Yamaha knows the USA market better than most of us. I have an XT660Z here in Israel, and most people think it is a huge bike, compared to what most folks ride here. However, in the USA, I used to have an XChallenge BMW, that I modified for long distance Adventure riding out West. I rode it on the CDR, Death Valley, and across the USA- N.H. to Calif. Most other American riders thought that I was crazy for riding such a "small" bike cross-country. Yamaha realizes that in the USA, either folks trailer their 450s to the off-road riding areas or they ride their big 1200s on Adventure trips and stick to the graded fireroads that are so prevalent in the States. There is no market for an in-between bike. In fact, many of the ADV guys I rode with in L.A. had both kinds of bikes- a 450 for trail/desert riding, and a 990 or 1200 for long distance riding. Only a very few of us rode big singles on the road TO the off-road riding areas.