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Would you buy another Burgman 650?


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Discussion Starter #1
I presently ride a Kawasaki Concours 2003.
However I may sell it and buy a Burgman 650. I have a number of resistances based on frequent visits on this site and the reported problems related to reliability. I have questioned salesmen and mechanics at Suzuki dealers and almost all of them lack proper knowledge of this machine... (the Concours is as trouble free as any motorcycle can be). I am retired and do not have excess money to throw away. I have tried the Burgman 650 and all the other mega scooters available in Canada, and it is the only one I would like.
One question I asked was the type of drive belt used by the 650. Imagine, 3 or 4 told me it has no drive belt at all. Of course a constantly variable transmission (CVT) has to have a V-belt or similar device.
Now is the BELT made of rubber or metal?
(The Honda Silverwing Owner's Manual mentions to replace the belt at 16,000 km.) In the 650 Manual there is no mention of belt replacement. Does this mean that it is metallic, like in the Nissan Murano and other automobiles?
Also what is the real reliability of the Burgman 650, in long term use?
Thanks for your contribution.
 

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As is always the case, it really comes down to personal likes and dislikes. I've seen a Concours up close and personal and it is a very nice bike.

As to my practical knowledge of motorcycling, I have none. The only bike I've ever owned is the Burgman and I like it. As to durability, I've had the bike 2 1/2 months and the only problem I've had is brake fluid, but I think that was a question of air in the lines more than anything wrong with the system. At any rate, I've never done anything to it except for the 600 mile service. I check the fluids and air pressure everyday before I ride and I have had to put some air in the tires, but not enough to worry about.

I certainly think it is more reliable than my 6 year old pick up truck, but that's because it's still practically new... only 1500+ miles on it. But, I never leave home without my cell phone - just in case. After all, it is a mechanical device.

Just depends on what you want and what you will settle for.

I bought mine for several reasons. Storage, Plenty of pep, handling, extra pep, automatic.

For me drawbacks to the machine were: Weight, Tire size, too many gadgets on the left hand bar, the size of the lockable glove box.

Now that I have had it for 2 1/2 months... Things I hate about it: windshield (have a Givi on now); Throttle (but I'd hate that on any bike); Seat (just not that comfortable and can't afford better).

And, things I love about it: Handling (as expected corners very well in my comfort zone); Headlights (lots of light on the road = lots of light for cages to see); Ease of use (no shifting - easier for me to ride and enjoy); Storage space (haven't left anything important behind - either coming or going).

Joe
 

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Now is the BELT made of rubber or metal?


Yes, as in it is a composite of metal link and rubber. The big difference between the Burgman 650 and other CVTs is that the Burgman does not use the belt for clutching. It is in constant contact with the sheaves so that there is not the belt burning that you get when you take off with other vehicles. The clutch is a multi-disc wet clutch like other motorcycles, but it is activated as a centrifical clutch.

I would in a heart beat get rid of my honda CB650C and even my truck before I'd part with my Burgman. The ride, the ease of handling, the not having to worry about shifting and clutching in an emergency avoidance, and the versitility of these bikes cannot be beat.
 

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Bernard,

Regarding the reliability of the 650 Burgman, and more specifically the CVT belt, it is designed to last the life of the machine (or so it has been said elsewhere). However, in the USA, at least, most scooters have not reached high mileages. I read somewhere else on this forum that in Germany, a 650 Burgman that had reached 50,000 kms was completely stripped down and no appreciable wear was found. My Burgie is pushing towards 24,000 miles. While this is by no means high mileage, I can say that I have had NO problems with the bike. Like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going! I might add that it has not been nursed either. I have ridden it far, fast and hard since day one. Next week I am planning on another trip to CA (from MN) and apart from an oil change, it's ready to go. The clatter at idle has always been there and may have got louder, but it doesn't bother me and the last thing on my mind is the CVT belt. If my Burgman is anything to go by, I can assure you that these scooters are as reliable, or more so, than any motorcycle out there today. Whether you will like one or not, is another matter!

Cheers,

Bob
 

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Welcome to BurgmanUSA!

Anything with mechanical complexity is going to break eventually, but I think you're going to find that the Burgman is as mechanically sound as it gets. :) After you've learned how to strip off the plastic parts, maintenance is easy for the average person with the help of this site (&/or a maintenance manual). There's just not much to do to the bike. It also washes up very nicely! :)

My biggest challenge is answering all the questions that I get from people wanting to know what it is and what it's like to ride. It's a people magnet and a practical do-almost-everything motorcycle!

The Burgman having a mechanical failure on the road is the very last thing on my mind. Look after the usual common sense things and it will get you wherever you want to go (as long as it's on pavement). 8)
 

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I cannot answer for the 650, but the 400 has a few "teething" problems when it first came out and Suzuki addressed them in short order. Kawasaki had voltage regulator and timing chain problems on the Vulcan 750 when it hit the streets in the mid 80's and from what I read on the Vulcan forums, Kawasaki still has the same problems to date.

In addition, there were a few detail related things that most other manufacturers wouldn't have improved that Suzuki did. In fact, there have been more changes to the Burgman 400 in 3 years than their has been to the Honda Helix in 20.

I guess what I am saying is if their was a problem, whether it be a detail or a mechanical glitch, Suzuki nipped it in a hurry. They really have made an effort with these Burgmans. And it really shows.
 

