Service Due

My Suzuki Burgman was due a service by my reckoning (see my initial write up here:  Suzuki recommend 3,500 mile service intervals (or 6 months).  As with most vehicles, there are a few service levels.  Mine was due the more major service, a little early at just over 6,000 miles, but that can't hurt.

The simplest ones at 3,000 mile  (3500 miles if you go by Suzuki’s recommendations) intervals require the following:

  1. Change engine oil
  2. Clean filters (air filter and primary drive filter
  3. A nut and bolt check on critical components


Additional tasks to be done at every second service include:

  1. Change the oil for the final drive gears
  2. Change the spark plug

Suzuki recommend changing the engine oil filter at every third engine oil change.  Since pattern oil filters only cost a few quid, I generally change them every time I change the engine oil.

Strangely, some tasks are listed for odd mileage intervals that fall outside the normal service schedule.  For example, the recommended check on valve clearances is every 4,000 miles.  Given that the engine has nice clean oil at such short intervals, I would hate to think that the engine would show anything approaching the significant wear that would require tappet adjustment that frequently?  In addition, given the amount of bodywork and other components that Suzuki recommend removing just to get at the tappets, I would seriously doubt that these components are looked anywhere near that often.

For the simple service, changing the engine oil is very simple and requires no major disassembly.  The only special tool that I have found necessary for this job is a large syringe, and this is only necessary because the oil filler is so inaccessible.  The air filter too is easy to get at and being foam, can be washed, dried, oiled and reused.  By contrast, accessing the final drive filter means removing a bodywork panel from underneath the bike.  While removing this panel is not difficult, Suzuki could have made this routine task much simpler by designing in an access panel.

That kind of inattention to detail in the design process, with short service intervals and inaccessible components seem to characterise this bike.  They make home maintenance a real pain, and would make dealer servicing both frequent and expensive.  If Suzuki really want to present a scooter like this as a realistic alternative to commuting by car, then they really need to address these issues.

During the service of my bike, I managed to find the source of a very annoying bodywork rattle that has been there since I bought the bike.  A plastic tab that would clip one bodywork panel to another was broken off.  A little ingenuity allowed me to shape a small piece of stainless steel plate to replace the broken part.  Fitting it without having to dismantle half the bike was more difficult, but with trial and error I eventually found an old clamp amongst my tools that in conjunction with a couple of wooden blocks and some Araldite held the new part in place until the glue dried.  That is one more thing sorted strongly but invisibly.  Broken bodywork is a common fault on older bikes I have found.  Probably this is a result of either minor crash damage or the need to constantly remove these relatively fragile but often difficult to remove and replace components for maintenance.  While the weather protection of scooter bodywork is a real boon when commuting, this comes at a cost in other respects.

I’ve mentioned how difficult it is to access the Burgman’s rear wheel in the previous article.  For me this is a real issue, since it is inevitable that any rider will get a puncture at some point.  Since a number of garages will not deal with motorcycle punctures, even having a roadside recovery package may still leave a rider stranded in such circumstances.  Punctures are not difficult to fix, but since the Burgman’s rear wheel is very difficult to remove, an in situ puncture would be required.  For this, I have been carrying a canister of tyre sealant since buying the bike.  I have also recently bought a tubeless repair kit that includes rubber plugs, glue, a reamer to make the puncture hold the right size for the plugs, and lastly a tool that is supposed to let the plug be pushed through the hole and then pulled back into position.  There is a small foot pump stashed in the glove box compartment of the Burgman.  Having run older bikes with tubed tyres for the last number of years, I have never tried out a kit like this so will have to experiment on an old tyre, preferably before I have to try it out in earnest.  If anyone has experience of using this type of kit, I would be interested to hear how difficult you have found using them, or of any good tips to ensure a successful outcome.


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