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

Reviews -



The Burgman is far more at home on the freeway than any scooter should ever be. My girlfriend was shocked when she asked what I’d ridden up to her house (a 25 mile commute) and I told her it was a scooter. She called me a liar and went to the window to see what I’d really ridden, and then asked, “Isn’t that dangerous?” Nope, not at all (unless you consider a ride so easy it leaves you a bit unengaged, dangerous.) Seriously, it’s like sitting in a recliner.

Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS
Not many touring bikes fit in my garage this well.

It isn’t perfect for city life.
My biggest issue with the Burgman was with its slow speed handling. At 32 inches wide, it’s a lot of scooter. While narrower at the middle section than the mirrors and bars, the floorboards are still fairly wide which make putting your feet down a little unsettling. The width, in addition to the extremely quick slow steering, make filtering stressful and it’s a far reach to throw a stabilizing leg down.

Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS
2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS

The Burgman isn’t for everyone.
The Burgman is a wonderful reminder about all of the things that are great about scooters. The added range brought about by the larger engine and the increased footprint is a nice exercise in engineering, but both are really only useful in times we’d rather be on a regular motorcycle, especially when you factor in the Burgman’s 2014 model price of $10,999. While it’s great that you technically can tour on a scooter, we aren’t sure we want to exclusively and would rather have our scooters the way God intended them: compact and useful for riding around town. If a maxi-scooter fits your life, the Burgman is one of the best; we just have a hard time seeing it being your best option unless you have very specific criteria.

Related Links:
News: 2014 Suzuki Burgman 200 ABS
RideApart Review: 2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS
RideApart Review: Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS

  • 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:


    • Michael Howard

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