Driving report Yamaha TDM 850

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Driving report Yamaha TDM 850

Driving report Yamaha TDM 850
Either way

Sometimes a tourer, sometimes an athlete. In recent years, many motorcyclists have come to appreciate the versatility of the TDM 850. Now the Supertwin is going into the new season, heavily revised.

Norbert Kappes


No classic bike, no super tourer, no hyper athlete – but a bit of everything. For example, when the TDM 850 debuted in early 1991, Yamaha tried to win the favor of motorcyclists with the new Supertwin. However, neither did the journalists know what to do with the stacks of motorcycles. The narrow, rather tall bike with half-height, cranked handlebars and long suspension travel, almost like an enduro, did not want to be integrated into the preconceived, familiar schemes.

Sales of the TDM 850, whose two-cylinder engine had already celebrated its premiere in the fat Enduro Super-Tenere with a displacement of 750 cubic centimeters, got off to a very slow start. The bulky sight did not reveal the qualities of the 78 hp two-cylinder so easily. But anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle was quickly convinced of its strengths. Features such as the comfortable chassis, the surprising handiness of the bike, which weighs at least 231 kilograms, the comfortable, relaxed upright seating position and the high-torque twin soon made the TDM 850 a much sought-after travel companion, with which you could really let it rip on winding roads.

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But where there is light, there is also shadow. In particular, the only loudly switchable, jerky gear and the poorly metered clutch were criticized. A lot of play in the drive train also resulted in unpleasant load change reactions. For the sportier touring riders, the comfortable suspension set-up was too soft, and above all the directly hinged central spring strut was too weak in terms of damping, and it produced annoying pendulum movements in the rear section when cornering quickly. Die-hard touring riders, however, complained about the 18-liter petrol tank, which allowed a range of just over 200 kilometers with the twin’s above-average drinking habits. The wind protection of the half-shell cladding was also worse than the size of the cladding suggested. Significant turbulence and high wind noise could strain the nerves when driving fast on the motorway.

Renovated five years after launch Yamaha the Supertwin thoroughly and thus underlines the intention that people are still serious about the unusual concept of the TDM 850. However, the new one – probably also for cost reasons – now uses the engine of the TRX 850 that appeared last year. Instead of the usual one A crankshaft with a 270 degree crank pin offset is used here as a synchronous rotor. In terms of optimal mass balancing, this is a rather nonsensical solution, but what can you do to imitate the oh-so-popular sound of a Ducati V engine, even if only approximately.

The extra power and the richer torque of the TRX compared to the old TDM do not fully benefit the new one. Of the 83, she got 80 hp because of the increasingly stringent noise regulations. And instead of 8.9 kpm, a torque of 8.2 kpm must suffice. Further features from the TRX program: the 38 Mikuni carburettor with throttle valve sensor, the oil tank placed above instead of behind the gear box and the shorter gearbox – with a longer final occupancy at the same time. Only the first pair of gears still comes from the old TDM. Unless you have a direct comparison to the old model, cannot operate with measured, objective driving performance and only have a few hours to collect your first driving impressions with the new TDM, they have an effect the changes to the engine and transmission are barely noticeable. As usual, the large-capacity twin pulls clean and powerful, quietly grumbling, but resembling a V-twin because of the asymmetrical firing order, more rumbling than before. Just above idling speed, the two-cylinder accelerates smoothly, the tachometer needle shoots continuously and with a sharp increase in engine power towards the red area. Only at the last 1500 rpm does the powerful thrust gradually decrease. Reason enough to choose a higher gear early on, to drive with lazy shifting rather than agitating hectically in the gearbox and exhausting the entire speed range.

Gone are the ugly hollow noises when changing gears, as if you were kicking an empty cookie jar that accompanied every gear change. With partially arranged, massive rubber elements in the cavities of the frame and rear wheel swing arm, this ugly sounding bad habit was successfully stopped. The Yamaha technicians have probably not quite figured out the unpleasant load change reactions. Still, even if not quite as violently, it jerks and jerks especially in the lower gears with every gas change, as if the drive train had too much play.

In addition to the drive unit, the second TDM generation also comes up with changes to the chassis. With a five millimeter shorter wheelbase (1470 instead of 1475 millimeters) and standard-fitted radial instead of diagonal tires, the 231 kilogram Supertwin gives the impression of being a bit more manageable, of turning corners more accurately than it has been before did. The mounted Michelin Macadam X 90 ensure neutral, safe driving behavior, do not surprise when turning into bends due to their tilting characteristics, nor do they create an annoying tendency to stand up when braking in an inclined position. The new, more massive telescopic fork, which now uses 43 instead of 41 standpipes to tackle the pitfalls of poor road construction, may also contribute to the good driving stability.

With the Japanese tendentiously austerity program, it is good to see that such helpful fine-tuning options as adjusting the spring base and damping on the fork and strut did not fall victim to the red pen. On the new TDM, too, the directly hinged central spring strut, with its damping more tightly tuned, is equipped with an additional spring that can be switched on or off with a short, simple handle, depending on the load.

Braking was that TDM 850 always up to date. The brute stoppers, borrowed from the well-known super sports car FZR 1000, are blessed with new brake pads that are supposed to grip even better. A direct comparison is required to determine whether this is really the case.

The new cladding with a beautiful, well-integrated double headlight and, thanks to the ellipsoidal shape, good light is designed so sensibly that it offers proper wind protection for the first time. The area behind the cladding is now a stress-free zone. No more disturbing turbulence hit the driver, thundering wind noises on the helmet are a thing of the past. Now fast, long-term motorway driving on the TDM is also fun. Incidentally, this also applies to the pillion passenger. Because on longer stages, thanks to the lush seat upholstery and ergonomically more conveniently placed handles, it no longer has to be as susceptible to suffering as before.

But don’t be too early, dear passenger! Yamaha has also given the new TDM 850 a larger fuel drum. Instead of the previous 18, there is now space for 20 liters in the narrow tank. And if the TDM is now as economical with the precious fuel as the TRX, instead of drinking as before, long stages are inevitable. Because the driver doesn’t want to stop so quickly with the versatility of the TDM. Probably less than ever with the new one. too much game

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