BOULDER CITY, NV (BRAIN) — It was not all retailers (and media) at the Interbike OutDoor Demo on Monday. The demo was also a great opportunity for Los Angeles Police Department bike patrol instructors to look for new gear for the department, which buys about 100 new bikes every year, plus helmets, shoes, clothing, lighting systems and other gear.
LAPD patrol instructors Will Fernandez and Jim Breslin are attending Interbike through Thursday, an assignment they concede is one of perks of their positions. On Monday they looked for searched out appropriate bikes and noted that hardtails, their preferred patrol bikes, are getting harder to find.
"Full suspension bikes have too many moving parts," Breslin said. "We don't need that suspension and it just adds to the price. But they are very few out here. The 29ers seem to be taking over, but we haven't wanted to go to 29ers because we'll have to just stock more tires and tubes."
"Full suspension bikes have too many moving parts" —LAPD Bike Patrol officer Jim Breslin
Breslin and Fernandez did find a few things that caught their eyes. They're going to try out Cardo's new BK-1 bike communication system, which allows riders to talk to each other and take cell calls via Bluetooth. The pair thought the devices could be optimal for patrol training classes.
The department's budget allows bikes to be replaced about every five years, which means about 100 a year. Breslin said in the past the force has chosen models from Trek and Giant, in part because the color scheme was appropriate. He said the department generally bought off-the-rack bikes and modified them, instead of the handful of bikes on the market that are made specifically for patrol use. Some of the patrol-specific bikes include features like integrated racks that can break under hard patrol use.
Fernandez said they have one major need that they don't feel is being met by the bike industry: patrol lights.
"We've been begging for a good patrol light for years," he said.