2015 Suzuki Burgman 200 ABS | FIRST RIDE

200cc Ain’t What It Used to Be. It’s Better.

They say: Whether touring the town or commuting, it has everything you need and more. We say: Except for a cup holder, that is.

A mere 200cc might sound puny, but in Europe, the Suzuki Burgman 200 ABS is known as a "maxi" scooter . Presumably it's the relatively higher power, ample bodywork, and generous storage space that make the smallest Burgman a (relative) giant among scoots in Europe. Think of it slotting between the small-chassis 125s and the popular 300s.

The Burgman is powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 200cc single-cylinder motor tuned for low-end and midrange power. It produces a claimed 18.1 hp at 8,000 rpm and 12.5 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm, which doesn’t seem particularly impressive until you’re easily passing cars on the freeway. The fuel injection provides smooth power delivery, and the CVT’s fixed-spring design does a nice job of reducing vibration—except when the bike is sitting at idle and has a noticeable pulse.

The Burgman 200 is wrapped in a bodywork similar to its bigger siblings. This bodywork is narrower on the US model than the European version, which is helpful in traffic and also makes the bike more comfortable to straddle. The slimmer profile, combined with the lowest-in-class seat height (28.9 inches) and cutaway floorboards, ensures that most riders can easily land both feet on the ground. At a manageable 362 pounds (claimed, wet), the Burgman is right between the 286-pound Honda PCX150 and the 422-pound, 279cc Honda Forza.

Instruments include a multifunction panel showing fuel economy, plus a fuel gauge.

On the road, the Burgman is smooth, stable, and fast enough to keep up with traffic. Our test ride started with winding back roads around San Diego County, highlighting the scooter’s nimble handling. Neutral steering, agreeable cornering manners, and decent ground clearance allow for spirited riding. The suspension is firm enough for sporty handling yet compliant enough to soak up bumps in the road without unsettling the chassis. The brakes are well matched to the bike’s power and weight, offering good feel and plenty of stopping power. The ABS won’t shorten your stopping distance, but it does keep the tires planted—with minimal chatter—when you grab a sudden handful of brakes.

A short stint on the freeway proved that 200cc can be enough to pass cars at 70-plus mph while maintaining a smooth, steady ride. While high speeds will pound you with wind turbulence on some scooters, the Burgman’s ergonomic (though nonadjustable) windscreen, with a vent duct at the bottom, creates a sizeable enough air bubble to protect you from abuse.

Under the seat, an illuminated 41-liter storage compartment will hold a pair of full-face helmets with a little room left over. The seat itself is deeply padded yet firm enough to be comfortable for an all-day ride.

By the end of a day aboard the Burgman, we had a revelation: You really can get away with only 200cc. The Burgman 200 offers the power, comfort, and handling to accommodate both commuting and light sport riding, with enough storage space to rival a Smart Car. At $4,999, the price seems a bit high for a 200cc scooter, until you compare it with others in its class. The Burgman is $1,500 to $2,200 more than its 150 to 163cc rivals from Honda and Kymco, but it also offers more power, more storage space, and ABS. Then compare it with Honda’s Forza ($6,099 with ABS) and Kymco’s 298cc Downtown 300i ($5,599), and the Burgman looks like a bargain.

tech SPEC

Based on the Euro-only Burgman 200 but slimmed for American tastes.
Honda Forza, Honda PCX150, Kymco Downtown 300i
PRICE $4999
ENGINE 200cc, liquid-cooled single
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 18.1 hp @ 8000 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 12.5 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm
FRAME Tubular-steel under-cradle
REAR SUSPENSION Dual shocks adjustable for spring preload
FRONT BRAKE Two-piston caliper, 240mm disc with ABS
REAR BRAKE One-piston caliper, 240mm disc with ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 27.0º/3.66 in.
WHEELBASE 57.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 28.9 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 362 lb. wet
CONTACT [suzukicycles.com][]
8/10 Stars - Sporty performance with high mpg and ample storage space? Yes, please.
Instruments include a multifunction panel showing fuel economy, plus a fuel gauge.