YAMAHA TDM900 (2002 - 2011) Review
- Incredibly easy to ride
- Characterful parallel twin motor
- A streetbiking oddball
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£130|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Yamaha TDM 900 was a streetbiking oddball that was as brilliant beating congestion as swinging bends. The parallel twin motor was spunky enough for fun, while the wide bars really let you take charge and hustle. It’s such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut.
The TDM900 replaced the TDM850, which was on sale from 1991 to 2001. The 900 got a new aluminium frame and swingarm was a full 11kg lighter. There's also the obvious extra displacement, with the TDM's motor now 897cc.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Yamaha TDM900's ex-R1 brakes are good and with the slim sides and low-ish seat height the TDM900 feels more like an oversized supermoto than anything else. Motoways speeds up to about 90mph are OK, thanks to the fairing, and pillions are well served with a nicely sculpted seat and decent grab rails. The headlights are rubbish, frankly.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Yamaha TDM900's 10-valve, 897cc, DOHC motor doesn’t exactly rip your arms off with outright power, but there’s a handy 50 per cent more torque than a CBR600 from the time, which makes overtakes safer and punching out of bends more pleasurable. It’s a strange confection – the crank has a 270-degree firing order to make it feel more like a V-twin.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The Yamaha TDM900 is miles better than the older TDM850. The stainless exhaust, alloy frame and paint is much improved, but the mild steel suspension linkage is prone to the same rust problem as the 850. In 2006 there was a recall to address a problem with the TDM's throttle position sensor.
We've got 22 Yamaha TDM 900 owners' reviews on the site, with an overall score of 4.4 stars out of 5. There doesn't appear to be any common faults, though, and people seem generally happy with their purchase.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Older Yamaha TDM900s can be had for the same price as a 10-year-old CBR, making them good value to buy secondhand. Compare it to a BMW GS, and it's an utter bargain. Both are aimed at adventurous non-conformists, but only the Yamaha TDM900's this affordable.
For an adventure-style motorcycle the TDM900 is pretty basic, but that was the norm back when it was first launched. You do get an ignition-based immobiliser (’04 motorcycles onwards), though. Official luggage is available for the TDM900 too and there are plenty of race-style exhausts to fit.
|Engine type||10v, parallel twin 6 gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||Preload, rebound|
|Rear suspension||Preload, rebound, compression|
|Front brake||Twin 298mm discs|
|Rear brake||245mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 18|
|Rear tyre size||160/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||40 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£130|
13 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||74 bhp|
|Max torque||60 ft-lb|
|Top speed||139 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||12.7 secs|
|Tank range||170 miles|
Model history & versions
1991: Yamaha TDM850 introduced. Supermoto-style streeetbike. Makes 10bhp more than the later Yamaha TDM900.
2002: Replaced by Yamaha TDM900, which gained an ignition-based immobiliser in 2004.
2005: ABS version of Yamaha TDM900 introduced.
Yamaha TDM900A: Advanced Braking System version. Originally a £500 premium over stocker.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA TDM900 (2002 - 2011)
23 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA TDM900 (2002 - 2011) 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:||£130|
Annual servicing cost: £100
Great all round package that can do everything. It's fun, cheap to run and practical. Highly recommended. Bit more power would give it 5 stars but it's enough most of the time.
Very comfortable and brakes are fab
Once you get used to the narrow torque band it is great fun to Ride. A bit more power would add the extra star.
Great build quality. Better than the modern Yamaha's. ACF 50 coatings required if you run it through winter and an annual brake clean to keep the salt off.
TDM 900 has 6000 mile service intervals. If you use top quality oil like Yamlube there is no need for more regularly oil changes. Plugs and oil filter change every 12000 and new air filter every 18000. Grease suspension every 2 years and that's pretty much it.
Equipment is basic but all you really need. Add heated grips and centre stand if not already done. Touring screen helps if you do lots on the motorway. I use Bridgstone BT023 which offer good all weather grip and around 10000 miles.
Annual servicing cost: £100
Can be a little lumpy under 2500rpm even with the airbox modification.
Suspension pretty good for its age. Seat good for 2 to 3 hours at a time and perfect for my 5'9" height. Very easy to ride quickly and handles really well in corners.
I like the characteristics of this twin. Good pull up to 5500rpm and then a nice punch up to 8000 red line. If you get it right you can have loads of fun, but 100bhp instead of 86 would make it 5 stars. Economy very good also. 50 to 60 mpg.
6000 mile service intervals mean this bike is extremely cheap to service, especially if you do most of it yourself.
As standard it is basic but functional. I have fitted handguards, heated grips, centre stand and touring screen which all help. Tyres I use are Battlax 023's. Great all weather tyre and last ages.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer. No complaints. Previous owner had bodged a few things but once sorted it has been 100% reliable.
