The Burgman is big, practical, good looking and very comfortable. But is it better than our favourite 125cc scooter, the Ntorq?
With increasing market share, the mindset of scooters buyers is also changing. Scooters are no longer just workhorses for the family, or easy and convenient runabouts for the grandparents. A recent game-changer in the scooter segment has been the TVS Ntorq, which blew us away with its performance, features, comfort, and has almost made itself aspirational for young scooter buyers.
When we compared the Ntorq to the Aprilia SR125, Suzuki Access and Honda Grazia, it came out on top by quite a margin. But now, Suzuki has dressed the Access in some new clothes and called it the Burgman Street. So, when pitching it against our favourite TVS, are we in for a surprise or have we served the Ntorq with yet another prey?
Both these scooters try to break away from the traditional mould of Indian scooters. And where the Ntorq does so by being lean and sharp with strong body lines all across, the Burgman pulls off the (mini) maxi-scooter look quite well.
Look at them from the front and you see a distinct identity for both of them. The Ntorq still looks a lot like your average scooter, but the Burgman Street looks flamboyant. Its horizontal LED headlamp with stylish pilot lamps, protruding indicators, chrome accents and the flyscreen make it look premium. Also, where it's only the pilot lamp of the Ntorq which remains on with the ignition, the Burgman's entire headlamps setup lights up on ignition.
From the side, where the Ntorq uses its sharp lines to look sporty and edgy, the Burgman does so to break its mass. It uses 4 layers of differently coloured plastics on the side to look sleek, and the big front apron helps it maintain visual mass.
And then there is the question of the rear profile. Here, the Ntorq looks flashier, with faux exhaust vents and motorcycle-style indicators. The key here is the Ntorq's tail lamp, which is an LED unit and lights up in a 'T'. The Burgman Street looks more sober, with a clean design for the horizontal tail lamp. But there is one problem.
Its skinny 90/100 tyre on a small 10-inch rear wheel looks out of place when compared to the bodywork and that's why the scooter looks a bit awkward from the rear three-quarters. The Ntorq, on the other hand, looks well proportioned and the larger 12-inch wheels at both ends and wider 100 front and 110 rear profile rubber helps it look sporty.
Features and storage
When it comes to features, both the scooters are pretty neck and neck. They both get a digital instrument cluster, but the one on the Ntorq look more sporty, with a lot of features like a sports mode, 0-60 timer, top seed and even Bluetooth connectivity.
But if you are not interested in all of that, the one on the Burgman provides all the useful information like speed, time, trip and fuel level. While the Ntorq’s SmartXonnect instrument cluster is definitely the more loaded one, the only real feature that we ended up using regularly is the caller-ID function once it’s paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth. That said, we found that this connectivity wasn’t a bit sketchy at times, with the phone disconnecting sometimes when the engine was killed. Which brings us to the other handy feature that the Ntorq has - an engine kill switch.
Now we move on the practical aspect of the scooters - the storage. The under seat storage for both of them are practically the same at 21.5 litres and 22 litres for the Suzuki and TVS respectively. But the one under the Burgman's seat is a marginally wider and hence can better accommodate larger items like grocery bags. But the boot of the Ntorq gets an LED light and a USB charger. And while the LED light is a huge convenience, the charger isn't too practical, as your phone can get quite hot while charging here.
Speaking of practical, here is where the Burgman comes into its own. It gets two cubby holes in the front apron. The one on the right easily holds a 1-litre bottle and the one on the left gets a waterproof lid and is long enough to hold your wallet, phone and other knick-knacks. It even gets a 12V socket which you can use to charge your phone and is way more practical than the Ntorq. And these two cubby holes make the Burgman one of the most practical scooters in the market today.
Also, if you like to keep your bag on the floorboard, the Burgman offers a lot more space there and can even accommodate larger bags. And a reason behind this is...
The flexible foot position. Because Suzuki has made more space for your feet, there is more position to keep stuff as well. And the stretched foot position to is very convenient and comfortable, but we will get to that in a minute.
