How I got here
A little history, I moved to SF some years ago and got really sick of parking issues and street cleaning tickets so I dumped the car and took the MSF course before getting my M1 license. I quickly found a 250 scooter (Piaggio BV 250) to use until I felt ready to deal with a bigger bike. That BV 250 turned out to be a really awesome machine that was perfect for city commuting and I could load it down with 5 days worth of backpacking gear and cruise up and down the coast with ease. I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to find a motorcycle that was so versatile. I honestly still believe I may not find one.
That said, I started bending to pressure from my gf, who rides a 2013 Bonneville, to get a more "impressive" ride. I was wary of going to a cruiser like she wants to see me on because I like to be able to conveniently strap down a lot of gear for excursions and I also like to lock up my belongings while I am out and about -- cruisers aren't made for cases and cases aren't made for cruisers. Still, I rode some Thruxtons and Harleys and really wanted to allow myself to be cool looking cool, but felt like I was betraying myself. I just wanted a practical ride and something I'm not overly worried about parking on the street in SF.
My friend was selling an SV650 and thought that would be a great first real bike, but the more I looked into it, the more I realized that the cargo capability was really lacking. So I moved to the Strom 650 and thought I had found the holy grail. It rides well for a guy like me - 6'3" 195 lbs, and looks great with cases. Determined, I checked every one I could find and talked to shop employees all along the way. What I kept hearing about the wee strom was that it's a great bike, but not necessarily the best for primarily a city bike. So many guys were just like me (city commuters who want to go on adventures) and they all had the Versys. So I finally checked one out and it won me over very quickly. It's slimmer and less bulky than the Strom but still holds my frame very well and is very fun to ride.
I didn't want to invest too much in a bike that is sleeping on the curb, so I was looking at 2008-2014 models. Found one on fire sale from a guy who was moving out of town that night and needed to dump it - Green 2013 with 11k miles for $3200 a half mile from my house - but I missed it by a half hour. Found some older ones and thought that would work fine, but I dragged my feet a bit. Finally the 2011 I now have showed up on CL - the owner had immaculate records and he and I hit it off pretty quickly. On my way to go look at it, my BV 250 blew a head gasket, stranding me in the middle of the Bay Bridge, and I took that as a sign that this was the bike I needed to buy.
And I got a Pit Bull in the process. Who needs a center stand when you can just do this? (Makes a decent backrest when parked, too).