The 2014 Suzuki Burgman 200 ABS cleverly places itself in a class above the 125s and 150s, which are not freeway legal (at least in California), while providing big scooter cargo capability, as well a freeway-legal performance, into a package that runs less than five grand, which undercuts the 300- and 400-class competition.
There is nothing particularly unique about the 2014 Suzuki Burgman 200 ABS, other than its size and price. It has the features we expect from a scooter, including a fully automatic constantly variable belt-drive transmission, a large cargo bay under the seat (swallows two full-face helmets), and various cubbyholes in the leg fairing. Up market features include fuel injection, linked disc brakes with ABS at both ends, and premium styling.The main reason to consider the Suzuki Burgman 200 over its smaller competitors is the 200cc motor. The realistic top speed of the little Burgman is about 80 mph (add a little with a tailwind or downhill), and that’s enough to make you safely competitive on the freeway. Acceleration is limited once you’re up to freeway speeds, so ride accordingly. You will not be able to use a twist of the throttle to get you out of trouble.Braking will help you however. There are discs front and back, and they’re linked in operation. The Burgman 200 doesn’t care if you use the left or right hand lever, though using the two together greatly increases stopping power. ABS will step in if you’re too aggressive on slippery surfaces — on high-traction roads, you’ll have to work hard to activate it.Handling is good a freeway speeds. You’d expect to get bounced around a bit and have some nervousness due to the small wheels, but a 57.7-inch wheelbase gives the Burgman 200 needed high-speed stability.Around town, the Burgman 200 feels like the small midsize it is. It’s 130 pounds lighter than its 400cc bigger brother, as well as having a 4.7-inch shorter wheelbase and wheels that are one inch smaller in diameter at both ends (13-inch front and 12-inch rear). As a point of comparison, the Honda PCX150 has 14-inch wheels at both ends, and a wheelbase that is nearly six inches shorter than the Burgman 200.Seating is optimized for riders under six feet tall, certainly, with 5’ 9” or shorter being the target rider. This makes sense, as larger riders will probably want to step up to a 300 or 400 if they are interested in freeway usage. The higher, forward footrest area was best for me at 5’ 10”, and I rarely put my foot in the down, central position, as if felt cramped.The power is more than adequate in urban areas. Twist the throttle to its stop at redline and all but the most aggressive car driver disappears quickly in your high-visibility rearview mirrors. There is a bit of a flat spot around 30 mph where the CVT seems to struggle to find its place, though that passes and regular acceleration returns.That extra power of the Burgman 200 means that you can take it for little daytrips to the hinterlands and have some fun. Again, freeway access is nice, and it works its way through canyons much better than you’d expect from a 200cc machine. The 359-pound (claimed curb) weight makes the most of the power on tap (about 18 horses), and that relatively light weight helps in handling.You can lean the Burgman 200 over quite far, though the pan will eventually remind you that you’re on a scooter. Most riders will never touch anything down, and the tires stick admirably. The long wheelbase means the Suzuki will hold a line in a corner, though wait patiently to turn in due to the small wheels.Suspension is a weak point on less-than-perfect roads, as it often is with scooters. The Suzuki Berman 200’s front forks are decent, but the rear has the standard scooter problem — the engine is unsprung weight and moves with the suspension. When you hit a pothole or square edged bump, hold on, as there is very little reaction by the twin shocks. Again, this is a standard shortcoming due to the traditional design of the scooter drive train.The dashboard has lots to look at, including an ECO readout that tells you that you’re riding the 2014 Suzuki Burgman 200 in a fuel-efficient manner. There’s a huge tachometer, which is pointless, as you have no control over shifting. I’d rather have a large digital readout of my speed, as the Burgman 200 ABS does go fast enough to get you tickets if you’re throttle happy.Suzuki is on to something with the 200cc engine size. Being able to access freeways gives you much more flexibility when getting around in urban and suburban areas. The 2014 Suzuki Burgman 200 ABS handles its core job of getting you around town with a large cargo space beneath the seat, and it adds in the ability for short, light-duty touring and a bit of fun in the twisties if you’re so inclined.Photography by Joseph GustinRiding Style
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.