Is really dependent on which rally. I really liked my 690 on the Tuareg rally in Marocco, those long pistes and big dunes. Tunesia has small dunes which are a lot thougher on a bigger bike.
Also Albania was great on the 690 and Hellas we will see next week
Never had the need for a kick-starter, this bike (and and many FI ones) has a huge battery compared to non FI bikes.