Q1: Richard, can you tell us a bit about how you got involved with the Burgman scooter?

In the Fall of 2003 the Sunday Sun had an article about a recent study that said if you are under 40 you are in more danger on a bike, than in a car, but if you are over 40 the situation is reversed. Flash forward a month or two and I have now retired so we reduce to one car (my wife also being retired). But we are acting as transportation to my Father-in-law & my mother who just lost her license. For Christmas I give her a years taxi service. On top of that I had taken up walking, which to be any fun, I drive three mornings a week to a park to walk. Which with the walk, talking to people I meet and the drive home our car is tied up all morning three times a week.

That February I get looking at scooters, thinking I could scooter to the park without tieing up our car. So I go to the local dealer and look at 50cc scooters. They also have a Burgman 400 and 650 on the floor. After a short look at the 50ccs it is obvious to me that with my size and the problem I have with leg cramps due to the blood pressure medications I take, they won’t do.

Then I look at the Burgmans. They are beautiful, also the only maxi scooters available in Canada at the time.

One morning during mid week I went in when they weren’t busy and sat on the 400 (what I thought I might afford) for about 20 minutes. My legs cramped so badly I have to be helped off. Then I move to the 650 and can feel the cramps disappearing. On April 5th three weeks after three different doctors said my mother has only a day or two she pasted away leaving me her estate. Thus I have enough money for a 650 and immediately order one. I arrange to pick it up May 17th the day after I finish my course. I was 60 at the time.

In between deciding on the 650 and actually getting it I studied everything I could find (being a natural researcher) on scooters and Burgmans in particular. I found Both the Yahoo Burgman group and Burgman 650 Yahoo group and became a member, the first Yahoo group I ever joined. Later I found several others and BurgmanUSA.

About Christmas 2006 a friend who I met thru one of the groups and had ridden with announced he was selling his 2005 Executive. I made him an offer and bought it, which is how I came to have two 650s. My wife thought she’d like to try as our daughter and son-in-law also ride so we bough a 2005 Honda Big Ruckus, the last year they sold the yellow version which she wanted. She has never gotten her license so now I have three bikes. I’d sell the Big Ruckus (Which I call the collision of a scooter and a Hummer) and she calls Tonka Bike) except it’s so much fun to ride when mine is tied up.

Q2: So now you are the moderator of two active online Burgman groups. Can you tell us how you found yourself in that position?

I was a member of both these groups since the spring of 2004. In 2005 BJ put out a request for anyone interested in being a moderator. I had never done it, but I was in IT for 40 years so figured I could figure it out. I sent in an email saying I’d take them if he couldn’t find anyone better. I’m still doing it and it’s quite a lot of fun.

Because of those groups I have friends literally all over the world, some of whom I talk to via Skype occasionally.

For people thinking of buying a Burgman or any large scooter the groups are an amazing source of information. I remember one time in 2005 I picked up my bike from the dealer after some minor maintenance. Less than 100 metres down the road I realized there was a problem and turned back. The mechanic spent two hours trying to find and solve the problem including a couple of calls to Suzuki. I went home got on the Suzuki_Burgman site and documented the problem. I had the fix it 10 minutes. Back I went to the dealer who fix the problem and I rode home.

Q3: Do you call the Burgman a scooter or a motorcycle? Which is it?

First all scooters with gas engines are motorcycles by definition. Depending on who’s asking I call my 650 one of “The worlds biggest scooter” or a “Touring bike” or a Step Thru motorcycle”. It is really all three. The way I use it for day rides, long distance rides and errands it’s a motorcycle.

Q4: What are some of your favorite Burgman riding moments?

I guess I have two favourite moments. The first is when I’m following one of the BMA sport bike riders thru a set of tight twisties and manage to keep up and a long distance trip alone on a super slab in decent weather. I can do up to 800 km a day (500 miles) as long as I can rest up some the next day and really like long distance trips. I just wish my wife would get her license so she could come along.

Q5: Have you had a chance to meet, in person, any of the members of your Burgman Yahoo groups?

Yes, I attended the first South Pennsylvania Scooter Meet in September 2004, due to my accident and my bike being tied up from the 30th of May to the 23rd of July, I had only been riding a few weeks with my longest day being 70 km when I took off for South PA. I did 525 km the first day and the second I rode thru the middle of Hurricane Francis without rain gear. I also attended Scootercade in 2005. My wife and I went in the car towing my 650 on a borrowed trailer.

When I held the Southern Ontario Maxi Scooter Meet last year, I met quite a few more people.

Q6: I see you’re in Canada, does that shorten your riding season or are you on your Burgman all year round?

I ride all year around weather permitting. I avoid days it snows and the day after. I tend to only ride in the afternoon when the sun has warmed things up a bit during the cold season and don’t ride at all if it is much below about -5C, too much chance of ice.

Q7: How does riding the Burgman compare to other similar scooters you have ridden?

Other than the Big Ruckus, I haven’t ridden any other scooters. The big Ruckus is fun to ride around the city, but while I have ridden it on major highways several times I never feel safe the way I do on the Burgman 650.

Q8: How long have you been riding motorcycles or scooters? When did you start?

Other than a total of about 10 miles when I was in my 20s I had never ridden until I took the course in May 2004.

Q9: Are there any favorite Burgman modifications that your groups talk about?

Clearview windshields is the first thing everyone mentions when asked, followed by how to mount a GPS and which one.

Q10: Is it easy for anyone to join your groups online and participate?

Yes, there are no limits on anyone signing up at all. It costs nothing but a slight amount of effort to log on to Yahoo. Once you get to the group you only have to click to join. I have both groups set up so all new members posts come to me to be approved. I catch a lot of spammers that way.

Q11: Have you been to any Burgman gatherings or rallies?

As I said, both the Southern PA meet for maxi scooters in 2004 and again in 2006. Also the Southern Ontario Maxi Scooter meet. Neither of those is exclusively Burgmans. The SOMSM runs again this year the weekend after Labour Day out of Peterborough Ontario. See www.lorald.ca

Q12: What advice would you give someone that has never ridden a scooter and it thinking of starting with the Burgman 650?

If they have ridden motorcycles and are thinking of switching to a Burgman I tell them to make sure to pick the one that fits. If they haven’t ridden for a while or at all I insist they take the course and suggest they buy something smaller and used to learn on for the first year. Here in Ontario we actually have two courses. The first is the Learning Course which gets you from a learner’s license called M1 to M2. Then after a minimum of 18 months, 24 if you don’t take the second course called M2 Exit to get an M license which is permanent. I strongly suggest people take the second course as well which is one day and can break some bad habits that have developed in the last couple of years.

For more information on the Yahoo Burgman groups visit the following links:
Yahoo Burgman group
Burgman 650 Yahoo group

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3 Responses to “Burgman Interviews – Richard Dinning from the Yahoo Burgman Groups”

  1. hello richard im from pei canada ijust bought a 400 i hope i like it safe biking

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