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Old 08-03-2013, 08:36 PM   #1
Ursa Major OP
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Questions on last-gen Burgmen

I've always been a pretty obsessive motorcyclist (mostly GS's), thought scooters were interesting, esp. old Vespas, but I'm a big guy and never considered them personally. About 6 years ago my hips started to hurt - a lot - and within a year I'd sold all my bikes, and found I couldn't even ride the F650GS single I picked up as a stopgap, so that went, too. As of six weeks ago, I've had both hips replaced, very successfully, and I'm looking forward to getting back on two wheels. I won't be able to get a leg over a GS-size bike until next spring, I think, but in the meantime I've become intrigued with the idea of a maxi-scooter. Dropped by the BMW dealer today and I like the 600 and 650, but it's still not easy to get a leg over the hump and without cutouts I'm not sure I can put a leg down when stopped. Drove to the Honda/Suzuki dealer, they had a couple of 2011 Burgman 400's for $6299 and a 2012 Burgman 650 Executive for $8999. Yes, I know I should buy used, but this isn't a market with a lot of good used choices, so I'm considering the new alternative, realizing that I may take a hit if I want to sell next year and get back on a GS.

Questions: 1) I understand the Burgmen were refreshed for 2013 - was the improvement a big deal, or are the last-gen fine? 2) The 2013's have ABS standard per the brochure, the old ones don't - is that a major issue on a big scooter (I'm used to it on BMW bikes and happy to have it). 3) I'm 6'3" and a pretty big guy - is the 400 enough for me or do I need the 650? I would be riding locally on 35-55 mph streets/highways, maybe the occasional 30 mile interstate trip. I won't be touring. The bikes seemed almost the same size to me. 4) Is the pricing ok for leftovers?

Btw, an alternative would be to pick up a G650GS single or F700GS twin with the low seats, I could possible swing a leg over those, but I would definitely sell/trade for a bigger bike next year in that case - a scooter would be an opportunity to explore a different side of riding, and if I liked it I could keep the scooter and get a bigger motorcycle as well.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:03 PM   #2
JerryH
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All the Burgman 650s have a reputation for transmission problems, just like 1500 Goldwings. But many never have them. It seems to be mostly the '07 and older Burgman 400s that should be avoided. Late models should be fine. But Silverwings and Magestys should be fine as well. I am looking at knee replacements in the not to distant future, have many other orthopedic problems, and plan to switch over to scooters from motorcycles permanently. Right now I'm looking at 300s, the smallest lightest thing I can find that is still freeway capable.
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #3
ABritOnMaui
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Can't speak for the 650. I have a 2010 400, bought in late 2011 for just under 6300 I think (OTD and that is Hawaii pricing, mainland would be a few hundred cheaper).

Is it ok without ABS, sure. I have never had it unintentionally break traction under breaking with the standard tyres and brakes under normal conditions. You can cause it to break traction with relative ease when you want. The only time I have had any issue with traction wasn't due to brakes, just the joys of our temporary rivers forming over roads, mid corner in the middle of the night and leaving dirt \ pebble beds to slide on. I admit I questioned no ABS until I was reminded I had never ridden a bike with ABS before beyond a cheap chinese bypass valve attempt at ABS that only came close to working in the dry. I haven't had any issues with the bike not being hugely responsive and keeping it upright when stuff goes wrong.

For a heavy scooter it stops, accelerates, swerves etc fine. Just be careful as it is possible to scrape the fairings on the ground when cornering with any degree of enthusiasm.

With the exception of valve checks and belt changes it is easy to work on, barring air filters, at least the k&n replacements. There is a bar across the top of the filter housing that barely gives enough clearance to get the filter in and out and its a PITA to put back in. Never tried replacing the stock one so that may be fine.

It is very very heavy. This is the first bike I couldn't pickup and put on a truck bed or lift onto a lanai. Rare you should ever need to do anything like that, but it is a fat bike but that comes with the territory with maxi scoots.

Pricing varies so much market to market, state to state etc. You could probably get him down another hundred or so, or alternatively talk in some free services if you don't want to do them yourself.

On speed, a kwaka it is not. However I don't have roads I can ride at 180mph on anymore. It is possible to ride it at its limit and have lots of fun doing it. Throwing it through hairpins on the run up and down a 10k ft volcano is huge fun. Take it out for a ride, throw it about, see if you enjoy riding it. That should be your guide :)

If you just want a sanity check, neither bike would be bad, neither is a lemon in waiting, nor does the pricing seem too terrible if you want to keep it for 5-10 years, although there is probably a couple of hundred left to play with in those prices.

