2018 Suzuki Burgman 400

Editor Score: 86.0%
Engine 17.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 8.5/10
Instruments/Controls4.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score86/100

Scooters are often thought of as second-class citizens in the world of motorcycles and take a backseat to their more common, two-wheeled brethren. But in fact, scooters offer certain advantages and conveniences that regular motorcycles for the most part can’t even begin to compete with. Admittedly, I’ve never really paid much attention to scooters, especially not maxi scooters, because I figured if you’re going to get a big-displacement scooter, why not just ride a regular motorcycle? Well, I now know why.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never trade a regular motorcycle in favor of a scooter (well, so long as I could still properly ride one), but adding one to the existing stable for sheer convenience? Maybe. The real-world application and practicality of a scooter like the Burgman 400 is unparalleled compared to its more traditional motorcycle counterparts.

The all-new 2018 Suzuki Burgman 400 is quite the package. It features just about everything you need, and nothing you don’t, as a form of two-wheeled transportation. For starters, its fuel-injected DOHC 399cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine is retuned to deliver more low- to mid-range torque and provides more than enough mustard to move things along. Suzuki claims the revisions added 3% more power and created 12% more fuel efficiency. The motor, paired with its seamless, CVT automatic transmission, makes navigating the stop-and-go traffic of the concrete jungle a breeze. Its simple twist-and-go mechanics ensure that anyone can quickly get used to piloting the scooter if they don’t already know how to ride, which makes the Burgman an attractive option for someone who might be interested in all the time- and money-saving benefits of riding on two wheels in a congested city without the need to learn to shift gears.

Not a shabby looking scoot, if you ask me…

I keep mentioning the urban environment – where more and more people are living and migrating to these days – because it’s the perfect habitat for the Burgman 400. It truly lends itself well to city life due to its ease and convenience of use. The feature that quickly comes to mind is the Burgman’s amount of storage capacity. The underseat compartment provides 42 liters of space, which basically translates to enough room for a full- and three-quarter-face helmet plus whatever smaller items you may have. I used it to store my full-face, leather jacket, gloves and sweatshirt while stopping for lunch, and there was still a good amount of space to throw some other stuff in as well. I pretty much just haphazardly threw everything in there, but if you thoughtfully packed in all your items, you could carry quite the load.

With 42 liters of carrying capacity under the seat, the Burgman 400 makes two-wheel travel easy peasy lemon squeezy. I don’t think this picture does the compartment justice, it’s bigger than it looks.

The underseat storage is also plenty spacious for a few grocery bags, making running errands a lot easier than on a regular motorcycle. There’s two additional glove boxes that provide a 2.8-liter compartment on the left, and a 3.5-liter compartment on the right that contains a convenient DC power outlet for charging electric devices on the fly. Unlike the underseat storage, the two glove boxes do not lock, but they’re very convenient and easily accessible, just don’t leave your wallet in there…

Adding to the security of the Burgman is a special magnetic key with a unique cut-out that slides a security shutter over the ignition switch to prevent thieves from tampering, and a gate in the lower portion of the bodywork that allows a chain lock to be passed through and around a frame member to be secured around some sort of an immovable object, like a pole for instance.

On the handling and chassis side of things, the Burgman 400 is equipped with a larger 15-inch front wheel (up from 14 on the previous model) and a 13-inch rear. They’re wrapped in 120/70-15 and 150/70-13 sized rubber that give the Burgman a solid footprint for both impressive lean-angle cornering as well as high-speed stability. The Burgman 400 felt equally at home while doing 80 on the freeway as well as planted while leaned over, without the typical fall-in tendency that comes with smaller-diameter wheels. Adding to the chassis’ improvements are a new underbone frame constructed from larger-diameter, thinner-walled tubes; less weight and increased rigidity result in improved handling.

Obviously not a sportbike by any means, but the Burg doesn’t mind tilting the horizon thanks to its larger 15-inch front wheel and 150mm wide rear tire that provide a nice contact-patch as well as added stability.

The Burgman 400 has a 41mm telescopic front fork that offers 4.3 inches of travel and a horizontally mounted link-type monoshock in the rear providing 3.9 inches of cushion. The fork is non-adjustable, but the shock has seven different preload settings. Overall, the suspension performed just fine for what you would expect from a large scooter. From potholes to train tracks, the Burgman soaked up nicely everything a city’s streets could throw at it.

