Scooters are the way to go. No, seriously. With all the ‘only stop, no go’ traffic that we have to deal with, they are definitely more of a breeze to ride around the city than a motorcycle. For the longest time, the scooter couldn’t match the bike’s cool factor but all that is water under the bridge. Take a look at the options that grace scooter showrooms today and there is no doubt that the scooter is cooler, more youthful, more stylish and therefore more desirable than it has ever been. From the conservative Honda Activa 110 that really kicked off the twist and go scooter market to the funky Dios and Ray ZRs, the retro stylish Vespas, the brilliant Aprilia SR 150 and the uber techno TVS NTorq 125, scooters have indeed come a long way. While most of the sales wars continue to a happen in the 110cc segment, it’s the 125cc segment that has suddenly begun to look up. At first you only had the Suzuki Access 125, Vespa 125 and the Honda Activa 125 but now you’ve also got the Honda Grazia and the NTorq 125. Into this increasingly crowded space comes Suzuki’s maxi-scooter, Burgman Street.
With styling inspired by the larger, more powerful and certainly more aspirational Burgman and using the same underpinnings as the delightful Access 125, the Burgman Street should pack a decent punch. Or can it? To find out, we decided to pit this new Suzuki scooter against the winner of our previous 125cc scooter comparison test when the TVS NTorq 125 had locked horns with the Aprilia SR 125.
We have never doubted Suzuki’s expertise in the scooter department; they have previously amazed us with the Access 125, which was a hoot to ride around. But it was time now for a new dimension to that story, a scooter that could build on the Access’ legacy.
The Burgman Street 125, is a maxi-scooter that was meant to be comfy, functional and strong enough to handle highway miles too. It definitely has presence and looks big, but is it beautiful? The answer to that will probably split a college dorm in half. Nevertheless, it’ll help you grab eyeballs as we found out on the shoot.
The scooter is rather practical with a large underseat stowage that can take a narrow full face helmet and other knick knacks. The glove compartment has a 12V outlet and there’s an open compartment that can fit a small bottle. The instrument console is all-digital and quite bright, but is fairly basic.
However, it had one thing going for it from the beginning. It is essentially an Access 125 underneath. Like the Access therefore, the 124cc motor in the Burgman is as refined as can be. With 8.6bhp to play around with, it can also do a few long distance rides with not too much stress. The throttle response is crisp and thanks to the precise fuelling, you benefit from a rich and creamy delivery. The Burgman Street will smoothly accelerate to the 90s on the speedo without complaint. In fact I could get up to 92kmph on one occasion. At the same time, cruising about town isn’t an issue either.
Courtesy its long 1265mm wheelbase, the Burgman Street feels stable at speed. It handles well enough too but because of its wide body dimensions feels a little cumbersome. That is when you’re the judging the scooter as a standalone product. Pit against the TVS and the difference is immediately apparent. Suddenly the Suzuki feels more of a handful; a scooter that you’ll need to hustle a bit as you filter through traffic. It simply doesn’t have the nimble feet that the NTorq is blessed with.
Where the Burgman Street excels is in the comfort department. The suspension setup is soft, which makes for a rather nice and plush ride quality. The seat is big and comfortable and the pillion gets a wide berth too. The fact that the footboard is extended back means the pillion won’t have to search for stylishly tucked away foot pegs. It’s also very easy to get astride the scooter because of its low 780mm ride height.
Braking duties are carried out by a disc in the front and a drum in the rear (same as the Access), but the setup seems to lack initial bite. The addition of combined braking is a helpful addition however.
The NTorq is the latest stunner from the TVS stable. It won’t be a stretch if we said that after the SR 150, the NTorq is the hottest looking scooter you can buy right now. Its afterburner styled rear panels seem uber modern. The proportions are nice and the two tone body colours and funky accents are tasty.
The major highlight of the scooter however is its smart display cluster that can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth and controlled using the ‘TVS Ntorq’ app available on Google Play Store. The screen has a lot of info on offer and also greets you every time you turn the key. The screen can also help you navigate by projecting your phone’s map app on to the instrumentation and will show you incoming call alerts too. Over and above all this, there is a Street mode, a Sport mode and even a lap timer, in case you felt the need to scrape your knees on a track. It’s actually multiple notches above any other scooter, let alone the basic display that the Burgman has to offer.
It’s pretty practical too with plenty of space on the floor board, a fairly large underseat storage with a USB port as well as a light. The seat has enough padding to keep you upright and comfy over fairly long distances too. That fancy gadgetry aside, the other major highlight of the scooter is the all-new 124.79cc motor that produces 9.3bhp and 10.5Nm of torque. The Ntorq is the only scooter in India to get a three-valve cylinder head. The CVT is tuned very differently from what you get in either the Wego or the Jupiter.
The NTorq motor is nearly as smooth as the Suzuki’s, but it feels a lot punchier than what you get on the Burgman. The response from the throttle is more immediate and you get a sense of the TVS wanting to shoot off the block. And all this, despite the NTorq being heavier by 8 kilos! This added peppiness lends a youthful aura to the scooter that is hard to ignore.
Like most of the current TVS’, it also handles like a dream. The NTorq is super stable and yet delightful to flick despite being quite a bit heavier. Tipping into a turn feels far more instinctive on the NTorq. Filtering through traffic is a breeze too since the TVS doesn’t have the wide body dimensions of the Suzuki. Besides, you get plenty of grip from the 100-section tyres that cover the 12-inch alloys.
Braking duties are carried out by a 220mm disc up front and a drum in the rear. And, even though there is no combined braking, stopping without fuss is never in doubt. It’s enjoyable enough for me to have snatched the keys from Ganesh on more than one occasion and kidnapped it for the weekend.
Honestly, as far as the products themselves are concerned, the Suzuki Burgman Street is a great product. It may not be as exciting and youthful as the TVS NTorq 125 but it has its own strengths that it brings to the 125cc stylish scooter market. It is certainly more functional with its big and comfy seat along with tons of storage spaces and wonderfully plush ride. The TVS in comparison is peppier, more dynamic and is loaded with technology. It should have been an even fight, but it wasn’t. For there is that other all important factor called price, and here the NTorq 125 is more than nine grand cheaper compared to the Burgman Street, which retails at Rs 68,000, ex-showroom. At that price, there is no argument really about which one you should be spending your money on. Especially if you’re looking for a scooter that not only looks stylish but is also genuinely cool.