Edit: for your stated purpose take the 400 (the 650 is a great bike but I doubt you will use the 'extra', and the 400 has a wee bit more storage and better mpg) and save the extra money for another toy next year :)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crampfan View Post
We have the same trouble here. What I don't understand is If it's called tourist season, why can't I shoot them

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Old 08-03-2013, 10:04 PM   #4
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I have a 2007 Burgman 650; and it is one bike that has never left me stranded or in semi-emergent need on a road trip. I've put over 10,000 miles on mine; it's got 21,000 miles total...it runs and runs. And as fast as you'd like.

The 650 got reworked last year; cosmetically it seems more pleasing. The old one is "stubby" looking but not ugly, IMHO. I would think shopping around could get you a NOS 2012 or older leftover.

As for the transmission: It can fail if it isn't maintained. Over at burgmanusa someone has indicated a "stopper bolt" that can show stub-end wear and mushrooming and destroy the transmission. Check it a couple times a season and you should be okay.

The transmission in use is actually better than the industry-standard variator setup. How much different it is, I don't know; but there's tremendous engine braking on it. Once you get used to it, you'll probably like it and not want to do without it.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:52 AM   #5
JerryH
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The Burgman 650 transmission uses an electric motor and PLASTIC gears to do the shifting, rather than hydraulic pressure like an automotive automatic transmission. There is not that much stress on these parts, but they can and do break, and they are deep inside the transmission. It requires a complete transmission overhaul to fix, and fixing it means replacing the same parts that failed before. So a transmission failure on a Burgman 650 IS a big deal, but many of them never fail. From what I can tell, there isn't much you can do to prevent it. I don't know if the new model is still this way or not. But it does not apply to the 400.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:09 AM   #6
Bearcat
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I have 2 650's, 2008 and 2009, over 25,000 miles combined, not one, never, problem. Only the very early 650's had a possible transmission problem which was redesigned I believe in 2006. Don't listen to folks who bash the 650, especially those who don't own them and probably never rode on one. At 6'3" I believe you should go with the 650 not the 400 and maybe get a backrest for the extra leg room/back support. The 650 will do everything you want it to do. I also suggest you go to the BUSA (Burgman forum) and talk with the gal's and guys over for the best and correct information about anything connected with Burgmans, both the 400 and 650.
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:01 AM   #7
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I have. 2011 Burgman 400. I use it to commute to work and run errands on. My commute is 25 miles a day with 3/4 of it at 60 mph. It will run an indicated 95 mph, which is really just over 85 mph, I think. I've done 3 modifications to it, and now I really like it better than any bike I've ever had. The 3 mods? Seat back riser, put the stock butt rest up 4" hits me at the belt line. Because the butt rest is curved, it makes it very comfortable. Better mirrors, the stock ones a kinda small, I used mirrors off a 2004 KX1200 (commonly called a Zrex). They provide a wider view on the outside, much easier to see the lanes, especially in a curve. And last but not least, a Givi 266AF windscreen. On hot days I take the wing off for more air flow to my chest. It got rid of the stupid flexing of the factory windscreen, makes the bike a great cruiser in all types of weather.
I'm 6' I can't ride with the backrest all the way back, it's too far to reach comfortably. The other thing about the Givi windscreen, the top is farther away from my helmet, yet gets rid of the buffeting. I've ridden a 650, it's more bike than I like to handle in traffic, the 400 is a long wheelbase, and is very easy to hang curves with, to a point. You can't really get too aggressive in curves the center stand drags, but you can have a lot of fun before that happens.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcat View Post
I have 2 650's, 2008 and 2009, over 25,000 miles combined, not one, never, problem. Only the very early 650's had a possible transmission problem which was redesigned I believe in 2006. Don't listen to folks who bash the 650, especially those who don't own them and probably never rode on one. At 6'3" I believe you should go with the 650 not the 400 and maybe get a backrest for the extra leg room/back support. The 650 will do everything you want it to do. I also suggest you go to the BUSA (Burgman forum) and talk with the gal's and guys over for the best and correct information about anything connected with Burgmans, both the 400 and 650.
I rode one a few circles around a parking lot, where I discovered it was to big and heavy for me. I got the transmission information here: http://burgmanusa.com/forums/ I figure lots of owners are better than one or two. The transmission seems to be a hit or miss proposition. Some get lucky. Or maybe it's some get unlucky. Almost everyone on vn750.com has had a stator failure, several more than one. I have put 160,000 miles on these bikes, and never had a stator failure (yet)
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:23 AM   #9
ABritOnMaui
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Forgot to add I'm 6 3 and 190, no heigh issues although I wouldn't want to be another few inches higher. I can't see weight being an issue as I've hauled plenty of junk and a pillion rider. It's pretty comfortable as well although the same can be said of the swing on pretty much all counts.
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Quote:
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We have the same trouble here. What I don't understand is If it's called tourist season, why can't I shoot them
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursa Major View Post
I've always been a pretty obsessive motorcyclist (mostly GS's), thought scooters were interesting, esp. old Vespas, but I'm a big guy and never considered them personally. About 6 years ago my hips started to hurt - a lot - and within a year I'd sold all my bikes, and found I couldn't even ride the F650GS single I picked up as a stopgap, so that went, too. As of six weeks ago, I've had both hips replaced, very successfully, and I'm looking forward to getting back on two wheels. I won't be able to get a leg over a GS-size bike until next spring, I think, but in the meantime I've become intrigued with the idea of a maxi-scooter. Dropped by the BMW dealer today and I like the 600 and 650, but it's still not easy to get a leg over the hump and without cutouts I'm not sure I can put a leg down when stopped. Drove to the Honda/Suzuki dealer, they had a couple of 2011 Burgman 400's for $6299 and a 2012 Burgman 650 Executive for $8999. Yes, I know I should buy used, but this isn't a market with a lot of good used choices, so I'm considering the new alternative, realizing that I may take a hit if I want to sell next year and get back on a GS.

