Main Motorcycle: '06 Speed Triple
Join Date: May 2010
Other Motorcycle: '96 Adventurer Cafe Racer
Extra Motorcycle: Not any more
Lee, I like the goose, but I can't make any logical arguments for it. There are better alternatives under most any standard you''d care to measure by. But this isn't just about the best answer to the question or we'd have about 3 bikes on the market. The goose has the cool factor that you're just never going to have with say a yammie.
HAP, you forgot the most important part of your self-description. But hells bells I am an old American fart. Mean, ornery and bull headed. You should also add "Texan" to that list - TX has a reputation for many things; a lack of determination isn't one of them.
But I think you touched on the critical detail here - it doesn't so much matter what sort of bike you ride for this sort of trip, but the tires are critical. Anybody who's done some sort of high performance riding/driving knows tires are the single biggest change you can make to the vehicle. Whether it's rock crawling or circuit racing; pounding out the miles on the slab or trying to get through 6" of slimy mud, the right tire is the single most important thing for insuring you get where you want to go.
I have no doubt you could get a Sprint or Tiger though a muddy track if you had the right tires on it. Might not be the best tool for the job, but it'll get there. And you could ride a 450 Supercross bike down the interstate if you had a set of tires that would hold up more than 50 miles at those speeds and provide some modicum of handling. (well, if you could actually license the thing anyway).
So you compromise on your tire choice. Then you compromise on bike size...might as well be comfy on that long haul to the single track. Then you make another compromise, etc, etc...before you know it, you've got bikes like the 1200cc monsters you've mentioned. I think every one of us would rather be on a smaller, lighter bike in the technical stuff, but just as many would rather be on something big and comfy with lots of luggage space on the slab getting there. Finding the middle ground has never been the American Way.
(In this case, seems 'middle ground' is about 800cc in German or British form)
'06 Speed Triple
'96 Adventurer Cafe Racer
and a bunch of other stuff
If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough - Mario Andretti