Greetings from a Texan expatriate!
I ride in all weather conditions on my non-ABS Versys.
I'm talking POURING down rain too.
I'm of the opinion that the usefullness of ABS is directly proportional to the weight of the bike. With a Goldwing or big BMW Tourer ABS is probably pretty important.
With my Versys I've shuddered the front a few times coming to a stop in the rain, and the rear briefly in panic situations, but I'm aware enough of my brakes that it wasn't a problem.
As for the '100' figure. Do you mean you were told that there were only 100 per year imported to America? I'm pretty sure there are more V's than that floating around the estados.
This is a pretty popular bike. The Green ones just did not stay on the floor this year.
As far as the test ride, I bought mine used so I did get a test ride.
The handling of the bike, nobody can really complain about.
The power, it's a 650 twin. It's not underpowered, but it won't blow the doors of anything but a Harley.
The brakes, a bit soft but steel brake lines clean that right up.
There's pretty common buzzing in the dash but you're wearing a helmet and earplugs anyway, right? Right?