HFL + RSV4 Factory = NYPD

Dailies -


hfl-rsv4-nypd.jpg This is what happens when you ride a barely less than thoroughbred racing machine on Manhattan’s Harlem River Drive. The Aprilia RSV4 Factory got me nailed at 80 in a 50 earlier today. The officer cornered me in the far left lane, stopped traffic and made me walk the bike across four lanes to the 125th Street exit. During rush hour. Granted, the rest of traffic was doing 75 when he popped me, I got off with a warning and we shot the breeze for another 20 minutes, but none of that matters. It’s what he finally confirmed and clearly stated that matters.>

“The NYPD is under strict orders to aggressively prosecute traffic
violations by motorcycles more than any other vehicles.”

Shocking, right? NY riders pretty much knew that already, but it’s nice to finally have an enforcement representative come right out and say it for a change. According to the officer, the orders are due to an extraordinarily high
mortality rate. Apparently, statistics exist to back this claim and
we’ll be following up with the NYPD to verify as soon as possible.

For the record, this information wasn’t coming from a typical bike-hating NYPD cop. This officer is a veteran Motorcycle Police Patrolman who previously owned and track-raced a first generation GSX-R750, and is frankly one of the coolest and informative policemen I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to on the side of a road.

Chatting it up about track days, electric bikes and his Harley didn’t stop him from playing the role of enforcer, though. In that very plain, matter-of-fact voice officers are known for he told me, “Look, this is what’s going to happen to you on these streets. You’re going a little faster than traffic and you think you’re being safe. You zig, but that car zags. Then a giant rut in the road comes out of nowhere, catches your front wheel, you lose it and die. Look at these horrible roads. I see it all the time.”

  • M.

    I was wondering how long this would take when I heard you were getting this…

  • flyin_flip

    are those bald tires i’m looking at?

  • Mike

    A trick bike for sure, and terrible roads indeed. A friend of mine got nabbed by a rut that was 5 inches wide, 3 inches deep and 12 ft long at the end of an on ramp (that was maybe 75-100feet long), dumped his Blackbird and got skinned up in the process.

    Please exercise caution. I really enjoy this site and want to continue to do so!

  • the other larry

    WTF is a bike like this doing in NYC anyway? As for the mortality rate, not to be an asshat, but knowing the macho pressures in the NY area and some of the bikes available to anyone with a part time fast food job, not surprising.

  • Sloan

    Gotta like and respect the cops who do their jobs but are nice about it. I got stopped once going 85 in what we thought was a 70, but was really a 55 construction zone! That would have been a bad fine but the guy was cool and was laughing when he said it took him 2 miles to catch up to us after turning around. His comment was, “I saw that you guys were just carefully working through traffic and not being stupid, but after these other cars saw me turn my lights on, I couldn’t just turn them off and let you go!” We had a good laugh.

    • Core

      Imagine how fast that cop was going to catch up with you?

      I bet he was redlining his police car to make up that distance.

  • bo

    As a frequent driver in this area, I am not surprised by the mortality rate. It’s typical for members of the chrome lid wearing ‘Ruff Rydaz’ contingent to be switching 3 lanes at once while speeding 15-20 mph faster than traffic.

    • Pete

      That’s natural selection for you.

  • pdub

    The sobering points of this post are read and felt. Some of the road conditions in the NYC metro area are criminally neglected. There are potholes and ruts that beat and throw cars off let alone bikes. Fat chance ever shaming city hall into being proactive about the worst ones. Knew of one incident that almost ended a rider’s life. Word was mentioned of getting a lawyer involved and that pothole was filled before anyone could get pics of it the next day. Coincidence?
    Hit one of those grand canyon ruts myself last summer neither zigging or zagging but cruising straight well under the speed limit. Threw the bike into a violent headshake as if I landed a wheelie crossed up @ 90mph.
    Really is a sad sight seeing the way some guys ride out there. Like a game of rugby in a minefield.

    • Johan

      “Hit one of those grand canyon ruts myself last summer neither zigging or zagging but cruising straight well under the speed limit. Threw the bike into a violent headshake as if I landed a wheelie crossed up @ 90mph.”

      Holy cow, what it is the legal speed limit if 90mph is well under?

      • pdub

        “Hit one of those grand canyon ruts myself last summer neither zigging or zagging but cruising straight well under the speed limit. Threw the bike into a violent headshake as if I landed a wheelie crossed up @ 90mph.”

        Holy cow, what it is the legal speed limit if 90mph is well under?

        Ummm… no. That may have been misread. I was doing well UNDER the legal limit, like 40-45 in moderate traffic on my way back into the city from a ride. That rut (in asphalt right after a concrete slab and speedbump road seam) grabbed my front as it settled into it like a needle in a groove and I ran out of it’s back end onto the normalish road surface front end singing the song of OH F#@*!

  • Pamberjack

    Sounds like a good result, all up.

    Converting the speeds in km/h, I’m thinking you were doing 130 in an 80 zone; So that’s more than 45 km/h over the limit.

