The American public has steadfastly refused to buy any Japanese bike with character for decades. They make them, the press raves, and we all go get another Sportster. Watch how things go with the CB1100.
This attitude baffles me. Buying a car typically means dealing with some depreciation - faced with that reality, the sensible thing to do is pick something that depreciates as little as possible. People manage expenses in most every aspect of their lives, but car enthusiasts (in the US) seem to always throw up their hands at the idea of managing depreciation. It's something of a crap shoot, sure, but it's worth the attempt.
RideApart is pretty much the best-written website about motorcycles right now.As an aside, I had a "life in the big city" moment today. Came home on the CBR to see a ticket stuck to my NT650 - yep, someone stole the plates off it sometime today, and the Dept. of Revenue caught it almost immediately (I'm wondering if they actually saw the guy take it!). The replacement will cost $26, but I should be able to get the ticket waived. Fortunately they left the CB400 alone...
I don't know that I'd try to tour a continent on a cafe - they show them with bags, but where are they putting them/how are they mounting them? For the money, I'd go with a Triumph retro like a Bonnie or Thruxton. This would be tempting if it were midway between Tha Misfit ($3200) and the Bonneville - say $5k or so.
It's not common as most bikes people see are cruisers with that rumbly lumpy idle, but there are some. The exhaust on my CBR's I4 is very reminiscent of a BMW S54 I6 engine, for instance. Maybe it's nostalgia, but I like a parallel-twin near redline as well. Nowhere near as many tuneful bikes as their are cars, though.
I'd happily join such a movement and I've been riding for years. I've never understood the fascination so many riders have for obnoxiously loud motorcycles - far worse than any segment of the car enthusiast community (ricers, muscle cars). The only bike I've ever had with an aftermarket exhaust is the CBR600RR I bought used last month and while I had some misgivings, it truly seems no louder than stock; the PO added it with a Power Commander to bump hp a bit but it's still...
I doubt it's a "motorcycle thing" when there's such a broad spectrum of bikes - that's like applying the "BMW/Audi thing" to all drivers, or to all years. Someone driving an E30 M3 or 80s Quattro isn't the same sort as the driver of a silver 328i with automatic.
So, a motorcycle? You often see bike for sale ads on Craigslist that cite moving into the city as the reason for selling. If you're moving to Chicago and plan on using public trans most of the time, a bike makes more sense, not less. Fewer hassles parking, easier to get around on, cheaper to buy, fuel, insure, etc. Much better choice for a city toy/occasional commuter than a convertible or two-seater.