Defying those who told me, when I mentioned my upcoming maxi-scooter purchase, "But motorcycles are so dangerous!," I am still alive -- and indeed thriving -- after three days of riding my Suzuki Burgman 650 (Executive version).
Credit goes to me, some great Team Oregon safety/skills training, and a terrific scooter.
Which I've managed to cram into our carport along with two cars, some garbage cans, and a bunch of firewood (one pile had to be moved to accommodate the Burgman).
As shown, the mirrors can be folded in with a touch of a button. Handy for darting between lanes of stopped traffic and squeezing into other tight spaces. Like our carport, when both cars are parked there.
Every time I ride the scooter I learn something. It's a lot heavier than the Yamaha Seca II I had about fifteen years ago. You need to plan ahead when you park a Burgman 650, because you're not going to be pushing it uphill (unless you have some friends with you).
Doing errands is an adventure on a scooter, not a chore. Sure, the thrill will lessen over time, but it's unarguable that getting around is lots more fun on two wheels, especially if they're motorized.
Today I mailed a package at the post office, exercised at our athletic club, and bought some oh-so-delicious Oregon strawberries from an outdoor stand.
Scootering slows you down, pleasantly.
I'm usually in a mild rush as I check off errands on my to-do list. On my Burgman, as with any scooter or motorcycle, there's a rhythm to starting and stopping that has to be followed.
I arrive at the post office. Turn off the scooter. Lower the side stand. Get off the bike. Open the compartment under the seat. Take off my gloves and dark glasses. Remove my helmet. Put gloves and helmet in the compartment. Take jacket off and store it under the seat also. Do my mailing business. Come back to the scooter and reverse the process to "gear up."
It's much different from opening a car door, sitting down, and driving off (in our Prius, it isn't even necessary to get a key out).
This may sound strange, but the lengthier steps needed to get on or off the Burgman feel like a kind of foreplay to me. It's so much fun to ride, I don't mind putting on pants, jacket, boots, helmet, gloves, and dark glasses before I start the engine.
Once I turn the throttle and the scooter starts moving, Burgman and me are in the moment together. If it takes a few minutes to get the passion underway, no problem.
Especially when the goal is safe scootering, the two-wheeling analogy to safe sex.
In the athletic club locker room I was wearing my Olympia Airglide 2 pants. Sitting on a bench to get changed, a guy asked me what I was riding.
"A Suzuki Burgman..."
"650," he said, finishing the sentence for me. "Great bike."
We had a nice conversation. The guy obviously was a knowledgeable motorcyclist. He said he'd just gotten back from a business trip to Utah, which doesn't have a helmet law. He was appalled at how casually some riders were dressed.
"I wear full gear all the time," he said. "Even when it's 100 degrees."
"Excellent," I told him. "I'm planning to do the same."
Yes, putting on a motorcycle jacket, pants, and boots isn't as easy as just jumping on a bike in shorts, t-shirt, and athletic shoes (which is how I was dressed most of the time when I rode a Honda 55 in high school and college).
But healing from preventable injuries if you have an accident is much more of a pain. Literally.
Anyway, scootering and motorcycling is so much fun, it doesn't matter what you're wearing. You'll have a smile on your face (most of the time, at least) regardless of how you are clothed, so it might as well be safely.
Ah, almost forgot about the strawberries. The roadside stand didn't have any bags, so I walked away with an open quart container filled to the brim.
I put them in the underseat compartment. Drove the eight miles home. Found that precisely one strawberry had rolled out of the container. Try doing that on a Harley. Scooters rule!
Dumb question: Where is the fuel tank? And, how many gallons capacity?
Posted by: Roger | June 13, 2009 at 07:50 AM
Roger, the tank is in pretty much the same position as on most cars. Left side of the bike, on the rear (lid is in front of the taillight assembly, barely visible in my iPhone photo). Capacity is 4 gallons. At 40-50 miles a gallon, you don't get a long ways without filling up. But that's the case with all scooters and motorcycles, given their necessarily small fuel tank.
Posted by: Brian | June 13, 2009 at 10:09 AM
Day after writing this post, I open up the Portland Oregonian and see a review for Honda's new motorcycle, the 2009 DN01. Here's another review of this "marriage of motorcycle and scooter."