    In Sydney (If I’m not mistaken) that’d be a $2600 fine, 6 demerit points (out of possible 12 if you haven’t lost any before) and maybe (?) a 3 month suspension.

    Like I said – a good result, considering…

    • http://www.flickr.com/blueyes tony starr

      yes, in melbourne/victoria (australia) aka, the nanny state. that kind police officer would of taken my bike off me. just like lewis hamilton’s merc.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      The point is, that with other traffic going to same speeds, it’s the bike that gets targeted. Drivers haul ass on NYC highways, 85mph+ is extremely regular as is undertaking and other dangerous behaviour. It’s rare to see anyone pulled over, but jump into the mix on a bike and ride in a manner that’ll keep you alive and the invariable result is aggressive reaction from the police. Neither Grant or I are pulling wheelies, filtering at high speed or doing anything that would mark us out, so the response is just out of proportion to what we’re doing.

      • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

        “Neither Grant or I are pulling wheelies, filtering at high speed or doing anything that would mark us out, so the response is just out of proportion to what we’re doing.”

        Pussies! You were not giving the motorcyclists a bad name! How dare you not be on a motorcycle and not doing asinine shit.

  • AceCafeClipOns

    Did he kiss you?

  • Chris

    I grew up in NYC and have been riding here for 7 years (since I got my license). Not once have I been pulled over and let go. Granted, I rarely stop because I’m of non-Caucasian decent. And nothing makes these blue boys happier than to have a man of my appearance pulled over and receiving a ticket to set an example to the rest of them.

    Also, I know nearly every pothole, rut, and “canyon” on these roads which include the Harlem River Drive, FDR Drive, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Hudson River Drive, and West Side Highway (including the construction zones). He pulled you over coming from the GW Bridge and I probably know his hiding spot. You should have known better. And you should count your blessings that he didn’t make you push it back to the dealership on 11th Avenue.

    Better luck next time. Or, better yet, ask me for the hiding spots before you decide to hoon it on my turf.

    • Core

      Your a nice person.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Chris, thanks for the offer. But honestly, I wasn’t anywhere near hooning the RSV4. 3rd gear at roughly 2,500 RPM, just a touch above traffic pace, Sunday cruising. I blipped it once when I saw a careening beater van speed up to blow through a yield sign-marked short entry ramp. That was around 160th Street.

      It’s been a few months since I’ve been on the HRD/FDR, so I knew there’d likely be new ruts and potholes I haven’t come across before.

      See you at Matchless monday night for MotoGP?

      • Chris

        Errr, what the hell is Matchless Mondays?? Have I been left out of the loop on something I should never pass up?

        I’ll find out, probably think it’s a cool thing, and will more than likely see you there! Have a good weekend.

    • Epyx

      If you have proper riding gear and a FF helmet, how could a Police officer possibly determine your ethnicity (before pulling the rider over)?

      I guess NYC police are trained to identify the idiosyncrasy of ethnic riding technique.

      …or maybe the cop was just not as cool.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

        Epyx, that’s not how the logic works here. First, bikers run from police on a regular basis here, so cops always assume every biker is a thug, regardless of race. Second, police don’t politely pull over bikes, the police use their cars to aggressively trap riders. Once stopped, the officer’s next action is to rush up to the bike and pull the key. They’re usually jacked on adrenalin while doing so and come off highly threatening. And if an officer is racist, that’s when the officer verifies his assumptions.

        There are a lot more nuanced steps identifying class, levels of aggressiveness, etc., but that’s the gist of it.

        • pdub

          “…the officer’s next action is to rush up to the bike and pull the key.”

          My bike runs on a keyless RFID starter. I’ll be the model of “yes sir” when pulled over but I might swallow a giggle as the cop reaches in then looks in vain for a key. Then again I might pay for their moment of confusion.

      • Chris

        Oh Epyx, Grant is right. I’ve never been pulled over in a friendly or respectful way in the five boroughs. I usually get the aggressive cut off. This leads to me slamming my brakes and undertaking the others side to escape. Screw him and his high horse.

        I’ve stopped immediately for every officer that put his lights on and came up behind me (as with every other vehicle). I’ll happily take a ticket that’s given with respect. Otherwise, I ride my XR like I stole it. Bastards.

  • Tony

    Here in Austin TX, yesterday, we had 2 separate high speed bike pursuits in opposite ends of the city and both riders got killed. One ran into a toll booth. The DPS officer flipped his car trying to avoid the wreckage. Pretty stupid, but unfortunately getting more common.


  • Papasan in AZ

    Thank God you forgot to wear your “I Love Mayor Bloomberg” T-shirt that day…

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    When I was in NYC for a gig last October, I was shocked by the amount of KLRs and dual-sport bikes I saw in the city.

    At another gig a few weeks ago, after my Subaru almost ate it in what I can only refer to as a sink hole in the middle of FDR, it suddently all made sense.

    I thought Boston was bad, but at least speeds are slower there!

  • the other larry

    Since we’re on the topic of NYC and cops, do the Hells Angels in town get harassed much or are they on the payroll too much?

