I actually had a similar thoughts to yours but these guys are right.
These bikes do handle exceedingly well just as is.
You can stop spending time in the shop and just spend it riding and feel good about it.
Would own a lot less machinery if I had test rode one years ago.
They are nothing like a Harley, in a good way.
Test riding one can be hazardous to your pocket book though but if you do I recommend as mentioned you look up the schedule for the factory demo rides and show up early and ride every bike they have a couple of times. The factory guys are good that way they really don't care and you can run their bikes hard without getting any flak.
I'm from a HD backround too and traded my 2004 Ultra in on a Cross Country 8 ball 14 for the exact same reasons you stated you got rid of yours. They are time bombs and junk. I was tired of pulling the cam cover to look to see if I was down to the metal yet, putting in cams and not really gaining any power and spending my spare time working on fuel maps. My crank was already at .0025 the day it rolled out of the factory so a gear drive might or might not have even worked. But these seem to be much neater.
No Siamese intake port. Shine a flashlight down the Throttle body and look at the top of the piston. Just like an old jag but with two intake valves. Got to love that. Bolt in a cam and a fuel tuner and get 100 hp or so and 100 torque no pinning or welding the flywheels etc. The came chain tensioners are about 9 inches long and as wide as the chain I think. Not likely to wear one out in your lifetime. Motor runs cool, floods oil through the top end it with one section of the pump like a Porsche. High pressure section of the pump runs something like 80 psi for the plain bearing rods. Unit construction uses the trans as part of the crankcase gets away from the chainsaw size crankcase of the HD very little pressure on the backside of the rings and no oil carry over issues. They do have Nikasil (sp?) cylinders so you may want to rethink your break in methods.
So far I love the bike. Not much on Polaris but they tell no more lies than HD. However the motor and the bike itself is light years better. as far as I can tell so far anyways. You'll find a lot of former HD people here.