Most people say the Escort 8500 or a Valentine One are the tops. Both will necessitate rigging power if you don't have a normal 12v outlet.
I had (stolen from my jeep w/ my GPS unit, yeeha) an Escort 8500 and it was a big, big step up from the el cheapos I had before. Much more accurate, dependable, and confidence inspiring.
Instead of mounting the thing to a hardpoint I velcro'd the escort to the top of my Givi T409 7 liter tank bag. Worked well, and the small givi is perfect for packing the detector up with those day trip essentials like chain lube, small tire kit, pressure gage, Brut by Faberge, cell phone, and bail money.
I'm quite embarrassed to report that I put >30K miles/yr in a cage (sorry). Several yrs ago, I bought a cordless Escort thinking I could use it in the car or bike. Not worth the $$ on anything but X band.
My observations are on the last gen. No info on current gen other than the std buzz that comes with the Valentines.
Bottom line - don't bother with cordless...maybe some Morons have had better luck..
I have an Escort 8500 that I use on two motorcycles a Honda VTR 1000 SuperHawk and an old BMW RT Airhead. Ive been using radar detectors since the early 1980s and this is the best Ive had. I highly recommend it it has excellent range and gives minimal false alarms.
(By the way, I only use the detector to let me know when Im being exposed to dangerous microwave radiation. Speeding is against the law.)
I use the optional hardwire "Smartcord" on both bikes with the remote indicators mounted adjacent to the speedometers. The detector is mounted inside a tankbag on the SuperHawk and in a fairing pocket in my BMW. Audio from the jack on the Escort is routed through the AutoComm intercom on the BMW and directly to my helmet headset when Im on the SuperHawk. The telephone-style plug on the Smartcord (which supplies power to the detector and a signal to the remote indicator) goes directly to the detector on the BMW and goes to a double-female plug near steering head on the Superhawk. A second cord (coiled) goes from the double-female plug on the Superhawk to the detector in the tankbag This lets me easily disconnect the power and take the bag off for gas without having to open the bag and disconnect the detector.
The audio is a must! The more you need a radar detector, the less you need to have your eyes anywhere but the road! The setup I have works great through the intercom speakers in my full-face helmet with or without earplugs. I have a riding buddy that uses a cheap Radio Shack earplug that also gives excellent results. On the 8500, different radar bands give different audio signals, and the strength of the signal is indicated by the repetition rate of the audio signal.
The placement of the detector inside the fiberglass fairing or inside the top of the tankbag does not seem to adversely affect radar detection (I use the same unit in my cage with similar results), and out-of-sight is a nice stealth setup for places like New York State where detectors are illegal (or anywhere else you dont want to advertise your radar detection intentions). Unfortunately, since laser light wont penetrate fiberglass or Cordura, this setup defeats the laser detection capability of the unit. (If anybody cares, its my opinion that laser beams have so little scatter that the only thing a laser detector does is let you know that you just got a ticket.)
And just so you know, if you speed, radar detector or no, sooner or later you'll get a ticket. Don't do the crime if you can't pay the fine (and the insurance premiums)!
FWIW, I own both a Valentine V1 & an Escort 8500. Both are high quality and both have essentially equal detecting performance capabilities based on my many thousands of miles of side by side comparison in three different cages. I rate them both highly but for my riding & driving style the V1 remains in the cages & the Escort 8500 is used on the bikes. As I put over 25k miles annually on my Ducs & Dual Sport stuff as well as about 40k on the cages each year in my home range of the wide open spaces of NW Wyoming & Northern Idaho, I need detectors to help keep my license intact.
Which one is best for your bike depends to some degree on what bike you own as that will determine where & how the detector is mounted. Price & size are also factors, as the V1 is relatively heavy & bulky & the addition of an earphone adapter adds about $45.00 to its price as well as adding additional bulk. If the detector can be mounted where the front face is visible and bulk is not an issue then the signal direction arrows of the V1 give it the nod as the directional arrows are a god sent.
If compactness & ease of mounting is an critical and/or the unit is mounted outside a direct line of sight then I'd go with the Escort. The Escort is light & compact & also has a built in earphone jack which is a big plus.
Both detectors give off unique audible warnings for x band, k band & laser signals. The ability to differentiate instantly which signal the detector is receiving is critical ..... so I always run with an earpiece wired to the detector. Some folks use earphones mounted in their helmets & are happy with them. For my riding of quick sport, sport/touring, and dual sport bikes with minimal wind protection ..... I always wear earplugs & the earphones don't cut it. After much trial and error I've found that the Etymotic ER-6 <http://www.etymotic.com/> , although expensive, is the best earpiece on the market as it serves as an earplug as well as earphone; giving hearing protection as well as letting me hear the radar warnings. The downside of the earpiece is that the wires are a PITA ; and are always getting in the way; so on occasion I will run using the Helmet Assisted Radar Detection (H.A.R.D.) system.
<http://www.legalspeeding.com/product.htm> . This system sets off a radio signaled wireless heads-up LED mounted in/on the helmet. It is effective but unfortunately requires one to look at the detector to determine what signal (x band, k band or laser) you're being painted with.
I could go on but that's probably enough onfo for now ....... If you are interested I can elaborate further.
I've had great luck with a Bel 945i (now the 946). Well over 100k miles and only a single (radar) ticket. It's durable, has great battery life, performs as advertised and is very inexpensive.
One caution: the flimsy supplied mount is terrible and should not be used. I tried the mount for the first time a few weeks ago and it broke - resulting in the loss of my faithful detector under the wheels of oncoming traffic in Logan Canyon.
Excellent point. Laser is evil. I have read that it is difficult to 'tag' motorcycles as the headlight is the only part of the front of most bikes which is reflective enough to get a reading. Generally, if you are close enough to the officer where he can get a good bead on your headlight, you should be close enough to spot him first. Alertness is your best defense with laser. Flat black paint might help too.
The best radar detector I've found is my two eyeballs coupled with enough common sense to not race around like a fool
Works on laser or X band or what ever, it even works when officer friendly has his radar off. You should try it sometimes, just pay attention to whats in front of you and ride at a speed appropriate for the conditions.
If you do get pulled over, be polite, admit you were getting a little carried away and say you won't do it again, chances are you'll get a warning.
Even if you do get a ticket it's still cheaper than $400~$500 bucks for a detector, unless you're riding like a complete ass, then you deserve what you get( I think thats called "an old school attitude" )
Hey , W4life, Que pasa? Just read your comment on radar detectors and got interested. my wife & I each have an 1800 and we badly need a microwave ****. What does your mount look like and where did youy get it?Where did you mount it? Does it allow quick removal? Can you read the directional arrows easily? Can you differentiate beween bands easily? Gracias. We are also wingers for life!
Hmmmmm, Chris - I see that you use the H.A.R.D. system - I am currently trying the second unit myself, and both have consumed batteries at an unacceptable rate!! The concept is brilliant, but there seems to be a 'current leakage' issue with the 2 units I have tried... A set of batteries seem to last only about 6 hours of riding time, or they are being constantly drained whilst not in use. I'm wondering whether to try one more unit or get my money back... Not a cheap unit at $160, but worth it for sure if it works!!