  • Marco A

    I had the pleasure of putting on the first 180-so miles on this actual bike. In it’s most sensitive throttle mode (T), triple digit speeds can be hit in 3rd & 4th gear with the same ease I go through tracks on a cd sitting at a red light. I’m surprised you were able to keep it to 80….

  • DaFoxx

    It’s always refreshing to find a police officer that’s capable of doing his Job while not being a typical dick.
    The most recent citation I received was from a polite, courteous and above all professionally behaving police officer.
    While I don’t like being cited (especially in a speed trap set up just to take advantage of school zone preceded by two drops in speed limit!) for moving with the flow of traffic, the officer’s demeanor has so much to do with making the overall experience as painless as possible, and probably affects the kinds of responses they get when interacting with the public they are supposed to be protecting and serving….

  • http://www.chismatic.blogspot.com Chismatic

    Wow. I am moving to NYC for the summer and thought I would bring my bike along. I am from Florida, where the House passed the infamous HB 137. My biker friends and I lived in fear of this law for a while, but after being pulled over a couple times, it seemed evident that most police officers did not care to enforce it. I see now that there will be little of such luck in NYC, and that I will be living in fear of the police as well as the road surface and thieves. Can’t wait.

  • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

    Like the cops in NY don’t have more important crimes to attend to.

  • http://www.so-sos.com/blog Yukes {SO~SO's}

    Just suck it up and move to Los Angeles. Here, police in cars never engage with motorcyclists unless there is absolutely no traffic, which is almost never. It’s legal to split lanes, and we have a 12 month riding season. But you know all this already.

  • http://www.urbanrider.eu urbanrider

    Whilst we are on the topic of ruts and pot holes. London at present is an absolute joke. Potholes caused by the ice over winter have been left un-repaired. Moan over.

  • http://www.ottonero.blogspot.com Ottonero

    “All world is small town” ;-)

    “Tutto il mondo è paese” – si dice dalle mie parti….

  • MIchael

    so how is the Factory as a street bike? I’m about to pick up a black RSV4R and I’m curious to know how it feels after a few miles in the saddle

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      We’re working on that story Michael, stay tuned.

  • pdub

    NYC cops-oh they do have more important crimes to attend to, well only if they have to. Not the most motivated bunch. “To protect and serve” is not their motto. You see that motto in other towns. Theirs is “courtesy, professionalism, respect”. My inkling is that is what they demand not what they provide. There are exceptions in individuals and incidents however.

    PD and State Troopers do have an aggressive stance towards bikes unless like Grant was fortunately to experience it was a cop and rider on a good day. I don’t blame cops. There are some world class idiots mostly on sportbikes in and around the city and were I a cop I would take pleasure in ruining one of their moments of “hero expression”. Unfortunately more responsible and safer riders get lumped in with them especially if you ride a bike that resembles the hormonally addled and mentally deficient.

    In the NYC metro area stay alert, ride cautiosly like roads are going to crumble beneath you like a Tomb Raider video game, and be a model two wheel citizen. It may not save you from a biased cop but it could help and does our kind a public service.

  • Rainman

    Until Bloomberg is no longer master of the universe, NYC bikers will be SOL. He is a known bike hater and is responsible for the miserable lack of bike and scooter friendly rules of the road (incl parking).

  • Lance

    Get the hell out of the East.

  • Ray

    Ya got to graph this ride for us. You were undoubtedly coming down from the Palisades Pkwy. I drive it all weekly on my commute up and down from Albany.

    One of the major drawbacks of Brooklyn is being buried in the city with no escape for an hour in any direction. West side north of 59th looks a lot better in that regard.

    I’ll try to stop in Monday night too.

  • telekom

    I woke up at 8 one Saturday morning here in Glasgow recently with lots of noise outside my window… it was a road repair team. Normally I would be pissed off at being woken up, but I was so happy to see my road repaired that I got a cup of coffee and watched in great pleasure with a big smile as they tore up all the ruts, potholes and sunken drain covers. It now looks and feels like a billiard table and I don’t fear wiping out in front of my own home. Sadly other parts of the city still have great big holes that could swallow you up. Still trying to get my balls back down out of my throat after hitting a pothole yesterday.

    Cops down in England have started giving out hi-visibility gear to bikers for free to try to reduce accidents involving bikes. That seems to me a better way to preserve biker safety than aggressively targeting bikes going no faster than other traffic.

  • Scottie

    That’s why I keep my bike upstate. Although, state troopers are nailing everything in sight this weekend. Must have a mandate from Albany to find some money.

  • http://motohol.com shaun

    I forgot how cool it is to use a track-bred liter bike as a commuter. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Kidchampion

    The #1 legislative and enforcement issue should be cell phone use and texting, while driving.

    • Dwight675


  • Nick

    Wes, is that the full system or the slip on? Did you have the race map installed?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Nick, that’s the slip-on and really high quality. The hanger is nearly a solid 1/2 inch of carbon fiber and the finish matches the RSV4 Factory’s carbon fiber finish perfectly. All the componentry is top notch. The pipe is tuned and as a slip-on, no race map is needed. Regardless, it made a noticed difference in throttle response and power delivery.