I've already ridden the Tenere 700, and I have a couple buds with the Moto Guzzi V85TT and the new Triumph Tiger 660 that will let me try them out. The Guzzi and the Aprilia have the electronic cruise control which would be good for riding to the Smokies, but not necessary for most places I ride. I do use cruise all the time on the Road Glide even if it is only for 5 miles at a time.No, it's 3hrs away in SE Ohio and I'm on- call this weekend. Trying to figure of it's worth the trip. I think the KLR650 and DR650 would be too mild/tame plus air cooled. The other option is a DR-Z 400.
That is a sweet looking machine. Looks.like it would ride nice with the latest tech. Has a Dakar appearance about it, like a Tenere 700.
The Pan America is way overkill for what I do, and one of the Triumph Tigers has electronic cruise but now it is getting up in the $16k area with the weight that comes with all that. Trying to stay at 450 lbs or less.
A good buddy of mine is not impressed with the BMW 650 single engine. He rode with a guy on one while he was on a plated DRZ400E and he was leaving the guy in the dust out in Colorado.
Personally I like the DRZ400S over the DR650. It felt like riding a motorcross bike to me and I got in way over my skill level way too many times on it. But it just provides that confidence that you can do it because the bike can definitely do it. As long as you don't need to do sustained 65 mph for very long to get to the next fun riding area. Of course now that I am old I'm not sure how I would feel about the DRZ. Haven't ridden one in 12 years.