Tour Testing the 2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS Rider Magazine

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Suzuki AN 650 ABS

Four Ferries on Two Wheels—Tour the 2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS

Kevin and the Lucille carried motorcycles and made 100 crossings of the River on many summer during its years on the river. It was with the larger Patience after my trip.

Photo James Parchman


January 13, 2014

“Wow, a big scooter you’re on. I ride a 1800 Goldwing, myself,” Captain Rick Turner, of the Ohio River ferry Jo . “See all the motorcycles on here? like this most Motorcycle riders love a

Indeed. Chugging towards the shore, the barge’s deck was with motorcycles and trikes—plus a 2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS

On a day ride from anywhere where Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri most closely you can still ferry any of the region’s mega rivers: the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland. A three-day is my advice, allowing you the opportunity to modern day Tom Sawyer and hit them while enjoying the region’s historical sites and culinary

Ferry approaching the landing. Kentucky in the distance. Captain Turner of the Lonnie Jo rides on his days off.

Any motorcycle do, or a scooter! The revamped 650 Burgman was my (See the December 2013 Shootout and our online First preview for its full specs.) A parking brake assembly—the mechanical glitch the scooter encounter during nearly miles of tour testing—had me in Tennessee (45 miles northwest of while the local Suzuki overnighted parts to get me back on the

Clarksville seemed a good point for a triangular “Ferry trip. The Mississippi River is 2½ hours away in Hickman, via two-lanes (U.S. Routes 79 and and Kentucky Route 94).

But you may to dally at the Fort Donelson War battlefield or test ride a trike or sidecar at Hannigan headquarters in Murray, Kentucky, the way.

This new ferrytow Patience replaced the Lucille on the City run right after my Despite its name, the new ferry for a faster crossing.

My ride in rain. Maybe a surprise to but the big Burgman offers excellent from the elements. The electrically windscreen’s lowest setting level) was nearly perfect for my frame.

Less wind occurs when it’s to its upper limit (nose and it offers more protection rain and cold. Fuel improves, too. Heated would be nice and are an available

The Burgman has a full assortment of on both sides of the bars. are lit and it’s very easy to the wrong one in the dark. It’s a so the left lever works the brake; right engages the front twin discs.

The ABS worked extremely well.

Check your fuel arriving at the Hickman landing as only working farmland on the side for 30 miles. If the ferry waiting, alert the crew by a of the button on the informational signpost.

I next to 40,000 pounds of hardwood destined for Missouri as we the Mississippi River from

Motorcyclists crossing the Mississippi pay a $5 That’s a lot less than the passenger on my trip…an 18-wheeler over 40,000 pounds of oak logs destined to become flooring at a Missouri mill.

being midweek, I was the only aboard the 78-foot ferry Pilot Jeremy Newsome weekends were a different “We get a lot of motorcycles on weekends,” he said, all seem to be going to Lambert’s That’s the famous home of rolls,” 38 miles ahead Highway’s 102, 80 and 61) in Sikeston, Good idea!

Hunger now on to the Ohio! Plenty of overnight are available along U.S. 60 heading east into

Paducah is 65 miles away, or yet, stop in the quaint of Marion, about 110 miles

The 50 liters of underseat storage is a 650 strong point. The passenger’s is easily replaced by a topbox expands storage even

Burgmans shine in their carrying capacity. Real translation of the 650’s 50-liter is: a full backpack, jacket liner, mini air compressor and repair kit, pair of large travel atlas and of water. With its optional topbox, this scooter is a superb weekday grocery

Don’t let the word “scooter” or its riding position fool An experienced 650 Burgman rider can in the curves with most short of sportbikes. The 15-inch and 14-inch rear Bridgestone radials provided plenty of

Marion has Kentucky’s largest population, and one of its largest deer so watch for horses, buggies and on winding State Route 91 as you 12 miles to the Ohio River landing. Better gas up, too.

