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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not only expecting but HOPING for contrary viewpoints, but I am coming
to the conclusion that scooters have a high-cost of ownership.
I have had motorcycles that I have comparatvely spent next to nothing on over
75K miles of ownership. In contrast, my Burgman 400 has eaten up a bunch of
money. I believe I can get 40K or more from a set of chain and sprockets for
a chain drive motorcycles. Burgman belts, per spec, 15K. And rollers. And drive
and driven faces if one wants to look at longer ownership lives of near 100K.
In short, the transmissions eat some money.

I was earlier browsing some of the 650 Burgman threads. I feel deeply sorry for
those folks. (I have a Silverwing and a Burgman 400 and two Suzuki motorcycles.
I am a diehard Suzuki fan. But.)

One other data point that prompted me to write this post is that the DRIVEN faces
for my 03 Burgman 400 are $295. Ouch! (But drive faces are only (?) $145.)
I am thinking they should be replaced on my 60K mile 400 and it makes me
a bit wide-eyed.

Indeed, I have had some GREAT times on my Burgman. And grocery-getting
is one of its best features. Add in commuting in light rain & cold weather.
Being able to drop my riding gear into the trunk has allowed me to park my
car for months at a time.

But scootering on my Burgman has not actually come cheaply.
 

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How are your maintenance costs of ownership on the other three bikes you own by comparison?
I agree that these things can be expensive. It’s sort of a myth that they are cheap. People superimpose their ideas on what they think an itty bitty scooter should be on these big bikes. The real reason many of us own them, is because that’s the type of bikes we want. No more no less. If you like these maxi scooters then you’ll look the other way at how they are expensive, cumbersome & heavy and not as good on gas economy as you’d expect (I just named all the things Motorcycle magazine writers tend to blast them about). You can get these bikes for whatever reason you want, but saving money shouldn’t be one of them.
Perhaps the worst expense was having the valves adjusted on my old 400 about ten years ago. They were way out of whack and the bike did run better afterwards but $500! Sheesh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No real comparison with motorcycles unless maybe you brought them in for
servicing. I have had motorycles with both shim and screw/locknut valve
adjustments. Mostly the newer shim ones (as with the Silverwing) rarely
need adjustment, but even when I had one motorcycle (ZRX1200) that did,
the shims were relatively cheap and easy to replace. Screw/locknut is
likewise easy & cheap.

I had some older Yamahas that had built-in issues--starter motor on 1982 Virago
and my two-stroke RD400 was ridiculously fickle with jetting/pistons--but all of
my other bikes, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, were close to free. My older Honda
scooters--Elite & Helix--were expensive to troubleshoot with funky issues, but,
again, they were scooters. Those pre-fuel-injection automatic chokes were
kind of wonky.
 

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I'm guessing that none of your bikes have been a BMW or a KTM ;)


Seriously though, my V-strom was a cheaper to run than the Burgman (especially as it is easy to do preventative maintenance like chain replacement). But the Burgman dumps all over it in terms of comfort, mile-eating, weather protection and storage (not so much at off-roading :)). I'm happy to pay for that (though I might change my tune when the CVT belt snaps ;D )
 

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I think comparing motorcycles to scooters is like apples to oranges. What about insurance cost? My 2012 Suzuki DL650 cost more to insure then my 2016 Burgman 400. Many of the larger touring motorcycles like to go through rear tires. A 2018 BMW K1600 GTL starts at $25,595.00 to $27,745.00. Doing a valve check on an inline 6 cylinder at a BMW dealer or rear tire replacement would put our maintenance costs to shame.

Also the K1600 has a 112 liters of storage (46, 33 + 33) The 2018 Honda Goldwing 110 Liters. My Burgman 400 with my 46 liter Givi top trunk is 108!
 
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I have found that my costs of riding run about $.15 per mile. It is as low as this because I do my own maintenance. Take it to a dealer and it's probably about double that.
For me the per mile breakdown is:

Capital amortization - .05
Fuel - ~.05
Tires - .01
Routine maintenance (oil, belts, filters, transmission parts) - .025
Insurance - .015

Gear (helmets, clothing, boots, rain gear, jackets) - .01


That was for the IceBurg that I bought relatively new (< 100 miles) and rode 110K.

For my current bike, the amortization costs will be about half.

I tell friends that you don't ride to save money. You ride because you like to ride.


In comparison, my Boulevard that preceded the IceBurg would have slightly higher fuel and oil costs. Much lower routine maintenance costs. 30% lower tire costs and the rest stay about the same.