Annual servicing cost: £150
A brilliantly capable, easy-to-live-with all-rounder. I bought my ‘04 a couple of years ago and have had no issues with it. Yes, it might be nice to have a bit more power. Yes, the seat could be plusher. But actually the basic package is pretty good all round for a redesign now approaching 20 years old. It’s light for it’s class, very economical, easy and cheap to service.
The ride is fine. The seat is fine too. Both stock on my bike and I have no urgent plans to upgrade. Perhaps I’m just easily pleased or have low expectations, I’ll check my school reports...
I would like it to be a bit more punchy at lower revs, below 3,000 rpm, but I’m now used to using the available rev range and the gearbox appropriately. I love the engine!
10 out of 10 for reliability, the TDM drops a star for the flaking engine paint. Perhaps a little harsh because the rest of it seem really well finished. I think the black painted engines (post 2007?) don’t suffer.
This is a very frugal engine which does not consume any oil between services. It’s an easy for the home mechanic to work on. Without lots of plastic to deal with, most things are accessible pretty easily. OEM and aftermarket parts are readily available. On pre 2005 models check you have the upgraded cam chain tensioner fitted.
Yamaha haven’t provided much to look at, play with or generally distract you other than a fine motorcycle and the view ahead! I think their vision in designing the ‘TDM experience’ was the creation of a zen-like quiet space, ideal for inner contemplation in a distraction free environment. Actually, that’s not true. The information you really need is there though an ambient temperature gauge would’ve been nice. I really like the digital speedo (easy to convert to kph read out abroad). Michelin PilotRoad 3 seem to be one of the most highly recommended tyres for the TDM. I’ve had a set on mine for the last 6,000 miles and have no complaints in the wet or dry. And, there’s still plenty of life left in them yet.
Buying experience: I bought from a dealer after seeing a classified ad on eBay. It’s the first time I’ve ever bought a bike from a dealership and it was a totally enjoyable experience!
Annual servicing cost: £100
Great value bike, probably a better option than a revvy 600 on the road for most people. Feels very light, is narrow and easy to reach the floor for most people.
Much better than most people might imagine with great brakes. A really easy bike to ride.
Good spread of useable power. Great MPG when just cruising/commuting, easily tops 200 miles at 80 mph.
Bulletproof and well finished
Simple home maintenance, long shim intervals
Fairly basic, but does have adjustable suspension
Buying experience: Privately purchased
Version: non abs
Annual servicing cost: £100
sold fz1 to buy one. even in 2017 there is not a better all rounder. versys feels cheap and vibey. if your a good rider you can keep up with anything.one fault headlights rubbish.
superb r1 brakes dont buy abs mega nightmare if they go wrong
injection stutter at 2500rpm a pain can be sorted but its not easy,quicker and smoother than a tiger 800
never had a problem
easy to do yourself 2 drain plugs ??
Version: Non ABS
Annual servicing cost: £100
It's just a fantastic all-rounder. Cheap to run too!
Suspension is a little crude and soft by modern standards but works well enough. Make sure you grease the suspension bush pivots regularly as one of them in particular is prone to seize and difficult to remove. Brakes are excellent, less wooden than the 850 and well matched to the machine.
Very economical. I've averaged 63mpg over 5,000 miles of mixed riding. Another few bhp would go amiss but the engine is peppy, and powerful enough for loaded-up touring.
It's been 100% reliable and the build quality is a few steps up from my previous TDM850 - though the flaky engine paint is still an issue. Minor corrosion on some front did bolts but the rest of it is corrosion free after 24,000 miles.
I service it myself, everything is readily available and relatively cheap, even using OEM service parts. Adjusting valve clearances is a little more involved than the 850 but only needs doing every 24,000 miles or so.
Designed in an era before traction control, riding modes, etc. in comparison with modern tackle the TDM is spartan but actually has everything you really need. I've added a touring screen, Scottoiler, 650 v-strom hand guards and soft luggage. My favourite bits of the bike are the digital speedo (a small silly thing, I know) and the bungee hooks that fold out for luggage attachment. The 850 had 'em, and every bike designed to possibly tour should have them too - very useful.
Buying experience: Bought secondhand from a dealer, I paid just over £2200 for a 19,000 mile example, one owner, full service history.
Overall I don't recommend this bike. It's old and it handles poorly, specially at slow speeds and at high speeds it's discouraging, because of the over-steering, I think due to the high center of gravity.
I only gave it 2 stars because the brakes are awesome ! It's the same breaks used on R1. The ride quality is bad bad bad. The bike is VERY top heavy and for some individuals is very hard to get used to. The ride with a pillion and baggage is a nightware. No confidence aspiring in the corners or anything. The baggage and pillion just add so much weight up top the bike is scary to ride fast. And God forbid you drop it, since if you feel that it weighs 220 kg when standing, it weights about 400kg when you try to pick it up... That's how top heavy this bike really is. This is NOT a trail bike. It doesn't like the non-asphalt roads. Also maneuvering it at low speeds its very discouraging. The stock suspension is average. The ride quality for me is so bad that I wanted to sell the bike in my first thousand miles. It's just not my style of bile.