The Lonnie Jo departs every 15 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Turner likes motorcycle so much he didn’t charge me a for the crossing. He won’t charge you a free ferry and the best of our trip!

That’s the Ohio with Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, on the side. The best bargain of the is that the ferry crossing is of charge.

Cave-In-Rock is a quaint river town you may have before—in the movies. The cave was to river pirates, as depicted by Brennan in How the West Was Won . and in Walt Davy Crockett and the River . It’s located in the Cave-In-Rock Park, which also lodging and a restaurant as well as views of the Ohio River.

The redesign of Burgman 650 included a new and switch layout that is one of the in motorcycling.

A 650 Burgman rider can choose to or twist-shift-n-go. Changes to the pre-selected are made via orange “up” and switches on the left bar. The panel, which includes speedo and tachometer to either is one of the nicest new features of the redesign.

Now for the a double ferry day! Marion, it’s about 45 south to the entry point of the Between the Lakes National Area. Riding the length of the Woodlands Trace National Byway will consume 1¼ you don’t stop for pictures too

Suzuki AN 650 ABS

A scooter should be a light and the big Burgman is. In the Scooter Shootout . testers achieved 48 and 51 miles per from respective BMW and Honda and 50.5 mpg on the Suzuki. Maybe my hand was smoother. Over 6,000 miles, my Burgman a respectable 59.2 miles per on 87 octane. Ignoring the flashing light took me slightly 190 miles on a tank; you can probably out 200 without walking.

Not bad for a machine will cruise at a continuous 90 per hour and reached an indicated 110 shimmy or ill effects to my wallet.

The terminates at U.S. Route 79. ride 56 miles (via

79 and Tennessee Routes 69a and 147) you’ll pass Paris State Park and Paris, to the Faxon-Danville ferry landing.

The River is 1½ miles wide and for 75 a motorcyclist can ferry shore to all day long!

For 75 cents, a motorcyclist can ferry the 1½ Tennessee River, shore to all day long. Captain Mark told me that on weekends it was not to make 100 crossings a day. “We lots of motorcycles, too,” he

Each ferry had landings an incline/decline that is slight and enough for any rider to navigate. on motorcycles with long-travel will hardly notice the between ferry gate and pad. The Burgman managed a on each occasion, highlighting the serious shortcoming of the $10,999 of suspension travel. As our First noted, the 4-inch +/- of suspension works nicely on perfectly roads.

Unfortunately, few roads are smooth, and on those the rider the price in choppiness.

On to Cumberland and our final ferry! It’s about 25 miles (along Routes 147 and 149) of two-lane to the Getting close, you’ll see the stacks of a TVA power plant. For years, the little ferry tug crossed the Cumberland River was the Lucille . Captain Kevin me he carried many motorcycles on weekends, when 100 crossings a day are

A new 80-foot barge and tug named has taken over the Cumberland run my last visit, but the toll is 75 cents.

Looking back at the TVA Steam Plant in the distance. The 650 Burgman ABS proved to be a reliable, and fun machine for our Ferry Discovery

After crossing the Cumberland, the community is Indian Mound. The route back to Clarksville is Tennessee Route 46 north to Route 79 east. If you’re adventurous, follow State 233; both are about 40 the latter one has more twists.

back in Clarksville you can hit Interstate 24 to to whither you came—smiling like Tom after an adventure on the river.

my “Ferry Discovery” travel and country return to California, revamped Burgman 650 ABS proved an joy as a touring mount. It was a frugal, and nimble machine. While is upper-tier pricing for a scooter, it is than half the price of the Goldwing motorcycle it is often too.

With some improvements, Suzuki might many more customers to twist-n-go.

For more information on Burgman’s, visit

For information on ferries operating in the and Canada, visit

Suzuki AN 650 ABS
Suzuki AN 650 ABS
Suzuki AN 650 ABS
Suzuki AN 650 ABS


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