Greetings. About a month ago I began researching radar detectors in preparation for a road trip. I stumbled upon this site and have been reading through the wealth of information present here ever since. Great information and great community of folks; well done.
I am unable to find the referenced Introductions forum to properly introduce myself. In any case, I thought the ZR4 section to be the most pertinent place to present the slew of stuff I've got. Please excuse local details and the length of this post.
I initially purchased a Beltronics V940, and was quite pleased with its performance. Used it on two road trips, to D.C. and NYC, and it performed quite satisfactorily, especially considering the price. Further research and real-world usage of the detector revealed that it was a fine choice, but given where I do the majority of my driving (Ohio highways), sooner or later I was going to get popped by Lidar. I had quite a close call on westbound I-70 a couple hours out of Columbus, anyone familiar with the area would recognize the spot, coming out of a forest, so to speak, around a blind curve to be hit at probably 600-800 feet by a State Trooper. Hearing the detector yell "Laser Alert" was disconcerting, as I knew he had me clocked by then. Luckily, my 78 in a 65 wasn't enticing enough for him to give chase.
I decided to further research active countermeasures. After much internal debate, I settled on a ZR4, based on several factors. 1. It "synced up" with my V940, which in hindsight really isn't that big of a factor. 2. Bel/Escort (incidentally V1 as well) is located roughly a 5 minute drive from where I work; I purchased the ZR4 from them directly as I wanted to test it out first with the option of returning it if I was dissatisfied with the performance. And finally, 3. I liked the price, and the fact that it offered (arguably minimal, but nonetheless existent) rear protection as part of the package. I have spotted State Poopers shooting lidar from the on-ramp (71 North, Dana Ave. on-ramp if you're familiar with the area) into passing traffic, and wanted to at least be notified when they were doing such things.
I very nearly went ahead and ordered a dual LI with an extra head. I still may do a dual head for the front, in fact, at some point down the road. However, I couldn't justify the extra expense over the ZR4. I tend to be a fairly alert driver, and I felt the ZR4, though it probably won't provide consistent JTG performance, would be sufficient to at a minimum afford that additional couple of seconds needed to slow into the safe zone.
I've had the ZR4 installed for roughly 2 weeks, and to this point have been quite satisfied, to the extent that I went ahead and epoxyed the brackets on for more permanent mounting. Please find a picture of both the front and rear shifter heads below. Vehicle is a 2003 Chevy Impala.
The front heads don't look level left to right do they? I know they are front to back, but looking at this picture I realized I only eyeballed the left to right. I think it's just the way the air dam or whatever is cut. The next pic below makes it look a bit better, I'll go check it after I post this, If I have to rip up that epoxy I'm not going to be pleased.
A couple points of discussion: I am a little concerned about the front heads' distance from the headlights. I think I've got the front plate covered, as well as a leg up as far as the vehicle color and the fairly small reflective surface area overall, but I may consider hacking up the grill at some point to accommodate the heads. I also may hack up the grill to accommodate two LI heads, but that is more long-term. I think some Veil may be in order, especially given the ZR4's weakness with the Stalker and the Veil's apparent good results against that particular unit. I've seen the Stalker listed in the state specific section for Ohio, but I am not to the point where I can i.d. these as I am driving by. Anyone more familiar with what the local yokels are using, or can anyone point me in the direction of a resource I might use to try to become more familiar with the different units and be able to i.d. them?
The rear head is mounted at the bottom of the plate due to it partially obstructing the license plate light when mounted at the top. I think it probably would marginally better protect the rear if mounted at the top, but I'd like to avoid any tickets for not having the plate properly illuminated, as well as not draw attention to the odd apparatus that is blocking the light.
Any thoughts on any of these issues?
Below is a pic of the ZR4 display, mounted in front of the instrument panel. I may move it, as all warnings are delivered through the detector, so it doesn't really do me any good to have it in my field of view. Also note the remote mute button I've mounted in an empty switch spot. This is greatly helpful as I no longer have to either stick my arm through the steering wheel to mute the ZR4 or mute from my now high-mounted, hard-wired detector.
In the roughly two weeks I've had the ZR4 installed, I'd give it two definitive "saves". Southbound 71 immediately after the Pfieffer Rd. exit (again, just for those familiar), I was hit at approximately 1000 ft. doing 84 in a 65 in relatively light traffic. This is an atypical location for them to be shooting; I'm usually able to spot them before the ZR4 alerts, but not this time. I slowed to the posted limit as quickly and discretely as possible, and killed the shifters. The detector was alerting the entire time, until just after I killed the shifters. This, and the fact that I was not ticketed for 19 over, serves to make me feel as though the ZR4 was doing its job. The officer didn't give me a second glance as I drove by, just continued targeting the next potential victim. I suppose this is a good thing, but I would have preferred a confused look so that I could be sure. 2nd save occurred in a 55mph zone, I was doing 72 when I was initially hit. I was worried about this one, as it was a Trooper on a motorcycle leaning against the concrete barrier in the median. I think he was probably shooting at the driver's side headlight. In any case, the ZR4 alerted only briefly (2 seconds perhaps) while I slowed. I wasn't even able to kill the shifters as he had moved on to the next vehicle. Again, nothing out of the ordinary as I passed. Traffic was a bit heavier this time; I think he probably gave up and moved on. In both these situations I feel had I been clocked at the speed I was traveling, or even shortly after I was alerted, I would have been ticketed.
There have been several incidences of being hit with Lidar while traveling at speeds less than 15mph over. I made an intentional loop through the feeding frenzy just north of downtown Cincy the other day after seeing multiple traps, got hit 6 times in the 15 mile loop I traveled. While it was fun, I don't know that the information I gained was that useful, as I wasn't going much over the PSL at all.
I have had what I feel are some false alerts, 4 now to be exact. Two I attribute to Infiniti vehicles behind me. Both were continuous rear alerts after another vehicle moved out of the way and an Infiniti was then directly behind me. A third I am more unsure about, I got a front alert after moving in directly behind a fairly new Escalade. I don't know if some sort of adaptive cruise control system on a Caddy would have any need for a rear facing laser, or if it was perhaps some sort of parking sensor or something, but I feel strongly the Cadillac was the source. It certainly wasn't any police Lidar, as I'm quite familiar with the area and there were no units present. My best guess on the last false is the sun, I was going directly into it and it was fairly intense, I couldn't discern any other reason for the alert.
Last picture, I picked up just yesterday a Passport 9500i. A buddy was going to buy a Bel V940 anyway, so I made him a good deal and helped myself out in the process.
Very pleased with it so far, I have a couple very annoying radar falses on my daily commute (stupid BMW Store), and the silence has been golden thus far. I may kick myself for not waiting until tomorrow and spending the extra $50 for the 9500ix from Escort directly, but we shall see.
And that's all I've got. So far, I'm very pleased with everything I've used. I'd definitely recommend the V940 to someone on a budget; there is a slight but discernible difference in detection range between it and the 9500i, but it was very good itself. 9500i has been great so far, as has the ZR4. Sorry for the long post if that bothers anyone; I always enjoyed reading similar posts so I figured I'd give back in the hopes that this will help someone as others helped me.
Anyone from the Cincinnati area? I saw a (I assume) gentleman named Bearcat who is around these parts. I'd love to get a similar group together as have other areas for some testing. I don't have any Lidar guns but would be happy to chip in to rent some if that is a possibility. I imagine there are folks from Kentucky and Columbus around as well who might be interested. Any takers?
Thanks for reading, hopefully helpful to someone who was in my shoes a few weeks ago, and thanks in advance for any thoughts or comments.
John (from Cincinnati)