Yamaha TDM 900 (2002 - present) review

Vastly improved recently and with a few little nudges – trick bars, sticky tyres, fruity cans, suspension – could be a real scream. Maybe a full decade after its birth then, the TDM’s time has come

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Fri, 9 Aug 2002 - 12:08

Details
Manufacturer:
Yamaha
Category:
Adventure
Price:
£ 6549
Overall
3
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the TDM likes to dart in and out of traffic, punchout of roundabouts and rabbit around country lanes
Tried and tested, the TDM is very capable and comfortable enough to see out its 160-mile tank range
Vague steering when pressing on and the front forks are too soft for those brakes

Of late, the 10-valve liquid cooled parallel twin engine has gained a few extra cubes, redesigned internals, a six-speed gearbox and – most importantly – fuel injection. The TDM’s suspension package has been uprated with a fair degree of adjustability and the front brake calipers have been robbed from the R1. Cosmetically it looks much like the previous model, just a bit sharper here, a touch smoother there, with a much tidier electronic dash buried up front in the bike’s pointy snout.

If you’re 5ft 10in or over, no bother –the TDM will let you get both feet more or less flat on the deck. The TDM is the smallest, neatest package in this class. It feels slim, the bars are high and narrow and the screen and clocks seem a long way ahead of you. The lightest (at 190kg dry) by a fair margin (the V-Strom tips in at 207kg and the Tiger tramples the scales at 215kg), the TDM is a cinch to potter around town on, its ease of use only marred by a very direct low rpm throttle feel in first and second gear – both Jim and Steve described the TDM as snatchy.

I felt it was more abrupt than snatchy but regardless It’s not a problem anywhere other than at very low speed, because from 2,000rpm to the redline at 8,000rpm the TDM pumps out a lovely mellow twin cylinder vibe which punts it along very respectably. With 76bhp (at 7,300rpm) and 60ft-lb of torque (delivered just under 6,000rpm) the TDM’s got less grunt than its peers, but also carries a lot less heft so it all kinda balances out. One area the old TDM really got some stick for was its gearbox – the new bike has laid that bugbear to rest with a licketty-snick six-speed ’box which almost changes by itself. Nicely sorted, Yamaha. Fuel economy is exceptional too – averaging in the mid-40 mpg and giving a well-useful 160-mile minimum tank range.

Out of town the TDM easily cruises at and around the ton, with some spare before it starts straining (top whack is just over 130mph). But really fast cruising is not its bag – the TDM likes to dart in and out of traffic, punchout of roundabouts and rabbit around country lanes.

Suspension – on stock settings – is plush, soaking up every road irregularity and minor hillock without a touch of drama. It’s very comfortable to ride on any surface is the TDM. But that does translate to woolly, slightly vague steering if you really give it a good hard shove through a set of fast sweepers, say. The answer is to firm up the rear shock with some extra spring preload and compression damping then wind more spring into the front forks – you lose a bit of comfort but it does make the TDM a little more accurate.

The brakes are spot-on, a bit too good for the front forks truth be told, really but do stop the TDM good and quick – again, firmer forks don’t dive quite so much. At least the TDM’s adaptable to suit any riding style, so whether you’re a back lane headbanger or captain comfort you can tailor it to suit.

The only real criticism both Jim and Steve had of the TDM was its looks – or rather the fact it could – or should – have been a bit more adventurous. I’m not so sure and in blue the new TDM looks very classy but the yellow on our test bike was a bit on the pissy side.
Nice details abound though, hidden away, like the foldout bungee hooks, integrated grabrail/luggage rack and at least with an 18-inch front wheel you’ve got a much larger choice of rubber. Even sportsbike spunka Wozza warmed to the TDM after an hour or so in its saddle – whether he’d actually ever fall in love with it is another question but maybe the truth is the TDM’s not the kind of bike built for love. It’s built for use.

