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Police sell Pans off cheap – and replace with… Pans!

Published: 12 March 2010

It’s months since a £3.5million fleet of 300 police Honda Pan Europeans was scrapped or sold for as little as £600 each over safety concerns.

Yet forces are buying exactly the same model again.

North Wales Police has just placed a £50,000 order for four brand new bikes after ditching a fleet of 16. At least one other force has placed an order for two.

Pans were withdrawn from police use in 2007 following reports of a tendency to wobble at high speed.

The decision was taken after a coroner at an inquest into the death of a police rider said they posed a “serious and continual” threat.

The bikes cost taxpayers over £11,000 each to buy less than four years earlier but many were sold at scrap value, in one case with just one mile on the clock. Others were simply crushed.

Police only got rid of the last of them nine months ago and a handful are still for sale on an ex-police bike website – while forces await the arrival new machines.  

Honda has given the Pan European only superficial updates since the original fleet was purchased.

The ex-police bikes still for sale online will be virtually identical to the new ones except for cosmetics.

Low-mileage bikes disposed of by police in this way sold for as little as £600 at auction but would have been worth around £9,000 as road-going machines.  

The new bikes are for use in high-speed pursuit training as the BMW R1200RTs and Yamaha FJR1300s that replaced the old Pans are considered not fast enough.

Honda has always maintained any high-speed weave problem affected only machines modified for police use, with stiffer suspension for carrying loads.

As the new machines are for training rather than operational use, they will not be modified in the same way.

A North Wales Police spokesman confirmed four brand new Pan Europeans had just been ordered after the force disposed of a fleet of 16. The new bikes cost £13,000 each.

The spokesman said: "North Wales Police stopped using these bikes operationally following the national guidance, but we have continued to use them for training.

"The training bikes are not equipped to operational specifications. They are the same machines that any member of the public could buy".

Nick Rymond, who runs forcemotorcycles.com, bought many of the old bikes at market value and swapped police suspension components for standard ones before selling them on.

He said: “About 20 constabularies got rid of Pans and we took them from about 15 of those. Typically forces had fleets of about 12 each.

“As they were getting rid of them I know officers were complaining that they were the best bike for the job.

“We decommissioned them with Honda’s approval so they were exactly the same as standard ones. A lot of people who bought them got very low-mileage, well maintained bargains.”

For more on this, including how supposedly scrapped police bikes found their way back onto the road, get MCN, on sale now.

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