...I did a trade-in on another HONDA before I had a chance to test ride this! -- You see, for all of the glowing reviews being bandied about regarding Honda's "REFLEX" (including a few kudos of my own), the 2001 model I traded my '99 CN-250 "Helix" in on (because I had always wanted my...
...I did a trade-in on another HONDA before I had a chance to test ride this! -- You see, for all of the glowing reviews being bandied about regarding Honda's "REFLEX" (including a few kudos of my own), the 2001 model I traded my '99 CN-250 "Helix" in on (because I had always wanted my Helix in black, which was the color for 2001, but it was also supposedly Helix's final year run and production was cut back considerably so that no '01 models were ever shipped to our local dealerships) was apparently the only "lemon" in the crate of tangerines. For the two and a half years of my owning it and riding it almost on a daily basis, my NSS-250 "Reflex" had this NASTY habit of repeatedly draining the life out of my battery, and nobody could tell me why... so when the vampire most recently sucked my battery dry again, these last couple of times while I was at work where it did so TWICE IN ONE WEEK (the first time during what was at the time the second worst storm of the year 2003) I realized I could overlook the problem no longer and had to make the necessary move to get rid of it (with sad regrets, because I really did find much to like about that bike). -- So while shopping around for a potential replacement (and growing very tired of getting held captive and pressure cooked by our Kawasaki/Harley dealership) I decided to give the Honda dealership down the street a look-see, and to my surprise the "Helix" was back in production after a two year absence. Still not wanting to make any decisions right away, I visited the Suzuki dealership in town to inquire primarily about the "GZ-250" for '04 (which I was also considering back in 1999 before I decided on my "Helix" purchase) and I was greeted with another surprise... Suzuki was finally marketing the "BURGMAN" in the U.S. (I had been told around the time I bought the "Reflex" that Suzuki was only producing the "Burgman" for the European market.) -- At the time, however, they only had the AN-650 'Burger King' in the showroom, but I instantly fell in love with it at first sight, despite its excessive gadgetry. All of the sales and management staff at the dealership were so confident about the 'Burger King' that they insisted that I take it out for a "NO OBLIGATIONS" test ride... and I fell even MORE in love with it, despite its excessive gadgetry and bulky seating arrangement. The price was going to put me in the hole big time, but I was about ready to chance it... until I got quoted (and later confirmed) the cost for insurance coverage which, curiously, was roughly the same as what my insurance company would have wanted had I decided on Kawasaki's "Ninja 250"... and I'd decided that $700+ a year for a $3300 motorcycle was definitely not worth the effort. So, sad to say, I went back to the CN-250 "Helix" and took what they had in stock (an ugly bright yellow on black 'bumblebee'), because I needed something right then and I could not afford to wait for my desired color (either 'pearl white' or my originally desired solid black) to arrive "special order." -- No sooner did I drive the '04 "Helix" off the lot that I SEVERELY REGRETTED the decision (it was like taking a MAJOR step back down), so I made up my mind that I was going to spend a couple of weeks with the purchase before returning to Suzuki to trade in the 'bumblebee' for the 'Burger King,' despite its excessive gadgetry and bulky seating arrangement and steep price tag and high insurance costs. -- So when I walked back into the showroom two weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised to see the "Burgman" was still there. But then I noticed something odd about it... it was almost solid black in color (the one I test rode was silver on black). Then I noticed something else odd... it was not alone; it had a silver on black twin just a few feet away from it. Then I noticed the oddest thing of all... it was a lot smaller than I had remembered, the headlight arrangement was all wrong, the fairing mounted mirrors were gone, and the LCD digital dashboard had been replaced with analog indicators. The 'Burger King' I had test ridden had been sold, but the dealership got in an unexpected shipment of the 'Whopper Jr.' ...the AN-400! -- Since I was already determined to trade off the newly purchased "Helix" for the AN-650, I figured I should at least take the opportunity to test ride the 400, which I was unable to do earlier due to its not being available during that earlier visit. -- Not only did I find the 'Whopper Jr.' sportier looking and, for the most part, more "user friendly" than the 'Burger King,' but I am almost convinced that it has a much better ride than the 650, despite the fact that the 400 operates on a 'single cylinder' engine, compared to the 650's 'twin cylinder.' -- In comparison to the "Reflex," the King's little sister's handling is a bit more difficult and does not respond quite as freely, her rear end does not handle speed bumps (or anything similar to speed bumps) in any sort of fashion that doesn't jar your nerves unless you literally ease yourself over them, that freaky headlight arrangement still takes some getting used to (by me, anyway), and "Reflex" does actually score a couple of points here and there for a somewhat sportier body design, but overall the "Burgman 400" is King! (...Or, in the case of the 400, "Prince") More storage space (greater number of options as well as greater capacity), brighter lights, clearer displays, greater passenger comfort, outlandishly smoother ride (especially at the slower speeds in the initial acceleration gears), gentler idling, less jerky downshifting, better balance, wider range of foot placement, more comfortable & secure seating, and more security & safety features than the "Reflex" could possibly even dream of, as well as a strategically located parking brake lever, a fuel injection system, and a windshield that is NOT designed to decapitate or cause the blindness of its rider as "Reflex's" seems to be designed to do. -- I have only three real complaints about the "Burgman 400"...  the "speed bump" issue I've just mentioned,  the fuel gauge takes much too long to indicate tank volume levels (you actually have to ride it for a few minutes before the indicator lets you know what you're riding with, whereas "Helix" and "Reflex" would show you what was going on as soon as you switched the power on), and  the lack of a traditional "analog" odometer, substituting it instead with one of the purely "digital" variety which eliminates any indication of distances traveled in "tenths" of miles: Everything else beyond that is more or less nitpicking over certain aesthetic qualities (like how much I would love to have the integrated faring-mounted mirrors of the 650). -- Anyone who is seriously considering Honda's "Helix" or "Reflex" and who thinks that they just might be able to push their budget a few extra hundred dollars should seriously consider the "Burgman 400" as a viable alternative! I would even go so far as to suggest that anyone interested in the 650 'Burger King' should without a doubt take the 'Whopper Jr.' for a test spin too... you may find that you'll get many of the same features in a more compact package at a much more reasonable price.