I used to think of maxi-scooters as big, clumsy and often overpriced scooters. But after riding the Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS, I finally get why they are what they are. Maxi-scooters, for all intents and purposes, are designed to replace two motorcycles in your garage. Ideally, every self-respecting biker should have a scooter and another bike in their garage. Obviously, the scooter is what you’d use for your everyday commute to the office or for short hops to the coffee shops, while the other bike is what you’d use on the racetrack or for touring, depending on what type of riding you prefer. The new Honda X-Adv, for example, is a maxi-scooter that blends some of the off-road capability of an adventure motorcycle with the everyday practicality of a scooter. The Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS, on the other hand, blends the speed and comfort of a sport tourer and the everyday practicality of the scooter. Owning a maxi-scooter is practically having two bikes in one versatile package.
At PhP 499,000, the Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS is far from cheap. In fact, for the same price you can buy an SV650 A and a Skydrive 125 FI with enough left over for a new helmet. But if you only have enough space in your garage for one motorcycle, and don’t like the idea of maintaining two bikes, and the cost that goes along with it, then the Burgman 400 ABS presents a very good proposition.
Physically, the Burgman 400 ABS is a big scooter. But don’t let that intimidate you because the Burgman carries its weight down low, making low speed maneuvering in traffic very easy. In fact, filtering in traffic is surprisingly easy with the Burgman 400. Something that can’t be said with most maxi-scooters of this size. Combine this with a low seat height of just 755mm, you would feel as if you’re riding a much smaller scooter. There are even cutouts on the floorboard to allow shorter riders to reach the ground easily with both feet. From the saddle, the sensation of riding a much smaller scooter is carried over because of the compact front end. Of course, that’s only an illusion because once you hop off the scooter you’ll see just how big the Burgman 400 truly is, especially from the rear. Looking at it from the front, the Burgman presents a handsome sport-touring bike-like fascia with twin LED headlights and a large windscreen.
The best place on the Burgman, without a doubt, is the seat with a stepped-up design for the pillion. There’s lumbar support that can be adjusted 1.5 inches backward or forward that contributes to overall ride comfort during extended time on the saddle. There’s also plenty of room to stretch out in front if you so wish. Sitting upright, your hands fall naturally to the high mounted handlebars. The windscreen, though not adjustable, provides ample wind protection for my 5’7” height. The instrument panel is composed of a large analogue speedometer and tachometer with a centrally located LCD screen that shows the odometer, twin tripmeters, a clock, ambient temperature, average fuel consumption, fuel level and coolant temperature readings. There’s also an “Eco” indicator on the dash that lets you know when you’re riding efficiently.
Powering the Burgman is a 400cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4 stroke, single cylinder motor tuned to deliver more low to mid-range torque. But regardless of how much horsepower it has (the brochure says 32 hp @ 7600 rpm and 23.6 lb/ft of torque @ 6000rpm), the important thing about the Burgman 400 is that it is very fast, very smooth, and above all, it is expressway legal. It’s also fuel efficient. During our testing, we averaged 37 kilometers per liter of fuel, which is quite impressive because I am not one to ride with a light hand on the throttle. 23.6 lb/ft of torque can also overpower the rear wheel on slippery surfaces, highlighting the need for traction control system which the Burgman 400 ABS, sadly, doesn’t have.
What’s even more impressive about the Burgman 400 is the way it handle corners. Equipped with wide 120/70-15 front and 150/70-13 rear tires, the Burgman 400 has a well-planted feel even while leaned over, as well as high-speed stability. Stopping duties are handled by ABS-controlled triple disc brakes, two in the front and one in the rear. Although the brakes are not linked front to back, the front and rear brakes are independently modulated by the ABS control module and has more than enough power to stop the 215kg maxi-scooter effectively. Another quality I love about the Burgman 400 is its plush ride. Even if the 41mm front forks are not adjustable, and the rear horizontally mounted link-type monoshock only offers 7 spring preload adjustments, they were able to soak potholes, railroad crossings, and broken concrete very well.
For practicality, the Burgman 400 has a 42-liter underseat storage that could fit a full-face helmet and a couple of smaller compartments behind the leg-shield (2.8 liters on the left side and 3.5 liters on the right side). For extended touring, a top box would be necessary. A 12v DC power outlet is located on the right side compartment. Please take note that only the underseat compartment is lockable, so don’t leave any valuables inside the smaller compartments in front. A very useful feature we believe all scooters should have is the handbrake for when you park on an incline.
A maxi-scooter won’t ever replace the thrill and speed of riding a sport touring bike, nor could it match the frugality and ease of use of a small commuter scooter. But if you want something that has some of the functionality of both in a sleek and complete package, then the Suzuki Burgman 400 ABS could be the maxi-scooter you’re looking for. You could arrange for a test ride at Suzuki Big Bikes Makati if you’re truly interested.
(This story also came out in the July 2018 issue of C! Magazine)
Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, DOHC
Max Power: 32 hp @ 7600 rpm
Max Torque: 23.6 lb ft @ 6000 rpm
Transmission: CVT (automatic, centrifugal clutch)
Seat Height: 755 mm
Brakes, Front/Rear: Disc, twin 260mm, Disc single 210mm
Tires Front: 120/70-15 tubeless
Tires Rear: 150/70-13 tubeless
Fuel Capacity: 13.5 liter
Curb Weight: 215 kg
Price: PhP 499,000
- : Light and agile handling, ride comfort, and powerful yet fuel efficient motor.
- : No traction control, non-lockable glove compartments.
C! Rating: 9 / 10