Test Ride: 2010 Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive

“Upper class scooting”

The Burgman from Suzuki has been around for a few years now, available as both a 400 and a 650 model. What is a Burgman you might ask? It?s a high-end scooter made by Suzuki. Incidentally, it?s no ordinary scooter either ? it falls into the ?Maxi? or ?Super? scooter genre.

Burgman seems like a rather unlikely moniker for a Japanese-produced two-wheeler, so in the interest of investigative journalism, I asked how the name originated. I was informed that it originated from the German term ?Burg? which stands for a town or village governed by a leading man. It may make sense to some, but I don?t see what it has to do with the price of rice in China (whoops, Japan).

Despite where the Burgman name came from, the Suzuki Burgman line of scooters delivers an extraordinary ride. When viewed from the front, it looks for all the world like a sport bike, but in profile, it definitely takes on the persona of a scooter, with no visible engine and a traditional step-through mounting. There are a host of maxi or super scooters available in today?s marketplace, ranging from 400 cc to 650 cc in displacement, but the Suzuki Burgman line seems to rank a cut above the others in terms of its design execution.

We?ll deal here with the top-of-the-line Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive, whose light, rigid chassis and sleekly styled, curvaceous body work, not only gives the scooter a sporty appearance, but an aerodynamic advantage as well at higher freeway speeds (Yes, the Burgman 650 Executive is definitely freeway legal). The headlights are widely-spaced ?cat-eye? affairs, and the rakish windscreen, which is electrically height adjustable, add to the purposeful sport bike 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.

Motive force for the Burgman 650 Executive comes from a 638cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve, twin-cylinder with electronic fuel injection. Power is delivered to the rear wheel through Suzuki?s Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (SECVT? – automatic) via a final gear drive, that at first appears to 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 Burgman 650 rides on Bridgestone Battlax tubeless rubber ? 15-inch up front and 14-inch in the rear, 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 Burgman 650 to a halt is handled by hydraulic dual discs forward, and a single disc aft. ABS braking is standard on the 650 Executive.

Wheelbase of the Burgman 650 measures 62.8-inches, with the overall length registering 89.0-inches. It weighs in at 611 pounds dry and the stepped dual seat (which is designed to carry both rider and a passenger in comfort), height is 29.5-inches. The 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, and dual stands — a center stand, as well as a side stand. Lots of secure storage is provided too, with the bodywork ahead of the rider providing three lidded storage compartments and a DC power outlet for charging cell phones or operating a radar detector (yes Virginia, the Burgman 650 easily exceeds the speed limit), or how about a GPS unit? Wait, there’s more ? there?s also a 6.2-liter lighted, locking storage beneath the seat assembly, capable of stashing two full-face helmets, with a smaller compartment alongside. Should one require yet more storage space, simply attach extra gear by utilizing the handy tie-down hooks. There?s a Power mode button that overrides the normal operating mode, which delivers power more aggressively, and the mirrors fold in at the touch of a button.

The riding position is exceptionally comfortable aboard the Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive, 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.

My test 2010 Suzuki Burgman 6590 Executive includes all of the standard features and equipment found on the base Burgman 650, while adding: the?advanced antilock braking system, electric adjustable windshield, rearview mirrors that swing in and out, electronically, utilizing a handlebar-mounted button; chrome exhaust cover and the passenger backrest. My test scooter sported Diamond White metallic bodywork with black upholstery. The base price was set at $9,799 while estimated dealer prep and handling (which can vary more or less) elevated the final total by another $500. to $10,299. There?s also an optional outrigger kit that sells for roughly another $8,000 installed, that adds what appears to be a trike setup but actually consists of four wheels, retaining the original drive wheel ? ideal for physically challenged riders.

SUMMARY:? Obviously, there are lots of testosterone loaded male riders who shudder at the prospect of being seen aboard a scooter of any size, shape or form, but? trust me, there?s nothing wimpy, or to be ashamed of about riding the Burgman 650 Executive. Okay, so there?s no big V-twin ?potato, potato, potato exhaust note, but the fuel economy delivered by the Burgman is a heck of a lot better, and your neighbors won?t be annoyed when you fire up to take off on an early Sunday morning ride. There?s also no clutch or foot brake to concern yourself with either. Both front and rear brakes are operate by handlebar-mounted hand levers.

The SECVT transmission offers the option of manual or automatic shifting. The manual mode provides five predetermined CVT ratios to shift through, using UP and Down buttons on the left handlebar. Two fully automatic modes include Normal and Power ? the results of each mode are self-explanatory.

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 650 Executive is comfortable cruising at 70 or 75 mph, with more room to roll on more throttle.

If manly men and Amazonian women can get past the potential threat of emasculation by riding a scooter, give it a try, I think you?ll be pleasantly surprised?and pleased. It?s actually a lot of fun, and isn?t in the least gender or age specific. It has more power to offer than many motorcycles, is more comfortable and more economical to operate as well.

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