Of late, the 10-valve liquid cooled parallel twin engine has gained a few extra cubes, redesigned internals, a six-speed gearbox and – most importantly – fuel injection. The TDM’s suspension package has been uprated with a fair degree of adjustability and the front brake calipers have been robbed from the R1. Cosmetically it looks much like the previous model, just a bit sharper here, a touch smoother there, with a much tidier electronic dash buried up front in the bike’s pointy snout.

If you’re 5ft 10in or over, no bother –the TDM will let you get both feet more or less flat on the deck. The TDM is the smallest, neatest package in this class. It feels slim, the bars are high and narrow and the screen and clocks seem a long way ahead of you. The lightest (at 190kg dry) by a fair margin (the V-Strom tips in at 207kg and the Tiger tramples the scales at 215kg), the TDM is a cinch to potter around town on, its ease of use only marred by a very direct low rpm throttle feel in first and second gear – both Jim and Steve described the TDM as snatchy.

I felt it was more abrupt than snatchy but regardless It’s not a problem anywhere other than at very low speed, because from 2,000rpm to the redline at 8,000rpm the TDM pumps out a lovely mellow twin cylinder vibe which punts it along very respectably. With 76bhp (at 7,300rpm) and 60ft-lb of torque (delivered just under 6,000rpm) the TDM’s got less grunt than its peers, but also carries a lot less heft so it all kinda balances out. One area the old TDM really got some stick for was its gearbox – the new bike has laid that bugbear to rest with a licketty-snick six-speed ’box which almost changes by itself. Nicely sorted, Yamaha. Fuel economy is exceptional too – averaging in the mid-40 mpg and giving a well-useful 160-mile minimum tank range.

Out of town the TDM easily cruises at and around the ton, with some spare before it starts straining (top whack is just over 130mph). But really fast cruising is not its bag – the TDM likes to dart in and out of traffic, punchout of roundabouts and rabbit around country lanes.

Suspension – on stock settings – is plush, soaking up every road irregularity and minor hillock without a touch of drama. It’s very comfortable to ride on any surface is the TDM. But that does translate to woolly, slightly vague steering if you really give it a good hard shove through a set of fast sweepers, say. The answer is to firm up the rear shock with some extra spring preload and compression damping then wind more spring into the front forks – you lose a bit of comfort but it does make the TDM a little more accurate.

The brakes are spot-on, a bit too good for the front forks truth be told, really but do stop the TDM good and quick – again, firmer forks don’t dive quite so much. At least the TDM’s adaptable to suit any riding style, so whether you’re a back lane headbanger or captain comfort you can tailor it to suit.

The only real criticism both Jim and Steve had of the TDM was its looks – or rather the fact it could – or should – have been a bit more adventurous. I’m not so sure and in blue the new TDM looks very classy but the yellow on our test bike was a bit on the pissy side.
Nice details abound though, hidden away, like the foldout bungee hooks, integrated grabrail/luggage rack and at least with an 18-inch front wheel you’ve got a much larger choice of rubber. Even sportsbike spunka Wozza warmed to the TDM after an hour or so in its saddle – whether he’d actually ever fall in love with it is another question but maybe the truth is the TDM’s not the kind of bike built for love. It’s built for use.

Of late, the 10-valve liquid cooled parallel twin engine has gained a few extra cubes, redesigned internals, a six-speed gearbox and – most importantly – fuel injection. The TDM’s suspension package has been uprated with a fair degree of adjustability and the front brake calipers have been robbed from the R1. Cosmetically it looks much like the previous model, just a bit sharper here, a touch smoother there, with a much tidier electronic dash buried up front in the bike’s pointy snout.

If you’re 5ft 10in or over, no bother –the TDM will let you get both feet more or less flat on the deck. The TDM is the smallest, neatest package in this class. It feels slim, the bars are high and narrow and the screen and clocks seem a long way ahead of you. The lightest (at 190kg dry) by a fair margin (the V-Strom tips in at 207kg and the Tiger tramples the scales at 215kg), the TDM is a cinch to potter around town on, its ease of use only marred by a very direct low rpm throttle feel in first and second gear – both Jim and Steve described the TDM as snatchy.

