I retract my earlier post after riding the bike - here is my post from ADV rider, - no comments though - this crowd will provide a more stimulating conversation on this matter
I rode the DS in white at the dealers in downtown Denver the other day in heavy traffic, (opening day for the Rockies). I was there to get my new Arai Ducati Helmet to protect me from my 16 MTS and spied it in the showroom. With all the other bikes I have, I should have dismissed it out of hand - yet I just read all 48 pages of this thread. At 56ys old I fear I may have subliminal images of Steve McQueen embedded in my brain.
A few observations:
At 5'9" and 30"inseam, even with sneakers on I was able to get the balls of my feet solidly on the ground.
Most of my other bikes have far more engine, so no mind bending revelations there -although it felt very smooth and plenty powerful.
Having actually ridden hundreds of miles across the Mojave in CA on my old XR and also the high mountain jeep roads here in CO (solid rock) on my XR400 and WR450 I can state that riding the desert is comparatively easy (the deep sand washes can be a bit tricky) so this bike would be able to handle the desert (minus desert mountains) but no way over Mosquito pass. (solid rock Jeep Road here in CO)
On paper my current Tiger 800 Road should beat his bike - only 30mm/1in less suspension, same size wheels, much more powerful engine, better luggage, bike and wind protection, 220m range, only 9 lbs heavier ( and the Tiger wet number probably includes more gas).
Essentials for me would be a top box, side wolfmans, better bash guard, hand guards and small Dart wind screen. As there is no way to test off road I would love to hear how it behaves on jeep roads and easy single track with guys my size - 5'9" 160lbs. Things like traction and steering at slow speeds, how the engine pulls without stalling at 5 MPH climbing a rocky hill etc.
The Tiger is a cumbersome beast on real off road as is the 1200gs. (If I were 6'2" 220 maybe a different story on the 500 lb bikes) I do not consider graded dirt roads as off road and I think even the 1200 MTS is fine here, although if there is going to be 200M of washboard to shake all the tech on the MTS the 09 GS will be ridden.
Perhaps I will take a bath on the Tiger. I AM VERY INTRIGUED, and yes I will take all the girls that are included with it.