Bluesman - thanks. It really is about finding a bike that you love, and then just riding it.
Bugz - Some discussion from Australia suggested that the Duke 690 made a reasonable, relatively fast & light, short-to-middle distance day-touring bike. Not a supersport, not a beginner bike, not a sport-tourer, but occupying a section of the middle ground. In Europe, the SM690 would probably be a better choice. Neither bike is available currently in the US - we get the 690 Enduro, and we hear alot about the problems of the 690 series. On the other hand, the internet always discusses the troubles more than the successes.
I like to understand the spectrum of bikes offered, especially those with a higher quality components, so that I understand the compromises I'm making. Unlike many riders in the US who have been riding 40+ years, I've owned very few bikes - I keep them a long time, so I try to research thoroughly. Bottom line - I'm trying to learn from those who actually ride a wide variety of bikes.
1990 Honda NT-650 Hawk-GT
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead