Jul 24, 2008

My Top Ten Bike List #5: Yamaha 850 TDM

One of my favorite bikes, ever, happens to be one I owned, twice: the 1992 Yamaha 850 TDM.



This bike had everything I ever wanted in a motorcycle, almost. I've written about it before, on my home website: http://home.comcast.net/~twday60/850tdm.htm. So, there isn't a lot of point in restating words from my past.

When the TDM first arrived in the US, practically every bike rag said ugly things about the bike's appearance. They called it "bug-eyed," "ungainly," and "a collection of assorted spare parts." 15 years later, every Italian manufacturer is making a bike that owes most of it's lineage to the Yamaha TDM and it doesn't seem to bother anyone that these bikes could easily be mistaken for the TDM. Yamaha didn't give up on the TDM, they still sell a version of the bike in Europe and Japan. However, they gave up on the US market in 1993 and we haven't seen anything as interesting from Yamaha TDM 850 since.

One of the cool side-advantages of picking the TDM is that I get to include it's relatives: the Super Tenere' and the TRX 850-900. Both of these near relations are Europe-only releases, so like the majority of the coolness that the TDM represents (years 1994-present), the US wasn't cool enough to be part of the show. Regardless, I think the XTZ 750-900cc Super Tenere' is one of the hippest DP bikes ever made and the TRX is a prototype of the kind of all around standards/sport bikes that Europe would be copying for the next two decades.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, I used to be a big Yamaha fan, but they haven't even imported a dual-sport since about '95, the last year the XT600 was available in the US. The rest of the world has the 660 Tenere and XT 660. Yamaha doesn't play in the Vee Strom / Versys / Africa Twin / Trans Alp / GS / Multistrada / Tiger game at all.

    Paul

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  2. Yeah, I used to be a big Yamaha fan, but they haven't even imported a dual-sport since about '95, the last year the XT600 was available in the US. The rest of the world has the 660 Tenere and XT 660. Yamaha doesn't play in the Vee Strom / Versys / Africa Twin / Trans Alp / GS / Multistrada / Tiger game at all.

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  3. I always would have to pick the SR500 thumper from Yamaha.

    As Sarah Palin would say, “Is just so gosh darn cute.”

    Jim

    ReplyDelete
  4. They have given up, here, for sure. You gotta give them some credit for the cool WR250s they brought in this year, though. The double whammy of recession and irratic fuel prices have to be making Japan nervous about the dollar. They sell all of the Tenere's they make in the WOTW. Maybe we're no longer worth the risk, since our emission tests are non-standard and the folks they've put in charge of marketing are so hopeless. Motorcyclist did a review of the Tenere and I'm still wishing it had been available here about 10 years ago. I'm too old for one, now. The new Honda Transalp is incredibly cool, too. We won't get it either.

    ReplyDelete

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