12v adapter. It handles all the latest police weaponry and has front and rear coverage. Another reason I like it is that it has an audio outlet jack that I can plug into my AirRider Comm Center - if the detector signals, it overrides the radio/tape/cd or intercom and sounds through my helmet headset. I gotta get one of those RCU shelf things to mount it on, though... You can find this detector many places on the web for under $150 which includes several motorcycle-specific accessories.

Larry E  eestork@aol.com  likes the BEL too: “I agree and have four months experience with this detector specify IM model for motorcycles--originally sent it back because of too many false alarms in arizona mountains, but realized there are almost no competitors. it is back on my RCU shelf or other bike(r100gspd) and woks in my jacket pocket with 90 deg. reflector. it can be heard without earphone on RT (not GSPD) and with earphone you cannot miss it. Works well on local roads in San Diego.

OK, So I got the V1, but it gives a false Laser Alert when I honk my RT’s horn?

I had the same problem with my V1 - when I honked the horn, I would get a laser alert. I also got a laser alert at certain rpm's combined with certain engine loads - it was not a consistent thing, but I did determine that the engine was causing the false alerts.

I called V1 tech support and spent a lot of time with those guys. What we determined is that the the V1 is too close to sources of electrical disturbance, so the guy told me to move it - yeah right, its on a bike.

Apparently, the laser "antenna" on the V1 does not actually sense a laser light beam, it senses electronic pulses that are within a certain range of frequencies. It just so happens that your RT's horn and your motronic ignition can put out pulses that are within the range. Therefore the laser detector goes ape-shit all the time.

I found it intolerable, and asked if there was a way to disable the laser sensor - there is. I think the laser is only good to let you know that you have already been nailed anyway - It will not pick up scatter or go off when laser is being used on other vehicles ahead. If that thing goes off - its too late. Pull over and get out your pocketbook.

Anyway, if you want to change your V1 so that laser is inactive, then here is how you do it:

  1. Turn it on
  2. Press and hold in the control knob until all the lights on the front of the unit light up. (around 5 seconds)
  3. Momentarily press and release the control knob again. A series of numbers will flash in the bogey display. Press again and the bogey counter will change to 1. (The numbers are your software version)
  4. Keep momentarily pressing (clicking) the control knob, until the readout says 4. The up arrow should also be lit.
  5. Hold the knob down until the arrow changes to point downward. (about 3 secs.) Release the knob.
  6. Turn the unit off.

When you start it again, the routine will be a little different - indicating to you that you have customized the settings. You also will not hear the laser alarm on startup.

If you want to re-enable the laser, its the same, just set the arrow so it points up.

Some notes on setting it up: There is no backing up. Laser is 4 -if you go past 4, cycle all the way through the various features (1-8,A-H)or turn it off and start over. Just take your time.

For more information, contact Valentine One Tech Support at 1-800-331-3030