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Scooter Review

Suzuki Burgman 400 Review

Why you should keep a maxi in the shed too. Medium Maxi. Makes sense $9490+orc

Words by JEREMY BOWDLER, photography courtesy of SUZUKI

It doesn’t look like my idea of a scooter.
It’s so big!

Fair point. But remember that this is a 400cc scooter and that puts it halfway between the traditional scooter and a motorcycle – and you need a full bike licence to ride it. But forget all that; if you just read the specs, you’d think it was a bike. A liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, dohc, four-valve, 400cc single with twin discs up front and a single at the back, 41mm forks and a seven-way preload-adjustable rear spring-damper in a tubular steel frame. In fact, the only giveaway is the CVT automatic transmission – and the fact that, with 62 litres of storage under the seat, you can lock up two full-face helmets and gear.


But who’d ride a maxi?

Apart from swapping the second car for a scooter (which is a bloody good idea that is gaining momentum), anyone who commutes by motorcycle would find the scooter far more practical (and comfortable). It’d be cheaper in the long-term. There are two other early adopters, too: scooter riders trading up to something that has a bit more touring capability and Ulysseans trading down from heavier tackle.Basically, a maxi is ideal for the rider who has a lot of gear to carry, plus a pillion and who likes the ease of use and fl exibility a scooter offers, but with added freeway and weekend away potential.

You’ve got my attention. What’s it like?

It’s a single and a little bit lumpy off idle. Not like the 500cc Piaggio X9, and not rough, but you can certainly hear the engine working. That comes from its being a big single, but the vibrations don’t come through the chassis or ‘bars or seat. You just hear the engine working. Pick up from idle lagged a little, but cars never had a chance. On the road, the scoot had no trouble keeping up with anything else. Think of it as a slightly heavy scooter with motorbike muscle.


So it’s heavy. Too heavy for me?

Not at all. There is bulk and there is weight (183kg of it), but the mass is hidden as soon as you start rolling. The low, 795mm seat height adds to the feeling of control, so you should have no dramas. The 13-inch rims carry 110/90 and 130/70 section rubber which add to the sure-footedness. Braking and handling are similarly on a par with a motorcycle, once you get used to the riding position.


Well, it looks comfortable...

It sure is. It’s like having a lounge chair with footpegs. The backrest is adjustable and the footwell doubles as highway pegs that allow you to stretch your legs. Your pillion’s going to love you for it, too. The tall screen and front fairing will keep you pretty much dry in most weather, and there is a glovebox complete with a 12V power socket, as well as two storage units on either side with lids that pop up and swivel out of the way of the ‘bars. It’s even got a handbrake.

I’m worried about fuel costs. How economical is it?

Well, it’s not going to beat a 50, but there are no surprises there. Our test period was all city-based and one-up, and we got an average of 5L/100km, which is a range in the city of 260km. Of course, taking the Burgman out on the open road – and it is a great tourer – would see even better economy. So the second-car thing comes into play again.

I still like my retro scooter

And why wouldn’t you? All I’m saying is think about it. You might be surprised (I know I was). Picture this, it’s your fi rst date. You’re meeting him/her at a fancy restaurant. You want to look nice. You take the Burgman, you stash your jacket, your helmet and a spare under the seat for that moonlight ride later. Now is that going to impress, or what?



The Other 400

Yamaha broke new ground with the release in Australia of the Majesty 250 in 1998, followed by the 400 in 2004. Picking between the Burgman and the Majesty comes down to personal comfort, gut feeling and colour choice (the price is all but identical). Either way, you’re on a winner. Yamaha YP400 Majesty $9499+orc

As published in TW SCOOTER MAGAZINE - 9/02/2007
Subscribe to Two Wheels Scooter magazine now!

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