These costs are about the same as a cheap used commuter beater. I never considered riding to be a cost saver (though it does eliminate all my mental health expenses).
 
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After going through this exercise for my 400 I did it again on a hypothetical 650 and, depending on initial purchase price, it doesn't change much.
 
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Doing my own maintenance so my costs are lower. Not sure why you are sorry for us 650 owners. My costs for maintenance has been extremley low. We'll look at my crashed 2008 with 64,000 miles on it:

1. Tires. I went darkside soon as the stock Bridgestone wore down. So it has had 3 rear tires and 4 fronts. So thats around $185.
2. Oil's. I do a 7200 mile oil/filter change. I get 10 filters at a time from Bikebanit, the EMGO for about $4.95 each. I do two oil changes to 1 transmission and 1 final drive. So thats around $300.
3. Headlight bulbs. I do use a lot of bulbs due to using Silverstone Ultra's that have a shorter life span. I went thru 3 sets @ $45 each. So $135.
4. Brakes. I use the brakes more during my I-405 commutes. I also run more expensive ESB HH pads. I had replaced 3 sets of fronts and 2 sets of rears @ $25 per set. Ad in two brake fluid flushes $10. So $135.
5. Gas. I got an avarage of 54 MPG (US Gallon). Around $3 per gallon. So another $3500.


Added up = $4255 + $5000 to buy it used with 305 miles on the ODO = $9255. $0.145 per mile with Gas or $0.0899 per mile without gas figured in.
 

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You da bomb "dog"
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm guessing that none of your bikes have been a BMW or a KTM ;)


Seriously though, my V-strom was a cheaper to run than the Burgman (especially as it is easy to do preventative maintenance like chain replacement). But the Burgman dumps all over it in terms of comfort, mile-eating, weather protection and storage (not so much at off-roading :)). I'm happy to pay for that (though I might change my tune when the CVT belt snaps ;D )
Yes, seriously, BMW & KTM are out of it!

This would be getting off-topic, but this review made an impression upon me years ago regarding the DL vs AN 650s.

http://canadamotoguide.com/2005/01/18/comparo-suzuki-burgman-650-vs-suzuki-dl-650-vs-suzuki-sv-650/

I would be interested in your comments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
More generally, I AM happy that you all defended scooter ownership.
I am simply just a bit surprised/shocked by my own recent CVT costs
or projected ones. I suppose that after thinking about it I would have
to conclude that all the convenience while commuting/shopping over
the years probably was worth the cost. I shouldn't be such a cheap-ass.
 

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I've noted in the past that the main difference between the 400 and 650 is that on the 400 you get to pay your transmission costs in installments. The 650 comes with a balloon payment at the end. Dave and I paid about the same amount for our respective scooters and so the total cost of ownership is going to be very similar. Darksiding probably knocks off something between 1 - 2 cents per mile. Overall, if you're willing to fork over the cost per mile, both give you a pretty good bang for the buck. What you save in maintenance on a standard motorcycle could disappear in buying equivalent storage. Make your choice, pay your money, ride your ride.

The "give-a-$hit" list is probably different for recreational riders. Dave was (and I am) a commuter rider that tended to put more than average miles on our rides. For me, since I am a total darkside wimp (oh the shame), the 650 would represent one more tire change per year and is probably the biggest single factor in my choice of the 400 now. Used to be it was ECVT angst.


There are many 400 vs 650 threads around but Dave and I are the only ones I have seen that put the cost per mile together and come to the conclusion that it's pretty much a wash.


YMMV
 

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I spin my own wrenches, so my cost of ownership is cheaper. I also own a Burgman 200, that has a known transmission issue. If I stumble across a used transmission in a ebay store for a good price, I snap it up. So going used for parts will save you some money. Another thing I tend to do. I rarely keep a scooter longer then 4 years/40,000 miles. Detail it, make it look good, do all the service's, make sure its safe and donate it. I've been keeping an eye on the upcoming electric scooters. If my local BMW dealership didnt hate scooters and only want to sell stupid money motorcycles, I would consider the C Evolution. Yes, it still has a transmission?, brakes, insurance and Im positive there is something "BMW" hidden in the ownership cost but to get rid of a gas powered motor would be nice for a run-about. I had a blast on the Zero motorcycles demo. I even enjoyed the TERN GSD electric bicycle demo but my wife hated the passenger seat system and said it rode like a pogo stick with a broken spring!
 

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Yes, seriously, BMW & KTM are out of it!

