Introduction - Part 3: Enter the Burgman

So as I mentioned I was heading into late fall (when my two wheeled machines get put away) and the Ural after much faithful service, was dead.

And the engine replacement was out of what I could really afford to pay at the time.

Enter in Kijiji, and some fervent hope that I would find something.

Online classifieds can be a fickle beast when it comes to finding sidecar rigs - it's such as niche market that you will occasionally find several rigs sitting at quite reasonable prices because nobody is buying, and you will occasionally find absolutely nothing for sale whatsoever.

I started scouring the ads - and then one popped up.

A 2006 Burgman 400 with Armec sidecar.

Not strictly what I was looking for - but the rig did have several advantages.

The automatic CVT transmission would be a nice thing in stop and go Toronto traffic for one. Then the full fairing would help for winter driving, keeping some of the cold wind and spray off me. (Plus it came with an oversized windshield.) The price was also quite affordable - $3900 when Burgman 400 scooters of this vintage were going for $2800-3100.

The mileage was also quite low - 12,000km. Which proved to be a double edged sword, as I will explain later.

I went out to see it, took it for a spin around the block - all in all it drove well enough. The Armec sidecar was originally designed for a Honda Helix 250cc scooter and was quite light - which meant it did tend to pop up in right hand turns, but not too badly all in all. It had decent pickup for a 400cc wtih a sidecar, and all in all wasn't in too bad of a shape.

So after some work to get cash transferred and get a trailer to pick it up - we brought it home.

Next I took it to Old Vintage Cranks, who had given me a store credit for the remains of my Ural - which would prove handy.

Here's the Burgman at OVC, being taken apart and several things being done:

Tires were old and were replaced (there was some minor cracking, and it just isn't worth trying to push tires that might blow out on you.) This led to the discovery that the exhaust manifold was basically rusted into being one solid piece - and it was recessed, making a major mission out of what should have been a quick cut off the bolts type job.

Front fork seals were replaced after it became evident that they were bad and leaking (getting oil into the front where it got to the brake pads)

Brake pads were replaced, and Ken at OVC added a spacer to the front suspension.

All in all, when they were finished mechanically it was running quite well and all the service items had been looked at and dealt with - it was ready for the road.

Here's the bike at the Overland Adventure Rally - where I took it with my Vespa P200 sidecar rig (which is another story, one of mechanical ineptitude on my part and overall woe.)

The following summer I did have to have further work done (this time at GP Bikes) when the starter motor failed.

At which point I discovered that the OEM starter motor was apparently $600 bucks. GP bikes did a great job of finding one aftermarket for $150, but I turned out to be extra lucky as one I had picked up with some other things ended up working - and it had cost something like $40.

Over the next while I would also replace the sidecar seats (which were getting crumbly and the plywood base was rotting a bit)
I dragged out the sewing machine, got some bargain basement vinyl, made some new seat bases and covered them with some leftover foam - and came up with these.

I also polished off some of the oxidation from the sidecar, and thanks to my wife (who works in retail window film) got some pinstipes and decals applied to the sidecar in red to help it match the burgman a little bit better.

Other things added was a RAM mount for my iphone for GPS use, a 12v and USB accessory plug, and a new backrest.

The stock backrest pushed me a bit too far forward, but I had read on the burgman riders forum about someone who had used an automotive headrest instead. (Replacements were available, but would have been $150 not including shipping)

The Headrest needed some bending in a vise, but otherwise worked quite well and was only $15 bucks.

All in all, after the above work was done the Burgman has proven to be a good city commuter. I can pick up the odd passenger, haul home groceries, and drive in winter and ice/snow conditions without falling over in an embarassing manner.

It also is quite decent on fuel economy (especially compared to the Ural)

We're still planning on a more motorcycle oriented sidecar rig when the budget allows, but the Burgman will likely stay a part of the stable for quite some time - especially since insurance is under $300 a year for basic liability.

So that's the story of my current daily driver.

Next time I'll go into the story of the somewhat cursed, but always entertaining.... Adventure Scooter 13. The rig that would put a smile on your face only to immediately glue a scowl in it's place.

Introduction to be continued (and yes I know it's the longest introduction in the world, with War and Peace starting to look like a lightweight, but I promise we'll eventually get the introduction finished and get to other blog entries of various levels of entertainment. And by various, mostly low levels.)


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