2018 Suzuki Burgman 400 | First Ride Review

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
The 2018 Burgman 400’s new, larger 15-inch front wheel increases stability on the highway and gives the all-new maxi scooter nice neutral steering. (Photography by Julia LaPalme)

Scooters are often thought of as less-than real motorcycles, but in fact they are superior in many ways and deserve a wave from the rest of us. Cost of ownership (fuel, insurance, maintenance) is low, the underseat storage and step-through seating are convenient and the typical twist-and-go, continuously variable transmission (CVT) in a scooter make it easy to ride in stop-and-go urban traffic. And larger “maxi” scooters like Suzuki’s Burgman 650 Executive twin offer nearly as much performance as the typical middleweight motorcycle, and equal or even superior highway capability, wind protection and comfort.

Read our BMW C 650 GT vs Honda Silver Wing vs Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter comparo

As much as we like the big Burgman 650, the current Executive model is so large and luxurious that for some it’s a bit too much scooter, like getting a foot-long at the sub shop when you really only needed the six-inch. To that end Suzuki offers two models that step-down in size, weight and cost in proportion to their smaller engines, the Burgman 400 and Burgman 200. For 2018 the Burgman 400 is all new, and to my mind is now the Goldilocks “just right” model in the lineup. It lost 15 pounds, makes impressive power from its refreshed liquid-cooled, 399cc DOHC single with four valves and has stable handling at freeway speeds thanks to a stiffer new frame and larger 15-inch front wheel. Wind protection, comfort and styling are all upgraded as well. At a $2,950 savings over the 650 it’s still plenty luxurious for a scooter, too, with a thicker, slimmer seat, refined fit and finish and nice touches like an adjustable rider lumbar support, all-LED lighting and a power outlet in one of the two front storage compartments.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
All-new styling keeps the Burgman look but is more angular and up-to-date. Overall the scoot is narrower, more compact and a claimed 15 pounds lighter.

I haven’t ridden a Burgman 400 in many years, but was nevertheless surprised by how much power and smoothness the single offers, zooming it up to freeway speeds quickly and easily with a handful of throttle and picking off stoplight after stoplight at the San Diego, California, introduction with a bark from the airbox, which has been enlarged and redesigned to give the scoot some aural authority. The Burgman 400 went away for the entire 2017 model year for its revamp, and returns for 2018 Euro 4 compliant and a claimed 12-percent more fuel efficient. Torque is up down low and the CVT and clutch have been beefed-up for quicker takeoffs from a stop, too.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Tubular-steel underbone frame is lighter and stiffer this year for better handling and stability.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Burgman 400 is the stability it offers for its size. Freeways are vital arteries in Southern California where the traffic can be fast and aggressive. Most commutes are going to include at least a little of it, so in the name of research I hit Interstate 5 for about 15 miles. Although the Burgman’s overall size is slimmer and more compact, that larger 15-inch front wheel and stiffer underbone tubular frame have definitely elevated the 400 to freeway worthy—I held a steady 75 mph in the light afternoon traffic and never felt a twitch or shimmy from the midweight Burgman. In corners and intersections the scoot handles smoothly and easily, too, exhibiting none of the tendency to fall in or oversteer often found on scooters with smaller wheels.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Horizontal single rear shock has 7-way preload adjustment, and Suzuki says it’s the only progressively linked shock on a maxi scooter.

Suzuki says the Burgman 400 is also the only scooter with a linked single shock in back (could be, but there’s a lot of scooters out there!), which offers 7-way preload adjustability like a motorcycle and does a somewhat stiff but capable job of suspending the scoot along with the 41mm fork. Strong triple-disc brakes with ABS—which has a 1.6-pound lighter control unit now—haul the bike to a quick stop. Just remember that in the unlinked system the left lever is the rear brake and the right lever the front brake as normal.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Fairing and windscreen provide very good protection from the wind—add a top trunk and you could easily tour on this scooter.

Of course the whole point of scooter design is to make their operation simple and conceal all of the mechanicals, leaving an approachable and friendly interface that is confidence-inspiring, comfortable and convenient. While the Burgman 400 doesn’t offer quite as much legroom as the 650 for my 5 feet, 10 inches, with the seat lumbar support all the way back there’s just enough room to stretch my legs out to the forward footwell position for cruising and plenty of space for my feet flat on the boards as well. The new bodywork incorporates cutouts in the rear of the floorboards to make it easy to get your feet down at stops, too, and while the 29.7-inch seat height is slightly higher this year, it’s still low enough that I could easily plant both feet on the ground.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Windscreen is smaller this year but still seems pretty effective—Suzuki says it’s more aerodynamic than before.

