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Found an interesting thread which I thought I would share in full here as I know many do not like the sign up at Yahoo hassle:

The response is to a a question on the relative merits of the Big Burger and the Honda Silverwing is provided by Paul Blezard a UK motoring journalist, whose articles appear in the 'Twist N Go' scooter magazine and others.

Enjoy!

On 5/9/04 4:39 am, "kellykay_10" <[email protected]> wrote:

>
> Hi All,
> I am new to this group and I am considering purchasing a Burgman or
> Silverwing. I am wondering if any of you could tell me why you chose
> the Burgman over the Silverwing and what you like or dislike about
> your scooter. If any of you own or owned a Silverwing can you tell
> me what you liked or disliked about it as well? Problems to expect
> with either one etc. Thank you in advance for your help.
> Kelly
Hi Kelly, >
I rode a Silver Wing a thousand miles from Barcelona to London when it was
launched in Spring 2001, and I recently did several hundred miles on the new
ABS model, complete with top box and high screen, and I also compared that
scoot with a modified Silver Wing with improved front and rear suspension.
(The old Silver Wing with Fournales suspension was much better).

I also bought the Burgman 650 that I had as a long term test machine from
Suzuki GB, which has now done 15,000 miles. 3,000 of those miles were
clocked up riding it from London to the South of France and back to compete
in the Moto Tour de France against some other Burgman 650s, a lot of hotted
up Yamaha TMAXes and a solitary Silver Wing, on both closed public roads and
3 racetracks, one of which was Le Mans.
The best ridden Burgmen could stay with the more nimble TMAXes, while the
poor guy on the Silver Wing had to fight his wobbling steed all the way in
high speed corners. Braking in turns is a real no-no on the Silver Wing,
while the other two machines don't object to it at all.
I still can't believe that Honda did not fit twin yokes to the Silver Wing's
forks, and that they fitted such crappy rear shocks - they really are
appalling.
(I also own a TMAX, which I've also raced in France, BTW)

In most circumstances I much prefer the Burgman to the Silver Wing. Although
it's heavier, it's much better balanced and the chassis is much stiffer.
The Burgman handles like a proper motorcycle, while the Silver Wing handles
like an overgrown, overweight, Honda Helix. I'm a big Helix fan, but taking
it to the limit on a bouncing weaving, Helix at 70mph is a lot less
life-threatening than doing the same with a Silver Wing at 100mph.
The Silver Wing's stability is also much more upset by the fitting of a top
box, than the Burger King's. The Burger also has more luggage space.
The Burger just has the edge on acceleration but top speed is identical at
104 mph (genuine - 114-118 indicated) Fuel consumption is similar, although
the Silver Wing tends to be a little thirstier. 38mpg imperial compared to
42mpg for the Burger, when ridden with gusto. (c.35 and 39mpg US).

Where the Silver Wing scores over the Burger King is in really heavy
traffic, where you can squeeze between the cars more easily. I would not
like to do a daily commute into Central London on a Burgman 650, but it
would be OK on a Silver Wing. It's also lighter to push around in and out of
the garage and so forth.
Then again, if you're in the USA outside of California, an ability to
squeeze between the cars with a couple of inches either side is probably
academic, since for some bizarre reason it seems to be illegal and frowned
upon.
So, in the USA, I'd go for the Burger King every time unless you are a
small, light and not very strong. The Burger's better with a passenger too,
especially big ones.
Having said all that, lots of owners of all shapes and sizes are very happy
with their Silver Wings and if you're not in the habit of scraping the
undercarriage in turns, or cruising at 90-100mph, then you might be very
happy with one too. And for all its bendiness, you can still have a lot of
fun on a Silver Wing.
I would certainly have bought one if the Burger and TMAX weren't available.
Most women would probably find the Silver Wing less intimidating than the
Burger King, at least initially. It does, after all, weigh a quarter of ton
with fuel!
I wouldn't dream of buying either without getting a test ride anyway, and
would advise all to do the same.
HTH,
PNB in London, England
PS All my scribblings on all the above mentioned machines (and many more
besides) are available from the publishers of Twist & Go scooter magazine at
http://www.twistngo.com
I must have written a dozen long articles on them over the last four years.
 

