Hey there, chyatt -
I'm in the LA area and I've only recently bought my green '09 Versys - 3 weeks ago. Just finished the breaking in period, and I've got to say this bike inspires confidence around LA traffic that I never had in my previous bikes: BMW F800S, Kawi z750s, Ninja 500, or V-Strom 650.
I used to regularly travel to Beverly Hills / West Hollywood / Hollywood area, so you know how crazy it is around there. This bike, with it's instant torque makes short work of lane changes and opportunities to split.
I've also noticed that my riding style is different on this bike and a lot of that has to do with the riding position. It's aggressive in a certain way but not like a regular sportsbike. Just this weekend I noticed this. I was in Huntington Beach and it gets pretty busy around there, too. There were a bunch of sportbikes there, of course, and I noticed how poorly they negotiated traffic at slow speeds. They didn't have torque on command and the riders weren't able to see everything going on due to their poor vantage point, being hunkered down on their mounts. Meanwhile, I comfortably surveyed the whole situation on my Versys.
The other thing with the Versys is how much confidence you get for performing all kinds of maneuvers that are much more difficult, if not impossible, on a typical sportsbike. I go over curbs all the time in my Versys - that's something I would have never done in my f800s. I do U-turns on a dime if I see that parking spot open up on the other side of the street (while being very careful, of course).
That seating position makes you feel amazingly confident in urban situations. You're just so much more able to respond to anything in the environment.
I've been reflecting on how much of a balance was struck with this bike. The weight is perfect for me. It's light weight, but not too light that it can't tour on the highway. It's a great engine without being too strong (and therefore too heavy & prone to get you into trouble). I love to go fast as much as anyone, but I don't need to go faster than 120mph so I haven't ever wished that I bought a Bandit 1250 instead of my Versys.
The Versys really puts the 'fun' in functional.
It's also so eager to be customized. Just this weekend I installed heated grips (heated sheets that tape to the bars) over my choice of green grips for a very comfortable and custom look. Also installed the connections for my heated Gerbing gloves (I like my comfort). Also installed my SW-Motech removable racks for my GIVI PLX35 sidecases. Point is - this bike begs to be made your own. So many options, so much fun, so much versatility...
I have never had so much fun riding as I have with the Versys - and I love riding just about any bike.
I could go on for days... but you should get one and find out for yourself!