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Bernard,

I put 66,000 miles on a Kawi Concours. It was one of the best bikes I've ever had for long rides and a terrific bang for the buck. I like Kawasakis, I've had several good ones. So far, I have put over 16,000 miles on my Burgman 650. I've had no problems with it. I've done 500 mile days on it at 80 mph. Read any m/c forum and you can get concerned about "reliability issues". That includes the Connie. That includes BMWs. Isolated failures will happen with any machine. Then there are repeat failures that indicate a weakness in the design or components used. Of the latter, the Connie has more issues than the Burgman 650! Yet the Connie is overall a very reliable bike. And in 66,000 miles I only had to replace the fuse box (one of the Connie's several weak points). No big deal. The biggest weak point on the AN650 is the rear wheel bearings. Several folks have had premature failure. Yet at 16,500 miles, my rear bearings look good. I do have them inspected at each rear tire change, and at the first sign of rust or abnormal wear, I'll swap them out with higher quality bearings. My guess is that by 2005 Suzuki has corrected this issue anyway. We'll see in time. The service manager at the dealership I go to tells me that Suzuki by far builds the most reliable bikes of all the Japanese manufacturers. This dealership sells Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. At the end of each year, his warranty claims on Suzukis are consistently way less in number than the next best brand.

Your concern should not be reliability. Your concern should be function. These are very different machines. The Burgman is better than a Connie in some areas, the Connie excels in others. If you PM me with your thoughts on why you'd like to switch, I can probably help you with that. I'm very experienced with both bikes.

My own bottom line is this. If you offered to swap me your 2003 Connie for my 2003 Burgman, I wouldn't do it. Overall, I like the Burgman much better.
 

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Bernard Verdon said:
...One question I asked was the type of drive belt used by the 650. Imagine, 3 or 4 told me it has no drive belt at all. ...
3 or 4 people were correct. The Burgman 650 does not have a drive belt. It is gear driven (as opposed to belt, chain, or shaft driven), the only bike I know of that has this feature.

That being said, yes, there is a belt, inside the CVT, and it is a composite of metal and rubber that sort of resembles the "tracks" on a military tank. There is no service interval for replacing or even inspecting this belt, as it is a "life of the bike" component.

As for reliability, while there have been a few owners reporting problems, there are thousands, myself included, who have been trouble free. I have more than 11,000 miles on my '03 650, and have done a lot of highway riding including mountain passes and flat, hot desserts, plus stop & go city riding. Last summer I rode over 3,000 miles in 6 days, from the Canadian Border to the Mexican Border and back, and all I did was add gas every couple of hours.

I'll be going in for my 15,000 mile service in a month or two, and so far the only parts of my bike that aren't original are the oil filter and spark plugs. Next service I'll change the air filter and get new tires in addition to the usual fluid changes. That's it. Not to shabby, as far as I'm concerned.

It'll be different than your Concours, but I think once you get used to it, you'll love yours as much as I love mine.

HTH.
 

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Rubble said:
We have one member who has put 40,000 virtually trouble free km on a 650 in one year.
Who was that mask man Rubble? Just curious. :blob7:
 

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I don't claim to be no "masked man" but I've put almost 50,000 km on my 'o4 650 in 16 months with no issues whatsoever. My riding varies from mountain passes to freeway to winding side roads and speeds up to 170 kmh (actual). I do a lot less "tinkering" with this bike than I did with my '73 BMW or my '82 Harley, both bought new and ridden well over 100,000 miles. I left the seat closed but not latched properly the other day and had a dead battery in the morning. Ten minutes with the battery charger and it fired right up. Last winter, after riding in the salt and slush, I had the centre stand stick so the transmission wouldn't go above low gear. A little spray lube took care of that.
 

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Wes said:
I don't claim to be no "masked man" but I've put almost 50,000 km on my 'o4 650 in 16 months with no issues whatsoever..
I'm glad to hear your not haveing any problems with your scoot. How many miles dose that 50,000 km translate into miles. I've put 14,600 miles on my 650 in last 15 months. No problems on this end either. I don't know how km that would traslate to from miles. :dontknow:
 

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vfdcaptain said:
How many miles dose that 50,000 km translate into miles.
Just over 31,000 miles. 8)

Wes loves to ride!
:D Amen to that bother!!! :D 8)
 

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Oh, just a poser, not a rider, eh?<G> Just got back from a ride to Gold River, 400 km total. One of the best roads in BC for a bike.
 

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It's been about 30 years since I've been on that road (before the new Campbell River - Port McNeill highway) so I've forgotten what it was like.

What did you enjoy about it?

Love to hear the details about your trip. 8)

Cheers!
 

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The road from Campbell River to Gold River is one of my all-time favorites. There are almost no straight parts, the surface is mostly good and clean and there is almost no traffic. The 45 km from Campbell River to the bridge that crosses the narrows between Upper Campbell Lake and Buttle Lake is all tight corners with speeds marked for 40 or 50 kmh. From the bridge to Gold River, another 45 km, is newer with a lot of sweeping curves marked for 60 kmh. On the way up, we followed a friend on a Harley FLT and he sets a pace that I have to keep my mind on to stay with him. On the way back I led and did it much more leisurely so we could appreciate the scenery. Both ways are good, just different. From Nanaimo it's right on 200 km to Gold River. That makes it closer to 300 for you in Victoria.
 
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