Questions: 1) I understand the Burgmen were refreshed for 2013 - was the improvement a big deal, or are the last-gen fine? 2) The 2013's have ABS standard per the brochure, the old ones don't - is that a major issue on a big scooter (I'm used to it on BMW bikes and happy to have it). 3) I'm 6'3" and a pretty big guy - is the 400 enough for me or do I need the 650? I would be riding locally on 35-55 mph streets/highways, maybe the occasional 30 mile interstate trip. I won't be touring. The bikes seemed almost the same size to me. 4) Is the pricing ok for leftovers?

Btw, an alternative would be to pick up a G650GS single or F700GS twin with the low seats, I could possible swing a leg over those, but I would definitely sell/trade for a bigger bike next year in that case - a scooter would be an opportunity to explore a different side of riding, and if I liked it I could keep the scooter and get a bigger motorcycle as well.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:59 PM   #11
UtahDirt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
The Burgman 650 transmission uses an electric motor and PLASTIC gears to do the shifting, rather than hydraulic pressure like an automotive automatic transmission. There is not that much stress on these parts, but they can and do break, and they are deep inside the transmission. It requires a complete transmission overhaul to fix, and fixing it means replacing the same parts that failed before. So a transmission failure on a Burgman 650 IS a big deal, but many of them never fail. From what I can tell, there isn't much you can do to prevent it. I don't know if the new model is still this way or not. But it does not apply to the 400.
There is nothing in common between a CVT transmission and a normal auto trans in a car. An Extended warranty from Suzuki around $6 to 7 hundred dollars for peace of mind. The CVT belt is a maintenance item and not covered.
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:55 AM   #12
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The problem is you get a few people that have a few issues and as result of them being on every forum the impact and results are the burgman 650 has problems...bunch of crap. If one looks at the quantity sold vs the few that have had issues its basically a non event. Every bike, every scooter, every car has a few which develop problems. No different then everyone bitching when they are in the doctors office....
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:28 AM   #13
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I have a Swing and love it but I'm not here to tell you that. A few years ago I had a rider friend with two fresh hip replacements. He too wanted to get back to riding. He was not interested in a scooter. I believe he had an older Goldwing at that time. When he attempted to swing his leg up and over the seat, his hip would pop out. Apparently that was not fun, enough so he hung it up. I never understood why he was so anti scooter. Oh yeah, and the Swing has cut outs that allow you to put your feet straight down. In my opinion the Beemer's tunnel is too tall. Next time you are at the dealer take a good look and see if the tunnel tops have boot scrapes. The scoots at my BMW sport multiple scratches.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:20 PM   #14
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The problem is you get a few people that have a few issues and as result of them being on every forum the impact and results are the burgman 650 has problems...bunch of crap. If one looks at the quantity sold vs the few that have had issues its basically a non event. Every bike, every scooter, every car has a few which develop problems. No different then everyone bitching when they are in the doctors office....
I agree with you on the CVT myth about the Burgmans, I bet the number of BMW's that had a final drive problem is larger.
Just talked with a friend here in NC who put over 100,000 miles on a Burgman and had no CVT issues. Replaced the belt one time on that bike. He just went over 50,000 miles on his 2012 Burgman totally trouble free miles.
He just does regular maintenance
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:19 AM   #15
Dranrab Luap
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Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
I rode one a few circles around a parking lot, where I discovered it was to big and heavy for me. I got the transmission information here: http://burgmanusa.com/forums/ I figure lots of owners are better than one or two. The transmission seems to be a hit or miss proposition. Some get lucky. Or maybe it's some get unlucky. Almost everyone on vn750.com has had a stator failure, several more than one. I have put 160,000 miles on these bikes, and never had a stator failure (yet)
Looks like it's time for a trike Jerry. The bikes (burgman 650) are ridiculously simple to handle at low speeds and I'm not a great rider.

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