YAMAHA TDM850 (1991-2001) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"A sort of Multistrada 12 years before Ducati thought of it"

Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding

"A sort of Multistrada 12 years before Ducati thought of it"

  • At a glance
  • 849cc  -  77 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  155 miles range
  • Medium seat height (795mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Fairly revolutionary when launched and certainly years ahead of its time the Yamaha TDM850 was a sort of Multistrada 12 years before Ducati thought of it. As a serious ‘street trailie allrounder it’s pretty effective, too. The later 900 is better, but the Yamaha TDM850 is still decent, good value, different, and largely overlooked.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

Far better than you might expect. Semi-decent suspension and brakes (for the early 90s at least) makes the Yamaha TDM850 a genuine sports roadster (albeit a tall one) instead of being simply a bouncy trailie on street tyres. The Multistrada may better it, but it’s not by much  softness. The Yamaha TDM850's ride is fairly good too, let down only slightly by a slightly narrow, hard seat…

Engine 4 out of 5

What’s this? A modern parallel twin? Yup. The Yamaha TDM850 hosts a big bore derivation of Super Tenere parallel twin (that had 750ccs) which is a little clattery but on the whole brisk, flexible and trouble free. Later Yamaha TDM850 with 270-degree crank version is the pick of the bunch.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Yamahas are rarely the best of the big four, often criticised for poor corrosion resistance and generally thin pain and metal finishes. But the Yamaha TDM850 is truly better than most. Reliability issues are few and high mileages are common but the later example Yamaha TDM850 you go for the better.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

Despite its longevity (the 900 version is still in production 15 years after the introduction of the original), the Yamaha TDM850 has never really caught on in the UK, two factors which together make the Yamaha fairly common place and cheap, too. If you’re fairly tall and want an upright all-rounder, you won’t do much better than the Yamaha TDM850 for the price. Find a Yamaha TDM850 for sale

Insurance group: 12 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Better than the average bear. The Yamaha TDM850 has comprehensive, sporty instrumentation, decent switchgear and mirrors, an effective, good looking fairing and ample pillion provision, too. Lots of Yamaha extras (heated grips, luggage etc) are available as well.

Owners' Reviews

7 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA TDM850 (1991-2001) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.9 out of 5
Engine 3.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.3 out of 5
Equipment 3.6 out of 5
5 out of 5

MILESANDSMILES

19 February 2010 by MILESANDSMILES

I bought mine new in 98 and I agree with all the positive stuff written in the reviews but I can't understand why everybody seems to bellyache about the gearbox unless they just repeat what's written in mags.I use mine pretty hard and I've leathered... Read more it at times uphill,downhill,through multiple hairpins and in and out of traffic all over europe and I can't recall ever hitting a false neutral or missing a gear.If it helps anybody I have always habitually blipped the throttle on downshifts to mesh the cogs.Mine has 72,000 up at present and I've just replaced my first parts except for oil,chain and plugs which was carb diaphragms.I have other bikes but if I'm going long distance it's the TDM every time.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

allround ace

29 November 2009 by trenchfoot

I got mine earlier this year a 1991 model after a series of sports bikes. The ridng position is excellent, covers journeys of 150 miles+ comfortably and fairly economically, only bad comment - the gear box it's dreadful- from a Fordson Tractor!!... Read more slow, ponderous & full of false nuetrals but you do get used it (sort of).

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Great Everyday Bike

17 May 2008 by isimmins

I got mine in Jan 2008 as an MOT failure. Pair of tyres and an indicator relay and it was fixed. I've covered 3000 miles on it and love it. Nice upright riding position, easy slow speed handling and a very punchy motor. Lots of low down grunt. ... Read more Great around town and on the twisties.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A good all-rounder

21 September 2007 by bigstevew

Ive had my 2000 model for a fairly short time but its doing all thats required. Its comfy but powerful and makes me smile! Im 6ft 6 so its good for taller riders. The engine pulls well in most gears but its sometimes hard to find the right gear for... Read more slower speeds. The ride is comfy but its a bit soft and wallowy if you push it. The gearbox is clunky and disjointed but doesn't detract from the overall ride. They are pretty cheap too. If you want a good bike thats a bit of a Jack, buy one!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

TDM850

30 August 2007 by itsmeinleek

I use mine for commuting in/out of London everyday including a lengthy M25 stretch. Weekend, put on race face and you’ll surprise a lot of sports bike riders, it corners and stops well too. Good seat height giving great visibility, versatile engine,... Read more comfy for 100 mile stretches and great fuel economy. It makes a tiresome commute bearable. Only downside is the gearbox, its gash. False neutral between 1st-2nd and every gear engages with a bad clunk. Mines a 99 model and the finish is still really good (is it really a Yamaha?). A surprisingly good alternative to the brilliant VFR.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

suprisingly capable

27 July 2007 by k2col

I went for a TDM850 after being on the lookout for a bike that would suit my height (6ft 6) and the TDM fits the bill nicely. It took a while to get used to the high front end but this was mostly psychological and I'm now loving the handling, its... Read more really easy to chuck around. Bright yellow and silver paint job looks the business and it really doesn't look like a 12 year old bike. Engine is good, acceleration is strong but steady - no power bands here. Exhaust gives a pleasant but not overbearing growl when pushed hard. Only niggle is that she runs a bit rough when cold and I had problems with wet weather running which were fixed by replacing the rubber spark plug holders.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

its a goodun

15 May 2007 by bud

Does everything you'll ever need it to do,surely one of the best commuter bikes around, no problems with the engine at 24k, build quality is suprisingly good (1998 model). The only weakness is the gearbox, notchy, noisy and doesn't seem to have any... Read more connection with the clutch. You'll get used to it though!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 7 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1991
Year discontinued 2001
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 12 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 77 bhp
Max torque 59 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.5 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 155 miles
Specification
Engine size 849cc
Engine type 8v paralle twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 795mm
Bike weight 201kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake 2 x 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 18
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1991: Yamaha TDM850 launched.
1993: Yamaha TDM850 gets new chrome silencers, silver frame, polished footrest brackets.
1994: Minor gearbox and clutch modifications for Yamaha TDM850.
1996: Bigger 43mm forks, shorter frame, close ratio gearbox, 270-degree crank engine, redesigned exhaust and silencers, twin bulb headlamps, new styling, larger 20 litre fuel tank.
1997: Yamaha TDM850 gets modified wiring loom to allow alarm fitment.
2001: Yamaha TDM850 replaced by TDM900.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM850 motorcycle review - Riding