The engine is torqy but so damn unusable at low revs. The bike only likes 3k rpm+ and in 5-6th gear only likes 4k rpm +
Quality and reliability is good. No major problems in my 12k ownership.
Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain.
This bike is not equipped with proper accessories from the factory. The side fairings are very hard to protect also cause there is no option for aluminum bars or anything...
Buying experience: I payed well over this bike's worth because it came with most touring accessories. But now that I want to sell it I will lose money since people don't expect to pay this much for this bike. So resell value = low.
Why buy a R1200GS, Multistrada etc when you can buy one of these beautifully uncomplicated bikes that just keeps on going. They are Japanese bullet proof quality that aren't over complicated like many of the latest trendy heavy adventure bikes that are more a fashion statement than anything else.
Comfortable ergonomics and excellent brakes with the use of good pads.
Parallel twin with V twin sound. Japanese magic
Japanese quality and realibility.
Cheap for parts and easy to service
Much as you need in the outback. Otherwise you are carrying too much weight with gizmos that can stop a bike and you really don't need.
Buying experience: Dealer $3750 Australian
The MCN review is spot on, it's a great all rounder that is so easy to ride and great fun. What I am confused about is why some die-hard sports bike riders in particular hate the TDM with a passion. Even some riders of all-rounders and adventure bikes seem to view them with disdain. The old nick name of Tedium given to the 850 version seems to have stuck but if you are thinking of buying a TDM 900, I can assure you that it is anything but tedious.....it's bloody brilliant and great fun and is one of biking's best kept secrets. I was going to spend just over 8 grand on a new Tracer but I am so glad I didn't. I bought my TDM for three and a half grand with 9200 miles on the clock.....best bike I've owned in years. Do buy one if you're looking for a comfy, fast, fun real world all rounder. Don't buy one if you care what people think of your bike.
Extremely comfy both for me and my other half. I got fed up with the aches and pains my sports bike used to bring on after an hour or two.....those days are gone! The brakes are excellent but the soft suspension can cause a bit of front end dive if you really yank the brakes but generally it's not a problem.
It's got a lot less bhp than my mates sports bikes but as I keep pointing out to them, how much of their 150 plus ponies can they actually use on traffic filled pot holed roads. There's more than enough grunt for easy overtakes and winding it on out of the bend and a well ridden TDM will keep up with most things on our British roads.....well mine does anyway.
I've only owned it for 6 months so can't give it 5 out 5 but so far, it's been great, no problems.
Why no centre stand? A sightly taller aftermarket screen will help too.
Version: TDM900A ABS
Annual servicing cost: £250
Generally overlooked but this has a lot to commend it. The handling is great for twisty A and B roads, the off-beat engine has soul, and you can ride it all day in comfort.
Ultra comfortable ride, excellent brakes (with ABS too)
Characterful with the off-beat firing sequence. With scorpio exhausts it sounds really nice with the with the road legal baffles in place. Thinking about a quick action throttle as it sometimes is a bit cumbersome to wind all the power on.
Finish is good, never broken down, only had to do routine maintenance in the last 30,000 miles
Fairly cheap to maintain, insure and fuel.
Could do with a centre stand. Mine has heated grips, hand guards, givi luggage and scorpion exhausts. I will upgrade the lights next.
Buying experience: Good value second hand. I paid about £3K for one with 3 piece luggage and scorpion exhausts
I bought a TDM 900 in may this year (2013 reg, 500 miles) and am very pleased with it. It does every thing I want/need, Commute, tour, Back Lane Scratch, has bags of character and fun to ride. The Yamaha TDM was light years ahead of its time and a really good bike and only now people are cottoning on to it, shame because Yamaha dropped it in 2010, but in Europe they got it and the TDM sold very well.
I've had my TDM 900A for 18 months now and will probably keep it for a good few years yet. Why? Because it does everything I need, it's a commuter, a back lane scratcher, a motorway cruiser & hoot to boot. I use it in all weathers and it's never let me down or missed a beat. Great on twisty A roads, comphfy on long motorway hauls, superb on overtakes,great fuel economy, over 200 miles per tank whether ridden hard or easy, gives me a smile on the way to work & puts a smile on my face after. Bad points hates winters despite regular cleaning snatchy at low revs,no auto choke. Overall if I was to change this bike it would be for another one ;-)
only had my tdm a week but loving it.should of brought ost thought about itne 3 years a go.when i fir
I use mine to commute, and to tour. It does both capably. I have had two pillions fall asleep on the back on three seperate occasions, say something for the comfort. OK build quality isn't perfect, the engine paint hates road salt, but then most bikes never see that. Don't be decived by it's looks it isn't very good off road. The mechanics are simple, and it is easy to service. You won't go wrong with one of these
Don't own one but me Brother does and seeing as he's laid up in Hospital (non Bike related) have been using his TDM. Overall a nice package, engines good and it certainly can be hustled through the London traffic.
