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Building a Better Burgman

1547 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Lapine Rider

The Burgman 400 does many things, and does them ably and economically. For the most part, I am very happy indeed. However, here's how I think it could so some things better.

First, I am a big fat American riding a bike (Burgman 400) that, I am informed, was originally designed for Japanese salarymen. It shows!
The Burgman seat design is very bad indeed, or so my posterior thinks. While it was fine for a thirty-minute test-ride, even an Airhawk seat cushion hasn't been enough to make it tolerable for the kind of long trips I bought the bike to take. Eventually I'll probably end up buying a Corbin, at almost 10% of what I paid for the entire scoot to start with. Had Suzuki done their job in the first place, I would not have to spend this extra money. It is easily my number-one bike complaint. I also find it interesting that I rode a much-cheaper Aprilia for months without even the slightest discomfort.

At least the seat was better than the Silverwing's, which was even uncomfortable to test-ride. ..

Second, maintenance needs to be made much easier, and even more importantly there needs to be more maintenance info in the owner's manual. I live in a rural area, and my local Suzuki dealer had never seen a Burger before mine. They complain bitterly and continually about how difficult the Burgman is to work on, and have failed to succesfully complete some repairs that they started. From an owner's point of view, it borders on the obscene that my owner's manual does not tell me how to change out something as simple as a headlamp or battery. I build cars for a living; if we tried something like this on our vehicles our buyers would abandon us in droves.

Third, warranty policy needs to be reconsidered. My bike developed a backfire, under warranty. When I took it in to have it fixed, the Suzuki mechanics could not find the problem. Therefore, they claimed, Suzuki would not pay the bill. In the end I shouted many profound obscenities, and the dealer ate the cost. However, it is just plain wrong that I should even be -asked_ to pay for service under warranty for a legitmate complaint that the mechanics were simply unable to find. Again, were this a car there would have been no question. The dealer would have handed me my keys back, and said "We can't find it. Come back if it happens again." Motorbikes oughta work the same way. Anything else leaves the consumer liable for the incompetence of the staff.

I could have easily afforded a Burgman 650, but chose the 400 because in my view it is by far the superior scoot in almost every way. In my own personal opinion, the 650 is overpowered for a scoot-type drive system (thus all the neck-jerking you see mentioned in reviews), and too heavy by a large margin. It is also, as a twin-cylinder, needlessly fuel-thirsty and expensive to maintain. Worst of all, it is so tastelesly over-gadgeted that I would not be caught dead on one. The manual shifter is something whose purpose I simply cannot grasp at all, and refuse to pay good money for. (Please note that I respect the views of those who will surely disagree with me, and am merely expressing my own highly personal views here.) On the other hand, I weight 330 pounds, and could frankly use a little more power now and again. I think that the best solution would be to bore out the existing 400 motor, if it's possible, to about 500 cc's like the Italian bikes use. That would be just perfect! In no event, however, would I like to see a second cylinder added, or the motor removed from the swingarm. That adds needless cost.

I truly love the large storage area under the seat; it's why I ride a Burgman now instead of an Aprilia, which lacks such a nice "trunk". Larger would be better still. Also, I never, ever ride two-up; an optional seat setup like that on the new Ruckus 250 for carrying cargo would be nice. I understand that there are serious space-issues around the fuel tank; still, it's a major touring weak spot and anything that can be done, even to the extent of half a quart of additional capacity, should be.

One gold star for good work-- I am especially fond of the 400's mirrors. Instead of being sylish and "cutesy", they are nice and wide and easy to use. They were another major factor in my choice of the Burgman 400 over the Aprilia brand bikes. The 650's mirrors were pretty and all that, but all I could see in them were my own shoulders.

I guess my main thrust here is that a scoot oughta be a cheap, practical, easy-to-maintain transportation machine, unintimidating and simple, simple, simple! I'd hate to see the 400 become more like the 650, except in that a touch more power would be nice. If indeed Suzuki chooses to add bells and whistles instead of sticking with impoving the rock-solid basics, I'll probably buy a Kymco next time.

Lapine Rider
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