Suzuki says the shorter new windscreen is actually more aerodynamic than the former swoopy design, and on that cool day in San Diego I found that the fairing and screen route the wind around the rider’s legs and torso quite well, with the wind coming over the top of the screen just hitting my helmet. It seems like quite an effective compromise for cold days and warm, and if you need more coverage Suzuki offers a taller screen as well as a number of other accessories.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Forty-two liters of underseat storage will hold a large full-face helmet and gear or an additional three-quarter helmet.

Passengers have it really good on the Burgman 400, with a large contoured seat, foldout footpegs and long, smooth grabrails that are easy to reach. The seat opens from the ignition switch and reveals a 42-liter storage compartment that will hold a couple bags of groceries or roughly one full-face helmet and one three-quarter lid (and you can’t believe the convenience these compartments offer until you try a maxi scooter). Two front compartments also provide several liters’ worth of storage, and there’s a DC power outlet in one, but neither one locks. Security is enhanced with a key-operated security shutter over the ignition switch and a gate in the lower portion of the bodywork that allows a chain lock to be passed through and around a frame member.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Comprehensive central LCD display shows everything you need, nothing you don’t.

I particularly liked the instrument panel, which has a central LCD display flanked by an analog speedometer and tachometer that are easy to read. The display includes an odometer, twin tripmeters, a clock, ambient temperature, average fuel consumption, fuel level and coolant temperature readings, plus an Eco Drive indicator that lights up when you’re riding “green.” I wasn’t able to get a formal fuel efficiency reading (we’ll update this story after we get a test bike in a couple weeks), but the average fuel consumption indicator said 54 mpg over the course of the morning, and that just happens to be the average mpg Suzuki claims for the Burgman 400, giving it a theoretical range of just under 200 miles from its 3.6-gallon tank.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Dual front compartments offer several liters of storage but don’t lock. That’s the parking brake left of the ignition switch.

I can easily imagine owning a Burgman 400 in addition to a motorcycle, particularly if I lived somewhere where owning a car was impractical for some reason. The underseat storage is as convenient as the trunk of a car, and the midsize maxi scoot offers good protection from the elements, plenty of performance and lots of style. Although the larger 650 is a better touring machine, we’ve heard from lots of riders who have toured the country on scooters as small as 250cc, which makes the Burgman 400 downright huge and luxurious. It’s all a matter of perspective I guess….

Mark’s Apparel
Helmet: Vemar Sharki
Jacket: Rev’It Jackson
Pants: Olympia AirGlide
Boots: TCX Airtech Evo Gore-Tex

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400
Streamlined tailsection is accented with LED stop/turn/tailights and effective passenger grabrails.

2018 Suzuki Burgman 400 Specs
Website: suzukicycles.com
Base Price: $8,099
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled single, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x 77.6mm
Displacement: 399cc
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Final Drive: V-belt
Wheelbase: 62.2 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.2 degrees/4.0 in.
Seat Height: 29.7 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 474 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.6 gals.
Claimed MPG: 87 PON min (avg) 54.0

27 COMMENTS

  1. When cruising at 75 mph, where was the tach? I’m not worried about top speed on a scooter, but wondered how close to redline you were running? Nice detailed review. Thanks!

    • I believe my ’06 Yamaha Majesty 400’s engine registers around 5k rpm at an indicated 60 mph and less than 6k rpm at 75. Even topped out at an indicated 95 mph my Majesty’s engine still only registers around 7.2k rpm as I recall. Keep in mind that due to how a CVT operates, a scooter’s connection between engine rpm and road speed isn’t as linear as what you would get with a manual transmission. In other words rpm vs. road speed may vary somewhat according to how much load is on the engine at any given time. Regardless, based on my experience I feel it’s safe to say mid-size (400cc) scooters like my Majesty and Suzuki’s Burgman are fully capable of maintaining cruising speeds up to and even exceeding 75 mph all day long without crowding the red line or struggling to maintain velocity. However, like traditional 400cc two-wheelers these scooters’ high speed passing capabilities are limited and require more planning in comparison to the capabilities of more traditional two-wheelers with over 500cc engines and manual transmissions.

