This talk about off-road capability...my two cents is that it depends on *how fast you want to ride.*
The need for long travel is a product of (1) how bumpy is the road, and (2) how fast you're going. If you ride slow and easy, you don't need long travel for anything but genuinely rocky and technical terrain. A slightly higher standard works fine. It's all about the desired speed.
There's a loop in the Mendocino Forest that I did a few times on the TE630 that I used to own. Nice fire road; some whoops here and there. Good riders can ride that route flat-out on those bikes. I ride slow by comparison.
I took my CBR250R on the same loop about a month ago. No drama, and I rode about the same speed as on the TE's. The only place I had to be really careful was on a section of badly trenched and hardened mud. What that tells me is that I don't need a *true* dual sport to go where I want to go.
The 500x is, I think, I terrific option for a dual-sport bike, as long as you don't try to ride fast offroad or traverse actual "dirt bike" technical stuff.
1974 R90/6 w/1050 kit. Motor only. Seeking a frame.
'91 Bill Holland Steel w/Dura Ace[/SIZE]
'01 Z3 3.0 Coupe. The Clownshoe.