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Discussion Starter #1
I have been riding my B650 for about a year now (3500 miles). I have only commuted short distances on it but am considering taking a job that requires extensive freeway commuting, much at 70+ mph. I have seen differing opinions on this board about speed, stability, wheel size etc. For me the Burgie is great up to about 65-70 but over that, in spite of its considerable weight, the wind buffeting and smaller wheel size make me a little nervous.

I have never owned a big conventional bike but wonder what kind of added centrifugal stability comes from 17/18" wheels at higher speeds. I love the Burgie but am considering buying an older BMW or Kawasaki cruiser to compare. Any info from people who have owned/ridden both greatly appreciated.

Thanks. 8)
 

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movinguy said:
...For me the Burgie is great up to about 65-70 but over that, in spite of its considerable weight, the wind buffeting and smaller wheel size make me a little nervous.
I wouldn't worry about it.

I have almost 15,000 miles on my 650, most of it on the freeways.

In "testing" ;) I've been over 100MPH several times, and 107 twice. (107 actual speed; 119 on the speedometer).

As long as your tires are properly inflated and balanced, and your rear shocks set properly for the load (and both set the same!) you shouldn't have any stability problems.

Depending on your height and which windshield you have (many taller riders get taller, after-market screens) the buffeting can be an annoyance, but it's mostly your head moving around and not the bike.

The main advantage of larger tires, aside from lower engine speed at a given velocity, is the ability to ride over grooves and ruts instead of down into them. Any gains in stabilty would be ofset by other factors, I think, such as steering geometry, suspension design, etc.

I've ridden some full-sized conventional bikes that felt more stable to me than the Burgman, like a GoldWing and a BMW, and some that felt less stable to me, like a Honda Nighthawk. All good bikes, though, and all fine on the freeways. Just subtle differences in feel.

HTH.
 

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The AN650 is a very stable machine. I've cruised at 80 mph on trips, and shoot into the 90's briefly when passing - and I live in an area where it is often windy. When I still owned my V-Strom 1000, I found myself using the Burgman on windy days, despite the bigger wheels on the motorcycle. It was the better machine for dealing with crosswinds.

Let's talk rider. Do you understand how to countersteer? It is important. The smaller wheels do translate handlebar inputs quicker than larger diameter wheels. So if someone is trying to steer by "leaning" all bets are off. Smaller wheels are less tolerant of sloppy technique, because they will react to bogus handlebar input more quickly.

If you are suffering from wind buffeting, buy a better windscreen. Again, wind tugging at your arms and shoulders can translate into unwanted inputs to the handlebars, especially if you are nervous and tense. Spend $200 (or less) on a properly sized Clearview windscreen and put that problem behind you.

Also watch your tire pressures and rear shock settings. These should be on the firm side for high speed riding, particularly under windy conditions.
 

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Shouldn't be a problem - the 650 is extremely stable. I've had it up to 116mph (indicated) and she's as smooth as a whistle. I've had it over 100mph (indicated) many times on freeways with wind gusts and still as stable as a rock. As long as your check and correct your tire pressure at least once weekly you should be fine. One of the first things they teach in the MSF class is the faster a bike goes, the more stable it becomes! So actually riding it at the speeds you're talking about will get you more stability than the speeds you've been riding at.
Try riding something like a Honda Shadow or Ace at 750 or even 850cc. The bike doesn't accelerate as well in the 70+ range as the Burgman, and the rear brake is a joke - might as well not even have one.
 

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The AN650 is stable at high speeds, if you let it alone. As pauljo mentioned, it's quite sensitive to steering input (intentional or otherwise).
Larger motorcycles have much slower steering response at high speeds. If this is what you want, that's the way to get it.
Since you mentioned BMW "cruisers," I suspect you're referring to sport-touring bikes such as the Kawasaki Concours. BMW makes excellent bikes, but you'll pay a premium for the brand name.
If you're primarily going to be commuting on it, look for a used Honda Pacific Coast (PC800). They've been out of production since 1998, but are as reliable as anvils and parts availabilty is still good.
The one thing you'd miss -- especially if your commute includes heavy traffic -- is the automatic transmission. And if you were really talking about "cruisers," (BMW R1200CL, Kawasaki Vulcan, etc), you'll miss the convenient luggage -- though BMW has OEM luggage available for all their bikes -- and the fairing).