OK. Seems pretty cool. Automatic transmission. Sophisticated technology. Antilock brakes.
Which, however, the Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive scooter has also. And the Burgman costs almost $6,000 less.
Plus, the Honda DN01 has zero, repeat, zero storage. That's ridiculous, as the linked review above from Motorcycle.com says. My Burgman can fit two full face helmets under the seat. And it has three other storage compartments on the dash, one lockable.
The Honda looks like a motorcycle. It reportedly gets lots of looks and thumbs up from motorcycle lovers. In my brief riding experience with the Burgman, I've noticed that motorcycle riders don't acknowledge me with the usual brotherly hand wave.
I was warned about this when I bought the bike. "You'll never get any recognition from Harley riders," a salesman said. "As if I care," I replied.
Anyway, if someone is considering buying the Honda DN01, I'd take a close look at the Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive also. The cost difference could buy a lot of lattes at Starbucks -- though you may not be invited to sit with the weekend Harley guys.
Posted by: Brian | June 13, 2009 at 11:20 AM
160 to 200 miles, per tank fillup, for scooting around is pretty good. I would guess, any long distance trip, the prius might want to kick in.
Posted by: Roger | June 16, 2009 at 09:06 AM
Hello Roger, I am sitting here in Singapore on Saturday morning reading about your Burgman and smiling about how much I like mine. I bought a used 2003 model (400cc) for commuting to the office along with my BMW K1200RS. Guess which one gets more time in the saddle around town? Singapore traffic is pretty wild but the Burgman 400 can leave the Malaysian cyclists far behind at the stoplights. Having been a motorcyclist since the age of 13 (now 51), I have discovered this year how great a maxi-scooter is. For convenience, the only bike that is comparable was my CJ750 in Shanghai with the sidecar (nothing like WWII technology for around-town riding). Look forward to your up-dates with the 650 as I am now thinking towards the bigger Burgman...
Posted by: Eric Westbrook | September 18, 2009 at 06:21 PM
Hello Roger, I have a 2008 Burgman 400 that i purchased new in May 2008 and i totally love it. It's my first scooter and I'm getting 70mpg in the city and the last little ride, 250 miles, i got 81mpg. I live in Utah but do ride with full gear and its a dream. I now have about 10,000, yes 10,000 miles on it in 1.5 years.
The big Harley and touring guy are always waving at me and at the Snowbird October fest several Harley guys came over to look. There bikes were incredible but they really liked mine and gave me lots of positive looks and smiles.
It has plenty of power going up the mountains roads/highways here and I'm never lacking power getting ahead of traffic. Do need to watch out for the bad, i mean bad Utah drivers. (Stop texting or reading books and DRIVE)
Storage in the underseat is great and it easly holds three grocery bags. Not bad. I ride from 35F and above, with the faring it really keeps the wind and road debris off me. I just love riding it for any reason. Need a can of tomato, I'll go...
I plan to upgrade to the 650 exec soon maybe next spring. Oh by the way I'm 58 years young and a male so don't let the 400 scare off any male scooter lovers, it not just for girls.
Posted by: Dan J. | October 24, 2009 at 09:56 AM
I love my 650 Burgman. It has 10,000 miles on it. It has developed a side to side wobble up to about 35 miles, then goes away. Does anyone know if it's the tires---or something else.
Posted by: Al Payne | December 17, 2010 at 05:34 PM
y had in all may live more than 20 bikes, diferent bikes, most of them road bikes, now y own a burgman 650, and all I will said is ., I keep it for ever
Posted by: pedro romero | December 20, 2010 at 12:50 AM
I am also from Singapore Ericperhaps you were the one riding the Burgman 650 silver that day at Anson Road? Anyway got me a 400 and very interested to get me 650. no worries of clutch and yet still powerful
But currently the 400 still got me smiling ear to ear everytime I got on it.
