Having owned both the ST1300 & Goldwing, I'll take the Versys any day. I found that the sheer area of the fairings caused excessive force during highway touring that would wear me out. The weight of the larger machines helped for directional purposes but also caused problems in stability with changes in wind such as 18 wheeler interaction.
This is my 2nd Versys as I sold my first one when I bought the 2009 Goldwing. I learned that this was a big mistake for me and sold the wing and bought another 2009 Versys. The ability of the Versys to fill many slots is uncanny.
I can put the bike on 80 and run with the big boys all day (with a few mods for comfort, (risers, grips, possible seat mods or another seat, etc.) ) and then I can run the mountains in Colorado with confidence I have not found in any other bike I have felt more confidence with in my 50 years of riding. The Versys is not in the same League with the ZZR as far as performance goes but it is no slouch either. I find that it has more than enough power to fight a strong headwind or side-wind with actually less fatigue than a large full fairinged bike.
The Versys is a quick, agile bike. It is simple to maintain and I think it is a great looking bike. Here's an example. You can change the oil and filter on the side of the road if you have to without removing anything to get to it, and it only takes about 2 quarts.
Aftermarket parts for the bike is ramping up and there is a good deal available already. One of the best parts is that you can still pick up a new '08 or '09 for a third of what a larger touring bike would cost.
There is only one slight drawback to the Versys as a serious touring or long distance machine and that is lack of a centerstand. I have been working on one for a couple of years now and have one that works but I'm still working on getting the price down to a reasonable figure. I was able to give myself a heania about a month ago trying to catch my Versys before it hit the shop floor during a simple move and now have had to back off working on this for a while. The V came out unscathed however I didn't.
Anyway, that's my story after owning the big boys and the Versys. I hope that gives you some useful information on making your decision.
Oh, while I'm at it............if there is any Versys owners in the Dallas area that would like to assist me in this Centerstand debacle, I need someone to help me in lifting the bike onto the stand for final determination of balance, ergonomics etc. Drop me a note at [email protected]