Good thread, and it brings home some good points for me. I grew up on dirt bikes, and I was pretty much indestructible as most young kids are. I did some desert racing also, and did pretty well (8th in a class of 125 riders). As an adult there was a long period when I did not have a bike and about a year ago I bought my first bike in years - a big (heavy) ADV bike. For some reason I figured that the passing of time had altered the laws of physics, and that good engineering would allow a new big bike to perform like a dirt bike. I found out immediately that my head was completely in the wrong place. It spit me off several times HARD in the sand. I am set in my ways, but figured out pretty quickly that with a heavy bike the front tire will always dig in in sand and down you go.
All I had to do was re-level my expectations. I still want an ADV bike but I plan on using it in a different manner. I will ride with my buds on several hundred miles of slab to the mountains of Colorado, and we will be doing some of the passes up there, presumably with the requisite care. It will be great, both the tarmac and the offroad. I will keep reminding myself that I am not on a dirt bike.
I also REALLY want to buy a KTM 500 EXC.....
p.s. there is no suspension in the universe that can make a heavy bike handle like a light bike