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: 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.

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