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Thread: Radar detector for the thrifty?

  1. #31
    R1100R "Traveler" DesertRider's Avatar
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    Yup, saw the C/D test, been reading those as far back as the early 80s when they started doing those. Funny thing is, though, that I can't find another objective test that rates the V1 way ahead. Car & Driver always rates the V1 way ahead, no one else does. One has to wonder why that is -- perhaps their testing method favors the V1 over others, and since their test is always exactly the same, they always keep getting the same result.

    In any case, there are many test setups that could be done to test objective performance, and if many tests have been done, one has to look at all of them, not just focus on the one that yields the preferred result. And it's in looking at all the tests I can find that I consistently see the Escort 8500 and the V1 neck and neck, and when a winner is called, the Escort more often than not is declared the winner.

    And... you're not going to "see the data" as this isn't a university class or a double blind controlled experiment, so forget it
    No, I'm not going to "forget it." Good data is the basis of any good decision. To refuse to look at it is folly.

    This isn't like picking your favorite color where there results cannot be measured and compared. The great thing about radar detectors is that they are very easily testable in an objective manner, so objective data *are* very much available. And when I look at the data from the sources I can find, V1 is NOT the clear winner by any means. I would gladly spend the extra money for one if I could see it was clearly better, but I'm not finding what shows that -- can you?

    Look, why don't you go out and buy one of each and use them side by side for a couple of weeks. You can return any mail order item within a month, I believe. Then let us know what you think.
    Funny you should suggest that. Backroads USA, a motorcycle touring magazine published mostly in the eastern U.S., did just that. Here's what they said about their side-by-side on-road comparison of an Escort 8500 and a Valentine V1:

    We have been running these two radar detectors together, on separate motorcycles for most of last season, and we have found that the new Passport 8500. is every bit as sensitive, and seems to work every bit as good as the Valentine One. In some cases even better, depending upon conditions.

    During many of these trips and tours, when either Shira or I heard an alarm of an approaching wallet-grabber, we would immediately tell the other. Sometimes the V1 was first, sometimes the Passport 8500.

    In the real world they are virtually neck and neck.
    The article did go on to say that they found that the Escort was a bit more weather-resistant than the V1, which could be a factor on a bike, but is of course secondary to is detection abilities.

    I also found a discussion on a Nissan car forum where one fellow did go out and buy both, and first reports indicated one is about as good as the other.

    So I ask again: Where is the objective proof, or even good evidence, that would lead a thinking person to conclude the V1 is unquestionably better? You came up with one, the Car & Driver test, but I can't find another one that corroborates that. I can find many more that indicate otherwise (including last month's test in Motor Trend, which found the 8500 better than the V1.) I even went to the Valentine1 web site looking for excerpts or links to reviews, but found none. (If they're there I couldn't find them -- has anyone else?) On the Escort site, however, I found links and reprints of more than a dozen reviews (even some which did not rate the Escort #1).

    It gets me wondering: So where is the mass of articles and comparisons rating the V1 as markedly superior? Is their whole reputation based on endorsement by just one magazine (Car&Driver)? Where are the others who acclaim it best? Can anyone point me to some? If anyone knows of others I'd honestly like to see them -- thanks.

    Look, I have no doubt the V1 is a very fine detector. The question, though, is whether it's truly the measurable best, if it lives up to all its hype, if this "king" wears any clothes. So far what I'm seeing is his naked little butt , and would appreciate any pointers that would help me conclude otherwise.
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  2. #32
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    I guess the issue is that aside from Car and Driver, the only other tests I've seen have been along the lines of radartest.com, who are provided with units by the manufacturer and are paid to test them.

    Until then, C/D stands for me. I've been reading their tests and methodology for better than 20 years and they're nothing if not consistent.

    I think if you're placing all your decision making on sensitivity, you're missing a big piece of what makes a V1 so effective. You have big arrows that tell you which direction the source is coming from, along with how many sources there are.

