A lot of the things that can mess up a ride are easy to spot before they become a problem, like distracted drivers and poor road conditions. But one hazard—police radar—is usually impossible to see until it’s too late. Even with a radar detector, the unit’s warning light and audible alert compete for your attention with road noise, traffic and the bike’s own instruments. When you have only seconds to react—and that’s usually all you get when you’re about to ride into an electronic ambush—you need a clear, obvious and impossible-to-ignore warning. Legal Speeding Enterprise’s HARD System V provides it.
HARD, or Helmet Assisted Radar Detection, consists of a battery-powered receiver, and a plug-in transmitter required for use with certain detectors. The battery-powered receiver has an on/off switch that’s easy to operate even with gloves, and a small but bright LED warning light on the end of a flexible stalk. The receiver is waterproof and has a cord long enough to allow mounting it with the provided hook-and-loop patch to either side of the helmet. The LED light is mounted inside the helmet and positioned so it can be seen without having to move your eyes or head. In the helmet I used, it was easy to poke it up between the cheek pad and the helmet’s inner liner.
What happens next depends on the radar detector you use. The Adaptiv TPX that Legal Speeding sent along with the HARD system doesn’t require the separate HARD transmitter; when the detector is activated, the TPX transmits a wireless RF signal to the receiver, and the red LED lights up.
If you have a Beltronics, Escort or Valentine detector you’ll need the HARD transmitter along with the HARD receiver. The transmitter plugs into the detector, and the detector’s power cord plugs into the transmitter. Beltronics, Escort and Valentine detectors have four leads in the power cord’s plug, two to power the detector and two for external warning devices. When the detector alerts, the transmitter sends a signal to the HARD receiver and the LED flashes.
Legal Speeding sent me two detectors to try out with the HARD system, an Adaptiv TPX and a Passport 8500 X50 by Escort. After mounting the transmitter on my helmet, and the Adaptiv on my bike, I went for a ride. It didn’t take long to find radar, and it took no time at all to notice it thanks to the glaring red light at the corner of my eye as the LED lit up and flashed in time with the detector’s alert. The LED was impossible to ignore—even when I couldn’t see the Adaptiv’s visual alert or hear its audible warning—and I never had to take my eyes off the road to see it. In fact, there was no way to not see it.
Then I switched to the Passport, adding the plug-in transmitter. The radar was still in the same place (slow day, officer?), and the alert came just as quickly and was as impossible to ignore. In neither case was it necessary to mount the detector where it could be seen without moving my head or eyes; as long as it was placed in such a way that nothing got between it and the radar signal, the HARD receiver provided all the warning I needed.
Legal Speeding Enterprises, maker of the HARD System V, will happily sell you both Adaptiv and Escort radar detectors, too. Whether you see speed enforcement as a necessary part of traffic safety or a cynical money grab by cash-strapped states and municipalities, HARD makes it easy to avoid getting a big fine and points on your license for riding a few mph over the limit. The HARD receiver retails for $100.67; the receiver and transmitter together go for $168.47.
For more information: Call (214) 673-9443 or visit legalspeeding.com
(This Gearlab review was published in the September 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)