All dressed up and nowhere to go.
I have to say that during this Covid lock down I am not missing my daily commute to work. Even on a bike it is pretty hateful. Still, the Suzuki needed a little TLC before I have to start weaving between the traffic to Belfast again, and the sunny weather that we were having was an excellent opportunity to do this maintenance.
There were two linked things that needed to be done.
- Change the worn out rear tyre.
- Change the exhaust so that removal of the rear wheel would be much easier in the future.
The Burgman with one lower panel removed. you can see where the exhaust disappears up behind the bodywork and one of the frame tubes.
I have complained about the inaccessibility of the Burgman’s rear wheel in a previous article. Rear wheel removal on this bike should be easy since the scooters engine and drive train are in essence a single sided swinging arm, with three nuts holding the wheel onto this assembly. Unfortunately, Suzuki’s designers then destroyed this simple arrangement by fitting a bloody great metal bracket to mount the exhaust to, then in turn the exhaust on top of that has a near inaccessible joint (the joint is hidden under the bike, and under the bodywork) held together by two nuts that must be removed to get the exhaust off. This whole assembly is so close to the wheel that removal cannot be done without taking these parts off first. Undoing the exhaust joint would also require a new exhaust gasket for its re-assembly. The thought of trying to do this near impossible task by the roadside on a dark night filled me with dread, so a change of system, or the purchase of a roadside assistance package were my only two choices. Even if I chose roadside assistance, it is unlikely that any tyre depot would even consider doing the disassembly, so being both a miserable old bugger, but also a reasonably independent one, I chose to make Suzuki’s design easier to live with. I had already changed one rear tyre on this bike, and had been singularly unimpressed with the time and hassle involved.
A close up of the problem.
First the exhaust. There is a picture hereabouts, taken with one of the lower bodywork panels removed and a close up shot which hopefully shows the problem of the inaccessible exhaust. On the close up, you should be able to see the short stub on which the lambada sensor is mounted. Just above this sensor is where this exhaust stub is attached to the engine. I have marked the joint between the stub and single piece that makes up the remainder of the standard exhaust. It is only partly visible behind a frame tube in this photo. Unfortunately, even though I had applied copper grease to the two threads at the lower part of this stub that hold on the silencer, one broke on disassembly. This meant a little extra time spent removing the exhaust stub, cutting the broken thread off, and then replacing it with a stainless steel bolt.
After that, reassembly was pretty straightforward. The new exhaust, from a Dutch company called Dominator (https://www.dominator-exhausts.nl/). Where the old exhaust was one piece from the horrible inaccessible joint onwards, this one comes in two pieces; a section of pipe, and the silencer itself. Silencer may however be a misnomer, as you will read shortly. It looks to be well made, and comes with a five year guarantee. My one big complaint is noise. It is Loud (with a capital L!!). Quite why aftermarket manufacturers seem to think that everyone on two wheels wants to make themselves and everyone within a two-mile radius of them deaf is beyond me. This is perhaps even worse on an innocuous commuter like this Burgman! I removed the baffle that came with the ‘silencer’. It is nothing more than a very short section of tubing, open at both ends, and frankly, pretty much useless for anything. I ordered a more appropriate one from China, which arrived yesterday. At an estimate, it has reduced the excessive noise by half. I still think it should be quieter, so have ordered a sheet of fibreglass exhaust wadding. That should bring the sound down to a level where it should have been in the first place!
There is no way of getting the wheel out without removing this bracket.
Now the tyre. Before changing to the new tyre, I had an experiment to do. I had mentioned before that I had bought a puncture repair kit for tubless tyres like the ones on this Burgman. The problem was that I did not know how difficult it would be to use, or how effective it would be. So with the old tyre, and nithing to lose, I deliberately put a screw into the tyre to puncture it. Doing this deliberately felt pretty abnormal, still, needs must.
The Puncture Repair Kit.
The kit consists of a reamer, an insertion tool, a number of the rubber repair plugs, a knife to cut the plug flush when the repair is finished, and of course, a tube of glue. The repair process is as follows once the object that caused the puncture is removed.
- The reamer is used to clean the puncture and size it for the repair. Coating the reamer with rubber glue leaves the hole clean and lined in a film of glue.
- Load a plug into the insertion tool and push it gently through the hole. I found that a little extra glue on the plug doesn’t hurt.
- Turn the tool a quarter turn, then remove it. The plugs are tapered, so you should now have the narrow end protruding through the hole. I gave this a little tug to make sure it was well seated.
- Trim the excess off the plug and blow the tyre up.
….That was quickly plugged
This process worked first time; “simples”, as the TV insurance rodent used to say. In my opinion, this kit would make a good get you home tool for all bikes and for the majority of new cars, since few cars seem to come with a spare tyre these days. This type of kit would let a tubeless tyre be repaired in a few minutes, without even the need to remove the wheel in most cases. In fact the kit was so good, it may have negated one of the main reasons for buying the new exhaust. So, one quick tyre change and a little reassembly later, the Suzuki is ready for the commute once more.
It is not an exciting bike. The small wheels lead to steering and clearance problems when leaning into corners at even moderately speed, and on the one longer run I have made on it, the suspension was found to be less than adequate on anything other than main roads. That was enough to put me off using it for anything other than trips to work. It is a damned good commuter though. I had planned to keep it for two years, but it fills its roll so well that it will be staying for a while longer.
New tyre, and new exhaust. The arrow shows where the joint is now. Much easier to access than up, underneath all that bodywork.