Police modernise fleet with new motorbikes

Senior Sergeant John McGrail on the new Yamaha. Photos: NZ Police.

Police are modernising its motorcycle fleet with the introduction of safer, lighter and more carbon-efficient motorbikes.

The purpose-built Yamaha MT09TRAP patrol motorcycle is being progressively introduced into the fleet as older, high-mileage bikes need replacing.

Four companies responded to last year’s tender to supply the bikes.

“Operational staff tested each model personally, putting them through their paces at the Royal New Zealand Police College,” says Inspector Brian Yanko, Fleet Manager.

“Assessment criteria included radio interference, performance and brake testing, weight, emissions and service capability and cost.

“Police riders will certainly notice the difference.”

The Yamaha, based on the Yamaha 900 Tracer, is more than 100kg lighter than the current police motorcycle.

Safety features include traction control, three riding modes and hand guards. It’s also more environmentally friendly, with CO2 emissions of just 116 grams per kilometre, against the 156 grams per kilometre of the current bikes.

There are 27 patrol motorcycles in the Police fleet, serving a range of purposes including VIP protection, special events and enforcement. They are particularly useful for manoeuvring in places where Police cars can’t go.

However, the current fleet is showing its age with several older, high-mileage bikes needing to be replaced.

“We were looking for a bike that could handle the different demands of police work, as well as New Zealand’s variable road conditions,” says Brian.

“Technology has changed a lot in recent years and it’s critical that we take advantage of new developments in terms of safety, efficiency, and the environment.

“We needed a bike that was agile enough to meet the demands of Police work but also provided a comfortable, enjoyable riding experience for our people.”

Senior Constable John McGrail, of Wellington, one of Police’s longest-serving motorcycle patrol officers, helped trial the MT09TRAP.

“The new bike is lighter and faster and - through trial and error - I'm still providing constructive feedback,” he says.

The first of the new Yamahas hit the road in Wellington District in March, and they are progressively replacing the older, higher-mileage bikes across the country.

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