Posted by: Abdul Razak | January 14, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Hey, from Colorado. I was so close to trading my Burgman 650 for the DN-01, but after a couple of test reides, I realized it had nothing over my Burgman but looks. It looks great but with no storage, I can not use it. I found it to be not as fast as my Burgman and fuel mileage from what I been able to find ranges from 36 to 55 mpg. I would be pissed to frind I was getting closer to to 36. I get 50 mpg with my Burgman, and that is in line with all of the reviews I read prior to my purchase. I own a 2007 Burgman 650 and put 14,000 on it in the frist year. I now have 35,650 on it. I looked at the DN-01 hoping for more umhp, but my Burgman has more. I just wish my Burgman took bumps as well as the DN-01.
Posted by: Michael Holliday | April 09, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Hi Bergman lovers, I am 72 and own a400 and 650 Bergmans love both keeps me young Dave Dean.
Posted by: Dave Dean [email protected] | June 16, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Has anyone got a sidecar on the 650 .? Dave.
Posted by: Dave Dean [email protected] | June 16, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Life is about risk, like it or not. I don't like when people bitch and moan about ATGATT. Do what makes you comfortable, offer advice sure, but don't shake your head and tell me if I don't do what you do I'm wrong, or a "squid". If I had to gear up every single time I took by Burgi out I'd be miserable, for a few reasons. For one, It would get old real fast if I had to take a suit/tie/shoes with me three days a week for lunch meetings, then go into the bathroom at the restaurants and change like superman and come out to meet my clients carrying my riding boots and gear. second, It's just too damn hot around here (Floride)! If the choice is only, be hot and miserable with all your gear on in 98 humid degrees every day then riding at that point is just no fun at all. My Burg is my prime mode of transportation (my Ridgline is second choice). Getting dressed in full gear to ride to the beach on a beautiful Miami morning, stop for a bite and at a couple shops on the way home completely misses the point, imo. I always wear a helmet, but a scooter was made for shorts and T-shirt in the sun, if you ask me! Risk is everywhere, you can't avoid it, but you can learn to ride safe and be aware and minimize your risk. I'm not telling anyone else what to wear, but I suspect many of you who insist on ATGATT and turn your nose up at those who don't... would chancge your tune if you lived down south where the average temp in south Florida six months out of the years is 90-97 degrees with extreme humidity.
Posted by: Edioe | August 07, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Hi Guys, Over here in the UK, we all seem to be moving over to superscoots and the most popular being, yes, youv'e guessed it, the Burgman.
I have had 2 400's and currently own a 650 exec. Brings lots of grins to my face when out for a run - usually do around 700 miles in a weekend then run 120 miles a day getting over to work.
It gets better economy when doing the miles and seems to loosen up after about 9000 miles or so.
These bikes were made to enjoy - just had the best summer for about 7 years over here and ridden with full gear and shorts etc.
Drive safe and defensive.
Anyone up for a long haul tour on the Burgmans?? Europe to Russia maybe? Just an idea...
Posted by: Glyn | September 08, 2013 at 05:14 AM
I have just bought a 650 burg can anyone tell me how to get the seat up I must be dumb please help me
Posted by: Brian Loader | January 23, 2014 at 02:51 AM
Brian, you aren't dumb. It isn't obvious.
Push the key in and turn to the RIGHT. Here's some tips if the seat doesn't pop up.
It might need a whack. If hard to open, some cleaning or lubrication of the opening mechanism might be needed.
Pushing the key in and turning the other way, to the LEFT, locks the fork and turns on the parking lights, depending on how it is turned. I don't think I ever did this while I owned my Burgman. But naturally I opened the seat a lot to stow my helmet and other stuff.
Posted by: Brian Hines | January 23, 2014 at 08:10 AM
Just bought a 2014 Burgman 650 with 100 miles on it. Brought it home on Dec. 3 and can't ride it. I LIVE IN Ohio and its just too cold and snowy. It's killing me!
Posted by: Wayne T Hudnall | January 03, 2017 at 07:50 AM
Bought a 2017 Burgman 650 in March. Have put 5,000 miles on it already. Motor has a little bit of a clatter. Sounds like a diesel sort of. Runs great. Have been told clatter will go away with more mileage. Anyone know?
Posted by: Wayne T Hudnall | August 18, 2018 at 07:36 PM