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After driving the 2007 Burgman 400 for 5 years, I moved up to a 2014 Burgman 650. I had a desire for something more powerful, smoother, quieter and felt more solid on the highway. After riding it for a month, I know that I made the right decision. It is everything that I wanted, I love it. It is a little heavier to back out of the garage and the gas mileage isn’t quite as good as the 400, but I will gladly pay that price. I really like the adjustable height windshield and I am sure the heated grips and seat will come in handy when the weather turns cool. The two things I don’t like about the 650 are the increased seat height over the 400 and the fact that it seems to be more difficult to maneuver at low speeds in traffic.

The 400 had a few advantages over the 650, most importantly better gas mileage and being easier to maneuver in traffic. Also the seat was lower and felt more comfortable. The under seat storage was better on the 400, it was easier to get it up on the center stand and move it around the garage. I wish I could have kept both the 400 and the 650.
 

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It is a little heavier to back out of the garage.
I don't know if you are aware of this little 'trick' but if you switch on the ignition and press the 'MANUAL' button and then switch off the ignition the bike will remain in the 'manual' mode and it will be a lot easier to move it about. You don't have to start the engine for this ;)
 
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The 400 had a few advantages over the 650, most importantly better gas mileage and being easier to maneuver in traffic. Also the seat was lower and felt more comfortable. The under seat storage was better on the 400, it was easier to get it up on the center stand and move it around the garage. I wish I could have kept both the 400 and the 650.
A few advantages... That's quite a list.

I was lucky enough to keep both bikes when I got my 650. They're quite different bikes, but similar too. I have a slight preference for the 400 as its a great city bike and a pretty decent highway bike. Whereas the 650 is a brilliant highway bike, but not very good in the city.

I try to tell people, that neither is better than the other, they're just different and have different capabilities. Which is right for you is completely dependent on what you're going to use it for.

In the US, people automatically think the 650 is the better bike, and it is in many ways. But as you pointed out the 400 has advantages as well.

Glad you're enjoying the 650.
 

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A few advantages... That's quite a list.

I was lucky enough to keep both bikes when I got my 650. They're quite different bikes, but similar too. I have a slight preference for the 400 as its a great city bike and a pretty decent highway bike. Whereas the 650 is a brilliant highway bike, but not very good in the city.

I try to tell people, that neither is better than the other, they're just different and have different capabilities. Which is right for you is completely dependent on what you're going to use it for.

In the US, people automatically think the 650 is the better bike, and it is in many ways. But as you pointed out the 400 has advantages as well.

Glad you're enjoying the 650.
And what makes the 650 not a very good city bike? I can understand why something like a Goldwing would be a better highway bike compared to a scooter, but I can't understand why the 400 is any better than the 650 for driving around town unless it is simply the 400 gets better gas mileage.
 
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Depends on what one means by "city bike".

Relative to the 400, the 650's strong points are better roll-on acceleration at highway speeds and more solid handling at those speeds. Its weak points (again, relative to the 400) are awkward low-speed handling, weight, strong engine-braking (annoying when spending a lot of time in 6-10 MPH traffic), and mirror placement that complicates lane-splitting (filtering).

For riders whose normal use does not include long high-speed freeway stretches but does include lane-splitting and slow traffic, the advantages of the 650 don't really come into play, but its disadvantages do. On longer and higher-speed trips, one would appreciate the difference in power and stability, but the weight of the bike and the quirks of the ECVT wouldn't matter as much.

So, basically, it depends on how you'd actually use it most often.
 

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And what makes the 650 not a very good city bike? I can understand why something like a Goldwing would be a better highway bike compared to a scooter, but I can't understand why the 400 is any better than the 650 for driving around town unless it is simply the 400 gets better gas mileage.
Weight and size.

No offense to the 650 crowd here on the board, but if given a choice between taking the 400 or the 650 around crowded streets and freeways, I choose the 400 for its smaller size, lower weight and maneuverability. The 650s strengths, like speed and power, do not come into play and are somewhat of a hinderance.

You must remember where I live... Los Angeles, Ca. Where lane splitting is legal and intersection filtering is tolerated. Ever try taking Lardy (I say that affectionately) in between 15 miles of cars riding at 40 mph? I have. It's not fun on any bike. You must be hyper aware and ready to maneuver at a moments notice. The 650s weight and width adds a level of difficulty. Even the 400 is a bit big for the task, but its much, much better in that type of riding.