This would be getting off-topic, but this review made an impression upon me years ago regarding the DL vs AN 650s.

http://canadamotoguide.com/2005/01/18/comparo-suzuki-burgman-650-vs-suzuki-dl-650-vs-suzuki-sv-650/

I would be interested in your comments.

Interesting article, not seen it before. I does look like bike rider reviewing a scooter (with inevitable bias), and not vice versa though e.g.

I was a tad disappointed to discover that the Burgy (if I may call it that) proved unable to spin wheels or pop wheelies in the power setting.
(I really hope he was joking :)) Also, the Burg was non-Exec (they mentioned the screen did not adjust.)


All in all an good read, but it was the comments about comfort that were puzzling:
The DL walked away with the comfort prize – upright and relatively spacious, you could ride this thing all day – slow or fast – and still be the first one to the bar while your colleagues were still nursing numb parts and aching limbs in their motel room.
and

the V-Strom, with its ample legroom and ideal positioning ... topped them all by a long way in the long-haul comfort world.
This is some parallel universe weirdness. I've toured for several thousand miles on both my V-Strom and Burgman and am still wondering if I read that right. After several hundred miles on the Strom, I sometimes have to stop between fuel stops to shake out the legs and cool-the arseburn (even with a gel saddle and sheepskin). In contrast, I did a Saddle Sore 1000 this summer on the Burg, and after 1100 miles I could have done the same again. (Stock seat with the butt pad removed)


Here's the thing: I am 6'1" and can straighten my legs on the Burgman. I have to repeat that -- I can straighten my legs. Which is the best thing in the world when you are riding long distances. And also move your feet all over the footboards -- even behind you like on a Strom if you want :D

So I think the reviewer is either biased or was actually riding a Burgman 125 ;). I loved my Strom, it was a beautiful machine that made me smile, and I wish I could have kept it. But to say that it is more comfortable than a Burgman is just delusional! My two penn'orth :)






 

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Thanks for listing expenses for a Burgman 650.
Mine have been about the same except for the tires.
You did not indicate how much you save by going darkside.

You also did not mention insurance.
For the Texas minimum insurance, I pay less than $60 per year
compared to $600 per year for my car.

I did not expect the scooter to save money but so far it has.
Perhaps I will change my tune if and when something fails.

Unlike most Burgman 650 owners, I usually try live with problems rather
than immediatly fix them. My key release for the seat lock failed and I lived witth
this for nearly two years. When I left on the parking lights and the battery
ran down, I had to find a way to open the seat to get to the battery.

I broke off the gas cap door a few years ago and have yet to spend the $10
it would cost to replace the plastic hinge.

If you do your own maintenance and don't ask the dealer to fix every little
problem, the maintenance costs are surprisingly low.

-Dr. Bett
 

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Edited my post above to figure in cost per mile without gas. Gas costs vary too much across the world as does the measurements of said gas...

It is not too bad at 8.99 cents per mile.

Somewhere I have my daily log of running my Suzuki GS750N and all the costs of maintaining it. It was run VERY VERY hard on the German Autobahn at 90-125 MPH for hours some times. I remember it was somewhere in the $0.08 per mile (not figuring gas) way back in 1983... add in 35 years of inflation..... I would get most of my parts and tires from the local German shops as the American PX system did not do motorcycle stuff. Everytime I had the shop do service the bike had 45+ more miles on it when done. The German man loved it due to all the stage 2 race parts that their TUV inspections would not allow. :smile

I did have a Harley 1000cc Sportster that was all DRAG RACE prepped and ran on 80% Methonal/20% Nitromethane and it cost me about $20 per mile, One 1/4 mile at a time.:grin
 
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"Here's the thing: I am 6'1" and can straighten my legs on the Burgman. I have to repeat that -- I can straighten my legs."

Deadpool II
 
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I spin my own wrenches, so my cost of ownership is cheaper. I also own a Burgman 200, that has a known transmission issue...
Haven't encountered that so far (bike is on second belt now, normal replacement schedule), but I ride it rather conservatively and that may be what's making the difference.
 

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I've noted in the past that the main difference between the 400 and 650 is that on the 400 you get to pay your transmission costs in installments. The 650 comes with a balloon payment at the end.
Some people ride spreadsheets, other people ride bikes. As long as the former buys new machines, thus supplying the latter with gently used ones, I'd say the system works!
 

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"Here's the thing: I am 6'1" and can straighten my legs on the Burgman. I have to repeat that -- I can straighten my legs."

Deadpool II

That's pretty accurate actually :) : I am tall but with diddy legs. And a weird burnt head.
 
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