Tested: Suzuki AN400 Burgman (2019) review – Pt 1

 

Mileage: 1,265 | Economy: 62.2mpg | Power: 30.6bhp (23kW) | Torque: 26.5lb-ft (36Nm) | Weight: 215kg | Price: from £6,499 / £6,839 as tested

 

When the clocks go back and the nights draw in, the winter commute can be a trying time – a combination of wet and greasy roads, dazzle from oncoming traffic and grime covered headlights all combine to make even the shortest journey a trial. Despite this, at BikeSocial, we feel obliged to keep riding through the winter, so this winter we're looking at alternative ways to stay on two wheels.

While BikeSocial's head-honcho Steve Rose zips around on his state-of-the-art DCT enabled off-road-do-it-all Honda X-ADV, I've been riding a slightly more down-to-earth solution in Suzuki's AN400 Burgman.

Launched in 1998 (2003 in the US), updated in 2007 and now on its third iteration, the Burgman 400 quickly became a main stay of the maxi-scooter range and the benchmark against which all others are measured, so how does it fare with a typical British winter?

 

Two scooters and a commuter on the startline

(Spolier alert) It finished 1. Address, 2. Burgman, 3. Train. Just confirms that bikes are best

 

What have we done with the 2019 Burgman 400?

You may have seen the Burgman take a supporting role in our recent Scooter vs Southern Rail article where it went head-to-head against Suzuki's Address 110 and the Southern Rail service from Hayward's Heath to Knightsbridge.

Despite losing out the mighty Address (spoiler alert!), we proved that commuting by scooter is still a great alternative to the train, being much cheaper as well as being quicker and of course, much more fun, so the Burgman was quickly pressed into office commuting duties as well as seeing some longer runs to the NEC, Birmingham and Bennetts HQ in Coventry.

 

You'll need a long shank screwdriver to get the battery cover off, and tiny fingers to get the battery out. Other cubby has power, but annoyingly, neither are lockable.

 

How reliable is the Suzuki Burgman 400?

If you are expecting to read tales of daring deeds, or that the Burgman failed spectacularly as soon as it was pressed into everyday service, then I'm sorry to disappoint, there aren't any, and it didn't. In the 1,200 odd miles that we've racked up so far, the bike has been spectacularly un-newsworthy. It starts first time, every time (except when someone (ahem) leaves the parking lights on all day and flattens the battery – which you may be interested to know is located in the left hand cubby, not under the running boards, or under the seat, or any of the other umpteen places that scooter forums report, and are wrong about – we know – we looked in them all before resorting to the manual).

So, what is there to report about a bike that failed to fail…well, if you are looking for a reliable and dependable way of getting to work every morning, then this is music to your ears. No matter the weather, rain or shine, freezing fog or howling gales, the maxi-scoot took it all in its stride.

 

 

What's it like to live with a Suzuki Burgman 400?

I'd love to be able to regale you all with stories of how terrible life is on a 400cc maxi-scooter, not because I personally have anything against them - I don’t, I think they are great - but because it would make for a riveting read. But, alas, there are none to tell, all thanks to the reliable and dependable nature of the Suzuki.  

There are no tales of wild and wicked handling issues caused by the 15" front wheel and 13" rear wheel, both shod in Dunlop ScootSmart tyres, because for the majority of users on the majority of roads during the majority of weather conditions, they work very well together to give a stable, yet agile ride, allowing you to nip through rush hour traffic with ease and confidence, take some 'interesting' lines around roundabout dawdlers and arrive at your destination bang-on-time with a massive grin from ear to ear.

There are no tales of scary motorway rides, being bullied along the inside lane by all manner of trucks and vans, because the ever willing and free revving engine is more than capable of taking you up to and maintaining good motorway speeds for extended periods. Need to go from Peterborough to Birmingham's NEC to help out at the Bennetts stand, or 'nip' over to Coventry for a team meeting? No problem – the Burgman does that with ease.

And while you are sitting in comfort for the umpteenth mile of the M6, there will be no stories to tell of freezing hands, frost bitten feet and numb bums, because the Burgman is very nice place to be. The heated grips (optional extra and well worth the additional cost) work extremely well, the screen does a great job of keeping the worst of the winter crud away and the sizeable running boards give you plenty of room to shuffle your feet about en-route. To top it all off, the wide and plush seat (with adjustable backrest) means that you will reach your meeting feeling fresh, energised and ready to do some serious sitting down.

 

Under-seat storage is cavernous and the bike will still be there when you get back thanks to a neat chain cut-out that lets you loop around the frame.

 

Not only that, but when you do get to that all important meeting, or in my case, when faced with what seems like a five-mile walk from the bike park to the NEC halls, you won't need to find somewhere safe and secure to leave your lid, because it will already be tucked up securely under the seat, along with your gloves and all the other things that you can now carry with ease thanks to the massive 42 litre cubby.

