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Discussion Starter #1
How do we find out how many AN 650's have been sold in both countries since their introduction last summer?

There are at least three Burgman websites, each with several hundred members (although some owners might belong to all three). That ought to mean something. Also, new members are joining BurgmanUSA daily.

Perhaps someone in the corporate motor world might know how we could access these figures.

If we had these data, it might help us lean on some of our out-to-lunch Suzuki dealers and give them a wake up call. For example, my local dealer won't handle "motor scooters, all covered up in plastic. Who knows what's inside?"

I don't see this attitude with Honda dealers when it comes to Silver Wings, Reflexes, etc.
 

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sales #s

Did you know there is a US Gov't. satety exemption for the Burgman because of no rear foot brake pedal? You can read it on your ID plate. I think I read they can only sell 2500 units per year so may be this is why Suzuki doesn't push them.
 

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Actually, Suzuki IS pushing them. 'Rider' magazine has run a full page ad for the Burgman 650 two months in a row now, and it is toward the front of the magazine. Aprilia is also running full page ads for their big scooter in 'Rider' and 'Road Runner' magazines - and they fall under the same exemption category. I think I've also seen the ads in 'Cycle World', but I don't have a current issue at hand to check. They have also provided machines to several magazines for test report purposes, and have been supplying machines for demo rides at major motorcycle rallies. It's got to cost some significant money to do this, so I'd think they have a long range plan. Part of that plan, I'd think, would involve lobbying to have that restriction removed.

Honda seems to be holding back, possibly due to the recall issues they have had to deal with on the Silver Wing. But I can't see them letting Suzuki run away with the category for long. Honda also has the Reflex and Helix that have hand braking. Yamaha could enter the fray at any time with the T-Max, or even a new machine. And Vespa is also enjoying some degree of success. I could see five or six manufactures joining forces to lobby against that restriction in the near future - maybe working on it already.

Another viable option for Suzuki would be to let Kawasaki market a re-badged Burgman clone under their cooperative agreement, which would double their allotment under the current restriction. Incidently, Kawasaki is getting the V-Strom next year - different name & colors, but same machine.

So, if the popularity of the Super Scooter continues to climb, there is a lot that could happen. Could be interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What is the rationale for the restriction re: no foot brake for rear wheel?

I could understand it if the rear brake was cable activated. But on the Burgman the rear is a hydraulically activated disc brake. I fail to see why it would make any difference whether the activation derives from a hand lever or a foot pedal.

Perhaps you can clear it up for the ex-English professor.
 

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Ted,

Long, long ago, when we were youths, British motorcycles, which were still fairly popular, had the brake pedal on the left and the shifter pedal on the right. American and Japanese motorcycles were configured with the brake pedal on the right and the shifter pedal on the left - exactly opposite. To make things worse, on some motorcycles you kicked down to upshift, and others you toed up to upshift - again British machines took a different approach. And then you had some older Harleys and Indians still on the road with hand shifters up alongside the gas tank and clutch pedals. I can't remember what the old BMW's were doing.

Anyway, it was a mess. Poor souls were hopping on motorcycles different from what they were used to, and shifting when they needed to brake, braking when they needed to shift, shifting down when they wanted to shift up. This naturally led to some bad accidents. As a remedy, the lawmakers decreed how a motorcycle should be configured if it was to be sold in the USA. Shifter pedal on the left, brake pedal on the right, toe up to upshift, clutch on the left handlebar, front brake on the right handlebar, etc. So I believe this law goes back to the late fifties or early sixties, and is based on the situation & remedy I've described.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Pauljo:

Very well done. Best explanation so far. It was a mess. I got out of the Navy my buddy and I went to a military base in the California desert and bought two Army 45's in crates (Harleys) for $300 each. Army guy said some are new, some are used (you couldn't see inside). We put them in an old truck and drove back to Bakersfield (never live there, never go there) and flipped a coin to see who would get the one on the left. I lost. His was brand new, dripping in cosmoline; mine looked as it it had been through the Casserine Pass in North Africe, Anzio, and the Battle of the Bulge.

It was, indeed, a tank shifter with a rocker clutch. First time I rode a buddies Triumph T100 I almost killed myself. Years later, in 1964 in San Francisco, I bought a new Triumph Trophy 500, shift on right, brake on left, and one day on the infamous Sunday Morning Ride in Marin County I switched bikes with a buddy's Honda Super Hawk. And almost killed myself.

So yes, standardization in terms of controls is good. Which is why, whenever one of my motorcycle buddies takes a test ride on my Burgman, I make them repeat three times (was it the Red Queen who said, "What I tell you three times is true"?), "The left handlebar lever is the rear brake lever. It is not the clutch lever."

But the old psycho-motor habit prevails. They inevitably come to the first stop sign, grab the left lever, and come lurching to a stop 20 feet before they need to. What we might call a one-trial learning experience.
 

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Ha! Too late... I've been through Bakersfield.

I still have to take a minute to mentally condition myself when I switch between the Burgman and the V-Strom. That is why I rarely ride them both on the same day. I'll do a several day stretch on the V-Strom, then let her sit for several weeks while I ride the scooter.

You know, another solution would simply be to put the darn rear brake pedal on the right running board floor. I rode Lambrettas and Vespas back in those "long time gone" days - even owned a '58 Cushman Eagle. They all had right foot brake pedals. We lived with it - wasn't so bad.

I think the current left/right lever setup is superior though, and I think they will work to have the import limitation lifted.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Pauljo:

You win. I've never been through Omaha. One day I will wander up that way. I've never seen Nebraska, North or South Dakota, Minnesota, or upper Michigan or Wisconsin. Oops, I left out Kansas.

Back to the where do we put the rear brake activator issue.

My argument, before DOT or NHTSA, would be in terms of reaction times.
In an emergency - seeing as you've got both hands already on the handgrips, even perhaps two fingers on the rear brake lever - activating the brakes would take less time than having to fish around with your right foot - just where the hell is that **** foot brake?

I base this on my recent frequent riding of my friend's fully restored 1981
Vespa P200e. Aside from the fact that the Vespa's brakes are simply awful, fumbling about with one's foot for the pedal doesn't help matters.
 

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Ted White said:
Pauljo:

Aside from the fact that the Vespa's brakes are simply awful, fumbling about with one's foot for the pedal doesn't help matters.
Even though I have trained my hands to do it the Burgman way, my feet are still stomping around the floorboards searcing for the familiar controls.
 

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Ted,

Geez, it is great being able to respond to posts today! Although bed time is fast approaching. Have to get up tomorrow and try to have that rear Pirelli tire installed. My dealer does first-come-first-served service on Saturdays.

No argument on the brake placement issue. The reaction time is faster for the hand lever. Even if you rode that antique regularly and knew darn well where the pedal was, it takes longer to lift your foot. Further, modulating the amount of braking is difficult with a floorboard pedal. I was just playing devil's advocate.

If you do decide to visit Nebraska, let me know. Folks back East where I came from think Nebraska is flat. Nebraska is not flat. The Omaha area has a lot of hills. Kansas is flat. In Kansas you can watch your dog run away for three days...
 
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