Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive ABS
The Burgman 650 has been the boss of the Maxi-Scooter brigade for more than a decade but Suzuki are still refining the old girl to keep her as leader of the pack.
The Executive ABS update includes ABS of course, as well as a power socket, adjustable screen and seat, electric folding mirrors, heated grips and seat, a courtesy light for the huge underseat storage and several other mostly very useful gizmo’s.
Despite lavishing the scoot with all these mod-cons the Burgman still feels uncomplicated, low tech and simple. She hides a lot of cleverness under her skirts but would be a very simple bike to live with.
At 278 kg it is a bit of a haul on and off of the mainstand, but the inclusion of a handbrake keeps things well behaved once parked – particularly useful if you are humping shopping in and out of the boot. At an estimated 50 litres this is something of a cave and those of us used to riding with a backpack quickly learn to love the convenience this offers.
There are three more glove boxes under the handlebars, one of which is lockable and contains the 12v socket – ideal for phone, satnav or a heated jacket – these little details are what makes this bike a practical year round machine.
Practicality aside, the Burgman has always been a pleasing way to get from A to B, whether it be rush hour bustling or touring, and the updated model is no different.
The engine produces 54bhp at 7,000rpm with an estimated top speed of 110mph. It is an eager feeling engine but feels quicker than it actually is. You need to plan your overtakes or use the “power” button to hold on to the revs a little more. This livens things up nicely and throttle response is much more direct. It is very handy but I only used it for small bursts of acceleration before returning to drive mode and trying to get the little green “eco” light illuminated. This shows you when you are riding efficiently and the new Burgman has had quite a few improvements on this side of things too.
The clutch has been redesigned to give less drag and weight saving measures have been applied to the improved brakes. 50mpg seems to be the popular estimate but I achieved 68mpg without really trying over 150 miles. Given the weight, frontal area and the CVT transmission this is an impressive return particularly given the fact that I achieved this while making good progress – this was no eco-ride.
The Continuously variable transmission also comes with the option to override it and use a thumb-shifter to select your own gears. While this is something people might find desirable in the showroom it is far from necessary on the road and I barely touched it – of all the tricks this bike offers this is the only one I found that had limited usefulness.
Making the transition from bike to scooter is a little odd at first – the lack of bike between your legs gives a feeling of remoteness and the long wheelbase with comparatively small 15 and 14 inch wheels only add to the effect. It only takes a few hours of seat-time to adapt however and you soon learn to trust the machine.
All my rides were accompanied by a gentle left/right weave, which was not at all unpleasant and in general I found the bike to be sure footed and happy to turn, although I did feel that braking was not really to be rushed. Despite this feeling an emergency stop is not a massive drama and the ABS sorts out any clumsiness, but the bike definitely rewards a steady hand when it comes to stopping.
With the adjustable screen and the large well placed mirrors there was never an excuse to lose track of what is going on around you, and when you are riding a large white bike and wearing hi-viz most of what goes on around you is polite driving while the drivers try to decide whether or not you are one of the boys in blue.
It is mandatory that I find something to moan about, so here are a few minor niggles –
The indicator button is slightly recessed and awkward to use in winter gloves.
It is easy to go one click too far with the key when parking and leave the lights on, but after 8 hours the bike still started so no problem with battery life.
Economy is good, but the tank needs to be bigger. A tourer should offer 200+ miles between fill ups but I never got more than 150 before the low fuel light shone.
Clearly these are minor issues and if you lived with the bike two of them would become redundant by familiarity – the Burgman has a lot of charm and practicality. The stylish dash is easy to read and offers nice touches such as external temperature, economy, riding mode and an easy to read clock.
She also turns quite a lot of heads – for sure they are usually tinged with grey – but the bike has presence and as a long term prospect certainly justifies the £8,799 price tag.
words & pics – Mark Wolens
Power 54 BHp
0-60 8.3 sec
Max Speed 110mph est