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I’m looking for advice – pros and cons about what to buy. I noticed that many of the contributors to this forum have Burgmans and have or had something else. So I’m hoping to draw on your collective experience.

About me: I’m a middle-aged newbie. After years of trying to convince my wife that I won’t kill myself, she finally agreed. I took the Motorcycle Safety course offered by the state of Pennsylvania and got my license at the end of the course. So I have no motorcycle experience other than that course. (Actually, there was some illegal motorcycle riding 30+ years ago, but we won’t talk about that. And I’ve ridden bicycles all my life.) The motorcycles used in the course were primarily Honda Nighthawks (250 cc) or equivalent. I’m 5’ 11” and weigh 200 lbs.

Where I live: I live in an area that is definitely suburbs, outside of Philadelphia. 30 years ago this area was rural, but it’s undergone tremendous growth since then. However, if I go 15 miles north or west, I’m in the country again. If I go 15 miles south or east, I’m effectively in the city (very dense suburbs). The topography is rolling hills, criss-crossed by creeks & streams. It’s a historic area, you can literally say “George Washington slept here”, about 15 miles away from Valley Forge. This is relevant when I discuss the roads (below).

The roads: There are really 3 classes of roads. First are the residential roads in the suburban developments. These are slow-speed (25-35 mph), with stop signs, cul de sacs, etc. Second are the arterial roads. The “major” arterial roads are generally 4-lane, with lots of businesses and traffic lights. These were the major roads in the 18th and 19th centuries. They have names like Lancaster Pike (went from Phila. to Lancaster), West Chester Pike (went from Phila. to West Chester), Wilmington Pike (went from West Chester to Wilmington), Pottstown Pike (well, you get the idea)… The “minor” arterial roads also date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. They are basically the roads that the farmers used, but they now carry a lot of traffic. However, these are generally 2 lane roads with a few traffic lights. And, third, there are the highways. There’s the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (But I don’t really picture myself riding there. I’ve seen too many bad automobile accidents on that road.) There are also 4-lane, limited access portions of route 202, route 30, route 100, etc.

So here’s my dilemma. I want to buy my first motorcycle. I went to a Honda dealer and was very impressed with the Silverwing (scooter). None of the other motorcycles really grabbed my interest. Then I went to a Suzuki & Yamaha dealer. I was impressed with the Yamaha V Star (650 cc), the Suzuki Boulevard S40 (650 cc, formerly the LS650), and the Burgmans. He also had some used Yamaha V Stars with good prices. Local Yamaha dealers don’t expect to see the Majesty 400s until November. So, what should I buy?

General observations/questions:
(1) The scooters have a lot of storage. That would be very convenient for traveling to/from work, running errands, etc.
(2) Let’s face it, scooters are not real popular in the U.S. (Everybody expects somebody like me to buy a Harley for my mid-life crisis.) How do you choose between a traditional motorcycle and a scooter?
(3) Because of scooters’ relative unpopularity, will I have trouble reselling a scooter?
(4) I really don’t care about automatic transmission or manual transmission. I drive a car with a manual. My wife’s car is an automatic.
(5) How important are the ABS brakes that you can get with the Honda Silverwing?
(6) How do you choose between the Burgmans (400 and 650)?
(7) Let’s talk about 2-up riding. After I get more experienced, I hope to convince my wife to ride with me. My teenage son already wants to go. What are the pros and cons of 2-up riding on the various types of cycles?
(8) What’s the story with wheel sizes? The scooters tend have smaller wheels (13” or 14”). The motorcycles have much larger wheels (15” or 16” in the rear, 19” in front). Why the difference?
(9) What are the pros and cons of air-cooled vs. liquid cooled?
(10) New or used? Your thoughts?

The dealers have said that I can test ride the cycles. But I’d like to go in with a short list. I think it would test their patience just a bit if I came in and wanted to try a dozen different cycles.

Thank you for your patience with my long posting.
 

