Suzuki Burgman 200
When Suzuki launched the new Burgman 200 onto the Aussie market and promptly dropped the Burgman 400, it immediatley raised the question: can the 200 do
everything the 400 did?
The answer is ‘no’ but it can do most of the things a Burman 400 owner actually uses the big scoot for. With apologies for ending a sentence with a preposition, this is surely what counts. But wait, there’s more. The 200 does some things even better than big brother, and these tend to be the things we scooter owners do most of the time.
POWER & SPACE
Before we get into comparisons, keep in mind that no Burgman will pop a mono or out-drag a hard-driven Commodore – but the revvy little 200 gets closer to this sort of fun than its big brother. A scientific acceleration test in a back laneway proved the 200 can show the 400 a clean pair of heels over the first 50 metres or so, and it even feels a tad light in the front end if you sit well back. The 400 isn’t far behind but it’s a much less-enthusiastic thing off the line.
If you think this sounds like the 200 has its big brother beaten, you’d be partly right. The catch is a lack of room – seat room, legroom, even luggage room to a degree. On the 200 you sit up like you would on a kitchen chair, feet primly planted on the footboards and bum trying to push further back than the seat allows.
I suppose people with little scooters are used to this sort of thing but not traditional Burgman riders.
The 400 – with dimensions similar to the continent-cruising 650 Burgman – has true lounging room even for the long of leg. The 200 is a tighter fit for even a 170cm rider with short legs, so taller riders would find the 400 more suitable.
This eager, new member of the family, though, is still a proper Burgman. The family resemblance is easy to see, you just need to adapt yourself to the riding position. It’s easy to love, too. Front on, it has a real family look and it certainly has the Burgman rear – very broad. And that’s a good thing when you see how much room is under the seat. At just over 40 litres, it has two thirds of the generous under-seat space of the 400 so it’s easy to chuck in your helmet and jacket at the end of a trip – or the groceries, come to that.
You can use the Burgman to attend a meeting where you’d normally need a car. Stash your suit jacket under the seat, ride to where you need to be and then put the bike jacket and helmet under the seat instead. At its best, you can ride into Collins Street in Melbourne, park for free on the footpath (possibly still the best reason to live in Melbourne), swap your riding jacket for your suit jacket, and look right as home as you stroll into the fancy foyer of a big-city office block. True! Done it! More than once! It works for interstate meetings too if you don’t mind paying outrageous airport parking fees.
For this sort of thing there’s very little difference between the 200 and 400. True, the 200 won’t quite fit your big briefcase, but it will fit a satchel, and both have great big gloveboxes (even bigger in the 400, but heaps big enough in the 200). They also have loads of weather protection and a lovely, loping gait that handles bumps and speed humps with aplomb.
Key point: either Burgman is just fine on the freeway. The difference between the two is rather like the “adequate” power and speed of a Rolls-Royce versus the “more than sufficient” of a Bentley. On a 100km/h urban freeway, you’ll have about 30km/h in hand on a 200 and more like 60 on a 400.
You need never worry about being run down by freeway traffic, and you can have a bit of fun surprising car drivers when you pass them on a scooter.
BURGMAN 200 vs 400
So far, so good – not a huge gap between the two. Now for where the 200 really shines. First up, it feels so darned light, so beautifully nimble. Where the 400 comes in around 200kg, the 200 is about 40kg lighter – and that beggars belief. It feels more like it’s 80kg lighter. Amazing. It’s an absolute joy for filtering into town, wriggling into a tight parking spot, anything where smallness is a virtue. The shorter wheelbase (1465 mm versus 1585 mm) probably accounts for this as much as the lighter weight.
Another delight is the 200’s apparent immunity to tramlining. While the 400 tends to sniff out invisible lines on the road, the 200 hardly notices, even when riding on actual tram tracks (possibly the best reason not to live in Melbourne).
The junior Burger is also relatively immune to brake lock-up. Although it lacks the ABS which was added to the 400 a few years ago, it needs a much firmer pull on the twin levers (back brake where the clutch would be if it wasn’t a twist-and-go auto). It still has ample power but without the sensitivity of the 400.
Perhaps the greatest treat on the 200 is the one you get every time the light turns green. It’s delightfully lusty, and that’s as much to do with the set-up of the Contiuously Variable Transmission as anything. The 400’s CVT gets the engine to rev straight up to about 4000rpm and then catches up before adding further revs, but the 200 leaps to nearly 8000rpm and only backs off as you start to wind back the throttle. In effect, the 400 takes off on torque and the 200 takes off on power. Both work. Power is quicker. Power is more fun!
So… has Suzuki done the right thing by Burgman owners in dropping the 400 from the range and giving us the 200 instead? Yes. At a few coffees short of $5500, it’s just over half the $10,000 that the 400 cost for most of its life. No contest. It may be half the engine size and just over half the price, but it’s much more than half the scooter.
Big brother is better, faster, more spacious and much more comfortable, but little brother shares its best qualities. It is a proper Burgman.
There’s only one problem. At my local Suzuki dealer, right there next to the 200 with its $6000 ride-away price, there’s a last-of-the-line 400 for just $9000, complete with ABS. Talk about a tough choice!
– Lusty power
– Light weight
– No ABS
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