YAMAHA TDM850 (1991 - 2001) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£400|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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…
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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 vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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
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.
|Engine type||8v paralle twin, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Steel twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||38 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£400|
12 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||77 bhp|
|Max torque||59 ft-lb|
|Top speed||130 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||12.5 secs|
|Tank range||155 miles|
Model history & versions
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.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA TDM850 (1991 - 2001)
9 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£400|
Annual servicing cost: £400
400,000+ kms, ridden across the world 2-up, owned 20 years yet still my reliable daily transport/fang/wheelie fix. Thanks Yamaha! www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/richardandlisa
Can ride all day 2 up - no problem. Sheepskin on seat & white power shock. Doesn't work too good in sand or mud but great fun off-road on hardpack dirt or gravel.
Magic. If only it had another 20HP...
Regulators only real weak point - underrated. replaced with a 35W unit from a VFR800
Cheap and easy to maintain myself.
Should have clock. Also should come with Michelin Sirac on front & Anakee on rear - magic combination. High mileage, great grip wet or dry & they work off-road on hardpack dirt or gravel.
Buying experience: Private. Price long forgotten but have had more than my moneys worth.
Not had this bike long but I love it, more so since I've fitted aftermarket renthal handles bars which gives it a less sit up and beg feel. Also feels more controlled.
Brakes are fine. I find the gear box abit clunky and have difficulty know which gear I'm in.
Pulls like a train.
Mine has done 48,0000 and it's still what you'd call mint, in fact a friend of mine thought it was brand new when I first showed it him.
Everything I need.
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 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.
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!! slow, ponderous & full of false nuetrals but you do get used it (sort of).
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. Great around town and on the twisties.
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 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!
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, 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.
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 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.
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 connection with the clutch. You'll get used to it though!