Valley law enforcement agencies are preparing to upgrade motorcycles after Kawasaki announced it will no longer produce its long-used police bikes.
The company, which first released the police bike in 1978, ended its program after the model failed to meet emission standards for 2006, said spokesman Russel Brenan.
"We just decided to end the program and we just don’t have a replacement bike available," Brenan said.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety will be buying about 45 BMW bikes by 2006, said Sgt. Larry Kenyon.
Gilbert police have been riding the BMWs for years and Scottsdale police are planning to purchase a fleet of the bikes by next year.
The bikes, which cost about $18,000 each, last more than 100,000 miles. The Kawasakis require constant maintenance and could not be used much past 70,000-80,000 miles, officials said.
Still, not every police department is choosing the BMW.
"We did a comparison of Honda, BMW and Harley Davidson and Honda was far above the rest for serviceability," said Chandler Sgt. Bean Lavergne.
Phoenix police, who have tested the BMW, are opting to use the Harley Davidson as their main motorcycle, said Phoenix Lt. Wayne Lorch. They will also purchase a handful of Honda motorcycles.
All three companies producing police bikes offer features the Kawasaki models do not have. The most important of these are anti-lock brakes and liquid cooling systems, which will allow the motorcycles to last longer, run more efficiently and stop more safely, officials said. The bikes are also similar in price.