Originally Posted by Codewheeney
Wow, this is all awesome stuff, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I'd like to add one more: Can you compare the bike for steady speed highway work, say, compared to an R1200GS or R1150GS? I think I'd like to replace my 1150 with the 800, but I do do a fair amount of long distance travel at freeway speeds on pretty straight roads, and I'm a bit concerned with engine buzziness.
Interesting question. You know I would have to say that as a very broad generalization, if you ride almost all highway, then the bigger bikes are very well suited and can survive the odd off road adventure quite well. If you do want to explore and ride lots of gravel and off road, then the sacrifice in the on highway performance is worth it. How much of a sacrifice is it? Not that much, in fact if you came to the bike from a medium weight single such as a KLR 650 then you would think it is a great improvement. If you are used to your 1150 then you would likely notice a drop off.
Having said that, I might be biased, but I don't find the bike too buzzy at all. You do notice a bit of vibration, more than a bigger twin, but it is not dramatic nor does it lead to the various side effects of say a thumping single would (KLR650, etc.) such as numbness in the hands etc. You simply have a vague awareness of it.
If someone said they were going to ride to Alaska and they were debating the 800 vs. the 1200, I would likely recommend the 1200. If you are going to ride 5,000 miles and only 500 are gravel, the part where the 800 has demonstrated advantages is quite small and the mileage where is has demonstarted minor limitations is quite large. Now if you said that you are going to Alaska and you want to ride a lot of off highway and offroad, that would lean toward the 800.
The main issue for me isn't buzziness, it's just that you will catch more wind and noise. If a person rides slab for short distances, this won't even be an issue but I like to ride long days so I noticed it. Having said that, there are ways to address the wind issue with screens, lips, etc.
So to summarize, you mention a lot of straight roads and freeway speeds and didn't mention how much off road, I can't say, but you just might find the best bikefor you is the one you already own:) Of course it is quite fun to try a new bike though and does re-energize the fun one gets from biking. Soft reason I know, but there is some truth to getting a new bike, or even a different old bike. even thinking about it is a fun hobby, as we can see from the billions of posts on the bike in general:)
Hpoe that helps.