I’ve been curious what the real world and riding differences are between the Burgman 400 and 650 scooters. Sure we can read the technical stuff and see the pictures to see how they are different, but I wanted to know how different they were to ride.

Thank goodness Scootergirl from the forum lives only an hour away and was brave enough to let me borrow her 2007 Burgman 400 for a backroads test ride. And that was a perfect way to compare the scooter. I rode an hour on my 650 Executive, jumped off, got on Robin’s 400 and took a long ride on it and then jumped back on my 650 for another hour home.

So what scooters did I compare? Robin has a 2007 stock Burgman 400 and I have a 2008 Burgman 650 Executive with a Clearview screen. Plus, Robin’s has this amazing beaded seat thing cover that makes her seat really plush. We’ll have to get more details about that for sure.

The very first thing I noticed was when I pulled up into Robin’s driveway. It had a slight downward angle and when I pulled up next to where her scooter was parked and jumped off mine it started to roll forward and fall even though it was on the side stand. Apparently the 650 was heavier enough that the slight incline made a big difference. After doing the silly ‘it’s falling over I’m trying to save it’ dance I finally got it firmly planted with the parking brake. Thank you Suzuki for the parking brake. And thank you Robin for letting me take your scooter out right after I nearly planted mine in your driveway. Brave woman.

Now, before I begin this comparison let me offer the following disclaimer. This was just my experience and these are just my opinions. This is not a white coated scientist dyno test. It is just a Burgman rider out riding another Burgman and offering impressions and comments. I encourage anyone that has anything to add or a different opinion to post it in the comments section at the end of this article.

As for cosmetic differences I’ll let the pictures show you all of that. The operational differences were very apparent and while the two scooters are very different in some ways, those differences are not necessarily bad things.

Burgman 400, Left & Burgman 650 Exec, Right

Burgman 400, Left & Burgman 650 Exec, Right

Burgman 650 Exec, Left & Burgman 400, Right

Burgman 650 Exec, Left & Burgman 400, Right

What struck me immediately when I stepped onto the Burgman 400 was how much lighter it is. It was so easy to take off the side stand and manhandle compared to the 650. It was also apparent when I sat on that damn comfortable beaded seat that the distance from the seat to the ground on the 400 was shorter than on the 650.

The first impression when I fired up the 400 was how much more scooter like the engine sounded and felt. It was as noticeable like the difference between a four cylinder car engine and an eight cylinder car engine. It’s not that the Burgman 400 is rough, just different. When giving it gas from a standing start it also sounds more like a scooter and takes a bit longer to get going and get up to speed. And let me assure you that the 400 has plenty of power once you get it going at a steady pace and runs smooth and fast. The big difference between the 400 and 650 with power appears to be that the 650 is faster off the line, faster acceleration and more top end speed. The 400 meets its maximum at just above highway speeds without any reserve for a bit more power. On my 650 I can pass anything traveling less than 100 mph or so, with ease.

Handling on the 400 was super fine. No problems at all. It is easy to lean and handle on the road. The most noticeable differences while cruising were the following items.

  • It might just be purely personal preference but I do think the Burgman 650 mirrors are more helpful than the 400 mirrors. The 650 mirrors are in a very good and comfortable position when riding and even though they seem like they’d be too low they do give you a very broad view of the road. Maybe it was just esthetics but the mirrors on stalks on the 400 would not be my first choice.
  • My Burgman 650 has ABS, the 400 does not. And while you could clamp on the binders on the 400 and bring it to a stop, the braking on the 650 Executive feels much more solid and strong. That is not to say that the braking on the 400 isn’t adequate, it feels perfectly adequate. What I noticed most was that on the 650 with ABS that when I apply the brakes, I get braking RIGHT NOW! And on the 400 I got hard braking but with a less of a massive grip.
  • The weight difference was apparent to me on the twisty roads. On my 650 when I rock it back and forth in the turns it feels more definitive. The 400 was easy to handle but just didn’t give me the same sort of solid rider feedback. It is obviously a feeling that is hard to put into words but for an experienced motorcycle rider the weight feels like an advantage in the fast sweeping turns. But that extra weight, not properly handled, could probably get a new rider in more trouble.
  • I also love the analogue fuel gauge on the 400 rather than the digital four bar gauge on my 650. In fact I think the fuel and temp gauges on the 650 are a disappointment and I’d just like more information than the bars on the 650 give me.
  • On the 400 the disappointment was the initial power and scooterness of the engine when starting to get going. But if you are buying a scooter, that would not be a negative factor at all. And this is where I think the major difference is between the Burgman 400 and the Burgman 650. The Burgman 400 feels, in my opinion, like a powerful scooter and the Burgman 650 feels and handles more like a powerful motorcycle.