Slowing things down are a pair of 260mm rotors in the front bound by two-piston calipers, and a 210mm disc in the back mated to a single-piston caliper. ABS comes standard, and the whole control module weighs 1.6 pounds less than the previous model. The system works remarkably well, too. The rider can just about squeeze both brake levers (which are not linked) as firmly as he or she can, and all 474 (claimed) pounds of the Burgman 400 are brought to a very predictable stop without any large weight shifts or balance disruptions.

I only ever noticed the ABS kicking in on the rear wheel, while the front grabbed well with solid initial bite and linear feedback. The redesign of the scooter’s frame has kept the weight and center-of-gravity very low in its chassis, and this undoubtedly plays a large part in the Burg’s smooth and stable operation. It’s a surprisingly nimble ride.

Ergonomics provide an upright seating position, but the footwell offers a nice dance floor to stretch and move your feet around on.

Ergonomics were overhauled as well. The 2018 Burgman 400 has a new stepped seat whose width and profile is not only slimmer, but the padding is almost an inch thicker too, resulting in a comfortable 27.9-inch seat height. For those with shorter legs, the step-through frame design and cutaway floorboards allow an easy reach to plant both feet firmly on the ground. The footwell offers plenty of room to stretch out your legs, even for my 6-foot-1 frame, and there’s adjustable lumbar support as well, which can be moved forwards and back about 1.5 inches total. Passengers will be pleased too, as they have a nicely sculpted portion of the seat with large and easy to grip grab handles to keep them securely in place.

The 2016’s windshield and front fairing vs. the 2018’s (there was no 2017 model as Suzuki took a year to redesign the whole scooter). Everything has been slimmed down and styled more aggressively. The ’18 windshield is also less than half the surface area of the ’16, but is claimed to offer better wind protection.

All the bodywork has been updated to provide a slimmer, sportier feel, and the headlights and taillight have been redesigned to a sharper profile with brighter LED lighting. Looking at the Burgman 400 from the front or in the rearview mirror, you could easily mistake the scooter for a regular sportbike. The dashboard is thoughtfully laid out with an LCD display in the middle flanked by an easy to read analog speedo and tach on each side. The LCD display offers an odometer, twin tripmeters, a clock, ambient temperature, average fuel consumption, fuel level and coolant temperature readings. Additionally, there’s an Eco Drive indicator that lets you know when you’re riding “green.”

Well laid out and easy to read, the Burgman 400’s instrument panel provides everything you need, and nothing you don’t. The green “Eco” light is at the bottom of the tach.

Overall, the Burgman 400 provides all the features and amenities that anyone would want from a two-wheeled vehicle. I say vehicle, not because the Burgman isn’t a motorcycle – it obviously is – but because it offers features almost more similar to a car than a traditional motorcycle in terms of its carrying / storage capacity, practicality and ease of use. This scoot could easily double as an urban commuter as well as a tourer for when the urge to escape the city strikes. I was able to achieve a fuel economy of approximately 52-57 mpg over the course of the day across stop-and-go traffic as well as highway cruising, giving the Burgman almost a 200-mile range from its 3.6-gallon tank.

The Burgman 400’s convenience and ease of use, paired with its low cost of ownership including fuel, maintenance and insurance, could offer a potential owner, regardless of their riding ability, a lot of utility that a typical motorcycle would find difficult to match.

My day with the Burgman has given me new perspective on how scooters could entice prospective riders that might be somewhat intimidated by regular motorcycles or for someone just looking for something more practical than a car. If buying a scooter like the Burgman 400 encourages more people onto two wheels, then I’m all for it.

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  • Gabriel Owens

    Quite attractive imho.

    • Jeff in the lower midwest

      A used one is a great idea for short trips or if you have left hand or left foot problems. Less miles put on your faster, cooler bike every year. The Yamaha 500cc Vmax probably corners better, for a higher used price.

      • Gabriel Owens

        The yamaha xmax is probably the best choice. 100 pounds lighter than the burgman.

  • Alan Loo

    Great write up! I would like to see the XMAX 300 compared to the Burgman 400. I’m looking forward to seeing one in person.

    • Beatrice

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    • Rebecca

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      • Jon Jones

        Eat bad sushi, Susan.

      • Douglas

        You need a boyfriend (or gf?)…..how are things in China, btw?

  • Starmag

    Only $3000 more than a Ninja 400.