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Thanks Norman. We have another rider joining our wednesday ride group and he has an '04 Wing with Utopia backrest and trunk. I'm hoping he will offer to let me try it. I'm mostly interested in how the backrest feels when on slightly bumpy roads.
 

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Great read Norman thanks. I don't visit the Yahoo site anymore.
 

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Thanks Norman. You know how I hate to signup to anything in order just to read a page. :)
 

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Good article

Thanks Norm,

It's rare to find such in depth experience with the different
marques. TwinstnGo sounds like it would be a good read.
 

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Thanks for sharing that, Norman. Good read.

It brings up a question, though. The writer uses miles rather than kilometers in his specs, and I recall now that in some training videos I've seen lately the British police car's speedometers on their dash cameras were also reading in miles per hour. But I also see references to litres and kilometres in articles from your side of the pond.

So my question; is the UK metric, Imperial, or a mix of both (both officially and in common practice)?
 

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Interesting

Thanks Norman!
It is interesting the author compares the Helix to the SilverWing and not the later design, the Reflex which I would assume had more common features. I have not heard anything about the '05 SilverWing and perhaps it has been improved.
 

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Re: Interesting

HappyPuppy said:
It is interesting the author compares the Helix to the SilverWing and not the later design, the Reflex which I would assume had more common features.
It's not so strange. The Helix has been around for decades. The Reflex is a relative newcomer. Just three years ago 85% of the scooters at Scootercade were Honda Helixes. This year, out of 258 registrants, only 38 rode Helixes (and I only saw 2 Honda Reflexes).

The sponsoring organization, Scoot Tours, is still Helix biased however. They can't quite let go. They give away Helix accessories for prizes. Their newsletter takes jabs at the more modern scoots whenever they can - like the high price for Burgman parts and the recent dearth of tire availability. It's an undertone - but its constant, and it is definitely there. Some of them have done hundreds of thousands of miles on Helixes, and it's going to take them awhile to realize that the scooter market in the USA has fundamentally changed. The Helix is now a part of history.

Helix was a culture. The Reflex never has achieved that. And it never will. It is overpriced for what it is - and the competition is heating up from both above (the super scoots) and below (the Kymcos, Piaggios, etc).

Another aside: Although Burgmans were well represented at Scootercade, the number of Honda Silverwings easily outnumbered us - maybe 3 to 1. Why? Because many of the old Helix faithful have been doing business with their Honda dealers for years. And the Helix was darn near bulletproof. So they expected the same legendary performance from the Silverwing. Unfortunately, this time around, I think they got short changed. They are already replacing transmission belts at 10,000 miles or even less. They have suffered several recalls. And the poor handling of the machine when pushed has frequently been noted in test reports.

But the Helix vs Silverwing comparison makes perfect sense to me after experiencing Scootercade.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Interesting

Monterey10 said:
Thanks Norm,It's rare to find such in depth experience with the different marques. TwinstnGo sounds like it would be a good read.
Yes Craig, it is a good read but it does really major on the smaller machines - that is the bulk of the market here and many are not available in the US. But they do long term ownership of the 'maxis' and Blez writes really good articles on them too (as do others). Shipping makes it a tadge expensive for US subscription.

Brian said:
Thanks for sharing that, Norman. Good read.
[snipped] So my question; is the UK metric, Imperial, or a mix of both (both officially and in common practice)?
Hi Brian, Brits use imperial measures in practice almost exclusively - even though the dark hand of Europe is enforcing a change - we have been buying fuel in litres for years. We immediately convert that to gallons if we are doing consumption calculations. Miles though seem set to stay (I suppose because they are not traded so often :wink: ). Believe it or not we have had shopkeepers prosecuted for selling bananas in imperial measure!