Okay, if you want to just sit in line in the traffic with the cages, the 650 is a fine city bike. But if you're in Ca, and want to work around and between the traffic, get yourself something smaller.

Don't get me wrong, I love my 650, its a fantastic bike and its better than the 400 in many, many ways, but give the little burg its due, its got some great qualities too. Some that the 650 doesn't. I don't see them as competition to each-other, but complimentary if you're lucky to have both.
 

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You must remember where I live... Los Angeles, Ca. Where lane splitting is legal and intersection filtering is tolerated. Ever try taking Lardy (I say that affectionately) in between 15 miles of cars riding at 40 mph? I have. It's not fun on any bike.
I do not mind freeway lane splitting on the 650 though I usually let another bike go ahead of me for a buffer from some of the idiots on the road here and limit my speed over traffic. One thing that cracks me up is watching a guy struggle splitting regular traffic lanes as I cruise by in the carpool lane. In California our "carpool" or HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes can be used by motorcycles regardless of having a passenger or not.

It's been a very long time since I had my Helixes which were fine at the time of lower speeds on the freeway but today I would be afraid of getting run over. Even with the Burgman 650 around south county I have to use that extra speed to stay with the traffic at some of the speeds they regularly travel at to/from work.
 

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I do not mind freeway lane splitting on the 650 though I usually let another bike go ahead of me for a buffer from some of the idiots on the road here and limit my speed over traffic. One thing that cracks me up is watching a guy struggle splitting regular traffic lanes as I cruise by in the carpool lane. In California our "carpool" or HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes can be used by motorcycles regardless of having a passenger or not.
I've been lane splitting for over 25 years on every bike I've owned including an 1100. I too do it on the 650 when necessary. But if given the choice heading out in the morning knowing what traffic is going to be like, the 400 is the choice.

I don't understand this apparent need for some 650 owners to feel their bike is superior to the 400 in all respects. It is better in many, but IMHO, not all.
 

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It's been a very long time since I had my Helixes which were fine at the time of lower speeds on the freeway but today I would be afraid of getting run over. Even with the Burgman 650 around south county I have to use that extra speed to stay with the traffic at some of the speeds they regularly travel at to/from work.
Oh I loved my Helix for lane splitting. It was fantastic for getting between cars, better than the 400. CG of a pregnant worm and maneuverable. Not a lot of power, but enough to get the job done.

But eventually my commute became less freeway congestion intensive, and so the 400 was a better option for getting around the city.
 

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It's funny every once in a while I get a bit nostalgic and start looking at Helixes for sale. Maybe I wonder if I will buy another. :D
 

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I don't understand this apparent need for some 650 owners to feel their bike is superior to the 400 in all respects.
Do you understand little babies?
Unfortunately Daboo had enough of this cry. :(
 

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I'm not getting down on 650 owners, he11 I am one. But I recognize it has its strong suits, and the 400 has its own. Nothing wrong in expressing an informed opinion on it. This is not a competition between the two. They're both fantastic bikes. I truly love them both and feel privileged to have a choice when I go out in the morning. :cool:
 

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Liamjs.. This is off-topic, what's it like living in the largest city in the world and commuting on the freeway? I ask this because I'm just curious as to what like to be on 3 to 6 lanes if you were traveling at 65 mph at 6pm? Will they run you off the road or will they give you courtesy?

Does one have to have a 650 to do freeway? Are there any 400s/200 on the freeway in California?

Out here in cowboy country, we only have two lanes, and at 6 PM there's one empty one! Lol .. Oh and by the way, scooters out here are laughed at, but I'm working them hard! Lol
 

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Liamjs.. This is off-topic, what's it like living in the largest city in the world and commuting on the freeway? I ask this because I'm just curious as to what like to be on 3 to 6 lanes if you were traveling at 65 mph at 6pm? Will they run you off the road or will they give you courtesy?

Does one have to have a 650 to do freeway? Are there any 400s/200 on the freeway in California?

Out here in cowboy country, we only have two lanes, and at 6 PM there's one empty one! Lol .. Oh and by the way, scooters out here are laughed at, but I'm working them hard! Lol
IMHO, I find CA drivers pretty courteous, not good, but courteous. Most will give you extra room when you're lane splitting. Cutting off a rider is a crime and you never know if its a cop. So most cagers are good about it. They don't mind if you filter at stop lights. I think they'd rather have that than another car on the road.

