Originally Posted by Dirty bike
Between the two you list, the 800XC will be more fun for you. If you're doing more street and the occasional fire road, no worries. If you start loading it up with gear or two up, then you will want more CCs and comfort.
If you're wanting to go cross country, the 800XC is a little lacking on road for highway speeds, but much more flickable and pleasant in the two lane twisties than any larger bike. The triple loves to rev and rewards you with wonderful response for it's size. It will certainly get you there. A tad more maintenance than the bigger bikes, but not a deal breaker. If you're a lite packer, no worries. If you like to bring it all, well, the larger bikes start to have an advantage. You won't be wringing the motor out for all it's worth in the wind at 75 mph. On the smaller 800, expect to run out of throttle now and then on the interstates. And be willing to pack a spare set of sprockets and a chain in the bottom of your pannier for long trips. Sometimes things don't last as long as they should. And it sucks to be waiting on sprockets for a couple of days.
I ride a 1200GS and my GF rides a Tiger 800 "Roadie", and I dissagree with much of your assessment.
In March we rode from PHX, AZ to TX hill country sustaining a constant 80-90+ mph the whole way. When she rode it out here to Cali in Oct she says she did a lot of 100 mph thru Utah and Nevada (from Colorado). My GS IS torquier and pulls harder at speed, but the 800 triple is very capable at anything close to legal speeds.
I've put a few hundred miles on her Tiger and I'm confident I can ride my GS faster in the twisties than her "Roadie" which is better in the twisties than the XC with it's 21" front tire(Roadie uses exactly the same tires as the GS).
As for chain and sprockets; keep em lubed and you'll easily get 20k miles from a set.
For just pavement and fire roads, I'd get the roadie
Edit; The '12 Tiger 800 Roadie packed for the trip to Cali...