In articles ( and forums) authors will normally give Imperial then (Metric) and US - if appropriate.

HappyPuppy said:
Thanks Norman!
It is interesting the author compares the Helix to the SilverWing and not the later design, the Reflex which I would assume had more common features. I have not heard anything about the '05 SilverWing and perhaps it has been improved.
Hi Jack - well the Reflex was not officially imported to the UK - although I suppose a few may have been 'grey imported' - like the TMAX spotted by a forum member in the US! I think the point Blez was trying to make was that a machine capable of near 100mph speeds should handle high speed twisties very much better, whereas wobbly handling at 70mph on a scoot that is really a commuter vehicle is understandable.
 

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NormanB, you sure do dig up the some gems on the net, how many tons of dross do you shovel before you get a goody?

Since the forum, we have some good reports to go on in making our selection choices.

Our Burger, is pre forum, and we bought it by default, but just love it.

Of the four bikes I had owned, three were Honda's. The Silverwing was first choice to replace a 250cc Foresight. The boss did not like the rear passenger footpegs.

The boss did not like the rear seat of the Piaggo X9.

The chauffeur did not like the legroom on the Burgman 400 (or lack of it).

The kind boss said "Try out the 650, even though we can't afford it".

We tried, we both liked, we signed up.

Totally scientific selection.

Regards
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ladnar said:
NormanB, you sure do dig up the some gems on the net, how many tons of dross do you shovel before you get a goody?
I either know where to look or use 'inspired' search terms in Google - so absolutely heaps of dross!! :wink: :D
 

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Re: Interesting

pauljo said:
It's not so strange. The Helix has been around for decades. The Reflex is a relative newcomer. Just three years ago 85% of the scooters at Scootercade were Honda Helixes. This year, out of 258 registrants, only 38 rode Helixes (and I only saw 2 Honda Reflexes).

The Helix is now a part of history.
I didn't have a thing to do today, so I rode the Burger King to Nashville, TN. On the way back, I stopped at a large (though somewhat unfriendly) Honda/Suzuki dealership in Hopkinsville, KY.

I'd been there once earlier this year and they had zero scooters. This time, all of the sportbikes were Honda's (well, with the exception of a faired Suzuki 500 :roll: ), all of the dirtbikes were Suzuki's (no exceptions), most of the cruisers were Suzukis (maybe two honda's out of a dozen or so), and there was one scooter - a HELIX!
 

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Yep. Still made in 2004. Honda hasn't listed the 2005 scooters yet - but it could be back.

Point is, the msrp of a 250cc Helix is $4,999 (only $600 less than a Burgman 400 at $5,599 - and the Helix is early 80's technology). The msrp of the non-abs 250cc Reflex is $5,199 only $400 less than a Burgman 400). The msrp of a Reflex with ABS is $5,699 ($100 more than a Burgman 400). Now we've got the Yamaha Majesty 400 at $5,799 too. And for folks who really want a 250, the Kymco People 250cc is being advertised for $3,899 and there is Piaggio also.

I think that significant sales volume for the 250cc Hondas is effectively over. Honda could significantly chop the prices - but it's not typical of them to do that. If Kymco and Piaggio / Aprilia get decent dealer networks going - and they probably will over the next several years - they will be the folks to see for a 200cc to 250cc scooter. Much better prices, and I think nicer product as well from what I've seen.

Honda will have a residual trickle of 250cc scooter sales for a couple of years based on their large dealer network and perceived reputation for quality. But based on what we are seeing with the Silverwing, I can't even consider them a leader in quality anymore.
 

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pauljo said:
Honda will have a residual trickle of 250cc scooter sales for a couple of years based on their large dealer network and perceived reputation for quality. But based on what we are seeing with the Silverwing, I can't even consider them a leader in quality anymore.
Much like Schwinn. I don't think any of them are made in America anymore. People who buy them don't yet realize that they're the same Taiwan bikes you'll get from Performance Bikes or Bike Nashbar for half the price.
 

