First Ride

First ride: Suzuki Burgman 400 review - page 2

First ride: Suzuki Burgman 400 review - page 2

We’ve dodged the rain here in Turin though, and after a lightning fast coffee stop, it’s time to head out of town, up into the hills south of the city. I’m still chasing Stefano, the Suzuki man on his V-Strom, but it’s suddenly a bit harder to keep up. The little Burgman has plenty of handling skillz, and on the few downhill sections, you can push the front end in particular quite hard. There’s much more feel than you might expect from a scooter, the 15-inch wheel and sportier riding position paying dividends. And the suspension which was a little bit firm on the bumpier roads in town works well through longer, faster corners.

But there’s no disguising the weaker top end on the new engine – particularly when you’re trying to outdrag a V-Strom up Alpine foothills. It shows on the flat too, when we hit some faster roads. Overtaking cars sitting AT about 60-70mph takes some planning, and there’s not a lot in reserve at motorway speeds. Of course, it’s only a 400 scooter, and you can’t expect ton-up cruising performance. But if you’re considering it for an extended commute, with a chunk of British motorways to battle through, you’ll maybe be better with one of the twin-cylinder scoots and the added performance they provide.

We stop for lunch at a lovely hilltop restaurant, then it’s back in the saddle for a slightly sleepy ride back to the city. I soon wake up though, as the return roads tighten up, with some fantastic twisty sections. We’re going downhill for much of it, and the Burgman delights with the nimble front end, decent ground clearance and easy riding position. The ambient temperature readout on the new clocks is hitting 29 degrees now, and I’m having a thoroughly lovely time on the middle-Burgman as we get back into town and head for the launch hotel.

Parked up outside the (very nice) old NH hotel building, I consider the Burgman again. As regular readers might know, I have a 650 Burgman, bought and paid for with my own money and everything, so I’m well-in on the super-scoot concept in terms of practicality and usability. For getting across the South-East in comfort, at speed, while carrying plenty of stuff (and often a child on the back), it’s hard to beat. If you had to commute into the city from the suburbs or surrounding towns, even up to 30 miles away, the 400 is going to tick most of the boxes for you, despite the lack of flat-out performance. The original super scoot, the Old Lady of big-bore step-thrus, the Burgman 400 – she’s still a very capable contender indeed…

Model tested: Suzuki AN400 Burgman

Price: £6,299

Engine: 4v single, DOHC, liquid cooled, 399cc

Power: 31hp at 6,300rpm

Torque: 26.5lbft at 4,800rpm

Kerb weight: 215kg

Frame: steel tube perimeter

Suspension: front - 41mm forks / rear – Rising-rate monoshock, seven-way preload adjustable

Brakes: front - Dual 260mm discs, twin-piston calipers / Rear - 210mm disc, single-piston caliper,

Wheels & tyres: cast aluminium, with Dunlop Scootsmart, 120/70 15 (front), 150/70 13 (rear)

Fuel capacity: 13.5 litres

Seat height: 755mm