Thanks, Catspaw. You said it well about the bikes - sze and power.
The builders of bikes have responded to a market demand for bigger bikes that is somewhat irrational, much like that for the big higway cars of the Fifties and Sixties which were unneccessarily huge. People bought Chryslers with 400 horsepower (I think) engines that were never strained. The bggest reason to buy one was to show th ewworld that you could and to perhaps strike a chord of envy in those who saw you in it. Perhaps it was a reflection of the Cold War that each automobile company entered into the "Cars Race" trying to come up with a bigger car. I'm not talking about "muscle cars, they're something else. I am referring to Cadillac El Dorados, Chrysler Imperials, Lincolns, and the like. Even Fairlanes and other models down the line were getting larger and more luxurious. It was like a BAroque Period in automobile design. We are in the same period now but for motorcycles (and for SUVs)
There are now plenty of people who want a giant bike with radios, speakers front and rear, powered windshield, enclosed motor, etc. These are behemoths and don't add anything to the motorcycling experience except pride of ownership. A new rider looking for a travel bike does not "need" a bike like that. I always feel sorry for the novice who gets sucked into buying one. Unfortunately there are always salesmen and well-meaning but inexperienced or uninformed motorcyclists who will tell you that you shouldn't even thnk about gong out on the highway with a bike less than 750ccs.
My wife has a 250cc Yamaha, a Route 66. We travel together occasionally and she has no trouble keeping up with me or with the other big bikes in the Russian RIver MC. She is light, compared to me, which helps her weight to horspower ratio. She has tried the big bikes and is happiest on her little bike which does everything she needs and she feels that she can handle it under all conditions including picking it up if she should drop it.
Summary: When looking for a motorcycle, listen to a lot of people but think for youself.