I bought 2 TW's a year ago-an '87 with 11,000 miles on it and an '04 with 4,000 miles- and have now put about 1,500 miles on the '87 and 700 miles on the '04. Many of the '87's miles have been on trails but none of the '04's. My conclusions are that these bikes are some the most useful and enjoyable motorcycles being sold these days because they will go anywhere with minimal cost and maintenance. A lot of people these days seem to be buying Harleys and other cruiser bikes or sport bikes, which no doubt are faster and more appropriate for some things, but I look at them and think that they are far more limited in what they can do than a TW. Many of the former are less maneuverable when the corners get really tight-from sheer weight if nothing else-and when the road turns to dirt they are out of their element.The TW's, by contrast, can be driven anywhere, whether on a highway, back road, dirt road or trail, with relative comfort and superior economy, and unlike a strictly dirt bike or four wheeler, the TW's do not need to be trucked to the trail. In performance I have not noticed much difference between the model years, although I prefer the front shoe brake on the '87 ( has more "feel" to me ) and the original carb "feels" to have a little more low end torque, or at least, I like the way it responds. The '04 gets better gas mileage-probably because I do not push it as hard-and it seems to have slightly more overall power than the '87 for whatever reason-maybe the different carb or a crisper tune. Those differences are minor though and if I were not comparing the bikes side by side they would not be worth mentioning. Both bikes are comfortable with a nice riding position,excepting the hard seats, but even the latter are tolerable for 40 or 50 miles before needing a break. I put a Coleman seat cover on the '04 yet noticed minimal improvement. On the road both bikes are happiest below 50mph and their sweet spot is 35 to 45mph; they will cruise all day at that pace.The suspension is stiff but the frame geometry is right, and there are never any unexpected surprises from the tires. Off road this bike will go anywhere and climb anything, and feels lighter than it's 270 pounds. It is not a motocrosser so I do not jump and power slide with it, but it's wide tires will crawl up hills that are hard to walk up. Stock gearing and tires seem fine for general riding, and only if one wants to use it mostly for high speed riding would I suggest raising the gearing, or lowering it only if one's riding will be on extremely slow, rocky, tight trails. Nothing has broken on either machine, so besides oil changes and chain adjustments I have simply started them up and ridden. Long term readers of this forum know all this, and no doubt I am merely reaffirming what many owners have already said. Because I grew up in an era when dual purpose bikes could be had in almost any displacement, I wonder why the manufacturers have gone to selling small scooters rather than what used to be called small "enduro" bikes. But as one of the few remaining dual purpose motorcycles available, the TW offers a compromise size that still captures the fun and utility of those early bikes, and I would recommend this machine to anyone-beginner, novice or experienced.