2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS – Long Term Test: Month One

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The 2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS is part scooter and part Goldwing, capable of commuting around town or long trips. We’ve had the Burgman for a little over a month now and have learned to love the (maxi) scooter life.

Scooters make life easier.
The Burgman is not the coolest bike in our office currently, nor is it the best at really anything….except making life easy. I’ve used ours to pick up Chinese food, make quick grocery store runs, return a pair of shoes to the Nike store, and make trips from Orange County to Los Angeles to see concerts (The 1975 are fantastic live btw).

Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS
2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS

It handles well.
It’s a fairly large scooter, yet the handling is quick and easy while managing to remain stable at high speeds. It’s equally at home on quick errands as it is on the freeway, and operating it in either situation is far easier than it would be on a regular motorcycle.

2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS
2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS

A few buddies wanted to go for a ride the other day and I met them on the Burgman, opting for fuel economy overthe gas guzzling Griso. They laughed when they saw it and asked if I’d just come from shooting a Jetson’s commercial, but were shocked when I managed to stay right on their tail the entire ride and then locked my helmet, jacket, and gloves under the seat when we stopped to eat.

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  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    Scooters seem to make great urban tools. Boston decided to screw up the parking laws a few summers ago, requesting that they use parking spots rather than just being perched on the sidewalks or racks like bicycles. Now I see less of them about, which is sad.

    Unrelated: Is that the new A* “Rideout” armored hoodie? Thoughts?

    • Aaron

      looks like the Scion 2L.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        You, sir, are correct.

    • Clint Keener

      Yea that jacket looks pretty nice. How does it work? I want a new light jacket to wear around town, and one that could be worn on a bike would be best.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        You’re just gonna have to wait for my review :)

  • Michael Howard

    As much as I hate saying this, maxi-scooters are basically the two-wheeled version of a minivan. And they’re way more nimble around town (and parking lots) than a huge touring bike.

  • ThruTheDunes

    They have their appeal… I was at the BMW dealer having a key made and there was a guy trading in his R?GS in on a pair of BMW scooters. Said he just turned 60, had been riding for over 40 years, and was tired of shifting. Was getting one for him and one for his wife. Loved the storage and what they could haul, and was looking forward to doing some touring on them. Not my cup of tea, but not my place to judge him for what made him happy, either.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      absolutely. they’re wonderful machines, you just need to have specific criteria (like the guy you mentioned) for it to best suit your needs.

    • Khali

      BMW scooters, Yamaha TMAX, Gilera GP800, Aprilia SRV850, Honda Integra, Suzuki Burgman 650/400…they all share a very important feature: Their engines are bolted to, or inside the chassis, and not acting as a swingarm as in common scooters. So all of them behave very similar to standard motorcycles. Just motorcycles that are automatic and have lots of wind protection and great (or no so great due to engines in the chassis) storage capacity.

      Thats why they are so popular here in Europe

  • Clint Keener

    These things are badass in Japan.

    • Piglet2010
    • runnermatt

      When I was station in Okinawa one of the SSgt’s there had a bike. I heard him tell a story about pulling a stoppie up to a red light. A Japanese guy pulled up next to him on a maxi scooter with a woman on the back and gave him a thumbs up. When the light turned green the scooter pulled a wheelie away from it.

  • Jason 1199

    Supermoto > Scooter

    • Michael Howard

      Not when you’re buying a week’s worth of groceries.

  • Piglet2010

    25 miles? I have ridden 200+ miles with only a fuel stop on a Honda Elite 110.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      On LA freeways?

      • Piglet2010

        No – I have enough sense not to live in SoCal.

  • lysdexia

    I’ll stick with my Super Cub,

  • Stuki

    I absolutely abhor the riding position on scooters. Every bump feels like my spine gets pounded 2 inches shorter. I have never ridden one of the big ones with a chassis mounted engine. Perhaps they are better. But small wheels, upright seating with legs forward and short suspension travel just does not agree with me at all.

    What about a dct equipped NC700/750 with a topbox and some panniers? Cheaper, similar storage, and much more forgiving ergonomically. Unless it’s seat is too tall, or you commute in a dress; it just seems like a better solution to the same problem.

    I do recognize many prefer forward controls, upright seating and a low seat; having bigger issues with pain in the knees than lower back. Some even claim hardtails are a-ok for touring, as long as they have highway pegs….. For me though, scooters and cruisers simply do not work. no matter how practical they may be. Vstroms and GS’ and others with that level of suspension travel are fine for upright. And ditto for half tonners like the Goldwing or EGlide. But that’s it as far as bolt upright, feet forward bikes go.

    • Piglet2010

      Not an issue on some scooters – I just put my feet back on my Honda Elite 110 (yes, it has a designed in rearward foot position) and stand over the worst bumps. Much more comfortable to ride than a cruiser.

      • Michael Howard

        I stand on my Yamaha Majesty’s floorboards when going over things like rough railroad crossings. The only issue is I’m almost touching the extra-tall and raked-back non-OEM windscreen when I do it.

        • Piglet2010

          Yeah, I have banged my chin-bar on the windshield (Honda accessory) on my Elite a few times when standing.

    • http://flavors.me/charlesgomes Charles Fernando

      The main thing with the scooter is not so much baggage or comfort, but protection, their body and shield offer a fair cover for windy, cold days, against mud and rain and you don’t get dirt in your pants because you legs are pressing the engine as you were mounting it. That’s why it has a urban appeal, because you need to get to work as clean as possible. And you don’t feel the bang in nice streets and short rides…

  • Bruce Steever

    I like the Burgman, but i want them to build this:

    http://www.gizmag.com/go/2303/

    • Michael Howard

      I knew what that was going to be before I even clicked the link.