    • AM

      yeah, right. Ninja 400 is a scooter. MT-07 also is cheaper. OOPS!! Not a scooter either. Suzuki SV650 , kAWASAKI 650. hmmm, Not a scooter either…. So what’s your point???

  • Buzz

    I would like to get a larger scooter to replace my 125 Vino but not at 8 grand.

  • It doesn’t seem significantly different from the K7-L16 model. Is it actually better in any way at all?

    My fav is still the K3-K6 if it wasn’t for the ABS. The one thing they all need and apparently still do is a bigger tank. 130 miles when riding flat out isn’t quite enough. Of course I’d also like a genuine 100mph instead of 90mph but we always want more, right?

    • I’m also a bit disappointed they made the seat taller. I’ve hacked at all the ones I’ve had with the electric carving knife. The bike rides better and is more comfortable ith a lower seat. Unfortunately the frame cross member and luggage area prevents you from getting too radical but even an inch lower makes a difference.

      http://bikeweb.com/image/tid/157
      http://bikeweb.com/image/tid/24

      for details.

  • khc

    “The ’18 windshield is also less than half the surface area of the ’16, but is claimed to offer better wind protection.”

    This reviewer tested the scooter at up to 80 mph, yet is there no mention of how well the altered windshield lives up to Suzuki’s claim, and whether it causes buffeting at higher speeds?

    • Brent Jaswinski

      To be honest, I didn’t get to ride at fast speeds for very long, but the whole front fairing, which covers pretty much your entire torso and lower body, in addition to the windshield, means the only thing left to the wind is your head. This much wind protection is already way more than I’m used to. So I’d say it works pretty well.

      We should have a long term test bike shortly, so we’ll be able to get a better idea of how well it really works.

    • I predict Givi will do well out of selling bigger windscreens. Just as they have for every other Burgman.

      The big problem with all of them has been turbulence round your head and even more so round the pillion’s head.

  • Jon Neet

    Anybody know why Suzuki calls it the Burgman??

    • A “Burgher” in old Dutch was a title for a citizen of a free city with enhanced rights, and it evolved into what you call a privileged, cultured metropolitan person. It’s a natural choice for a European-market Maxi-scooter, intended to evoke an image of a well-heeled citizen tooling about a prosperous old Euorpean city.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        “Burgher” was used throughout most of Western Europe.

        • Alaskan18724

          And, more recently, at McDonald’s. There’ll be no more toymakers to the king!

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            McDonald’s? Don’t you mean Burgher King?

      • Alaskan18724

        Or they wanted to continue the twit metaphor….

  • Matt O

    I’m convinced the 175-200cc range is ideal for scooters. Enough power to be entertaining and competent on the freeway while staying light and nimble enough to keep the tiny scooter feel. Plus they’re so much cheaper, and it can be incredibly convenient to be able to pick up your entire bike.

    • Douglas

      My Genuine Hooligan (170) was an ideal around-town runabout, but anything over about 55 (indicated 60) was pushing it and you had no reserve. Seems the ideal upper limit is about 400….IMHO, the big maxis will fade away.

  • Dootin

    Nice scoot for sure. LOL at $8k though.

  • Barry_Allen

    New Scooters!
    Bring on the shootouts!
    Suziki Burgman 400 vs Kymco XCiting 400.
    Yamaha XMax 300 vs Kymco X-Town 300.
    Frozen Yogurt vs Frozen Custard.
    Give Me Somethin’!
    SOON

    • Mary

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  • Sayyed Bashir

    I don’t want to look like a dork.

    • Douglas

      Care to expound…?

      • Sayyed Bashir

        People don’t look that good on scooters. This Burgman almost looks like a motorcycle from the front so that is not so bad. But look at the side pictures. I don’t want to look like that.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/df71a6ddcce0d6d596050da5ebd63a9aee5ace487b440f6d67972245459c9b65.jpg

        • Alaskan18724

          There’s a big scooter among the other hardware in my garage—including American twins. At 6’4”, I may be the object of subjective comments about appearance whilst riding the thing. I suspect that whether I look “good” is subsumed into whether I look like an ass, darting quickly in and out of traffic betwixt and between the Mustangs, Corvettes, and F-150s….

          Scoots are terrific fun. Like smooth, fast, bread-and-milk carrying mini bikes.

          And Gregory Peck rode one with Audrey Hepburn, didn’t he?

    • Campi the Bat

      Does that mean you’re selling the Harley?