Engine and performance
If you compare the specifications of the two scooters, you might think that the Ntorq is sportier. And that is correct. It makes 9.4PS at 7500rpm to the Burgman's 8.7PS at 7000 rpm, with almost the same torque (10.5Nm @ 5500rpm and 10.2Nm @ 5000rpm for the TVS and Suzuki respectively). But that's just one side of the story.
Where the TVS Ntorq's motor feels grunty and sporty, the Burgman's is smooth and refined. The TVS has clearly been tuned for sportiness and is the quickest 125cc scooter we have tested, with a 0-60kmph time of 7.65 seconds. The Burgman is not too far off, taking 8.62 seconds to 60kmph, making it the second fastest scooter we have tested in this segment.
But it’s clearly the Ntorq which has the more lively motor. It’s peppier in traffic, more refined at higher speeds and sounds fantastic. The Burgman doesn't feel as quick because the motor is more refined, but it won't leave you complaining in the city either.
Ride and handling
When it comes to riding and handling, both of the scooters are comfortable for city use. They both get the same setup too, with telescopic front forks at the front and a monoshock at the rear. But the Burgman's rear shock feels a bit on the stiffer side. Over sharp bumps and speed breakers, it does feel a bit bouncy and transfers some shocks to the rider. The Ntorq, on the other hand, has a very plush suspension setup. Both the front and the rear are well damped and the undulations of the road surface barely reach the rider. For daily commutes alone, it's the TVS which edges ahead.
But then comes the question of the pillion. The Burgman Street has a longer and wider seat, which makes it considerably more comfortable than the Ntorq for the rear passenger. Dial in the fact that the stiff suspension, with the added weight, feels nice and plush, and it's definitely the Burgman Street which will be preferred by a pillion.
When it comes to the seating position, the TVS Ntorq feel more natural in the way the ergonomics fall in place. The handlebars are wider and tall, which give you a confident riding position. If there is one drawback, it has to be the limited floorboard space.
And this where the Burgman shines. With a lot more floorboard space and the flexible foot position in which you can stretch out your feet, the Burgman takes the comfort of cruising on scooters to another level. The handlebars are not as wide as the Ntorq but are tall enough. And combined with the stretched foot position, it's the Burgman which you should pick if your route involves long stretches of cruising or touring. But if you are mostly going to be inside the city and looking for something flickable and sporty, it’s the Ntorq.
That is because of the dynamics of the TVS. The wider and larger tyres, punchier motor and an overall better handling frame makes the Ntorq a charm in bumper to bumper traffic. The Burgman too feels light and nimble in traffic -- in fact, it is 8kg lighter than the Ntorq -- but it’s the Ntorq which wins the handling bout. Bring out a set of corners and the Ntorq is not only more compliant, but is even fun to ride.
And even when it comes to getting the scooters to a stop, it's the Ntorq which offers better feel from the brakes, plus it has a larger front disc as well. It manages to stop from 60kmph in 18.93 metres, which is very respectable. But, the Burgman has a combined braking system, which would make emergency braking safer for less experienced riders. However, when it’s brakes simply don’t have the same stopping power as the Ntorq’s, and it gets from 60kmph to zero in 21.56 metres - which is 2.63 metres longer.
After a lot of to-and-fros, one thing became pretty clear in this comparison: Both the scooters have very different personalities. The TVS Ntorq is a sporty, fun-to-ride scooter that offers great ride quality. It still has the best motor in its class and is loaded with tech as well. The Burgman is trying to be a maxi-style scooter. And it does so by being overly practical. So much so that it could spoil you with the convenience of its cubby holes and make you feel lazy and relaxed with the stretched foot position.
But then there is the price tag. At Rs 68000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Burgman Street is a massive Rs 8,000 more expensive than the Ntorq (Rs 59,687). Is it justified? Uumm... yes, considering that the Burgman is a premium scooter and in all things “scooter” (i.e. practicality and comfort), it outdoes the Ntorq. But given the prices of both the scooters, the Ntorq is a lot more value for money. Where the Burgman has its strengths, the Ntorq too has tricks up its sleeve. And hence, it is still the TVS Ntorq which is our pick of the segment.