Suzuki Burgman 650 shock replacement

New shocks, old shocks
New shocks, old shocks Picture: Alan Dowds From: Suzuki Price: £599

It wasn’t really news to me that the Burgman needed new shocks - it’s been bouncing like a mad Poundland football since I bought the mighty B-mann. And when I loaded up the rear seat and top box with kit for press launches, the handling was properly interesting. I genuinely thought I had a flat tyre at one point, the big scoot was wandering awry with such alacrity. Mini-roundabouts were a challenge, the steering was so conflicted by the well-worn rear shocks.

The final straw came when the MOT man handed me the pass certificate though. There was an ‘advisory’ for poor damping on the rear, and he gave me one of ‘those’ looks. That persuaded me I had to sort something out. Definitely.

What to go for though? I looked at some aftermarket options - Ikon, Hagon and YSS all seemed like decent options. Öhlins seem to have produced units at one point in time for the big scoot, but they don’t list them now. What about stock OE units? They’re an expensive choice, at around £300 a side - but the ones on there have lasted 14 years and 30k miles, so decent value. There’s a full Suzuki warranty on the units too, which applies even if you fit the parts yourself.

The very nice Tim Davies at Suzuki GB sorted me a deal on a pair of shocks, and I was all set for a weekend of tough spannering. A cursory glance over the old units revealed some very very dead shocks. All the oil had clearly long gone, out of the worn seals and the springs were rusty and corroded. On the other hand, the damper rods were good without any pitting, and the rubber bushes were still in great order too.

I couldn’t work out where the shocks bolted at the top at first. It looked like you had to take off all the seat unit and bodywork - feck! Then, something made me look again - and the shocks actually bolt inside the rear fender, not outside. So, it’s literally a ten minute job to remove and refit both shocks! One 12mm socket and ratchet, some copper grease on the bolts and studs to keep corrosion away, and a can of brake cleaner to wipe it all off beforehand. I also took the chance to douse the new shocks in corrosion protector from SDoc100, for some added protection.

Now, you might have read in the past about how a new tyre or upgraded shock has ‘transformed the handling’. Well, on a scale of 1-10, the new shocks are at least a 96 in terms of improvement. The old bus has been completely transmogrified, into a sharp-handling Q-Ship. I took the opportunity to change the fork oil and fit some Hagon progressive fork springs (£40, used, off the Bay). Together with new Michelin Pilot Road 4 tyres (of which more anon), the results are amazing.

So - the mighty Burgman has all-new wheel bearings, braked discs, pads, and fluid, new tyres, and new suspension front and rear. She’s genuinely flying now - time to find a little more power…

This, plus ten minutes, is all you need.
This, plus ten minutes, is all you need. Picture: Alan Dowds
We've had our money's worth out of the old ones...
We've had our money's worth out of the old ones... Picture: Alan Dowds
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