I felt it was more abrupt than snatchy but regardless It’s not a problem anywhere other than at very low speed, because from 2,000rpm to the redline at 8,000rpm the TDM pumps out a lovely mellow twin cylinder vibe which punts it along very respectably. With 76bhp (at 7,300rpm) and 60ft-lb of torque (delivered just under 6,000rpm) the TDM’s got less grunt than its peers, but also carries a lot less heft so it all kinda balances out. One area the old TDM really got some stick for was its gearbox – the new bike has laid that bugbear to rest with a licketty-snick six-speed ’box which almost changes by itself. Nicely sorted, Yamaha. Fuel economy is exceptional too – averaging in the mid-40 mpg and giving a well-useful 160-mile minimum tank range.

Out of town the TDM easily cruises at and around the ton, with some spare before it starts straining (top whack is just over 130mph). But really fast cruising is not its bag – the TDM likes to dart in and out of traffic, punchout of roundabouts and rabbit around country lanes.

Suspension – on stock settings – is plush, soaking up every road irregularity and minor hillock without a touch of drama. It’s very comfortable to ride on any surface is the TDM. But that does translate to woolly, slightly vague steering if you really give it a good hard shove through a set of fast sweepers, say. The answer is to firm up the rear shock with some extra spring preload and compression damping then wind more spring into the front forks – you lose a bit of comfort but it does make the TDM a little more accurate.

The brakes are spot-on, a bit too good for the front forks truth be told, really but do stop the TDM good and quick – again, firmer forks don’t dive quite so much. At least the TDM’s adaptable to suit any riding style, so whether you’re a back lane headbanger or captain comfort you can tailor it to suit.

The only real criticism both Jim and Steve had of the TDM was its looks – or rather the fact it could – or should – have been a bit more adventurous. I’m not so sure and in blue the new TDM looks very classy but the yellow on our test bike was a bit on the pissy side.
Nice details abound though, hidden away, like the foldout bungee hooks, integrated grabrail/luggage rack and at least with an 18-inch front wheel you’ve got a much larger choice of rubber. Even sportsbike spunka Wozza warmed to the TDM after an hour or so in its saddle – whether he’d actually ever fall in love with it is another question but maybe the truth is the TDM’s not the kind of bike built for love. It’s built for use.

Length (mm) 2180
Width (mm) 800
Height (mm) 1290
Dryweight (kg) 190
Seats 0
Seat Height (mm) 825
Suspension Front Telescopic forks
Suspension Rear Monoshock
Tyres Front 120/70 ZR18 M/C
Tyres Rear 160/60 ZR17 M/C
Brakes Front Twin 298mm discs, four piston calipers
Brakes Rear Single 245mm disc, two piston caliper
Wheelbase (mm) 1485
Ground Clearance (mm) 160
Length (mm) 2180
Width (mm) 800
Height (mm) 1290
Dryweight (kg) 190
Seats 0
Seat Height (mm) 825
Suspension Front Telescopic forks
Suspension Rear Monoshock
Tyres Front 120/70 ZR18 M/C
Tyres Rear 160/60 ZR17 M/C
Brakes Front Twin 298mm discs, four piston calipers
Brakes Rear Single 245mm disc, two piston caliper
Wheelbase (mm) 1485
Ground Clearance (mm) 160
Cubic Capacity (cc) 897
Max Power (bhp) 86
Bore (mm) 92
Stroke (mm) 67.5
Compression Ratio 10.4
Stroke Type Four Stroke
Drive Chain
Cubic Capacity (cc) 897
Max Power (bhp) 86
Bore (mm) 92
Stroke (mm) 67.5
Compression Ratio 10.4
Stroke Type Four Stroke
Drive Chain
Top Speed
Max Power
Max Power Revs
Max Torque
Max Torque Revs
Top Speed
Max Power
Max Power Revs
Max Torque
Max Torque Revs
Score Breakdown
Overall
3

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