Sunday, October 01, 2006

Suzuki Burgman 650 Review

Recently Jes and I did some test-straddling at a local Suzuki dealership, whilst getting some safety gear. This dealer had the full range of Burgmans, the full Kymco range, and a used Helix. I found all but the largest Kymcos too confining, too much like that feet flat on the floor back straight posture your parents would make you imitate when eating at the dining room table (bet I'm dating myself with that one) or at a fancy dress-up restraunt. The Dragon has some long spindly legs, that cramp up if they aren't allowed to stretch and move around every five minutes or so. I've never been a fan of the looks of maxi-scoots, so I was quite surprised at just how much I liked the feel of the Burgmans. Actually the one that was most comfortable, for me, and for us (we tried most of the scooters to see how they would feel as driver and as passenger) was the Burgman 400.
But this article on the Burgman 650 is pretty interesting, it's definitely a highend machine (over $12k), but you definitely get some advanced technology for that price, as well as many luxury touches.

For starters, with a high-tech 638cc motor, it is powerful and comfortable enough for touring on the open road, which separates it from traditional scooters by a few light years. But it's not so much the machine but the SECVT which really impressed us ­ the electronic gearbox is a foretaste of the future of commuting machinery and quite possibly of motorcycling in general. Manual Mode offers the ability of shifting up and down as on a motorcycle with a traditional gearbox and there are five pre-determined CVT ratios to shift through... There are two automatic modes: Normal and Power. In Normal Mode, the Burgman runs lower revs at any given road speed, conserving fuel and loping along in the traffic. Most scooters "buzz" or "scream" along ­ the Burgman "lopes". Switch to Power Mode and engine rpm picks up, delivering more ponies per degree of throttle opening. A button on the handlebar toggles between the two modes... Now there's a point where being on a scooter is great, such as when it rains or when you need to store something. But there are other times when being on a scooter is not so great. It is clear after riding the bike for a couple of weeks, that many of motorcycling's brethren do not accept scooter riders as legitimate members of the two-wheeled fraternity.Pull up at the lights and nod to another two-wheeled commuter and the chances of getting a warm reply are greatly diminished if you are on a scooter. Quite strange really, and something we all noticed when riding either the Burgman or the Benelli Adiva.In motorcycling's pecking order, scooters are seemingly on the bottom rung!This rampant "scooterism" has a sure-fire cure when riding the 650 Burgman ­ hit the power button and nail it the millisecond the lights go green.The get-up-and-go of the Burgman over the first 50 metres embarrassed a couple of litre-plus bike riders and positively humiliated a Harley Sportster rider who rode through a red light rather than face the Burgman a second time.The "magic button" is conveniently located on the handlebar panel and it aids the Burgman in producing very spirited performance indeed

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