-Rusty
Ogden, UT
'89 Honda Pacific Coast "The Pale Horse"
'81 BMW R100RS "Firedancer"
'05 Suzuki AN650 (So far, anonymous)

[edit: I really can spell "primarily" and preview would be my friend if I'd let it.]
 

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movinguy,

Welcome to BUSA!

After reading your post I'm wondering what rear shock settings you've been riding with. Have you ever tried changing them? Most dealers seem to set them on 2 by default, I'm guessing per Suzuki's setup instructions, & for the slight oriental build (no offense intended guys/gals) this may be adequate, but for the stockier Americans, I wouldn't recommend anything less than 3 or 4.

Tire pressure also has a great deal of bearing on stability, as mentioned above. If you haven't done so, I would suggest 36-7 psi on the front tire & 41-2 on the rear. This should make higher speed riding much more comfortable & stable.

Have you taken the Motorcycle Saftey Course in your area yet? If not, you're in for a surprise, there's a ton of valuable info to be had by taking the beginner's course (even if you have extensive experience). The Advanced Course is also a real eye opener & is invaluable for improving technique & making riding so much more safe & secure.

I haven't graduated to running highway speeds on mine yet, but it seems to be pretty unanimous among the more experienced riders that all of the above info is not only relevant, but mandatory for safe & fun cruising at 65+.

Safety lecture over.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info. I'm afraid I haven't been very diligent about tire pressure so that will be #1 on my list. I imagine there are already threads about checking/changing shock settings so I will take a look. 8)
 

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movinguy said:
Thanks for the info. I'm afraid I haven't been very diligent about tire pressure so that will be #1 on my list. I imagine there are already threads about checking/changing shock settings so I will take a look. 8)
Page 12 of the Owner's Manual has a chart of recommended tire pressures for solo and two-up riding. The same information is on a label located just below the "nose" of the seat.

Pages 60 - 62 have more detailed info on tires.

Page 33 has a very brief section on shock settings, and notes -- as was mentioned above -- that the factory preset is #2, which most of us find to be too soft for good handling.

HTH.
 

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movinguy,

Changing shock settings is ridiculously easy.

1) Put the bike up on the centerstand

2) Look at the shocks from the rear of the bike. They are marked 1-5 with a hole between each number.

3) They can be set simply by twisting the body of the shock to the desired position, whole steps for the indicated numbers, 1/2 steps for the holes between the numbers.

If the shocks are set on 2, as I suspect, try setting them at 3.5 & ride at interstate speed for a bit. You can trial & error from there to find the setting that best suits you. The bigger you are ( or the higher the load ) the higher the shock setting should be for high speed stability.

This & making sure the tires are properly inflated should solve your high speed handling issues.

You didn't mention anything about it, so I'll reiterate, if you have not taken the MSF Beginner's Course, please do, you won't be sorry & it may save your butt.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I aired up a bit and went to 3 on the shocks - seems a bit more stable but won't know for sure until I hit the freeway this afternoon.

I may check out the MSF course or something similar. I rode dirt bikes and smaller scooters for years before getting the Burgman, but I don't have much experience with "big" bikes per my post . . .

Might try to pick up a used Pacific Coast as well - looks like a nice bike. 8)
 

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I may check out the MSF course or something similar. I rode dirt bikes and smaller scooters for years before getting the Burgman, but I don't have much experience with "big" bikes per my post . . .

8)[/quote]

The MSF is a very smart move, and from what you said regarding your experience, be patient and get used to the feel of the machine at high speeds on the freeway. You can take everything everyone said above to the bank. I don't believe anyone on this forum would lead you astray in the name of Burgman. Read Pauljo's post again!
As for the Pacific Coast (or anyother bike for that matter) look into renting something similar for a day or two, or at the very least, test riding in similar freeway conditions and see how it feels. You might be surprised.
 
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