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Yeah - but Taiwan's production quality is improving. Japan can't get complacent, because Taiwan is fast approaching the point where they can provide a darn good product at a much lower price. In the 50's, Japanese merchandise was considered to be cheap junk. That picture started to change in the 60's and by the 70's they had a reputation for great quality.
Taiwan is fast tracking along the same path. And over the next decade, keep your eye on China also. I think they will soon be another contender. The newcomers don't have as tough a job as Japan did either. Corporate USA is outsourcing so many things to them - we are accelerating their development.
 

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Paul wrote:

Helix was a culture. The Reflex never has achieved that. And it never will. It is overpriced for what it is - and the competition is heating up from both above (the super scoots) and below (the Kymcos, Piaggios, etc).
Whilst this is true of the global market, Honda's follow up to the Helix was the Foresight, which suffered mediocre sales in the market that matters most to 250/400ss scooters (Japan) and was outsold in the second strongest market (Italy) by the AN250/400. Main problem - styling.

Honda re-established themsleves as leaders in the 250/400cc big-scooter market with the Reflex. It is focused on the style concious Japanese market as with poor sales in this market the 250/400 scooter is not really a viable project. It has attained a massive following, and was the symbol of suave 'n' cool Tokyo transport for the last 4 years. The Majesty is for youths, and the Burgman sits in between the Majesty and the Reflex with the Type S model, and sells very poorly in it's standard form. Arguably, the Type S models exist because of the success of Honda with the Reflex in appealing to the 20-35 year old style concious big-scooter riders as opposed to letting form be dictated by funtion, as had been the norm previously. Pity you guys don't get the Type S AN250/400.

The all-new 2004 "all bells and whistles" Relfex (that was released in Japan this year, and may be released in the world market net year) is cramped compared to the old one as it is now "Japanese sized". It leads the market with it's "smart key" technology that allows keyless entry and keyless engine operation, as well as AN650 style semi-automatic transmission, 63litres of luggage space (more than AN650) and built in waterproof speakers with speed reactive amp.

Honda as well as the other manufacturers are focusing where the money is - Japan: 250/400cc. World market 400/600cc. Hence the Relflex is a Japan focused 250, and the SilverWing is a 400/600, and the Burgmans Majesty/TMax that appear on the world market will be 400/5-600s.

Make no mistake, the Reflex (or Forza as it is named over here) has been Honda's saviour in the big-scooter market. The difference between the Helix and Reflex is that the Helix was unique - it invented the big-scooter. The Reflex simply demontrated that a big-scooter could be practical and comfortable whilst being cool, have ABS, and handle like a dream in an already hotly contested market. And that looks counted for more than luggage space - the poorly selling Foresight could easily consume two full face helmets under the seat, whereas the Reflex can only carry one...

Japanese history lessen over... :wink:
 

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Re: Interesting

wasions said:
I didn't have a thing to do today, so I rode the Burger King to Nashville, TN.
Dang! Wish I had known. I would have suggested we meet up in Nashvegas. If you ever head down this way again be sure and let me know.
 

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Lycheed,

Once again you have aptly reminded us that the scooter scene in Japan is quite different from Noth America - and Europe.

Of course, when I offer commentary, I have to go with what I am familiar with, and concerned with. The USA market. And NormanB and others offer their perspective from the UK. And even in Canada, there are issues different from the USA. It is quite fascinating.

Managing product sales and development on a global scale cannot be a "one size fits all" endeavor. A model that will sell well in Japan will quite likely die on the sales floor in the USA - and vice versa. Different roads, different cultures, different needs. It's not managed all that well yet. The Reflex is of little interest here - too small for average American tastes, and too expensive for what it is. The T-Max would be a big hit right now in the USA. Of course, we don't have it.

The scooter market in Japan is bigger. The same can be said for Europe. But the market in the USA is poised for growth. And with the right product offerings, promotion and support - it could be a golden opportunity to boost sales. Conversely, with the wrong offerings, combined with lackluster support, the opportunity could fade away.
 
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