I commute (currently by car) to work each day in a large, eastern seaboard city. It's 20 miles -- one mile of neighborhood streets, two miles of divided six lane, 17 miles of interstate WITH HOV access for motorcycles. There is ample motorcycle parking at my workplace.
I'm 6'1", 250 lbs, 31" inseam.
What I want is a Gold Wing ABS; I've considered the BMW K1200LT and a HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic; reason would dictate that I could get by with a Honda Shadow Aero.
Yeah, one day I want to tour the great US West on a bike, with or without the wife. (She's resisting that inner demon to be like her Mom (dead 40 years ago) and Dad (who at 70 still rides a cruiser).) I don't have to buy anything at all, except the b.s. traffic and the HOV lane restrictions mean I come to work at least an hour before I have to, and I can't get home in less than 50 minutes if I'm stuck in the non-HOV lanes.
And it's been 25 years since I last rode. I'm taking the Basic Motorcycle Riders course this weekend.
I'm thinking of getting the Shadow Aero, ride a year or two, give it to one of my kids, and then getting the Wing and give the wife the chance to ride two-up with an experienced rider.
Follow up: wife's Mom and Dad met in a biker bar in Tampa, 1947. We have a great picture of her sitting on an Indian. Man, was she good-looking!
You can rent just about anything, so if it's been that many years, do some homework by renting. You will find your nitch.
PS- We're about the same size. I ride an Electraglide Classic with the tour pack hung up in the garage for when i need it. My advice is nonpartisan, but my preference is HD. :-)
Get something with long legs, good suspension and brakes and a healthy dose of character. (click the pic.)
The shadow Aero is a fine bike. Go for it.