There must be more than one reason why riders and drivers of all sorts of vehicles install a radar detector. Perhaps it’s not even an attempt to avoid citations for flagrant speeding over the legal limit. It could be used as a reminder to slow down in certain areas. But, let’s face it, some of us are known to exceed any legal limit from time to time—sometimes, the speed limit just ain’t enough.
Whatever the motivation, the Ultimate Motorcycling BMW R 1250 RS Project Bike can exceed most speed limits in second gear. If radar and laser operators are shooting at me, I want to know. Rather than ride behind pals using detectors, I need to be equipped for my own peace of mind.
Adaptiv Technologies claims the TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detector System detects all police radar and laser bands with 360-degree protection. Crucially, it is motorcycle-friendly.
As they are designed to operate on windshields or visors in automobiles, most radar detectors place the display at the back end of the unit. The Adaptive TPX is designed for motorcyclists thanks to an easily readable LCD display on top of the unit that is angled toward the rider’s line of sight. The backlit control buttons are glove-friendly large, the display is legible in any light, the warning light pod is mountable almost anywhere, and the unit is claimed to be waterproof. I could not find another unit with these attributes.
If you want the unit to do double-duty in your car, the design of the Adaptive TPX could be a disadvantage. I got the automotive mounting kit ($29) and gave that a try. My head is a lot higher than the dashboard in my sedan, but lower in my sports car. Although I hear a warning in both, I must crane my neck up to see the display in the sports car. Still, the unit works nicely, and I’m not going to buy another.
I had my local BMW dealer install the TPX for several reasons. I could have easily done this myself, but the dealer was installing Clearwater lights on the R 1250 RS Project Bike.
To install the Clearwater lights, the fuel tank has to be removed to route the wires. This was a good excuse to have them wire in the Adaptiv TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detection System at the same time. This allowed a connection into the electrical system, rather than grabbing 12 volts from somewhere under the dashboard.
The technician mounted and powered the unit, as well as placed the warning light cluster atop my dashboard with no wires showing. I doubt I’d have done it as cleanly.
Unfortunately, I handed off the unit without checking the details. What I had not read was that the audio out jack is located at the end of the power cable and not, as I had erroneously assumed, on the unit itself.
I intended to hook up Adaptiv’s Bluetooth (BT) transmitter and pair it to my helmet intercom’s second BT channel to hear warnings. Sadly, because I had not given the technician proper instructions, the audio-out jack was buried under the fuel tank with the rest of the wiring.
Accessing this would require several hours of shop time, and the cost would not justify the procedure. Should I ever need to remove the tank, I will re-route the audio cable and give it a try.
I do wonder what it would take for Adaptiv Technologies to incorporate a Bluetooth chip on the TPX circuit board to make this an integrated feature. It would eliminate the need to have a separate BT transmitter, the wiring, and the power connection to make it operate.
Nonetheless, having ridden over a thousand miles with the TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detector System installed and running, I’ve seen my share of actual police (mostly Ka-band here in SoCal) and even more false alarms. They were generally an assortment of highway speed suggestion signs with radar (K-band), automatic door openers, and automobile lane-change monitors on cars I passed.
I have trained my eye to notice the lights flashing—it took a couple of rides to program myself to widen my vision to spot the unit lights. When I see them, I glance at the TPX to determine the type of signal and strength. I can usually judge if the alerts are serious warnings or not.
In retrospect, there are enough of these warnings that the beeping would probably drive me to distraction if I had my headset connected. So, perhaps it’s a good thing that the audio output got buried under the tank although, as I describe below, setting the unit to “Highway No X & K” I get almost no false alarms.
The Adaptiv TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detection System offers some setup and mode choices. I can activate or deactivate red light and speed camera warnings, change the display brightness, and adjust the built-in speaker’s volume. As for modes, I can choose Highway or City (less sensitive) and further adjust to Highway No X, Highway No X & K, City No X, or City No X & K.
After experimenting, I usually ride with the mode selected to Highway No X & K, as Ka is the police weapon of choice in my area. This keeps false warnings to almost none.
Note from Adaptiv: “If you change it over to City No X&K it will further cut down on the false positives. You won’t lose any range on detection range, rather, when you are in City modes, when it picks up a signal it will give you a double beep/flash if the detector thinks there’s a chance of it being a false positive. Once the signal gets stronger or when it thinks that it could be real, then it’ll start beeping and flashing again.”
Although I have yet to see an L for laser alert throughout my rides in California, I keep my eyes peeled for a laser alert. Lasers are the sneakiest, usually giving the least warning. The TPX starts when I turn on the ignition and stays in the mode last used. Its various boot-up sounds get me a few odd looks in parking lots.
I’ve seen a few RLC (red light camera) and speed camera warnings, and I like that the unit displays the distance to the camera in feet. This model TPX has GPS built in and an updateable database of RLCs and such. However, the last update was a year ago.
As in some other detectors, I wish the Adaptiv TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detection System had a button I could press to mark any ever-present false alarm locations. After all, it does have GPS, unlike the earlier TPX 2.0 version. There is a button I can easily press to silence the detector for 20 seconds. It re-arms automatically.
Having a radar detector on my bike adds an extra chore or, better stated, responsibility when I ride. With it, riders must deal with the occasional alarm and sort out whether they are going fast enough to care, whether it’s a false alarm or an actual threat. Without it, one can ride merrily along their way, blissfully ignorant of any speed traps. The choice is yours.
I haven’t had a speeding ticket in many years because I think I’m smart (lucky) enough to pick and choose where to twist the throttle, though that’s not very foolproof. Since affixing the Adaptiv TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detection System and after all these miles, I have not removed the unit. I would feel a bit naked out on the highway without it, and the Ultimate Motorcycling BMW R 1250 RS Project Bike’s cumulative speed average is going up.
Adaptiv TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detection System Fast Facts
- 10.500 – 10.550 GHz (X Band)
- 24.050 – 24.250 GHz (K Band)
- 33.400 – 36.000 GHz (Ka Super Wide Band)
- Laser wavelength: 910nm +/- 50Nm
- Wireless RF Transmitter frequency: 418 MHz
- Length: 4.5 inches
- Width: 2.9 inches
- Depth: 1.9 inches
- Weight: 7.5 ounces
Adaptiv TPX Pro Radar and Laser Detection System Price: $400 MSRP (Control Mount: $85)