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Analytical said:
General observations/questions:
(1) The scooters have a lot of storage. That would be very convenient for traveling to/from work, running errands, etc.
(2) Let’s face it, scooters are not real popular in the U.S. (Everybody expects somebody like me to buy a Harley for my mid-life crisis.) How do you choose between a traditional motorcycle and a scooter?
(3) Because of scooters’ relative unpopularity, will I have trouble reselling a scooter?
(4) I really don’t care about automatic transmission or manual transmission. I drive a car with a manual. My wife’s car is an automatic.
(5) How important are the ABS brakes that you can get with the Honda Silverwing?
(6) How do you choose between the Burgmans (400 and 650)?
(7) Let’s talk about 2-up riding. After I get more experienced, I hope to convince my wife to ride with me. My teenage son already wants to go. What are the pros and cons of 2-up riding on the various types of cycles?
(8) What’s the story with wheel sizes? The scooters tend have smaller wheels (13” or 14”). The motorcycles have much larger wheels (15” or 16” in the rear, 19” in front). Why the difference?
(9) What are the pros and cons of air-cooled vs. liquid cooled?
(10) New or used? Your thoughts?
Welcome to BurgmanUSA! You really need to spend a little more time browsing the forum. There is a wealth of information relevant to your concerns - impossible for me or anyone else to recap it all in a single response to your post. I'll try to give a quick response to your direct list of questions, but again, there is a lot more info within the forum.

1. These scooters have the most useable (handy) storage of any bike I've owned. I've owned 17 motorcycles, several of wich were full dress tourers. You can easily expand on the basic storage too, by adding a tail trunk, hump bag, even side cases.

2. These big super-scooters have only been here in the USA for 2 years. In that short time, they have attracted quite a following. In many areas of the country, including where I live in the Mid-West, they are selling quite well. These cannot be compared to the traditional 250cc and smaller scooters. They are an entirely new category. There are new brands entering the US market - several this year. Frankly, their popularity is growing at a faster rate than most motorcycles. But it will take a little time.

3. It is impossible to predict what you will experience with resale. I've seen some advertised in our classified section that sold rather quickly. Like anything else, if you price it fairly, and offer it to the right audience - it will sell.

4. You think you don't care about the transmission. But one of the reasons I ride my scooter more than my motorcycle IS because of that. The ECVT automatic on the Burgman 650 is awesome. I am no stranger to shifting a motorcycle - been doing it for about 40 years. And some days I'm in the mood for that. But more often than not, I prefer the twist & go ease of riding the scooter - it is seductive.

5. I'm not a big fan of ABS brakes. Some of or members are though. This is one area where you will encounter differences of opinion. I've had to do several panic stops with my 650, and it has stopped quickly and straight - no drama - each time. I'm very impressed with the capability of the non-abs brakes on my 650.

6. We have strong fans of both the 650 and 400 in this forum. If you are just going to ride the secondary roads, either will do the job. But for 2-up touring at interstate speeds the 650 has a definite advantage. It will also accelerate more briskly, and it has an edge in handling (radial tires and frame mounted engine help here). The 400 will get about 10 mpg better mileage. One caution. Whatever you "think" you'll be limiting yourself to in riding these scooters is apt to change as you become more familiar with riding the machine.

7. The 650 is the better machine for 2-up travel. That is not to say that you can't do it on a 400. But the additional power of the 650 is nice to have if you do very much 2-up riding.

8. You just can't fit 19" wheels into a scooter type body. The big motorcycle wheels do roll over bumps in the road more smoothly. But the super-scooter wheels are somewhat larger than the 250cc and smaller scooters have had in the past. The super-scoots tend to blur the line between scooter & motorcycle in many ways. Wheel size is still definitely a tradeoff. These scoots are stable, and handle very well - but if I hit a frost heave in the pavement, I'd rather be on my V-Strom. That said, I still roll the scooter out of the garage about ten times more frequently than the motorcycle.

9. Water cooled is the way to go. Engine temp on my Burgman 650 never varies. I've ridden it on 90 degree days - and once when it was 19 degrees. I haven't had an aircooled bike in about 20 years - and I probably never will buy another one.

