I'd still go with the GS for a couple of reasons that, between the two being almost equal, are just on this side of symantec.
The GS is between 15 and 40 lbs lighter than the XC stock depending on which reviewer did the weighing.
The GS has better mid range torque values than the XC (mid range is where I normally ride)
The GS averages approximately 10 MPG better fuel economy than the XC....that's 22% better gas mileage.
The GS has far superior aftermarket offerings and stock it offers more flexibility with standard accessories at base prices.
The GS seat height is higher than the XC. I consider the GS seat to be too low so that's a plus for the GS in my book.
The GS has more suspension travel and ground clearance than the XC. I don't think the GS has enough suspension travel or ground clearance, so...the XC definitely doesn't have enough suspension travel or ground clearance.
The GS is geared lower than the XC. And since I already feel that first in the GS is too high, first in the XC is way too high.
The GS is thinner than the XC and since the GS is too wide for ease on the trails as it is, the XC is way too wide.
Owning a GS and having test ridden an XC I'd say that the one place the XC has the GS is in the quality of the suspension system and wheels that come stock, and that actually means a lot. But it doesn't mean enough to sway my decision.
What it really comes down to for me in the final decision is feel. The XC feels more like a street bike and the GS feels like a more able adventure bike when riding it.
I would hands down still go with the GS, no comparison.
Flashback screwed with this post 07-14-2011 at 02:36 AM