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Super Scoot Style: Suzuki Burgman

By Arv Voss, November 23rd, 2013

The Burgman has been around for a few years now, available as both a 400 and a 650 model. It's a high-end scooter made by Suzuki. It's no ordinary scooter either -- it falls into the "Maxi" or "Super" scooter genre.

The Suzuki Burgman 650 features a light, rigid chassis with a tubular frame and sleekly styled, curvaceous body work, which not only gives the scooter a sporty appearance, but also delivers an aerodynamic advantage as well at higher freeway speeds. The headlights are widely-spaced "cat-eye" affairs and the rakish windscreen, which is electrically height adjustable, add to the purposeful appearance up front, creating a smooth air flow over the rider, while the updated taillights wrap deeply into the body sides for a clean effect.

My test Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS had a base price of $10,999. Power comes from a 638cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve, twin-cylinder with Suzuki's electronic fuel injection. Power is delivered to the rear wheel through Suzuki's Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission via a final gear drive, that at first glance appears to be a shaft drive assembly. The 4.0-gallon fuel tank allows for a satisfying range that consistently measures in excess of 150 miles, even when cranked up near the limit.

The Suzuki Burgman 650 rides on Bridgestone Battlax tubeless rubber mounted on 5-swirl-spoke alloy wheels. Front suspension consists of telescopic forks with coil springs and oil damping and 4.3 inches of travel. The rear suspension is of a Swing arm, link-type configuration, also with a coil spring, oil damping and adjustable pre-load. Rear suspension travel is 3.9 inches. Bringing the Suzuki Burgman 650 to a halt is handled by hydraulic dual discs forward, and a single disc aft. ABS braking is standard on the 650 model.

Wheelbase of the Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS measures 62.4 inches with the overall length registering 89 inches. It weighs in at 613 pounds dry and the stepped dual seat (designed to carry rider and passenger in comfort) height is 29.7 inches. The adjustable kick-up to the pillion level surface provides lumbar support for the rider, and there is a separate backrest for the passenger, as well as side handgrips and floorboards.

The instrument cluster is both comprehensive and easily legible with an analog speedometer and tachometer, twin trip meters, a digital clock, ambient temperature gauge, running average fuel consumption indicator, fuel level and coolant temperature readings. The starting system is electric, with a maintenance-free battery.

Additional thoughtful and useful features include an easy-to-operate parking brake lever located on the left side within easy reach, and dual stands (center and side).

The riding position is exceptionally comfortable aboard the Suzuki Burgman 650 with plenty of room to stretch out the rider's legs. The ignition switch features a tamper-resistant magnetic cover, along with a special cut-away section that allows for the use of a chain-type lock for securing the frame and bodywork to an immovable object. There's also a fork lock.

There's no big V-twin exhaust note, but the fuel economy delivered by the Burgman is a heck of a lot better. There's also no clutch or foot brake to concern yourself with either. Both front and rear brakes are operated by handlebar-mounted hand levers.

The transmission offers the option of manual or automatic shifting. The manual mode provides six predetermined CVT ratios to shift through, using Up and Down buttons on the left handlebar. Two fully automatic modes include Normal and Power.

The balance is superb and the ride quality is smooth, despite the fact that I didn't adjust the rear suspension pre-load. Had I done so, I'm sure the ride would have been even smoother. Acceleration is rapid even in the automatic mode, and the Burgman 650 is comfortable cruising at 70 or 75 mph, with more room to roll on even more throttle.

Admittedly, there are riders who shudder at the thought of being seen riding a scooter of any size, shape or form. If you're a manly man who can get past the fear of emasculation by riding a scooter, give it a try, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's a lot of fun and has more power to offer than many motorcycles. It's also more comfortable and economical to operate as well.

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