Welcome aboard Jim. I believe the 650 Versys is one of the best all around mid-weight bikes available. Mine is a 2008 Gen One version so I can't expound on the merits or demerits of the newer versions but from what folks say they're even better than my early model. My envy meter is in the red zone.
Thanks for the welcome, Arion. I didn't have thread subscription notifications turned on (looks like it's off by default) so I didn't know you responded.
The Versys is a living testimony that it isn't necessary to have a basket full of cylinders or a gazillion horsepower or more whiz-bang electronics than many of us would ever miss in the first place to be a good motorcycle. It's relatively light, nimble, comfortable (depending on how your backside co-exists with the stock saddle), fuel efficient, and just plain fun to ride. It can handle highway speeds comfortably, is a hoot on twisty roads, and apparently can handle light off-road riding with the proper tires.
I'm the type of guy that looks for everything you just wrote in motorcycles, and that general philosophy extends to pretty much everything else I buy (cars, electronics, etc.). People tend to look at specs, and generally they are looking for numbers (hp, 0-60, etc) designed more to impress other people than to actually provide a satisfying riding experience (some brands more than others-- you can probably guess who I'm thinking of).
Unfortunately, this kind of poser attitude is common as people don't want to study, learn, and find things that have a combination of properties that make them satisfying (even if any particular spec value doesn't jump out as impressive).
In my experience (and study), I find that Kawasaki tends to build bikes that have a combination of properties that make them satisfying, even if no particular property stands out. They are designed in such a way that they are not really describable by their specs as their designs result in what are called "emergent properties." I.e., the way the different elements are blended results in something greater than the sum of the components.
Stated succinctly: Kawasaki doesn't make bikes to enable posers, they build bikes for people that want a good performing bike that puts a smile on their face every time they ride, and do it at a reasonable cost.
Having become somewhat enamored of the Kawasaki 650 parallel twin, I am seriously considering purchasing a Versys 650, a Vulcan 650 S, and a Z650-- all three! (Not all at once, however.) All are getting great reviews and, seem to carry the "more than the sum of its parts" spirit.
I have joined the Vulcan and Z650 forums to learn more about those bikes, and I look forward to learning more about the Versys 650 here.