I totally understand the appearance dimension you're speaking of. I ride with (well, usually, in front of) a lot of cruiser pals, and their bikes are, without question, nice to look at. In fact, you could say that they are made to be looked at, whilst the 'Stroms (and their ilk) are made to be ridden. Exceptions abound (I think a properly windscreened and saddled Road King is a great ride, as one example), but V-Strom's are, without question, bikes built to log lots of spirited, comfortable and low-maintenance miles. Whenever I get a wandering eye, I go ride it....perhaps that's why I've logged more than 9000 miles this season!
PS- Anyone ever chromed-up a V-Strom? I know it's borderline blasphemy, but it would be fun to take that differentiator away from my bling-bling buds...
suzuki gel saddle & alaska sheepskin buttpad, K&N, rick's mirror extenders, grip puppies, powerbronze tall touring windscreen, madstad bracket, givi e460 top case, givi e36 side cases, rick's fork brace & rick's wheel spacers, givi crash bars, aprilia tuono mirrors, and sw motech center stand, and, as of 9/9/10, rick's footpeg & controls lowering kit.