Suzuki Burgman, in its various guises and capacities, has been a bit of a cult bike for a quarter of a century now, largely because from the start it has offered not only performance and good times on two wheels, but a bit of class and comfort too. It’s an important model for Suzuki, and we couldn’t wait to ride this new 2023 version of the Suzuki Burgman 125 Street EX.
The Burgman was first launched in 1998 in 250 and 400 capacities, and as years passed, 125 and the mighty 650 were added to the range. Today, only the 125 and 400 are in the line-up (we miss you, big 650 Burgman!).
In Suzuki’s 125 scooter range, the Burgman is the top model. It shares its engine with the more classically styled Suzuki Address 125 and the sportier Suzuki Avenis 125, but adds a sprinkle of luxury scooting on top of the basic spec of its stablemates. The Burgman’s engine features a very handy stop-start system, that switches the engine off when you stop, then starts it again when you roll on the throttle. You can switch the system off, but in practice it works so quickly that you don’t really benefit from overriding it, and you will save a bit of petrol too.
Talking about fuel economy, the Burgman has a 5.5-litre tank and a claimed MPG figure of 148.67, which gives the scoot a theoretical 180-mile range. On our test ride, I returned the bike after a rather spirited ride with 113MPG showing on the dash. That’s a very healthy figure, and a more economical rider would surely achieve a figure much higher than that.
Another feature the Burgman boasts over the Avenis and Address is a silent start system, and does exactly what it says on the tin: starts the bike quietly. You might argue that start-up noise of 125 scooters is not a major concern, but regardless, it’s a pleasantly gentle way to start a city scooter.
The Burgman also runs on 12” wheels front and rear, whereas the other Suzuki 125 scooters have a 10” rear wheel. It also has very roomy footboards with an option to have your feet further forward than on the other models. And it gets that more elegant, maxi-scooter look with fuller body panels, big seat, and a generous grab rail/rear rack combo. The Burgman also comes with the centre stand as standard, which is nice, but as it’s belt-driven rather than chain driven you don’t need it to maintain achain. Overall, the Burgman has been designed to be stable, comfy, and roomy, without losing the nippy and agile nature of a 125 scooter.
The first impressions of the Burgman were very pleasant. I chucked my bag in the 21.5-litre underseat storage space, slipped my phone in the glove box to charge on the USB-socket while I was riding, adjusted the mirrors, and that’s it: I was ready to go. No messing about with modes, settings, or any of that stuff. It’s not there, and you won’t miss it. The simplicity of the dash and switchgear was welcome in a scooter that really doesn’t need anything more complex. Since this is a twist-and-go scooter, you don’t need to worry about gears either, which is another bonus in town traffic.
On the move, the first thing you notice is the delightful agility of the Burgman. It weighs 112kg (kerb), but it flicks from side to side totally effortlessly, and feels like you could turn it around in no space at all. There’s also a healthy 160mm of ground clearance, so you can really use the agile nature of the scoot to your advantage and turn it sharply without anything scraping on the ground.
Power delivery was very pleasant as we negotiated through Cambridge. As you’d expect from a 125, the power comes on gently, so you can snap the throttle open and get a jump on the cars in traffic lights. The Burgman accelerates pretty quickly to city speeds even though the power figures are not sky high even by 125cc standards (you get 6.3kW/8.4bhp and 10Nm from the air-cooled four-stroke single). In fact, Suzuki says the new Burgman accelerates faster over the first 200 meters than the old model, even with the new engine being less powerful.
The brakes (disc front, drum rear) and suspension worked well in the city, too. It took me a little while to get used to the brakes being combined and both levers activating both brakes, especially after riding a ‘regular’ setup just before, but the system seems to work. Suspension units are the same as in the other Suzuki 125 scooters, but the setting have been adjusted. They work fine in the city, but lack the damping feel of a more premium system.
The fact that the Burgman performed well in the city came as no surprise. What I was more curious about was how it would work outside the urban jungle. In reality, I expect these scooters to be ridden on the open road very rarely, but for many commuters a short stretch of an A road is a necessity, so you’d want suitable performance from a ‘maxi-scooter’ such as the Burgman – be it a 125 or not.
Now, with 125s, the rider’s size and weight plays a bigger part in how rapidly the bike travels than it does on bigger machines, so for transparency, I’m 183cm/six foot tall, and weigh 90kg. Under my bulk the Burgman managed top speeds between 60-63mph on flats. It took a while to get to those speeds, as the acceleration is not as rapid after you climb above 30-40mph, but the scoot is not sluggish by any means, and I managed to keep up with traffic on country roads. You just have to try and not roll off the throttle if you don’t have to as it takes time to regain the lost speed.
The Burgman still feels pretty stable in (relatively) high speeds, too. The suspension can feel a bit springy, but overall the scoot remains planted and easy to manage at speeds. The small windscreen looks like it doesn’t do much but it directs wind around you nicely, making the 780mm high perch a pleasant place to be.
The overall feeling of the Burgman is that it is exactly what you would want from a 125: a fun, agile and easy to ride scooter, but it has a touch or comfort and style added to the package, which makes it a little more versatile. It’s a very pleasant scooter to ride.
In terms of pricing, the Burgman seems to be well-positioned to challenge its Japanese rivals. It’s priced at £3078 on the road, which is less than the benchmark Honda PCX (£3600) and the Yamaha Nmax 125 (£3777), although they offer more power, bigger wheels and a bit more tech. There will, of course, be cheaper offerings from budget brands, but looking at the Suzuki’s build quality, the great ride feel, and the stylish packaging, you can’t help but feel that they would be right in predicting the sales figures to be pretty healthy.
Suzuki Burgman 125 Street EX specification
Price: RRP £2999 (£3078 OTR)
Engine: 125cc single, four-stroke, air-cooled, SOHC
Power: 6.3kW/8.4bhp @ 6500
Torque: 10Nm @ 5500
Transmission: CVT, belt final drive
Brakes: 190mm disc front, 130mm drum rear
Suspension: Telescopic forks, single shock rear
Tank: 5.5 litres
Fuel consumption: 148.6MPG claimed / 113MPG tested
Weight: 112kg (kerb)
Seat height: 780mm
Wheels: 12” front and rear
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Words: Mikko Nieminen
Photos: Jason Critchell