I've been riding for 30 years... all cruiser/bagger style bikes, and exclusively Harley Davidson for the last 25 years. I sold my Road King (Road Sofa, very comfy bike) in Feb. I decided I wanted a more dual sport oriented bike, mainly because of the roads here in AK.
Many gravel roads, and lots of summer construction where they tear up miles of road, and you have to ride mud/gravel. Not so much the Road Sofa's forte. Summer before last, I was riding from Fairbanks, between Delta Junction and Tok. I had been riding on road breaks (sections where the road becomes gravel for a mile or two) all day. On a curve, I hit a road break that must have been recently filled with gravel. As soon as my front tire hit the gravel, the handlebars tore out of my hands. At 65 MPH, the handlebars bounced side to side full lock, and the bike violently began to fishtail. The speed dropped rapidly to 50 mph, and I was sure I was going down. Just as the bike was completely out of control, I hit asphalt again, and was able to grab the bars and get her under control. Scared the crap out of me! Partially my fault because I was not expecting that to happen after riding on gravel all day, and I wasn't as guarded as I should have been. Sadly, a few days later a biker from the lower 48 on an electra glide was killed in the same spot, probably from the deep gravel.
After looking at BMW, Yamaha, Kawasaki, etc. I settled on the V. Mainly because of the cost of ownership, 5 year unlimited mileage warranty, and 0% APR financing for 5 years. It was also the fastest and easiest finance experience I have ever had with a vehicle. Also, because at 5'7" and 30" inseam, I didn't feel very stable on most of the other bikes I tried. I did not get to test ride the V, and I was apprehensive about only having 650cc's. The last non HD bike I owned was a Yamaha 750 Virago, and that poor thing sounded like it was going to explode over 70, and couldn't accelerate out of it's own way. As I pulled out the dealership with .0 miles on the bike, I was hoping I made the right choice. I broke her in per the owner's manual, and was ready for her 600 mile service 4 days later. After 1,000 miles, I finally could play and see what she could do. Very impressed with the acceleration! Very smooth engine, and after a low seat was added, very comfortable. Only issue is getting used to riding in wind. My 1200 pound lower to the ground Road King could handle pretty major wind before having to fight it. Not so much on the light and tall V. It gets pretty windy between Anchorage and where I work. I'm sure I'll adapt. She is very stable feeling on gravel, even with the stock tires.
I commute 120 miles a day, 4 days a week to work, so I plan on putting a lot of miles on her, plus taking trips around the state on my days off. I am very encouraged by the posts on here as far as the reliability people are getting out of these bikes.
I had to add some things to get her the way I wanted her. Skid plate, barkbusters, low seat, and top case. So far, very happy with the V.