I have had mine for a couple of years now, and I cannot fault it for being a mile muncher. It is comfy to ride all day long, and then again the next day. It is ok handling through the corners as well, and the high bars and thin engine make it good at filtering too. Then engine has a smooth power band all the way up, nothing overly spectacular, but then this isn't meant to be a sports bike. It has been very reliable, very little has gone wrong with it. In fact I think I have only had to replace one coil on it, which was cheep as chips. My only real grip about the bike is the quality of build, the engine paint flakes after no time, the rear brake caliper is terribly prone to salt getting behine the pad guides. But then I didn't buy this bike to look pretty, but to be a work horse, and it is superb at that
The TDM took a little getting used to after riding a multi, but what a great torquey twin. It'll pull from next to nothing in any gear (although it is a bit lumpy below 3k), consistently return 200-225 miles before it hits reserve on the fuel gauge (average 59mpg), is comfy 1 or 2 up, great roll on acceleration at sub 100mph speeds and can cruise at a ton. Handling is very confidence inspiring as is grip (Metz Z6 work really well). Got 12k on the front tyre and headed for 8k on the rear. Servicing reasonable (£150). Strengths: Brilliant all rounder. I've put 12k on the clock since April 05. 70 mile commute daily. Economy is good. Weaknesses: Suspension is a bit soft, but an extra click on everything seems to sort it out ok for my taste. Doesn't have the street cred of a sports bike (although it will shock a few of them).
ABS is a god send but only for the rear, when the front is activated the wheel still locks for a split second which is scary. All the other tests say it all. I am a bit lacking in height (29'' leg)and can still touch the floor due a narrow seat. Strengths: Ride for miles in comfort. Easy to get luggage. 210miles average on 17 litres pushing hard it will drop to 180miles. Fitted larger screen to help with wind. Dunlops work well. Weaknesses: Front ABS. First gear clunkey. 18 inch front wheel does restrict tyre choice.
Great all-rounder. Have ridden sports 600's for years to the point they were almost getting bland for me. This really has put the smile back on my face. Wish I'd done in sooner. Strengths: Engine, seating position, comfort, tank range, brakes. Weaknesses: Tyres (Bridgestones when the Dunlps wear out), exhaust not loud enough, NO centrestand on a twin exhaust bike?
Used daily for commuting into central London. This bike is ideal; great for filtering through town traffic, but then a real blast when you hit the dual cariageway on the way home! Heated grips and high screen make cold mornings bearable. Strengths: <br>Good low down torque and great fuel economy for a bike of this size. Averages 59mpg, with 63mpg from some tankfuls. Beats most stuff away from the lights. Weaknesses: Very lumpy at low revs, which can make the trickle in traffic queues uncomfortable.
This bike looks a little quirky granted, but from some angles it looks stunning - This is most definatley a wolf in sheeps clothing - Fire the twin up let her warm up for a couple of minutes get a couple of miles of heat in the brakes and be prepared to be shocked - This bikes torque is awsome, the answer to rapid progress is via quick gear changing at around 6500 rpm - for everyday use and real world riding this bike is great, it'll cruise at 90 mph all day long, fuel economy is impressive, tank range is good, comfort leaves supersports for dead - then you come to the handling, braking power on the TDM is almost too good, you'll need to crank the front and rear suspention up to avoid to much dive under heavy braking (Fully adjustable), and believe me this bike ANCHORS up quickly and with huge amounts of control - The funny thig about a TDM 900 is the handling is it just keeps giving you more, and when you think you have found it's safe limit it just goes and gives you some more. <br>Strengths: Handling - Torque - Riding Position. Weaknesses: Quirky looks - Soft factory setting on suspension (adjustable).
If you want a bike to do plenty of miles on in total comfort, but still have loads of fun on the way, this is the one. The engine is full of mid-range power, and strong enough for most. Strengths: That flexible engine. The gearbox is excellent. The riding position gives a fantastic view and just does not stress your body at all. The finish looks good to last, and the pillion provision has made my wife a happy woman - and if she's happy, I'm happy. Weaknesses: Standard headlights are not that strong, but that is about it.
Just swapped in fazer600 for the new TDM 900,this bike is a proper mile muncher, superb riding postion lots of fun and very easy to ride for a tall bike. Strengths: <br>Excellant riding postion, very economical (45mpg) even when ridden hard. Weaknesses: Shorter riders would struggle with the seat height (under 5'10) and you get a lot of wind noise at 70mph+.