When I sold my XRR, I was looking for that "sweet spot" bike. If there was a Japanese offering, I would have considered it, I have no brand loyalty. But there isn't and won't be for these reasons:
The Big 4 will never, ever produce a dual sport bike that has:
E and kick start
40+hp, 500 +/- cc
Good suspension and brakes-stock (ie name brand)
FI (or a bulletproof carb like KTMs)
Tank that holds 3.5g+
Under 275lbs dry
Factory street legal in all 50 states
It will never happen. Honda makes its money by producing hundreds of thousands of cheap, 100-175cc bikes to countries like India, China and Brazil. There are literally thousands of models of Hondas alone that Americans have no idea about....and no interest in. They are made to a specific price point and have to skimp on things like suspension and brakes to make them cheap. Does a man who lives in India with a 10 year old, 150cc Honda Tornado as his family vehicle give a shit if the ratio between first and second gear is too much of a jump? No, he could care less. Does he care if his shocks bottom out over every bump or rebound like the tits on a cheerleader? No, all he wants is the engine to start. Every day. So it does.
The same thought process is shown in their US offroad bikes. Cheap, unchanged, built to meet a price point.
Does the big 4 make a good engine? Sure, no one can debate that. But if you are looking for modern engineering or anything state-of-the art, look elsewhere.
If anything, pin your Japanese hopes on Yamaha for putting out a bike close to what I described above. At least they are innovating and taking chances with new designs and new models in the offroad market. (forward-canted engine, WR250R)
Wedding(s) = $30,000
Divorce(s) = $25,000
2009 Husky TE610