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    Burgman isn’t a motorcycle – it obviously isn’t.

    Fixed that for you.

    • Brent Jaswinski

      Hahaha I can’t always speak my full mind, I have to throttle back a little sometimes. Too often too many get too offended by the shit that comes out of my mouth.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        Well you already offended me with an article about choppers. Then you piled on by writing about a scooter. So, you may as well cement your reputation as MO’s resident Bad Boy by telling me you hate 2 strokes and that Gordie Howe was a kweer.

      • AM

        You do not need to throttle back when telling the truth. And if they do not agree…. well, too bad…. it’s the truth.

        • Barry_Allen

          Hatchbacks, Sedans, Coupés, Convertibles, Compacts, Roadsters, Sports Cars, Supercars, and Station Wagons are all types of cars.

          Just like Cruisers, Baggers, Choppers, Tourers, Sport Tourers, Sport Bikes, Superbikes, Scramblers, Street Fighters, Naked Bikes, Standards, Dual Sports, Super Motards, Enduros, Dirt Bikes, Motocrossers, AND SCOOTERS are all types of MOTORCYCLES.

          Go hoon around on a Burgman 400 and then explain to the cop that you don’t need a motorcycle license because “it’s not a motorcycle” and see how far that gets you.

  • Nice to see a little bravery on a page called Motorcycle.com I’ve enjoyed scooters and motorcycles all my life and as I approach the end of my life I am relieved to be able to keep riding- scooters. A lifestyle that is failing to attract youngsters is doomed to extinction as we all are individually. If some of them can be induced to ride a scooter, better that than a car. Looking a dork is better than not riding especially as the most dork-like is the one standing in judgement from the high peak of eternal youth.

  • Kevin Polito

    Scooters are overly specialized vehicles. When buying one, consider the kind of riding you CAN’T do with one — that is, anything other than urban commuting. There’s a reason that the majority of motorcycles don’t have little wheels.

    • JWaller

      Thing is, I can’t think of any type of riding I CAN’T do with one. A guy I ride with used to regularly use his 650 Burgman as a dual-sport, riding on fire roads, forest access roads, off road, through river crossings, everything and everywhere you’d expect to see dual sports and ADV bikes. That fellow traded in his Burgman on a Ural, but he said no road ever stopped him from riding his Burgman. And this guy doesn’t live in the city doing urban commuting. He lives in Southwest Texas an hour or so west of San Antonio, in a land with two-lane twisty paved roads and even more un-paved country paths through the rocky wilderness. Maybe a Burgman or any other scooter isn’t the best choice for such riding, but that doesn’t mean that kind of riding can’t be done on one.

      • Kevin Polito

        But would you ENJOY spending a day riding twisty roads with a small-wheeled bike? The reason motorcycles have 16- and 17-inch wheels is for high-speed stability. The smaller the wheel, the more darty it gets as speed rises. Small wheels are designed for maximum agility in tight quarters at urban speeds. I would not ride a scooter on the interstate or for a full day of twisty backroad riding.

        • JWaller

          Well, I don’t think I would enjoy it all that much, one reason I’ve never owned a scooter, but there are those who do. The guy I was talking about said the Burgman is the best bike he’s ever owned. He obviously enjoyed it quite a bit. I think he regrets getting rid of it considering how much he talks about it. Also, I don’t know just how many bikes he’s owned throughout the years, but he’s been riding for longer than I’ve been around, that’s for sure. He’s got riding gear 10 years older than I and I’m 42. When a rider with that kind of longevity and experience speaks, I listen and learn.

          • Kevin Polito

            I’ve been riding since 1974 and have owned sport bikes, a dirt bike, and touring bikes. A day ride for me is enough interstate to get out in the country, then 150 to 200 miles of riding twisty backroads to a lunch destination and back. A scooter wouldn’t work for that. In the past I’ve also taken cross-country, 400-miles-per-day rides. A scooter wouldn’t work for that, either. The longer the ride, the more every little discomfort — including dealing with a less-stable bike — is magnified.

  • jeff benson

    My wife is only 5’2″ and the only decent 2wheelers for her are scooters. She has a Kymco 200. It’s actually a hoot to ride. Too many people here are snobs.

  • Alaskan18724

    “Their more common two-wheeled brethren?” I demand a recount!

  • Alaskan18724

    And “maxi scooter” is a term that should be immediately excused from the vernacular, for a whole slew of reasons my wife won’t let me talk about….