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Thread: Radar detector for the thrifty?

  1. #1
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Radar detector for the thrifty?

    Trying to explain to my wife why I need a radar detector has been an uphill battle. How do you argue with, "Why don't you just slow down?" "Because I can't" just doesn't go very far.

    So I'm left getting one for myself. Happily, I can, slowly, accumulate a small pile of cash that I can spend on whatever I want (we each get an allowance - the answer to all budgetary whining). I can't afford a Valentine.

    What's the next best choice? the Escort 8500 seems to take this prize (though some like it more than the valentine. At around $300 it's getting closer to my price range.

    What's the next best choice cheaper than that one? Bel Vector 985?

    At some point, someone will start in on the "it's a false economy", but if you don't have the money, you don't have the money. Right?

  2. #2
    dlearl476
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    There is only ONE detector worth paying ANY money for, the V1.
    The price difference is going to be about 10% of what the ticket you get because you've been lulled into a false sense of by cheap detector. The REAR facing radar (only found on a V1) is everybit as important as the front one. And the "Bogy count" is very important, too.

    I say save your allowance and buy a V1 and until then, follow your wife's advice, just slow down. Otherwise you'll be kicking yourself in the butt for NOT buying a V1 as you write out that check to "the man" with money you coulda, shoulda spent on gear.

  3. #3
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dlearl
    There is only ONE detector worth paying ANY money for, the V1.
    The price difference is going to be about 10% of what the ticket you get because you've been lulled into a false sense of by cheap detector. The REAR facing radar (only found on a V1) is everybit as important as the front one. And the "Bogy count" is very important, too.

    I say save your allowance and buy a V1 and until then, follow your wife's advice, just slow down. Otherwise you'll be kicking yourself in the butt for NOT buying a V1 as you write out that check to "the man" with money you coulda, shoulda spent on gear.
    Nope.
    Can't afford it.

    I only have so much money to spend and there are other things I need to get as well - new boots, my aerostich is showing its age, a house, etc.

  4. #4
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    So I keep coming back to the Escort 8500. For $270 (lowest real price I've found so far), I get nearly as much (or more?) radar detector than the $450 Valentine ($400 detector + $50 audio jacks).

    So now the question is: Any ideas on where I can get the best price for an Escort?

    I don't buy things through e-bay. Unfortunately, I missed a cartoys promotion where the 8500 was $240.

  5. #5
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    Why don't you try to find a used Valentine somewhere?

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Emoto
    Why don't you try to find a used Valentine somewhere?
    First, I have a strong distaste for buying used electronics - at least pricey ones. Second, while I can't find much on-line, I have read several "impartial" reviews that suggest that, at best, the V1 is marginally better than the 8500. Third, I'm somewhere between thrifty and married and about to make some expensive changes in our lives. Funds are limited and the list of stuff that would enhance the ride is growing longer and longer. If the only thing I wanted to buy in the near future was a radar detector, I might get the V1.

  7. #7
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    Understood, but did you know that you can send in a V-1 for hardware and software upgrades? So, if you found a used one that was being sold for the right reasons ("we're down to one car now so don't need 2", divorce, death, etc.) you could pick up something good that could be refurbished (and upgraded as Valentine makes improvements) later.

    Personally, I would wait until I could get the best. In some circumstances, even the V-1 gives you precious little time to check and adjust your speed, so trading ANY of that away is IMHO foolish.



    If the difference in price is really that critical, maybe you should sell your BMW for a less expensive bike. After all, it would be "almost as good".


  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Emoto
    Understood, but did you know that you can send in a V-1 for hardware and software upgrades? So, if you found a used one that was being sold for the right reasons ("we're down to one car now so don't need 2", divorce, death, etc.) you could pick up something good that could be refurbished (and upgraded as Valentine makes improvements) later.

    Personally, I would wait until I could get the best. In some circumstances, even the V-1 gives you precious little time to check and adjust your speed, so trading ANY of that away is IMHO foolish.



    If the difference in price is really that critical, maybe you should sell your BMW for a less expensive bike. After all, it would be "almost as good".

    Foolish?
    Foolish might be spending more than you can afford to gain a marginal performance gain. I'll save my rant about perceptions of affordability and value for another time.


  9. #9
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    scott's a starving artist.

    trust me on this one, Bob.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

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  10. #10
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    Originally posted by KBasa
    scott's a starving artist.

    trust me on this one, Bob.
    If you say so, Dave.