    Here's an example. I rode across the country last year and passed a cop, of course, the V1 picked him up and as I went by, the signal went from being indicated as ahead to being indicated as behind. Before that signal died, the V1 picked up a signal from the front and started reporting 2 sources. Eventually, the count changed to 1 and lo and behold, I came across another cop.

    If I'd been relying solely on beeps and signal strength like I did when I had my original Passport, I would have surmised that the cop was pacing me from behind. I would have been in for a nasty surprise as I crested the hill and found one of Missouri's finest with his radar set up.

    That's just one example of why I prefer the V1. Sensitivity isn't the only way to measure whether a radar detector is effective. Useful information is also important. In that regard, the V1 provides clearer, more useful information than any other detector I've seen.
    Dave Swider
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  3. #33
    R1100R "Traveler" DesertRider's Avatar
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    Originally posted by KBasa
    I guess the issue is that aside from Car and Driver, the only other tests I've seen have been along the lines of radartest.com, who are provided with units by the manufacturer and are paid to test them.
    Which ones are you referring to? The only one I've seen that does that is RadarTest. I've not seen any information that any of the other tests was with a manufacturer-supplied unit.

    I think if you're placing all your decision making on sensitivity, you're missing a big piece of what makes a V1 so effective. You have big arrows that tell you which direction the source is coming from, along with how many sources there are.
    Certainly I'm not relying just on sensitivity. In fact based on detectors I've owned previously, very high sensitivity can be too much of a good thing, particularly in urban areas. I'm going by the overall findings of all the tests, all of which do take into account much more than raw sensitivity.

    I do agree that knowning how many sources there are is a good thing -- but the V1 is not the only unit that does that. The 8500, for instance, has a mode in which it will simultaneously display the signal strength of up to 8 signal sources (on 8 separate bar graph readouts on the LED display matrix).

    And I do see the value of of directional display in some selected situations, but when it's displaying multiple signals, how do you know which one the pointer arrows refer to?

    One feature that does seem questionable on a number of high-end detectors is rearward laser sensors. Fine on a car, I suppose, but on a bike your body will block most of the signals from behind. For that matter, your body will block much of the radar signal from behind too, depending on the band, though in the case of radar there may be enough surface scatter to still pick up a rearward emitter. A laser, though, will have far less scatter, and I think rearward sensing of lasers is feature mostly of use in cars, not bikes (unless you're going to mount the unit far off the side of the bike, but I've not see anyone do that).
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  4. #34
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DesertRider Certainly I'm not relying just on sensitivity. In fact based on detectors I've owned previously, very high sensitivity can be too much of a good thing, particularly in urban areas.
    I don't know the other "good" detectors, but the V1 has several different modes of operation that selectively filter out things. I leave mine wide open all the time, but some folks do use the filters.

    And I do see the value of of directional display in some selected situations, but when it's displaying multiple signals, how do you know which one the pointer arrows refer to?
    You don't know which specific arrow is indicating which bogey. What you do know, though, is which of the arrows (if multiple arrows are lit) is picking up the strongest signal, as the strong one flashes.
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  5. #35
    R1100R "Traveler" DesertRider's Avatar
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    << I don't know the other "good" detectors, but the V1 has several different modes of operation that selectively filter out things. I leave mine wide open all the time, but some folks do use the filters. >>

    Pretty much all of them have that. Some, such as the 8500, even allow you to disable warning on some types of radar. In Arizona, for instance, I don't know of any police agencies that use X-band radar, so if you get an X-band warning, you can be sure it's some store's motion detector or other civilian gadget. With the 8500 you can selectively disable X band (or any other band), thus avoiding all those false alarms.

    ---

    I did get a chance to play with an 8500 earlier today. It was set to "Expert Display mode," which shows a graphical readout of all the different types of radar signals it's picking up and their relative signal strenghts as bar graphs -- very cool feature.

