YAMAHA TDM900 (2002-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut"

Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding

"Such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Yamaha TDM900 is a streetbiking oddball that’s as brilliant beating congestion as it is swinging bends. The parallel twin motor is 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

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. Find a Yamaha TDM900 for sale

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

21 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA TDM900 (2002-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA TDM900 (2002-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.2 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

Utter bargain

11 February 2018 by Jiminy

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... Read more 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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...
Engine
5 out of 5
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!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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.
Equipment
4 out of 5
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!

4 out of 5

Great value and under rated

02 November 2017 by Bob

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. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Much better than most people might imagine with great brakes. A really easy bike to ride.
Engine
4 out of 5
Good spread of useable power. Great MPG when just cruising/commuting, easily tops 200 miles at 80 mph.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Bulletproof and well finished
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Simple home maintenance, long shim intervals
Equipment
4 out of 5
Fairly basic, but does have adjustable suspension
Buying experience

Privately purchased

5 out of 5

07 June 2017 by jon

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. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
superb r1 brakes dont buy abs mega nightmare if they go wrong
Engine
4 out of 5
injection stutter at 2500rpm a pain can be sorted but its not easy,quicker and smoother than a tiger 800
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
never had a problem
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
easy to do yourself 2 drain plugs ??
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

One bike for (just about) everything!

18 March 2017 by Jim Rides This

It's just a fantastic all-rounder. Cheap to run too! Read more

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

3 out of 5

I payed well over this bike's worth

30 December 2016 by Cristian L

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. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
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.
Engine
3 out of 5
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 +
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Quality and reliability is good. No major problems in my 12k ownership.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain.
Equipment
3 out of 5
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.

5 out of 5

Incredible Bike

26 August 2016 by Peter c

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... Read more are more a fashion statement than anything else.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Comfortable ergonomics and excellent brakes with the use of good pads.
Engine
5 out of 5
Parallel twin with V twin sound. Japanese magic
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Japanese quality and realibility.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap for parts and easy to service
Equipment
5 out of 5
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

5 out of 5

One of biking's best kept secret

24 April 2016 by Kevin

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... Read more 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
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.
Engine
5 out of 5
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.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Why no centre stand? A sightly taller aftermarket screen will help too.
4 out of 5

Still up there with today's adventure bikes

01 October 2015 by Richard70

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. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Ultra comfortable ride, excellent brakes (with ABS too)
Engine
4 out of 5
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.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Finish is good, never broken down, only had to do routine maintenance in the last 30,000 miles
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Fairly cheap to maintain, insure and fuel.
Equipment
4 out of 5
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

4 out of 5

Ahead of its time

10 November 2014 by TheHood64

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... Read more 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.

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
-
4 out of 5

Top All Rounder

13 October 2012 by thedavedent

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... Read more 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 ;-)

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
5 out of 5
-
Read all 21 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2002
Year discontinued -
New price £8,399
Used price £3,300 to £5,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £140
Performance
Max power 74 bhp
Max torque 60 ft-lb
Top speed 139 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.7 secs
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Specification
Engine size 897cc
Engine type 10v, parallel twin 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 190kg
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

History & Versions

Model history

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.

Other versions

Yamaha TDM900A: Advanced Braking System version. Originally a £500 premium over stocker.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
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