Stalker has been building speed-detection devices for 30 years, helping law enforcement bring the hammer down on those of us with a heavy right wrist with its long line of portable radar and lidar machines. This is its latest creation: the X-Series XLR Lidar.
“It’s the worst thing invented for the happy motorist, especially this new one,” says Wayne Dixon, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “I’ve gotten this one out to 3,800 feet.”
At that distance, Stalker says the XLR is accurate to within 1 mph, and it can pick up a target in less than half a second.
“It’s traveling at the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second. By the time I pull this trigger, it’s already gone and come back.”
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That’s why lidar is so effective for officers, and so frustrating for riders with radar or lidar detectors. There’s no hoping that you have time to slow down when you see the squad car. If the cop can see you, he knows how fast you’re going.
And with machines like the XLR, lidar is more prevalent than ever. The gun weighs just 2.3 pounds with the battery in place, and unlike previous iterations that had to rely on a suitcase full of AA batteries or an obnoxious cigarette-lighter plug, the XLR uses lithium-ion cells that can power the gun for two full shifts and endure up to 500 charges before needing to be replaced. Oh, and it can track targets through obstructions such as leaves, bushes, or fences.
Want to be a real scumbag? Go steal a motorcycle. You’ll instantly rank with the thousands of other miserable twits in this country who went after someone else’s pride and joy for a quick buck.
But really, don’t. More than 45,000 people came out for a ride only to find their bike gone last year. Same for the year before that, and the year before that. It’s the stuff of nightmares for a rider who has put their hard-earned money and time into a motorcycle. Safety measures such as chain locks, disc-brake alarms, locked covers, steering locks, or tracking devices are good, but aren’t 100 percent foolproof because these depraved goons are coming for your precious metal with some serious tools. But if you know what’s in their kit, you’ll be better prepared to protect your ride.
Heavy-duty bolt cutters are definitely on that list. They’re quiet and can be effective on cable locks and thick chain. If the thief is even less discreet, you can bet there’ll be a battery-powered angle grinder in the mix too. What you lose in subtlety, you gain in speed and cutting power—in a Motorcyclist test, the toughest chain available lasted scarcely more than three minutes against a grinder. Canned air, or more specifically, the difluoroethane inside those cans, can be effective too, freezing locks and allowing a thief to bust through them with a hammer. For the clever and mechanically adept, a screwdriver, wire cutters, and a little wire are enough to make off with your machine. For other theft rings, a van is more their style because thieves can get the bike out of sight quick.
Knowledge is power. Look at your machine with a thief’s perspective and put a few protective measures in place, then you can rest assured your bike will stay right where you left it.
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