10. New, used, leftover - they are all out there. And there are some good buys to be had, and some not-so-good buys, in each category. I bought mine new - first year of production there weren't many options to that. But my last two motorcycles were purchased used - both about 2 years old & well maintained. No problems with either. If I were currently in the market, I'd take a good deal in any of those categories. With the Burgmans, there are only very minor differences between an '03 and an '04 model - I think the 400 had more change than the 650. With the 650, the only change was with color (blue replaced by black) and the addition of a small plastic rain water deflector in front of the kickstand. You can add that yourself for under $15.
 

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I agree with pauljo's answers and I would add aside from this forum get yourself some motorcycle books to read.
the first book that comes to mind is Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling" you may want to jump over to http://www.msgroup.org/TIPS.ASP
Really no need to try out a lot of bikes, since you are new you would not know what to look for anyway,
but do try a motorcycle even in the parking lot, then try the scooter, you should feel much more secure on the scooter .
 

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Randy said:
but do try a motorcycle even in the parking lot, then try the scooter, you should feel much more secure on the scooter .
Hard to explain, but I DO feel more secure and safer on the scooter. That is probably partly due to NOT having the gas tank and engine between my legs. Accidents happen in many different ways. But if you crash on a motorcycle in such a way that it does not go out from between your legs, chances are high that you are going to suffer some severe damage to your leg or ankle that ends up under the motorcycle. I think you have a somewhat better chance of avoiding that kind of injury with a scooter.
 

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Analytical, After you hear what everyone says, pour over the comments on this forum, theres one more thing for you to do:

When you go to bed at night, or wake up early in the morn, which one pops in your mind the most? Go get that one. Anything else and you'll always be thinking "what if I'd got so & so"....... Go with the gut feeling.
 

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I too was in your sort of situation. I had raced motocross, trails and some enduro stuff years ago and hadn't ridden regularly in years.
Then my son was looking for a bike and asked for my opinion. Mike lives on the other side of the country and we couldn't look at things at the same time, so I would drive around to the various dealers and look at different models and price things out for him.
I kind of got the bug again, he bought a Triumph and my wife said No.
Last week he was coming home on vacation and my wife suggested that we should go shopping for a bike for me. I didn't waste any thing, I was off to the dealer the next day.
I had decided on a V-Strom 650 and went into the dealership to make a deal on a blue one but they had a used 2003 Burgman sitting outside.
I kept looking at it and looking at it and I didn't see a scooter. I saw a different kind of two wheeled transportation with a big fat seat.
To make a short story shorter I bought a new 2004 Burgman 650, got it last Monday.
I was worried about the CVT transmission and how I would deal with it but not having been on a bike in years I took off and had no problems at all.
As to security, comfort and ease of use I think the Burgman is in a class of its own. I have ridden 'scooters' in the past and found them to be strange devices that would do about 30, the Burgman is nothing like that.
As of today I have put somewhere around 400 + kilometres on mine, commuted to the office on the 'freeway', gotten caught in the rain and done a two hour none stop stint on it.
I went in to buy a bike and bought a class act commuting and touring piece of technology.
The power and ease of use make the Burgman a safer vehicle than anything else I have ridden. It is not a car and will fall over but other than giving it a little too much gas on a dirt road and not quite having mastered real low speed throttle control (still get a little jerky some times) I have had no problems at all!
My only complaint is that I am too tall for my windscreen and it is on back order!
So here is another experience for you to weigh in your research.
 

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Welcome from Newtown, Bucks Co., another place GW slept. :wink:

We looked at regular bikes, too, but fell in love with the Burgie. Bought a 400 in May and she now has 2K miles on her sweet frame. Bucks Co. roads are similar to the ones you describe--a cross between backroads country and suburbia. The Burgie handles them beautifully, including the twisties--she does love those twisties :D--and I had her doing 75 on 295 in Jersey yesterday.

In terms of resale value, from what we've seen, the scooters like regular bikes seem to hold their value really well.

Keep those questions coming; everyone here is great about responding.

Cheers,

Bryna
 
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