I guess I'm still an amateur biker since all this passion started only in 1994. My first bike was a Yamaha Virago 535. It was a great bike for learning and that I did - in 2 years I put in 35,000 km, most of them on trips outside Denmark, where I was living at the time. There are a few reasons why I went for the Virago to start with, I wasn't sure at all what kind of bike I wanted and also Denmark is a terrible country to buy anything (including bikes): tax on motor vehicles is around 180% (no kidding!) which puts the small Virago in the $15,000 USD range. Yikes. But while I lived there, I got used to the concept and that was ok. With all the trips I did, I really put the Virago to the test, and I started longing for a bigger bike. I eventually sold it in '96 when I moved out of DK.
I moved to Amsterdam (Holland) in January '97 and when the nice weather started, it didnt take me long to start missing having a bike, and so the search was on again. I wasn't really decided yet for the type of bike I would go for this time, I thought about a bigger cruiser but they are umpratical for long trips and that's what I wanted to use it for. I didnt want a racer either - not comfortable for long distances (I'm sure some people will disagree with me). And I finally discovered the Yamaha TDM 850. It is a very nice bike for long distance driving: the sitting position is perfect, the windshield is small but effective, the height of the bike permits a nice overview of the road in heavy traffic, and it handles well offroad.
My TDM 850 died in the middle of a German highway during rush hour close to Delmenhorst in July 2004 and so 1 month later I bought a 2004 TDM 900. I'm not too sad because the the 900 has so many improvements and is so much more confortable to drive. See the TDM in the Alps.
Pictures of my bikes: Yamaha TDM 900, Yamaha TDM 850, Yamaha Virago 535
Sicily 2004: 14 days, 4500 km trip, TDM 900, to Sicily with stops in Geneva and Torino. (Pictures only)
Ireland 2001: 18 days, 4400 km trip, TDM 850, to Ireland. (Pictures only)
Slovenia 98: 17 days, 4700 km trip, TDM 850, down to Austria, Slovenia and just a tad of Croatia. (Pictures only)
Roadtrip '95: 26 days, 8000 km trip around Europe with my Virago 535 and my buddy Neal Bach.
TDM/TRX 850 International Owners Club (in Dutch)
The TDM List's Home Page
Guiness on a TDM850
German TDM page
Lots of TDM drivers around the world
Magazine article comparing the TDM850, GSX1100F and the ZX-6R
Have you tried doing this with your TDM?
David's TDM page.
English Virago Owners Club: John Eyre's page
Californian Virago Owners Club: The Far West Ramblers of the Virago Owners Club
Great biking travel news: Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers e-zine
Good reviews and articles: Motorcycle Online
European Bike Magazine: BikeNet
MotoBooks: all sorts of books related to...bikes
The Official Great Roads List
Europe's great road list
A good collection of links: Ronnie Cramer's site
MicaPeak: Euro-Moto, WetLeather and much more
MotorcycleShopper: Everything regarding motorcycles, trading, info, etc.
Moto Directory: Great reference list to everything related to bikes
More Trips & Stories
Grant and Susan's excellent adventure: Horizons Unlimited. A trip of 11 years, 39 countries and over 100,000 km!
Alan & Nina's trip through the Alps: A European Motorcycle Vacation
Mike Ware's page
Jurgen Caspar's TDM page and Alaska trip
Michel Scaviner's trip to Bulgaria. Good links to other trips.
Alex's BMW Motorcycle & Global Touring Page
BMW Motorcycles & Touring Club on Excite
Motorcycle travels around the world page
Arold's Africa adventure
The Tokyo to London project
McGonigal's World Tour page
Brussels Motor Renting