Now, that doesn’t mean that both don’t have a perfect place in different situations. With the better fuel milage that the Burgman 400 gets and it’s light weight I’d prefer the Burgman 400 for a daily commute in traffic, run to the store or a lot of riding in an urban area. I also think that anyone that does not have experience riding a motorcycle should start with the 400, not because it is inferior or a starter scooter but simply because the reduction in weight and less rocket start power can make it a safer maxiscooter to start with.

I would strongly suggest that before anyone buys a Burgman 650 that they have completed an approved motorcycle safety class and has previous motorcycle riding experience or can ride with a buddy to get experience. Call it what you want, the Burgman 650 Executive, for all intents and purposes, is a motorcycle with a step through frame.

Both the Burgman 400 and 650 can travel a long distance and I could see myself easily able to ride cross country on the Burgman 400. Both are fine machines, great maxiscooters and perfect fit for that special someone.

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192 Responses to “A Riders Comparison of the Burgman 400 and the Burgman 650 Scooters”

  1. I have a Burgman 400, and let me say that I just love it. It is a hell of a lot of fun to drive, and fuel is easy on the pocket book. The fun of just taking a ride on it is what I enjoy the most. I feel anyone who is looking for a great bike should try one of these.

  2. lol lots of of the remarks visitors make crack me up, in certain cases i ask myself whether they in truth read the articles and reports before posting or if perhaps they simply just look at the title of the post and jot down the first thing that drifts into their minds. nonetheless, it’s useful to look over sensible commentary every now and then compared to the very same, traditional post vomit which i constantly observe on the internet good bye

  3. I love my 2008 400. I still can’t get used to taking off from a dead stop. It seems like it takes awhile for the clutch to fully engage. Is it normal for the engine to race at takeoff before 2nd gear engages?

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  5. Hey all, I can’t believe this thread remains so active. Wow. Anyway, back in July 2009 I mentioned that I was thinking about moving from a 400 to a 650, but after test driving a 650, decided I did not like the engine braking on it and it might not be enough of a game changer for me. I then said I was considering an Aprilia Mana 850 …

    Well, fastforward about 16-17 months since that post, and yesterday I took the plunge and bought an Aprilia. I got a 2009 Mana red naked bike (not the GT ABS model). All I can say is WOW. It is everything I thought it would be from the outset and more. Coming from a 400s, the performance it quite remarkable. The automatic features work flawlessly and the engine braking on it is very different than what I experienced with the 650. (To be fair to the 650, the bike I tested was used and I think there may have been a problem there.) Also, I found the Mana to be much more stable in places that I found the Burgman not to be and the wind buffeting issues I encountered on the Burgman are gone.

    I am not going to hijack the thread and take it off-topic, but I did want to update my status in this decision. If anyone is curious about the Mana, I will say that if you are looking for performance it is great. If you are looking for motorcycle feel, but maintain the ease of the Burgman, then you have found it with the Mana. The one thing you will need to ask yourself is if the ergonomics of a motorcycle is right for you. The step-through design of the scooter is great if you are short or have issues that do not allow you to mount a motorcycle properly or if you just like the convenience of the step through. The Mana feels heavier than the Burgman and that may be due to the difference in weight distribution. That could be a problem for some.

    The other thing to consider is storage. If you ride a Burgman because you need the storage, then I might would stay with a Burgman. The Mana takes the space where the gas tank would be and turn it into a storage area (The gas tank is under the seat on the Mana). It is very convenient to have the storage available right there in front of you, but it does not have the capacity of the Burgman. Those are a few thoughts after one day. I am really excited about the purchase and looking forward to making it an everyday ride. If you are a Burgman owner that has thought about jumping over to the Mana, I would recommend it highly.

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  13. I’ve had an ’04 Burgman 400 for the last 6 years and think it’s a blast on the local roads and it’s quite capable as a tourer with GIVI saddlebags and a topbox as well. But I saw a deal on a 650 Executive and bought and the difference is huge. The sound of the parallel twin engine, the bigger tires, the extra mass, the bigger windscreen and taller seat height put this bike in a totally different class. Cruising at an indicated 75mph on the highway is basically a non-event. While I prefer the comfort of the 650, I still love the 400 for in town errands and short blasts. And as gasoline keeps inching higher I’ll probably keep returning to the 400 to get me where I need to go.

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  15. Wow! this was great to read. It definatly shows how enjoyable a bike both rides are!. Just bought a 400 with 28miles on the odometer. It was purchased new in 2006 and the owner never had a bike before and it scared him so he parked it in the garage for 5 years and I was lucky enough to have a nearly brand new 5 year old bike for a great price. Having regular bikes when I was young, was enjoyable then, but now I am more mature and appreciate modern advances like no shifting. That was my main motivation for looking at a maxi scooter. I agree with all about the low front end power but now I dont do wheelies anymore so not important. I have change the windshield to a larger and higher one. The origional was a terrible design flaw where the wind deflects directly in your face, but a cheap fix. I get lots of looks and questions stoped at lights and I brag about the great time I am having with my comfortable bike. I loved reading these posts and I hope it continues for years to come and we read about continual improvements. I may upgrade to a 650 because I plan on some long trips and maybe even a rider to enjoy the gettaway so a 650 may be a fit. For now this is FUN! and more fun than anyone should have for a great price. Horray to Burgman fans!!!!!

