Yamaha Motorcycles
TDM900 2008

Seems like all the manufacturers are making Dual Sport (Dual Purpose) bikes these days. From 500cc to 1200cc thereís choice a plenty and a price to suit just about everyone. Why? Have they just figured out that you can go more places than you could before? Are Australian motorcyclists more adventurous than they used to be? For whatever reason, if we say that we canít get a Dual Purpose bike to suit us, then we just arenít trying.

On paper the Yamaha TDM900 is very similar in specs to the Suzuki V-Strom, except for the Yamís oh so brilliant six speed gearbox. The moderate engine performance benefits so much from the ability to choose just the right ratio for the conditions, and makes the thing very pleasant to ride.

The TDM likes itís revs over 2500rpm which means fifth gear for around town to be comfortable. At 110kph the engine is ticking over at 4000rpm. While I was in no way riding for economy during the test, 22 kilometres to the litre is excellent and a spit in the eye to the oil companies.

Mirrors are very good with little vibration noticeable, headlights are good, horn is adequate, dials/displays and idiot lights easy to read. The seat is comfortable for both rider and pillion (good grab rails), you get handy tie down hook/rings to go with a sturdy rack plus the screen (3 choices) diverts air up to about nose height.

TDM900 2008
I always like to find a side stand engine cut-out, this stand being easy to deploy, but, with the only centre stand being optional, adjusting and cleaning the chain will be a pain without the extra money spent.

The steering is light but appears to lack lock, which may cause difficulty doing U-turns on narrow roads. I donít know how effective 3 spoke alloy wheels will be on rough roads/tracks (Yamaha not the only ones using them), but then it isnít a serious off-roader anyway.

Short people (hello Christine Langley) will find the TDM quite a reach to the ground with my test VCP (Vertically Challenged Person) not being able to get tippy toes to the soil.

Things I didnít like are Ė Too quiet, had to keep checking the tacho to change gear - Front and rear (hugger) guards wonít like muddy roads, only 12mm clearance (by contrast my GoldWing has 25mm of clearance and it hates dirt roads!) - and of all things, the GYTR handle-bars optioned on the test bike forced me to lean on my wrists and shoulders, which ainít a good thing if youíve got the early stages of arthritis happening. The best bet would be to have the higher standard bars or go for an aftermarket style that are high and narrow which will help cure the light steering as well as being comfortable on long rides.

The TDM900 will do a good turn of top speed and any overtaking is a breeze. The tyres offered admirable grip in both wet and dry conditions plus braking is excellent.

The bike has been around in 850cc-900cc forms since the early 1990ís, so if you canít stretch it for a new one (hard to believe), then a good second hand model will suffice. I havenít heard of any major issues with them and they seem to be very reliable.

TDM900 2008
Major servicing (valve clearances etc.) happens every 40,000ks only so running costs should be fairly low.

Best of all, the standard TDM900 retails at $12,999, which gets you to a lot of places both bitumen and dirt at a very economical price indeed.

Cheers, Ian Parks.

Engine type - Parallel Twin
Displacement - 897cc
Engine cooling - Liquid cooled
Bore x stroke Ė 92x67.5mm
Clutch type - Wet, multiple disc
Maximum power Ė 86hp @ 7500 rpm
Electronic Fuel Injection
Transmission system - Constant mesh, 6-speed
Final transmission - Chain
Fuel tank capacity - 20L (reserve ?)
Frame Type Ė Aluminium Diamond
Front suspension system Ė 43mm Telescopic forks with rebound and pre-load adjustment
Rear suspension Ė Swingarm with fully adjustable monoshock 
Front brake - Dual discs, Ø298mm 4 piston calipers
Rear brake - Single disc, Ø245mm single piston caliper
Front tyre - Michelin Sirac 130/80 18
Rear tyre - Michelin Anakee 150/70 H17
Seat height 825mm
Wheel base 1485mm
Dry weight - 190kg

$12,990 RRP plus ORC - Warranty 24 months, unlimited kilometres parts and labour
Specially prepared model - Trail Desert Master with the following fitments:

Genuine Yamaha Accessories
Rear luggage rack 
GYTR Taper bars
GYTR bar adaptors
GYTR handguards
Bar pad
Engine bars
Tall screen
RRP (inc GST)

Article by Ian Parks

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