Several of the bike mentioned in my original post can be had for $5k or so.
Of those, the Ducati 620 Multstrada, the Cagiva Gran Canyon, and Buell Ulysses appeal to me most - in that order. I don't see a well cared for example of any of these being difficult or expensive to own and all 3 have enthusiast groups followings to help out the novice.
The 620 MS meets all stated desires except "good on gravel" at or under budget. It would also sill be newish. Not being too good on gravel is just my impression - how good/bad is it? Can it improved in this regard? How?
The Cagiva Gran Canyon seems to do it all w/ 2 minor negatives - it's a little big and it would necessarily be a bit older. I'm OK with both of those if it really does do all I asked well. Comments? A nice '00 can be found for $5k. There's a nice older one in the FM right now (elefant).
The Buell Ulysses - I have the least knowledge/feel for this one. I'll do some more reading, but some input on how it might do (on the stated desires) would be great. The comment above about it somewhat gravel capable sounds better than I thought it might be. It's also a bike that intrigues me and would be stepping outside my normal comfort zone, which could be a good thing.
Thanks for the help so far.
SRG screwed with this post 01-19-2013 at 09:29 PM