We go on the job with a havebike technician. This month, we service one of the hardest working sets of wheels on the road…the police bike.
Tell us a bit about how the bikes are used.
The bikes can be used regularly for up to 12 hours a day; that’s a lot more than the average cyclist would use the bike for. The officers also wear full uniform with a utility belt and the bike has a pannier bag, so the bikes carry a lot of weight compared to your average street bicycle.
What parts of the bike suffer the most wear and tear?
The drivetrain – chain and cassette (the small cogs at the back) and chainrings (the big cogs at the front) are the moving parts of the bike that wear over time. As the chain wears so do the chainrings and cassette. Unsurprisingly, the brake pads and cables bear the brunt of the wear and tear, as do the grips and gear cables.
How badly do the bikes get damaged on duty?
The bikes are really looked after by the officers but they may occasionally be dropped if they need to pursue a suspect. We don’t hold that against them!
How often does each bike get serviced?
It depends on how the bikes are used. Traffic or Response team bikes are heavily used all year round, so are serviced up to three or four times a year. Otherwise each bicycle receives at least one full service per year, as well as intermittent repairs.
What type of bikes do police use? Are they specially adapted for duty?
Police use mountain bikes that are specially modified. The mods include puncture resistant tyres, strengthened wheels, kickstands and rear luggage racks. They also need to have ergonomic contact points – saddles, grips, pedals – and unisex saddles. The bikes are also marked with livery and asset numbers.
What’s the lifespan of the average police bike?
Four to five years. The very first fleet of bikes that we built for a high profile police team in Summer 2010 were decommissioned at the end of 2014. They had been serviced at least three times a year since we supplied them. Considering what the bikes are put through every day, that’s pretty good going.