I rode a 250 helix for years and never had a problem except when traffic was moving along fast. That's why I got the 400.

The biggest problem nowadays is the distracted driver, cell phones and all. I don't think most drivers go out of their way to be asshands, but they are just not thinking.

Considering the weather, I think it a safer place to ride than many year-round. The traffic is heavy, but Not much rain, snow and the like. Bugs are minimal and you can't beat the great riding. Sea, mountains, desert, farm land, we've got a lot to entertain serious riders.
 

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I don't understand this apparent need for some 650 owners to feel their bike is superior to the 400 in all respects. It is better in many, but IMHO, not all.
I guess I missed this. I do not feel it's the end all, just like in the Jeep world each has it's use and are setup for what you do with them.

I started out on Helixes and when I wanted something new I looked at the Reflex, Silverwing, and such but things didn't work out at the time though when things did the Burgman 650 came along in 2003 I feel in love with the looks and I was ready so I bought it. I can't those others wouldn't have been ok but for me but personally I am glad things didn't work out at the time because this bike for me and what I use it for there really is no comparison.

I do still miss the Helix because it was my first but not really for any practical reason.

My Burgman like most things can be a love (when everything is fine) or hate (my CVT issue, ride on rough roads, Giviv windscreens that crack) relationship but more often I am very happy with it.

IMHO, I find CA drivers pretty courteous, not good, but courteous. Most will give you extra room when you're lane splitting. They don't mind if you filter at stop lights.

The biggest problem nowadays is the distracted driver, cell phones and all. I don't think most drivers go out of their way to be asshands, but they are just not thinking.

Considering the weather, I think it a safer place to ride than many year-round. The traffic is heavy, but Not much rain, snow and the like. Bugs are minimal and you can't beat the great riding. Sea, mountains, desert, farm land, we've got a lot to entertain serious riders.
Generally they are pretty good as he says though I have run into a few that try to block you at lights. The state does make a effort to remind drivers to watch for motorcycles.

The biggest thing I always tell people that want to ride in our traffic is to never let your guard down and always anticipate that someone is going to do something stupid. Watching the drivers as you go can save you a lot of pain though you can't always know what they will do.

Funny how one can take the relative lack of bugs here for granted until you run through some place like Colorado.
 

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Had a few 400's and now just done over 3,000 miles on a 2014 650. The view pt1. Neither is intrinsically "better" than the other. The view pt2. Both are probably better than the competition in their respective areas of operation. The view pt3. I would not hesitate to buy another 400 shohld my operational specification drift back to the very wide spectrum covered by the 400. The view pt3. If I start to do track days again I would not choose either in a million years.

Geoff.
 

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There really is no "perfect" bike, every bike has its idiosyncrasies. I have never ridden the 400 Burgman but from what I gather here, its a darned good motorcycle. My choice was the 650 basically because I live out in the sticks and its a 25 mile drive to any city of size for me so I'm running at highway speeds most of the time. I also do a fair amount of traveling with the bike and has speedandstyle will tell you the wind blows down here in S.E New Mexico and the bigger heavier bike out on the highway for me is a big plus. Different strokes for different folks!
Greg
 

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I'm not getting down on 650 owners, he11 I am one. But I recognize it has its strong suits, and the 400 has its own. Nothing wrong in expressing an informed opinion on it. This is not a competition between the two. They're both fantastic bikes. I truly love them both and feel privileged to have a choice when I go out in the morning. :cool:
I think it's safe to say that anyone who bought a 650 seriously considered the 400 when shopping, as they are closely related.

For commuting in Toronto, it was an even-tie in terms of useability--no filtering, vague HOV rules (okay in-city, except when a LEO decides it's not, forbidden outside city). Suspension, underseat storage, gas mileage, maintenance, weather protection and insurance weren't different enough to be a guide. Used prices were surprisingly similar too.

What did it for me was freeway performance. The city is boxed in by major highways and the ever-shrinking nearby countryside can only reached by using them. The older roadways out of town have either disappeared or turned into crowded subdivisions. If you can't comfortably cruise at 120-130kph with some reserve (and a heavy rider), it's not much fun. Toronto's traffic rivals LA's, especially with cargo/delivery trucks.

Here's hoping Suzuki updates the 400 to a 450 and hits the sweet spot. I'd love a new second-generation 650, but $12 000 isn't in the budget at the moment.
 
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