First ride review: Suzuki Burgman Street
Suzuki has launched the Burgman Street, a maxi-scooter with a 125cc heart. Here’s what it is like
What is it?
This is Suzuki’s stab at the premium 125cc scooter market. The company created waves with the Access 125, creating an effective product that was affordable and sat well with the masses. Well, they’re back and this time around, but they have taken the rule book and chucked it out of the window. The Burgman Street draws inspiration from, well, the larger capacity Burgmans with their maxi-scooter styling. However, just like the 150cc Intruder was a scaled down version of a high-capacity international product for India, the Burgman Street is a small capacity scoot developed especially for our market.
So is it a completely new product?
Well, on the styling front, it is rather unique. Different from anything in the Suzuki portfolio, and is the first time anyone has attempted to get in to the maxi-scooter space in India. Not counting Aprilia’s mad SRV 850, of course. But we shall come to the styling in a bit. Underneath, things are more familiar with the Burgman Street being based on the Access 125. I mean, it just makes sense, doesn’t it? The whole point of engineering these products specifically for India is so that platforms can be shared with products that already exist here. The underpinnings, including the chassis and engine are of the Access. The outputs of the engine are identical as well — the 124cc engine puts out 8.6bhp and 10.2Nm of torque.
Yeah, but it looks… different.
Yes, it does. Now whether this ‘different’ appeals to you or no is entirely up to you and your sense of aesthetics. Looked at objectively though, and Suzuki has done a rather good job with the Burgman Street. The scooter obviously draws inspiration from its namesake, the Burgman 650, and does a pretty fine job of replicating it on a smaller platform. The proportions look good, and it does look imposing without coming across as overstyled. The front apron is wide, and is aggressively raked backwards to give it a really masculine stance. The tail-section keeps the continuity going with the slashes and gashes, the stepped-seat, and large grabrail adds to that maxi-scooter persona. The stubby windscreen is what really grabs attention, and it works in its own quirky way.
Okay, but is it any good on the road?
One thing I was apprehensive of before I got on to the Burgman was that the bulging fairing would restrict manoeuvrability in tight traffic. The first few metres had me gingerly guiding the Burgman through tight spots but within minutes, I had got a hang of it and was riding it with the same carefree attitude you can ride any other zippy scooter with. Zippy being the operative word here.
The Burgman is quick, and accelerates off the line with intent. The mid-range is strong, and the CVT is tuned well for quick bursts of acceleration. This despite it being 7kg heavier than the Access, it feels just as quick but we’re going to have to put them up against a clock to be sure. The fact that in my short ride with the scooter, the grunt never felt inadequate should be reason enough not to worry too much about performance. The ride quality is good, but does have a slightly firm edge to it. It comfortably deals with our bad roads and the front forks only bottomed out with the thud on some really harsh potholes.
In terms of handling, the Burgman is responsive to your inputs and never feels lazy. It may not have the brilliant flickability of an SR150, but it does hold its own. The Burgman also gets a disc-drum brake set-up, and we would expect nothing less on a scooter that sits at the top of their portfolio. It gets CBS, and the set up works well. It lacks a distinct bite point, but it slows down the scooter well enough and there are no complaints here.
What else is it packing?
The Burgman Street has a lot of goodies to cement that premium positioning in the Suzuki portfolio. For starters, it gets LED headlamps and taillamps — and the headlamps are properly effective. They’re really bright and have got a good spread. Then there’s the sheer amount of accessible storage— something I really liked on the Burgman. You’ve got a large 2-litre cubby hole on one side (which easily swallows a large phone, wallet or even a water bottle), and there’s a glovebox, with a 12V socket on the other. Both offer deep recesses to store all sorts of stuff that you simply can’t stuff in to your pockets on the go. However, these aren’t lockable so you’d better remember to empty them before you leave your scooter at a mall. It also gets a conventional 21-litre under-seat storage and two luggage hooks as well.
The instrument cluster is fully digital, and looks like it is a derivative of the unit on the Suzuki Gixxer. It’s clean, easy to read and looks smart. It doesn’t get anywhere close to the functionality of the TVS Ntorq, but gives you all the basic information you need. Another neat trick on the Burgman is the flexible foot position. You can use the floorboard like you would on a conventional scooter but can use the slanting footrests as well. They take a little getting used to, but do allow for a little flexibility while riding.
The Burgman is certainly an appealing scooter. It is different from anything we’ve seen in the market so far, and embraces that uniqueness while being underpinned on something rather familiar. Its Access roots mean you know you can’t go wrong with it. It is well equipped too, and does everything the Access does and then some. However, it does cost Rs 68,000, making it Rs 8,900 more than the Access and Rs 8,400 more than the TVS Ntorq. This is quite a premium over rival 125cc scooters, and the only real thing that justifies the price is the differentiated styling. So if you’re looking for something radically different from the scooters out in the market today, it's worth going for. However, if you want something convenient that offers value for money, there are other options that you could consider.
Specs: 124cc, 1-cyl, CVT, 8.6bhp @ 7000rpm, 10.2Nm @ 5000rpm
Seat height: 760mm
Verdict: A sorted product, with unique styling but costs a premium over the competition