    Scott, if you can, and I mean this with all possible deference, wait until you can get a V-1. Just save your $$$ until then. Really. It will be cheaper in the long run, because eventually you will want a V-1 and that other detector will become a paper weight.

  11. #11
    R1100R "Traveler" DesertRider's Avatar
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    I've been following this thread and I keep thinking that I'm missing something, or at least there are a couple of things I don't understand.

    - I don't see what's so hard to understand about Scott's decision that he doesn't want to spend $400 on a radar detector. We all have finite funds, we all have to prioritize and make choices, and Scott (commendably, in my view) is putting a few things like home and family ahead of buying the most expensive version of a motorcycle toy. I mean, there's more to life than motorcycles, no? (I say as one who is as nuts about bikes as anyone, and my family along with me -- we own 8 motorcycles, everyone rides, my wife and I plan vacations around riding destinations. But there's still more to life than just motorcycles.)

    - I'm not seeing the huge watershed difference between a Valentine and an Escort 8500 or even a Bel 985. A quick search of comparative tests seems to indicate that the differences between the them are minor, and more dealing with gizmo features than detection capability. Several of the comparison tests actually rated other units better than the V1. Now I'm sure fans of the V1 could make a case why it's better (and so could Escort and Bel fans, I imagine) but the point is that if there's a difference between them, it's certainly small, and in terms of real on-road risk management (which is what a detector is), the Escort or Bel might actually be just as effective in practical terms.

    Now I know that in toys of the ego (motorcycles and moto toys certainly qualify), for many people a significant part of the pride of ownership is the inner knowledge that you have the best, and the easiest way to gain that feeling is to make sure you buy the most expensive unit available. No one deliberately thinks of it that way, of course, but it's a very easy jump from "I paid the most" to "therefore I got the best." Whatever turns you on, I guess, but in this case Scott has asked a very valid question -- how much better is the V1, really - and from what I see a fair answer is "not much, if anything at all."

    Now if I'm missing something in the equation, I'd truly be interested to hear it because I've been thinking about a new detector myself. But I'd like to see some real evidence of substantially better real-life performance. I already know that the V1 has the highest status appeal, but that doesn't do much for me.
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  12. #12
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    Originally posted by DesertRider
    Now if I'm missing something in the equation, I'd truly be interested to hear it because I've been thinking about a new detector myself. But I'd like to see some real evidence of substantially better real-life performance. I already know that the V1 has the highest status appeal, but that doesn't do much for me.
    Well said.

  13. #13
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Originally posted by knary
    Well said.
    Ditto!

    I have encountered a few people who think I am wasting my money on Joe Rocket. But I cannot justify a $1000 riding suit that gives an arguably marginal improvement in protection. H*!!, I only paid $2500 for my bike.

    NOT trying to start a safety discussion, just making a point!

    Jim

  14. #14
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Scott-

    I applaud you for setting limits and following them.

    Having said that, way back when I had a radar detector... 10+ years .... I had a Passport and it worked great. Until the one time I was on open road and well nothing but instant on.

    Anyway, the reason I picked Passport is that is was (possibly still is?) part of Cincinnati Microwave, one of the largest makers of radar guns. Plus all the reviews were really good.

    At the moment their top of the line unit is about $300 direct from them.

    Now the logic of purchasing a radar detector from a company that makes radar guns works for me, they will know what is in the radar gun. Of course there is the other side, since they make the radar detector, they know how to make a gun that will work against it.

    Just my $0.02, YMMV.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  15. #15
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BradfordBenn
    Scott-

    I applaud you for setting limits and following them.

    Having said that, way back when I had a radar detector... 10+ years .... I had a Passport and it worked great. Until the one time I was on open road and well nothing but instant on.

    Anyway, the reason I picked Passport is that is was (possibly still is?) part of Cincinnati Microwave, one of the largest makers of radar guns. Plus all the reviews were really good.

    At the moment their top of the line unit is about $300 direct from them.

    Now the logic of purchasing a radar detector from a company that makes radar guns works for me, they will know what is in the radar gun. Of course there is the other side, since they make the radar detector, they know how to make a gun that will work against it.

    Just my $0.02, YMMV.
    At one time, Cincinnati Microwave was at the top of the heap. I owned one too. During that time when their units were consistently top rated, guess who was their chief engineer: Mike Valentine (who happens to be a motorcyclist, BTW).

    He then split off (for reasons I do not know) and started his own company, whose sole product has consistently been rated above all others, in most cases by a wide margin. Every so often another detector comes along that tests better in one category, but never in all categories, and there is usually a drawback: most of the others are "hysterical" with many more false alarms than the V1.
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