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I've had this bike for just over a year, trading up from an unrestricted ER-5. It has been a fantastic buy; I bought a Triumph Speed Triple yesterday but couldn't bear to part with my TDM. I paid £2600 for it last year at 9 years old, 2400 miles on the clock, fsh, and in mint condition. I thought that was expensive until a gave it a test ride and realized what a fantastic bike it was. It's very tall, but then at 5'8" I'm tall (for a girl)and have a long inside leg so don't find the height a problem; its quite heavy but well balanced; and the fuel tank is good for 130 miles at best. Yet it's one of those bikes that gets under your skin, you'll love it too.
I commute around 40 miles a day, most of the journey down twisty village roads, but the journey ends in a torturous stop-and-start through nose-to-tail traffic. With hard panniers on the bike is just a bit too big to fit down the white line between the rows of cars, but we do our best. The TDM is well balanced and feels secure at slow speeds; you can load it to the gunnels and it still feels nimble. If you could swap your legs for wheels, it would feel like the TDM.
Take it out on the empty roads and the TDM really comes into it's own. It is fast...even two up and packed with luggage. Going to see Green Day at Milton Keynes with my teenage daughter was a doddle, we both arrived fresh as a daisy and up for fun. How many bikes could you ride for 3 hours on a hot day and still walk? Even the pillion?
It wheelies if you crack the throttle a bit too fast (that's my excuse) but its stable enough when you go round the roundabout on one wheel. I can ride it all day (the ER-5 used to send my bum to sleep), the ride position is ideal and the seat is a sofa. Yet don't think it's dowdy, I saw one done up like a street-fighter and it looked sexy. Mind, mine gets plenty of admiration as it is.
Things I would change:
- wouldn't have bothered with the hard luggage, cos they ruin the looks of my bike.
- might remove the fairing and street fighter it...but then people would only think I'd dropped it (got round that by buying the Speed Triple).
- the fairing directs cold air onto your fingers, so need hot grips even on summer nights.
- the range is poor, but a bigger tank might upset the balance. An extra fuel tank in the frame (like Buell) or the rear mudguard (like the XTZ) might help.
- I put high wattage blue halogen bulbs in the headlights and it's made a huge improvement to visibility.
Wow can you have fun on this machine. Wow is it practical Wow Wow has it got style. After trying lots of bikes in my time I have to say that this bike really does satisfy and build on every little thing I love about biking. Its got its faults, but then you can say that about every bike with character, cos the differences between something unique and something more traditional will always please some and annoy others. This is a bike with an incredible amount of usable power. On paper or screen, the 80ish bhp may not seem much, but the torque is awesome, and the weight of the bike really makes you feel that VELOCITY when cruising gently in top gear, or when accelerating, at any point you want to. From tearing away from a standing start, in second, third, fourth even fifth, the bike feels strong, and with the upright riding position, it really throws your torso back, and while planting your bum firmly in seat, the pressure there is not always enough to stop it putting your back out, in the nicest possible way, amnd of course only when you want it to.. You can really munch up the miles on this bike. Once you get settled in, you can ride this thing all day for days on end. The normal backache and neckache are pretty much eliminated due to the great seat and handle bar height. This is a bike which feels big, feels like it was built to handle it, and has something of a regal air, in all conditions. The really great surprise with this bike has been how great it has been for touring. Its incredibly comfortable for a pillion, the narrowness is actually a welcome relief from other so called luxurious groin splitting machines. One of the reasons I went for this bike was that another owner told me, quite rightly, that the thing feels, and is, so damn heavy, that you can hardly tell that anybody is on the back anyway. Now dont go thinking that this is a big hard to handle beast. It is not. It is the easiest bike ever to manuovre slowly. Whe
n you are doing this at critical points, and when you are doing this in city centre traffic, it will amazingly reward you with every every bit of trust you put in it, even better, it will never cease to impress you. It has an amazing combination of two qualities very rarely found together in one machine. It is as comfortable and sturdy as you could possible want for the motorway or fast a road, yet it is so bloody nimble that you can urinate all over scooters in the city if the needs takes you. it also provides one major advantage over almost any other machine that can provide as much of a buss in the engine department: you feel almost higher than the trees, and you can see well in advance what those persky murderous cars are doing. Doesnt anyone realise that you get more of a buzz from leaning over on a machine which is a mile off the ground. You feel like your leaning over on stk=ilts the first few times- excellent! This is the ideal bike for anyone who does what I do: bike to and from work every day accross a busy city, and also go off for long weekends burning it up along country roads with the missus on the back. Well recommended.
I have owned 2 TDM 850's and loved them both. I still have one and wouldn't part with it for any other bike as a gift. Talking of Gifts I did have a BMW Motorcycle as a gift in a Prize Draw competition and persevered with the marque by trading it in for a new one four times. I did my best to like them but was not impressed. Instead I bought my first Yamaha TDM 850 and the difference was staggering. The comfort the speed, the handling, the quietness! all endeared me to this wonderful machine. At one time I was doing 25,000 miles per year on two wheels in all weathers but although the TDM has less weather protection, it is actually more aerodynamic than many heavily "faired" machines. The twin-cylinder motor is as smooth as silk. It's easy to service yourself - The Drive-chain seems to last for ever and this despite tearing off at chain-stretching speeds from a standstill when the mood strikes. You can even get the footrests to scrape in a roundabout if you can bear to lean over a tall bike that far. It has a high seat but centre of gravity is not as high as many "Super Motard" designs. It's very popular in France. TDM doesn't stand for anything, Yamaha tell me it's a factory designation and has no interpretation as an Acronym. All bikes cost a fortune in tyres when they are as big as the neo-sports bike size but this one doesn't chew through them as fast as a heavy bike. It's not as heavy as an out-and-out tourer though it can be used as one. The fuel consumption could be better. It manages about 38mpg the way I ride it. It has fitted Panniers by Givi and they work very well with not a hint of handling problems at high speed which usually affects bikes fitted with large cases all over the rear end. The one big bad thing about it was that Yamaha didn't supply it or design in, a Centre Stand. This was a bad thing. But a couple of co
mpanies in the world make a centre stand for it that fits to the inside of the footrest brackets. It makes it stand rather too high to even be able to get a leg over it, but beggars can't be choosers and it does the job admirably. I will ride this one until I am too old to ride, if it will last that long. It cost me £3200 second hand with 15,000 miles on the clock. The new model is over 7000 UK Pounds They say the new one is less clonky on the gear box but I never found this one a problem. It's smoother than many of the "agricultural" gear changes on bigger bikes and I like a clunky gearbox. Anyone who thinks it's not slick enough is in my opinion asking for "jam on it" What do they want, blood ? Godfrey