In recent years, the maxi scooter market has grown by leaps and bounds, hampered occasionally by some bike-level pricing, but attracting riders with excellent performance levels, a great set of features and equipment, lots of space for storage and a passenger, and all the comfort and ease-of-use of smaller-model scoots. In 2002, Suzuki made a splash in the maxi market with the introduction of the Burgman 650, a burly multi-purpose scooter, powered by a water-cooled twin that delivers 55 horsepower up to 9,000 rpm. The compact 2009 Suzuki Burgman unit benefits from up-to-date technology, with four valves per cylinder, and efficient intake and exhaust systems, as well as a gear-driven countershaft system to reduce engine vibrations.
After you swing a leg through, your next decision will be whether to select the standard operating mode, or to push the automatic “Power” button with your left thumb. The “Power” button on the 2009 Suzuki Burgman causes the engine to go from a very adequate 4,000 to 7,000 rpm operating range in standard mode, to a 5,000 to 9,000 rpm “Power” range. It also tells the CVT to shorten the “ratios,” and to let the motor rev out more before shifting gears. Of course, you can always toggle back to “Manual” mode if you feel like you want more control. Some riders might find this feature gimmicky, but others will appreciate the thoughtfulness of a scoot that lets you decide whether you want to be the boss, or to take a rest.
A simple steel-tube frame on the Suzuki Burgman links the 41mm front fork and the motorcycle-style swing arm to the guts of the machine, the engine-tranny assembly. ABS-equipped brakes feature dual 260mm discs with four-piston calipers in front, and a single 210mm disc and dual-piston caliper at the rear. The front suspension is non-adjustable, but the spring preload can be adjusted at the rear to match stiffness with true loads, for increased comfort and safety.
Storage is not a problem with the Suzuki Burgman 650: a 56L lockable, illuminated compartment under the seat is large enough for two integral helmets, and the scoot also offers a glove box, as well as another stash-space under the fairing. And there’s more: a practical 12V DC outlet for accessories, electronically retractable side mirrors, and heated grips and seat, all add up to an impressive package. The only thing this maxi is missing is cruise control to reduce rider fatigue over long hauls. Thankfully, each of the two seats includes an individual backrest, so at least a rider feeling the vibes in his hands won’t have to worry about his lumbar.
Finally, the aluminum rims feature a 120/70-R15 tire in front, and a 160/70-R14 donut at the rear. These tire sections are awfully close to mid-engine motorcycles, if not larger, and are a sign of the 2009 Suzuki Burgman 650’s excellent grip. This scooter is made to stop fast, and to stay upright.