It is a question that comes up every time I see something like Suzuki’s new Burgman 650, i.e., is it a “scooter” or a “motorcycle” . . . or some sort of hybrid? It’s a step-through, has floorboards and small diameter wheels. But, it has a fuel injected, water-cooled 650cc v-twin engine with Suzuki’s proven Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber (TSCC) technology. TSCC was something Suzuki developed successfully for its sport bikes back in the ’80s. The engine is tuned for emphasis on torque at the low and middle portion of the rpm scale, and gets its power to the ground through the new Suzuki Electronically Controlled Variable Transmission (SECVT).
The new drive train has three shift modes, two are automatic – one for ‘normal’ and the other for ‘power’. The third mode is a manual selection mode, for sportier intentions.
The frame is made of tubular steel, designed for strength and agility, and is supported at the front by a non-adjustable 41mm fork and out back by an aluminum swingarm connected to a 5-way preload adjustable shock. Twin, dual-piston calipers grip 260mm rotors up front, and there is a 250mm rotor in back for the dual piston caliper to clamp down on. Front and rear brake systems are independent of each other. The 650 rolls on a 15 inch front wheel, and a 14 inch rear featuring tubeless radial tires in sizes 120/70-15 and 160/60-14, respectively.
As you can see from the pictures of the seat, handlebars, fairing and windshield, this bike’s ergonomics say ‘comfort’. The seat has an adjustable backrest and rises only 29.5 inches above the ground. Further enhancing the stationary experience are cutouts on the floorboards to make getting the feet to the ground easier. Under the seat is a 56 liter cavern, able to hold two full-face helmets and a little more. Additionally, there are 3 smaller compartments up front to hold the smaller, more frequently used items. There is even a DC power outlet. A magnetically operated ignition switch cover enhances anti-theft capabilities. For the night time, multi-reflector headlights shine the way ahead, and turn signals are integrated into the rearview mirrors.
Instrumentation is all digital, using a main LCD for the speedometer, tachometer, odometer and dual trip meters, oil level and oil change indicators. Smaller, satellite LCDs show water temp, fuel gauge, and time of day. Traditional idiot lights show gear position and warn about a sundry of other items of critical information.
This model has it’s cross-hairs centered on Honda’s Silver Wing (another motorcycle/scooter hybrid), and seems set to go toe-to-toe. How will it fair? When we get to ride it, we’ll let you know.
U.S. MSRP is $7,699.00, and 650 Burgmans should be in the dealer showrooms by the Spring of 2003.