2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 Scooter Test
With BMW taking aim at the Burgman 650 with its C-class scooters, Suzuki has picked up the gauntlet and responded with a revised Burgman 650 this year. Its improvements are both visual and visceral, yet the basic character of the scooter remains — freeway-capable power in a cargo-friendly package that is exceedingly easy to operate.
Externally, the liquid-cooled DOHC 638cc parallel twin is unchanged, but inside work was done to increase efficiency and improve fuel consumption by a claimed 15-percent. New valve springs, fuel injectors, piston rings, final gear drive, clutch plates, and EFI settings all do their part to squeeze a few more miles out of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline.
The styling is modernized, with streamlined plastic, a triangular muffler, larger headlights, LED position lights, and black wheels — the Burgman looks good.
The frame is narrowed and lightened in the rear, which reduces cargo capacity a bit. Still, with over 13 gallons of storage, I was able to ride with a large Alpinestars backpack under the seat, and then replace it with my modular helmet when I arrived at my destination (the cavern holds two full-face helmets).
Handling has been sharpened up by shortening the wheelbase about a half-inch, and tucking in the front wheel nearly a degree. Taking on some of the tightest canyons the Santa Monica Mountains have to offer, the Burgman was a willing mount.
It’s not a sport machine at over 600 pounds at the curb, but it is served well by effective ABS that allows you to brake hard coming into corners and accelerate smartly without the need to touch a gearshifter.
Freeway handling remains stable, and the Burgman 650 ABS is a fully credible weekend touring mount — there is even enough power for two. An electronically adjusted windshield can be moved up for outstanding protection at speed.
The standard Drive mode is great for casual riding, while the Power mode is there when you need an extra boost of performance.
The only non-improvement I can find over the previous Burgman 650 is the redesigned dashboard. The large digital speed dis- play has been replaced by a harder-to-read analog dial.
Otherwise, the new Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS is just what its dedicated family of enthusiasts has been looking for — an updated machine that has not lost the fine character that has made it a favorite of nearly 100,000 owners.
- Helmet: Vemar Jiano Evo
- Jacket & Pants: AGV Sport Telluride
- Gloves: AGV Sport Mayhem
- Boots: Fly Racing Milepost II