    We took it do a street near me where there's a fixed speed monitor -- it monitors traffic in both directions on the street and it displays your speed as you go by (if you're going more than 5 mph over it just shows "SLOW DOWN"). Driving toward it, the K-band signal triggered way off and still around a bend, plenty of time to avoid it had it been a police radar, and it displayed a growing bar graph as we approached it. Before we got to it, though, a second, smaller bar graph appeared, slowly growing. That was a bit puzzling until we passed the radar unit, at which point the smaller bar suddenly grew larger and the first one shrank very small. What we were seeing in the second bar graph was the K-band signal from the fixed speed monitor pointing the other way (down the street away from us). It was weak as we were approaching , then as we passed the monitoring point it suddenly grew because now it was firing toward us from behind, while the first unit, now behind us and shooting away from us, shrank to very small. I've never used a radar unit with a multiple-signal strength indicator like that, and I can see how the graphical display makes it much easier to figure out what's happening.

    Does the V1 have anything like that, a way to simultaneously monitor the strength of multiple signals? Seems very useful, and it would be interesting to know if the V1 has it.
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  6. #36
    Registered User moterbiker's Avatar
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    I can just post about personal experience. 2 summers ago I was coming home from VT on the bike, my partner was behind me, we were travelling about 85 down the interstate, a 65 MPH zone, I got a big radar hit a grabbed a lot of brake a second later I saw the cop and I was below his ticket threshold, I looked in the rearview at my partner and she was a half mile behind me waving. Same trip about 40 minutes later in NH the exact same thing happened, when we pulled over for gas she asked me why I had waited so long to slow down, my answer was I slowed when I got the alert, she got the alert way before me. I was lucky, I have cordless Bel, she has the V1.

    I am going to buy another radar detector when I can afford one, until then I have slowed my ass down considerably, when I can afford one it will be a V1.

  7. #37
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Originally posted by moterbiker
    I can just post about personal experience. 2 summers ago I was coming home from VT on the bike, my partner was behind me, we were travelling about 85 down the interstate, a 65 MPH zone, I got a big radar hit a grabbed a lot of brake a second later I saw the cop and I was below his ticket threshold, I looked in the rearview at my partner and she was a half mile behind me waving. Same trip about 40 minutes later in NH the exact same thing happened, when we pulled over for gas she asked me why I had waited so long to slow down, my answer was I slowed when I got the alert, she got the alert way before me. I was lucky, I have cordless Bel, she has the V1.

    I am going to buy another radar detector when I can afford one, until then I have slowed my ass down considerably, when I can afford one it will be a V1.
    Which Bel? Some of the older ones have been rated rather poorly.

  8. #38
    Registered User moterbiker's Avatar
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    Damned if I know, takes batteries, has an earpiece, had it since 01.

  9. #39
    R1100R &quot;Traveler&quot; DesertRider's Avatar
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    Originally posted by moterbiker
    Damned if I know, takes batteries, has an earpiece, had it since 01.
    As a general rule cordless detectors do not perform as well as the better corded units. Apparently something is compromised to get the power consumption low enough for them to operate on batteries. Both Bel and Escort offer cordless units, but they are not their best performers.
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  10. #40
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    Which one.......

    I can't speak about the V1, but I am on my second Escort, first a 7500 and now an 8500 and I have to say they are great units....I have over a 100,000 miles between my car and bike with the 8500 and it has performed flawlessly. I wish it had a rear indicator light but other than that it's great....learn how to use it and you won't be sorry. One thing I have not read is repair cost....they do drop on ocassion......$ 50 flat fee to fix anything on an 8500....and when they send it back they usually have enclosed some accessory for free. Most reports are V!'s are pricey to repair . To me, this a no-brainer.....this is not based on some hyped report or flashy add with all sorts of proclamations but on my own personel use and in over 3 years and 100,000 plus miles this unit has not failed me and has on more than one ocassion has amazed me and taught me to beleive in it .

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