  16. I just replaced the windshield with the Givi replacement. What a differance. I am 6′ tall and the origional was so badly placed that the wind was always directed at my face. I have to say there was no other product that could have changed so much for so little. Now warm hands and neck. Anyone who hasnt done the change yet, let me say, git er done! And I am not evern a redneck! Happy riding all!!!!!

  17. I know I am the only one posting lately but if anyone reads this I have a couple questions. I have read about an electronic device that controls the air to gas mixture to add power. Also, the changing of the rollers to get more starting power. Does this make the RPM’s even higer at high speed. I would like to get a little more power especially on hills with a passanger. I was hoping with all the experts here and by that I mean real riders that enjoy the ride and push just a little bit. Any answers will be greatly appreciated as there is little advice to be had about this!

  18. Hello People! Just wanted to tell you that I got tickets to the Rush concert on Jun 24. In this webpage you can find tickets for other dates too. It’s wonderful Rush and his band performance, this is my second time and I’m still so excited about listening him live! On this page you can see the section where you’re buying the ticket, so it’s very recommended! Rush 2 get ’em!

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  21. The acceleration differences between the 400 and 650 Burgmans are diminished with an aftermarket variator and lighter variator weights. You can even use lighter weights in the stock variator. I am pretty pleased with my Malossi Multivar 2000 variator and 16 gram weights. It came with 14 gram weights which gave much more acceleration but also less fuel economy on the highway. There are also other after market variators available for the 400, like the Polini, JCosta, and possibly Athena variators. You just might surprise some of the riders of larger displacement cycles and scooters.

  22. Wow, there is a lot of interesting stuff on here. A lot of it seems to be comparing the Burgman 400 and the 650. Well I have been riding a 400 K9 for over a year now and I absolutley love the thing. I’m 73 yrs old and not real big 5′ 7″ and about 155 lbs. Have no trouble handling it and it is a joy to ride. Great gas milage, great storage and nice to look at which people seem to like to do. Someone said you get highway speed with no reserve ( on here ) No disrespect but I say this is ” Bull” I took mine out on the interstate the other day and was right up rolling with traffic in no time 80 mph and still had a lot of throttle left, I am sure I could have gotten to 100 with no problem but that is just too fast for me. I’m sure the 650 is a great machine but unless you are going crosscountry a lot I don’t know why you would want to pay more money, get less gas milage and have to handle a heavier machine not too meantion higher insurance and service cost. Bigger is not always better. Larry

  23. Hello People! Just wanted to tell you that I got tickets to Mana concert on Jun 25th. In this place you can find tickets for other dates too. It’s wonderful their performance on stage, this is my third time and I’m still so excited about listening them live! On this page you can see the section where you’re buying the ticket, so it’s very recommended! Good luck!!

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  26. Hi Burgman riders ! or drivers (it is a hell comfortable machine). I have always been big fun of Burgman. I’ve just got my L license, and I want to get a 400, but I am little bit afraid to ride such a heavy machine as a first bike. Do you encourage or discourage ?

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  34. Sayf,
    I started with a small scooter as my first bike, a 150cc engine. Within 2 months I knew I wanted something bigger and got a Burgman 400. I absolutely love it. Plenty of storage, plenty of power, fairly easy to handle. As I didn’t have much experience with a 2 wheeler with a motor, I had to learn fairly fast to be careful regarding how I move it so it didn’t tip over. Aside from getting used to its size, I think it would be a fine first bike. Just be careful not to underestimate its weight, because it is really hard to pick it off the ground for a fairly strong girl. Once you are on it and riding, it was very easy to get used to.

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  36. Great conversations and great information. My wife and I just finished our motorcycle classes and now we are looking for a Burgman 400/650. Based on what I have read, it sounds like the 400 is the one for us. We have never rode before and are in our mid 50’s, live in Central Florida. I would like to be able to ride down to the everglades, and the keys on a long weekend and the 400 sounds like that would be fine on this bike/scooter. Continue with talk. Thanks for all the information from everyone.

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  39. I had a “49 state” Burgman 400 for a while, in Calif.. A very good bike, very fast for a 400 prob because of no smog restrictions. The DMV wrote me a nasty letter that I cannot have this bike in Calif. If it had over 7500 miles on it OK it is legal. But it had 3000 mi… I should have lied and kept the bike! I rode a Burgman 650 a test ride on fwy and streets. I preferred the B 400 to the 650. Lighter and just as fast. I weigh 230 and the 400 was enough bike, and you can put a small elephant under the seat,a locking trunk. I will buy another Burg 400 before I die. I have too many bikes now, have had prob 25 bikes in my life since age 12. Craig age 60

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