    • Getting a little technical, the Burgman 400 engine has a short stroke. This means with each revolution, the stresses on the internal components as the piston cycles between upstroke and downstroke are much less than in an engine with a long stroke. Many Burgman riders including myself have put on lots of miles at Interstate speeds for long distances with no problem. These engines are pretty bulletproof.

    • 75~80 mph the tack was in the 7500 range getting up there then settled into 6000~6500 up and down slight hills.

      I’ve had my scooter up to 80 mph and had some RPMs left over. Ride and handling were solid on the freeway (Atlanta, GA)

  2. I rode my then-girlfriend’s 2006 AN400 quite a bit; it really changed my mind about scooters. My favorite story was the rather frail elderly fellow I sold one to. He was heartbroken that he had to sell his beloved GL1500 Aspencade as it was just too heavy for him anymore, and he hadn’t taken it on a trip in a decade. Based on my experience, I steered him to the 400 Burgman. He came back the next day saying he felt 30 years younger! I dare you to ride this thing and say it’s not a blast!

  3. Burgmans are serious bikes. I tour the country on my 650. Nothing beats them for comfort, weather protection, storage capacity, economy, quiet operation……well, I could go on.

  4. I purchased a ’06 Yamaha Majesty (400cc) scooter 2nd hand with just over 2k miles for my wife a few years back after she expressed interest in learning to ride on two-wheels. Alas, although her interest in riding waned quickly I decided to keep the Majesty for light touring and for my 50-mile daily commuiter to work during the warmer months. I agree with what others have said about how riding a maxi-scooter can definitely change one’s mind about them. Although I still enjoy riding my other two-wheelers, the Majesty is inexpensive-to-operate, comfortable and easy-to-handle transportation is amazingly capable. With my 60th birthday just months away now, I can see myself selling my much loved but heavy Honda ST1100 and even my Honda VFR800 as my strength and riding skills fall victim to father time. However, I have no plans to sell the Majesty any time soon and I would even consider buying another scooter down the road.

  5. I have not ridden a Burgman 400 yet. But I can say I have ridden with a couple while on rides and they are capable of doing 80 MPH all day long and top out at just under 100 MPH. While sitting on a Bark-a-lounger with your feet up ;). I have over 180,000 miles on Burgman 650s so I know a bit about them. But the many members over on BurgmanUSA.com can confirm that a Burgman 400 is a good touring or commuting bike. You can run at near redline for hours, the cooling and oiling systems do a great job. Davey

  6. I’m a fairly quick and experienced rider who has, over a dozen years, ridden The Tail of the Dragon well over two hundred times. I gained my respect for the Bergman when, on my BMW RT, I couldn’t pass one on The Dragon. Hell, may as well ‘fess up . . . never mind pass, I really couldn’t keep up. Another time I pulled beside a Bergman in lower state New York and discovered it came from Texas; the rider was halfway in his circumnavigation of North America. I suspect it’s the fault of our indoctrination that more aren’t on the road, and one in my garage.

  7. I live in San Diego and ride a 2011 Burgman 400. It has 22,000+ miles and is very reliable and easy to work on myself. Your article was good and I look forward to the complete review.
    I had to replace the windscreen the first week with a Givi adjustable, as the original equipment was terrible. Wind comes at you from every direction.
    I am well into my senior years and have toured to Colorado, Vegas,Death Valley, and all over the state. The Burgman is fabulous on the road.
    My long term concern is the high RPM’s at cruising speed. It gets within 1000 rpm of the red zone at 75 mph.
    Around town and on short cruises… it can’t be beat!
    I have a smile on my face when I ride it………

  8. I bought a 2004 400 last fall and really enjoy it. My other bike is a sidecar rig and I missed riding 2 wheels when the sidecar was all I had. This will probably be my last bike as I am 80 years and life gives us many medical surprises..

  9. I owned over 20 motorcycles during my riding “career” and always thought that scooters were for those less incline for fast take offs and curves until I rode a 2013 Burgman 400 during a factory test day. I was sold immediately. Soon after, I traded my “real” big bore motorcycle for a brand new Burgman 400. Rode it for 13K trouble free miles on expressways, country and urban roads and always with a smile on my face. I did the periodic maintenance regularly and became even more satisfied of how easy it was to maintain it and also impressed with its design and workmanship…quite stout and excellent mechanical components.
    However, the most satisfying for me was its take off speed while next to the HD brand ones struggling to shift from first to second gear while “potating” loud sounds and I would be way ahead for a short period of time. The other main satisfaction for me was the amount of cargo it helds in the storage compartments, the convenient 12v receptacle, an under seat area big enough for 2 helmet, tools, gloves, phone, etc , locking devices, super comfortable seat, a center stand, ABS breaks and other less predominant features found only on high priced motorcycles. A true joy not to have to buy expensive accessories..it was all included.
    Unfortunately, my 2 wheel riding days are over, but if I could go back to riding, I certainly would jump onto the new 2018 Burgman 400 and would be smiling again. Guaranteed!

