This review includes my 2004 Burgman 650 and my 2006 Burgman 650 Executive.
These two bikes are identical in most respects. The only differences (other than minor trim differences) are that the Executive has Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), an electrically adjustable windshield (like power windows), mirrors that can be electrically retracted and the OEM passenger backrest is standard.
Having ridden my '04 for 60,102 miles and my (current) '06 Executive for over 66,000 miles, I feel uniquely qualified to give an opinion on this motorcycle.
This vehicle is great for around town driving, whether commuting or doing some minor shopping, and is equally at home on the highway (Interstates included).
The 55-liter trunk provides ample space for 2 full-face helmets or quite a lot of groceries (a case and a half of beer fits very nicely). The commuter that may have to stop by the grocer on the way home will appreciate that.
The braking is superb, as I found out a few years back on my ’04 Burgman. I was traveling from my home in Florida to see my older son in Denver, CO. As I was driving into Denver, in the rain, and looking for my turn, I looked up to see a pickup truck stopped right in front of me. I found that “pumping” the brakes (both on the handle bars) was very effective in avoiding a collision. This is also the event that made me realize that ABS would be very helpful on a motorcycle.
Although I stated “Nothing” in the “Things Gone Wrong” section, the front wheel bearings failed on my ’04 Burgman at 33,000 miles (this was covered by warranty), an event that I considered a “fluke”; and it was. The drive belt on my ’06 Executive failed at 62,910 miles. I don’t really consider that as something that went wrong; nothing lasts forever. The dealer will tell you that they don’t know how long the belt will last, but I know how long it will last. If you buy ANY bike with a van Doorne-type transmission (CVT), it would be prudent to consider having the belt replaced between 50K and 60K miles (80K and 100K kilometers). The down side of this is that the replacement will cost you about $1,200 US. If the belt breaks it could coast twice that because of collateral damage. (I was lucky!)
On my trips to Texas, Colorado and Washington state, I consistently get between 50 and 60 miles per gallon (sometimes over 62 mpg) ; you can count on 56 mpg. Keeping up with traffic at 70 to 90 mph doesn't even tax the capabilities of this bike; you feel the bike could keep going and going and going... Around town I have been getting about 54 mpg. I should mention that I do NOT live in a major metropolitan area so there is not a lot of “stop and go” driving. If you live in a large city you can expect mileage in the 48-mpg range (unless you shut down the engine at those long stoplights).
I do most of the minor maintenance myself (oil changes, etc.) and leave the bigger stuff to the professionals. Even with labor at $75.00 per hour, my transportation costs are very low.
On a long trip this bike really shines. The seats are very comfortable and the trunk space is ample for one rider and adequate for two.
The windshield issue mentioned by others (regarding the Burgman 650) has been solved with the Executive’s adjustable windshield.
I love this ride!!