The YAMAHA TDM 850 was born in 1991. Looking like a crazy and slightly angry insect with its pair of googly eyes and its rather cross down-turned eyebrows, it was destined to be a very underrated bike which never really got the acclaim which it deserved.
Effortless in the Alps
The Yamaha TDM 850 had the potential to be an ideal motorcycle for the UK with a high-torque liquid cooled, 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, DOHC, parallel-twin engine inside a strong Deltabox steel frame. Although it was initially designed to be able to cope effortlessly with the alpine roads of Europe, the specs seemed to suit it perfectly to both out of town, and city riding, with the ability to handle rough road surfaces as well. It was a popular bike and a great seller in Europe between its inception in 1991 and 2001 but for some reason never really found the favour it deserved in the UK. It came on to the scene with praise from the media but they changed their minds and it was quickly dubbed dull.
Despite its boring reputation, the TDM was a generally underrated motorcycle, coming with an engine, in the original 850, based on the Paris Dakar winning XTZ 750 Super Tenere, which gave it plenty of power and the ability to reach speeds of 130mph.
Mk2 TDM 850 - 1996
Because it was so popular in Europe, new and improved versions were brought out and in 1996 Yamaha released the Mk2 TDM with new more stylish bodywork and an engine which was more like a V-Twin engine with a 270-degree crank as standard. Thanks to all this updating the TDM 850 found favour in the Netherlands, but still did not really take off in the UK.
TDM 900 - 2002
It had a six-speed gearbox and fuel injection. The new electronic fuel injection system contained a lightweight resin-encase ECU that constantly analysed data from a range of sensors, relaying information on intake and atmospheric pressure, water and intake temperature, throttle position, exhaust gas emissions, crankshaft position, cylinder identification and engine rpm speed. With all this information available to it the ECU could calculate the fuel injection and timing so that it could deliver exactly the required amount of fuel. This particularly suited the bike to higher European altitudes like the mountains and caused increased combustion efficiency reducing overall fuel consumption.
The new TDM 900 was an altogether lighter motorcycle as well, weighing in at only 190kg. It saved weight by running with a much more compact radiator with a 160mm diameter fan to aid cooling and a lighter pressed steel oil tank. The new motorcycle design incorporated a diamond shaped aluminium frame and swinging arm and had ABS brakes as an option.
All in all the Yamaha TDM is a good sturdy, reliable and user-friendly machine which is great in town or out and really deserves to be more popular.
For a look at the Motorcycle Specs for the Yamaha TDM check out the links below:
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