Thanks for all the input guys. I guess I wasn't all that clear. I'm silly like that. I wasn't really trying to compare all aspects of the 500 and 600, just the power. The most limiting factor on any bike I choose is going to be my weak, abused knees! As Purcell mentioned 4-5 ft of air is plenty for me. And I likely wouldn't do that very often.
I did say I wanted more dirt than street and I guess that was a little misleading. I basically meant that I can live with a dirt bike on the street but not a street bike on the dirt. I don't want a KLR or a VStrom(fine bikes by the way just not my cup of tea).
In all honesty, the bike will likely see more time on pavement than dirt. I won't be driving to Alaska or Mexico or anything. I would like to be able to jump on the highway for short trips here and there so the ability to cruise at 75 or so for a short time would be good. Being able to ride two up for short periods is fairly important as well. As far as the dirt goes, I mainly just want to explore trails and get some mild air time here and there. Oh and I used to be into 4 wheelin in trucks and jeeps and such. It'd be nice to ride along with my buddies who are still into that. Being able to climb a respectable hill would be a huge plus as well.
I want some reserve of power not so that I can race or anything like that. On the street, I drive like everyone is trying to kill me. In high traffic situations I like to drive in a lower gear and have a little power to get out off the way of idiots/blue hair and knuckles/etc. Basically, I don't want to feel like I'm on a glorified moped ya know.
I know my profile says I live in Ohio. I'm actually in Mass right now but am moving back to my original home of Oklahoma(thank gawd). From what I have read and heard, It doesn't get much easier to plate a dirt bike than it is in the Sooner State. Honestly, I'd love to have a plated R. I just don't like the idea of buying a new bike and then have to buy a ds kit and dot tires and then figure out how to set it up for a passenger and all that good stuff.
Thanks for putting up with my long boring post. I'm leaning HEAVILY towards the L but I wanted to run it by the experts. If an R is really the ticket, thats what I'll do. Just seems like overkill and a little to much hassle for a 38 year old "old fart" like me. And then there's those damned TE610's that keep whispering in my ear. LOL. Nah, just dreaming.
Make up my mind for me will ya?