 

One thousand miles down and to be honest there

Just one bar left? 'E' stands for 'Enough'

 

How economic is the Suzuki Burgman 400?

Finally, something to write home about! Having racked up a good thousand plus miles on the Burgman, not many of which you could describe as being sympathetic to fuel economy, the scoot's reporting an average mpg of 62.0. This is noteworthy for two reasons – firstly, it's not a million miles away from the official figure of 65.69 (less than 6% away in fact) but secondly because even at this lower figure, it costs just £3.66 per day for my 40-mile commute. By way of comparison, the same journey in a typical two-litre diesel would cost around £5 and take around 15-20 minutes longer while taking the bus would vary between £4.80 and £7 per day (depending on what deals you can get) but, and here's the rub, would take over an hour-and-a-half… each way!

 

One thousand miles down and to be honest there

'Eco' light in green – just where you expect to find an indicator light. Ice warning is useful on those cold winter mornings.

 

What's bad about the Suzuki Burgman 400?

So, what can I complain about? Be warned I'm being quite nit-picky, because there really is nothing bad about the Burgman. Firstly, the rear ABS is a little eager to kick in. Not a bad thing per-se as it's comforting to know that wild 'hand-brake turns' are not on the cards, but annoying as the buzzing of the ABS is like grabbing a hornet's nest.

My next gripe is the engine noise. While a 400 single is never going to music to your ears, the Burgman has a tinny, abrasive edge to it, almost as if there's a heat shield loose and vibrating (there isn't – I have checked). The only saving grace is that, at 5'6" the screen directs so much wind noise at me that I can only hear the engine if I duck down.

My final point of dissatisfaction, and you'll have to listen carefully to hear me over the sound of the bottom of the barrel being scraped, is that the dashboard 'eco' light is massively distracting. It's intended to light up when (and I quote) 'the vehicle is operated in a fuel-efficient manner' but I have renamed it the 'not-full-throttle-light' because that seems to be all it indicates. Why is it so annoying? The light is green and so, out the corner of your eye, looks just like the indicator light, leading to much button stabbing and swearing.  

 

What next for the Burgman?

While 'nothing to report' is comforting in the same way that an evening news bulletin telling you how there had been no disasters, murders or crime that day would help you have a restful night, it also means that we can concentrate on some of the less glamourous, yet all important aspects of scooter ownership. How well will the bike survive now that the roads have been salted? Suzukis have never been good on corrosion resistance, so we'll be keeping an eye on the Burgman's exposed engine casing and fasteners. We'll also be seeing if we can ride carefully enough get that £3.66 daily bill down below the £3.57 mark, meaning we've hit the official consumption figures.

 

 

Three things I’m loving about the 2019 Suzuki Burgman 400

  • Capable of cruising at motorway speeds for extended periods
  • Heated grips that are actually very good
  • Ease of use and confidence in bad conditions

 

Three things that aren’t so good…

  • Annoying eco light makes me think I've left indicators on
  • Engine noise is less than refined
  • Not exactly the most exciting bike to ride

 

Modifications and accessories

Suzuki Heated Grips - £340 plus fitting

 

2019 Suzuki Burgman 400 specification

New price

From £6,499

Capacity

400cc

Bore x Stroke

81mm x 77.6mm

Engine layout

Single-cylinder, Swingarm Mounted

Engine details

4 stroke, liquid cooled, DOHC

Power

30.6bhp (23kW) @ 6,300rpm

Torque

26.5 lb-ft (36Nm) @ 4,800rpm

Top speed

90 mph (est)

Transmission

CVT, Belt Drive

Average fuel consumption

65.7 mpg claimed (see above for tested)

Tank size

13.5 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

195 miles

Reserve capacity

-

Rider aids

ABS, Eco Indicator, Heated Grips (optional)

Frame

Steel tubular perimeter

Front suspension

Telescopic, Coil Spring, Oil Damped forks

Front suspension adjustment

None

Rear suspension

Mono shock, Link type, coil spring, oil damped

Rear suspension adjustment

Preload only

Front brake

2 x 260mm discs, Twin pot Calipers

Rear brake

1 x 210mm disc, single pot caliper with Cable handbrake

Front tyre

120/70-15M/C 56S Dunlop Scootsmart

Rear tyre

150/70-13M/X 64S Dunlop Scootsmart

Dimensions

2235mm x 765mm 1350mm (LxWxH)

Wheelbase

1580mm

Ground clearance

125mm

Seat height

755mm

Kerb weight

215kg wet

Website

www.suzuki.co.uk

 

Looking for scooter or moped insurance? Get a quote for this machine with Bennetts moped and scooter insurance

 

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