2017 Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS launch review | ROAD TEST
With over 70,000 models sold and 20 years of production Suzuki are obviously doing something right with their Burgman. We sent Oladele to the Italian launch of the latest 2017 Burgman 400 ABS to see if they’ve improved the original Japanese Maxi Scooter…
As descriptions go “Nice” doesn’t tell you very much about a thing; but Suzuki’s latest Burgman 400 – “Niiiiiiice!”
In 1998, the original Burgman entered the market as the biggest displacement scooter you could spend your sponds on and with its large engine displacement, cavernous storage and executive visage, it effectively kick-started the modern Maxi-scooter marketplace. Circa 70,000 units on and the Suzuki has undergone the second remodel of its nineteen year career.
The 2017 Burgman is what Suzuki calls a “Coupe-like” design, it’s slimmer, sharper and lighter than the outgoing model and has a sportier look. Sportier in this instance doesn’t mean a lean, hard-body of a machine, it’s not trying to be that but it definitely looks like it’s someway through a Jenny Craig diet plan with a bit of military fitness thrown in.
Cut-out footboards and a slimmer profiled 755mm high, stepped seat helps cater for the less-leggy amongst us, the 20mm thicker, adjustable (by 30mm or 15mm) seat poising you more upright, at the same time as reducing the distance between the rider and pillion. That doesn’t mean it has ‘economy airline’ seating for the rider now either. I would have liked a little more feet-forward space at the lumber support’s most generous setting but that’s preference rather than need. There’s plenty of room to go round.
As well as being leaner, the team behind the new model aimed to make the Burgy aesthetically cuter to look at too and I reckon they’ve succeeded. The dual headlights look eminently more attractive than the squint-sided front-lamps some of the other bikes insist on. The cool glow of the LED placements around the rim of the lamp housings lending the peepers the grace of a chandelier which, accompanied by rear LEDs in red, help bring the scoot’s appearance into line with the other models in the range. Add to that the sleek grab rails and the red threaded trim of the matt black bike’s seat, which matched its sultry red wheels, and you might just get caught staring.
The cockpit is a combination of a pair of analogue clocks and an LCD, both neatly laid out and as you’d expect, they’re a breeze to read. The rev counter is on the right, the speedo on the left. The latter claiming the scooter will max out at 180kmh. I barely cracked 130kmh but more is definitely in there, given enough road and the opportunity to pull the throttle back to the stop.
The centre-placed LCD informs the rider of everything else you need to know; from the time to how much fuel you have on board. There’s also a selection of the usual warning lights and an interesting “Eco” mode light which tells you how fuel efficiently you’re riding.
Below the cluster of the cockpit sits a one touch hand brake/rear brake for hands-free hill stops next to Suzuki’s innovative SAIS (Suzuki Advanced Immobilizer System), which in conjunction with a “chain lock gate” which allows you to attach the bike to an immovable object via a loop on the bike frame. This is one of the better devices around for stopping your scooter from having its ignition bored out and the scoot nicked.
42-litres of storage
Under the hydraulically lifting seat you can store 42-litres of whatever you fancy. Enough room for an average full-face plus a jet helmet, as well as some other bits and bobs. It’s under here that you can adjust the lumber support of the seat and by so doing increase/decrease the leg-room, to your desired stretch. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a light and/or maybe a power socket under there.
Room for a curry?
Additional storage comes by way of a pair of compartments either side of the instrument panel. The larger one on the right is 3.5 litres, houses a 12v DC socket and looks big enough to stow a vindaloo. The second compartment hides the battery, is shallower and holds 2.8 litres, but is still plenty large enough to be useful. Both of these boxes are easy to access with gloves on due to the big release catches. Neither are lockable. Suzuki’s explanation for this is it stops them from getting broken into and having had scooters bothered with too often, emptying your ride’s pockets of any valuables when parking up, makes a lot of sense to me.
And so to riding: In town the Burgman is a capable and nippy from the traffic lights until well past the urban speed limit. The Suzuki waltzed effortlessly around the few four-wheelers we encountered on a Turin Sunday morning and was equally as assured at handling the challenging tram -line-riddled, stone surfaces of the city’s roads. Still, I’m glad it wasn’t wet.
On faster roads the 399cc single-cylinder, DOHC, fuel-injected lump skips up to the 100kmh we generally cruised at and was abundantly happy thereabouts for the duration of the ride. Like in town, cars were similarly scarce on the quicker roads and in the mountains. Those that were out for a Sunday jaunt were swiftly shown the disappearing crimson LEDs of the Suzuki’s tail lights.
Reigning you in from those speeds you have a pair of 260mm front disc brakes plus a single 210mm rear disc with ABS. Chasing after our guide enjoying himself on a Suzuki V-strom motorcycle, the brakes felt measured and predictable, and I hate to say it, I think the ABS proved more capable than me. Saving my shame more than once after I’d ploughed into a bend a bit too hot. Not advisable where your run-off options are cliff-face or sheer-drop.
This Burgman has less power than its predecessor but this doesn’t seem to have adversely affected its pace any. On the contrary, Suzuki has managed to retain performance by managing to drop 750g of weight via the introduction of a new ABS control unit, slimming the Burger down to 215kg. They also utilised a new iridium spark plug and fuel injection with an O2 feedback system and a bigger, 5lt air box that enhances low to midrange torque. Add in an inch bigger 15 inch front wheel held by 110mm travel, 41mm forks, plus a hidden link-type, monoshock, rear suspension with 7-way adjustable spring preload (the only scooter with it in its class), a more rigid frame and a larger, upswept screen and you’ve also got greater cornering and stability. Job done.
When can you have one?
The Burgman 400 ABS lands in the UK at the end of August and will be available in ‘Pearl Galcier White’ or ‘Metallic Matt Black’ with sexy red wheels. RRP is £6,395 on the road.
Words: OlaDele Akinsehinwa
Suzuki Burgman 400 Specifications
Overall Length 2,240 mm (89.2 in)
Overall width 760 mm (29.9 in)
Overall height 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Wheelbase 1,585 mm (62.4 in)
Ground clearance 125 mm (4.9 in)
Seat height 750 mm (29.5 in)
Engine type 4-stroke, 1-cylinder liquid-cooled, DOHC
Bore x stroke 81.0 mm x 77.6 mm (3.2 in x 3.1 in)
Engine capacity 399 cm3 (24.4 cu. in)
Compression ratio 10.6 : 1
Fuel system Fuel injection
Starter system Electric
Lubrication system Wet sump
Suspension Front Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Rear Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Rake / trail 25°30′ / 105 mm (4.1 in)
Brakes Front Disc, twin
Tyre sizes Front 120/70-15M/C 56S, tubeless
Rear 150/70-13M/C 64S, tubeless
Ignition system Electronic ignition
Fuel tank capacity 13.5L (3.6 / 3.0US / lmp gal)
Contact: Suzuki UK
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