    • I am 82 and am ridiing a 2008 Burgman 400 with a Richland Roadster Trike attachment. Very stable and lets you keep riding as you get older, no need to quit.

  10. I was a MC guy for years, but two decades ago I added a Honda helix to complement my ST1100. Well, many years and over 100k miles later, the ST is long since gone and I’m 100% all scooter now, with a pair of Burgmans, both the 400 & 650. They are, without doubt, my favorite bikes ever. The 400 has a sight preference as it’s just so dang useful. I call it the “Swiss Army Bike” because it doesn’t do anyone one thing great, but does do every well. City, commuting, shopping, weekend rides, twisties, freeway and yes, even touring.

    In the scootering community, we have what’s called, “the Burgman Grin”, cause you just can’t wipe it off your face.

    I highly recommend everyone try it. They are addictive.

  11. I wish that someone would have told me about the small front wheel when I picked up my new 09 Silver Wing…. about time that problem was fixed in a megascooter!

  12. I rode a Honda SilverWing for two years, and although it did everything better than I would have imagined, I ended up trading it in for a much less sophisticated and versatile Triumph America. I just felt, although it makes no sense, that I wanted a “real motorcycle” again, not a scooter. Now I ride a 2016 Goldwing, but have been thinking about getting a lighter bike for around town and quick errands, or for solo rides occasionally, and after reading this review I think I need to seriously again consider a maxi-scooter.

  13. I belong to a a maxi scoot we group, and most of the guys ride either Burg 650s or 400s. I traded in my 650, although I loved it too, for a Honda CTX 700 for a different ride experience. Our group has circumnavigated MN and WI, rode 4 corners of different states, and this year on our way to the Little Big Horn from Minneapolis. Don’t tell any of these guys that their ride is the scooter that shouldn’t!

  14. how about comparing scooters again Kymco Suzuki Yamaha, Honda 300 and 400 cc. and 300 and 400 cc motorcycles too
    See which is best and which is most economical to run or practical or fun…..

  15. For those who feel their 2 wheel riding days are over, did you ever consider a bolt-on trike kit? One of the members of our riding group lost an arm years ago, but he and his wife ride all over on their Suzuki Burgman 650. He had a trike kit installed and all the controls moved to one handlebar. Even two-up he has no problems. The scoot will run with any of us even on longer rides. I believe his unit is by Tow-Pac.

  16. Yep, need to drop the price $2000. Get a lot more motorcycle for less $$. Burgmans are too expensive for what you get. OTD is going to be $9000+….and then resale takes a huge hit.
    Want a Burgman 400, buy used.

    • The Burgman is more expensive than a 500cc ‘motorcycle’ because it is better and more expensive to make. I’ve owned my ’07 AN400 since new and although I hanker after going back to a ‘normal’ bike occasionally, a ride on one (the last was a new Versys 650) reminds me why I ride a Burman. The burger is just brilliant and faster from A to B than any other bike I’ve ever owned, including my SV650. I have been riding motorcycles since 1962 and cannot recommend the Burman highly enough. I shall be trying out the latest version as soon as my local dealer has put their demonstrator on the road.

  17. I’ve recently bought a 2018 400 Burgman for my 11 mile commute to work. I’ve covered 1200 miles on it so far and have averaged 81mpg (uk)

    All good so far, weather protection is good, storage useful. Brakes are very good. The only criticism is the seats a bit narrow and the suspension isn’t too clever on poor road surfaces so I feel like I’m getting kicked up the backside. I had a 99 250 Burgman years ago and I’m sure it was a lot more comfortable.

    The engines still settling in and seems to be a little quicker every week.

  18. My ’11 Burgie 400 is a dream! The “real” motorcycle guys won’t wave but that’s ok. The Harley guys hate it when I walk away from them at a traffic light or blow past em on the interstate! This is number 6…Number 7 will be the ’18 650. Burgies are the best, I would not have anything else.

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