Sunday, June 14, 2009

Finally rode a Suzuki Burgman

Several folks have been pestering me to ride a Suzuki Burgman, so yesterday, I finally had an opportunity to do so. I showed up at Trans-Am Cycle at around noon and the salesman brought the scooter around for me so I could take it for a spin. The model I rode was a used 2006 Burgman 400. Unfortunately, it was not a new scooter, nor was it the current design, but since many folks will probably be interested in saving money by buying used, I think my impressions have merit.

As I've done on the previous two scooter reviews, I will start with my initial impressions of the Suzuki Burgman 400:
  • Appearance: The Burgman looks good. Its lines are aerodynamic and smooth.
  • Fit and Finish: Good. Even with the age of the scooter I rode, the body panels and console and so on were still flush with no obvious signs of seperation.
  • Storage: Underseat storage is cavernous. Not quite enough to transport a body, but close. The glove box is deep, and there are two small covered pockets just inside the handlebars which could be used to carry wallets, keys, and so on.
  • Sound: the Burgman is quiet enough, though the muffler does have a slight little rumble under acceleration. It's nowhere near as loud as a standard motorcycle and that's just fine with me.
  • Seat height is good. it's a bit lower than what I'm used to, which is a nice change.
  • Footroom is fantastic. As with the Yamaha Majesty, there are forward floorboards which allow for the rider to stretch their legs easily.
  • Mirrors are wide set, allowing a good view behind.
  • Vibration is minimal, with none of the thumping I felt on the Yamaha Majesty. Seems to be realy well counterbalanced.
  • Instruments seem well placed. I've heard complaints about the instrument panel on pre-2007 Burgmans, but I liked what I saw.
  • Windshield is nice, though a slightly taller shield would be preferable.
As for the ride;
  • The Burgman's stability is good. Not the same as what I would expect of a big wheel scooter, but close. I think the longer wheelbase throws me off a little since I'm used to the smaller wheelbase of the big-wheel scoots.
  • The Agility and suspension seem pretty good. Again, the agility is not what I am used to, but the suspension is indeed better. The suspension was comparable to the Majesty, though not quite as nice as the Piaggio BV-500.
  • The seat comfort is fantastic. I love the backrest. the backrest on the Burgman 400 is better than that of the Majesty. Probably the best I've had opportunity to try so far.
The performance of the Burgman is as follows:
  • The engine is fuel injected, but the acceleration was a little choppy. It felt good, and accelerated up to an indicated 70mph, but it felt less certain of itself than the SH-150, which seemed very odd to me. It may have been a specific issue with that scooter, due to the fact that it was used.
  • The Burgman's speed was similar to the Majesty. of course, the two scooters are in the same class, so that was to be expected. I was unable to test it past 70mph due to the limited test ride I was allowed by the dealer.
  • Cornering was good for as long as the wheelbase is on the Burgman. It didn't feel quite as sporty as a big-wheel scoot, but it did corner comfortably, without any feelings of ungainliness.

On the whole, I liked the Burgman, but after riding the Piaggio BV-500, and even the Honda SH-150, it was a bit of a letdown. It's accelleration was a little sluggish compared to both of those scooters. Nevertheless, it seems to be a very capable machine, despite the acceleration issues I noticed.

I think I like the seat comfort better than anything I've sat upon so far, though the BV-500 came close. I think it would certainly be more comfortable than my current scooter for long distance rides. The storage also makes it a great choice for touring.

At this point, I think I'll put the Burgman 400 in the second position on my short list, of possible future purchases, just under the BV-500. Both scooters have a nice, smooth ride, without the vibration I found so unsettling on the Majesty.

The Burgman is an impressive scooter, and is sure to please.


kz1000st said...

Of course the Prime Directive forbids interferring in the development of civilizations but you did listen to the part about future maintenance costs and parts availability of Italian scooters, right?

Paul said...

The horse is well and truly dead. :)

I did check on that and the dealer stated that he has had surprisingly good success in obtaining parts. I've also seen testimonials from other recent Piaggio purchasers indicating that parts availability has improved.