So, it's down to either a Sportster or a Triumph Bonneville. I've done a good deal of research and discovered that the new Bonnevilles are very reliable. As are the new Sportsters.
Both require rejetting the carbs and new exhaust to live up to their full potential. And they were originally rival products, with the Sportster being released in order to compete with the british bikes.
Which means it's down to comparison of price, style, performance, and passenger comfort. Both are nicely within my price range. Both are very tasty looking. Performance specs are comparable, with the Sportster having the slightest advantage (unless I go for the 1200, in which case the Triumph is left behind choking on my American exhaust).
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it's much easier getting OEM and aftermarket parts for the Sportster, as there is an HD dealership at every wide spot in the road (at least in the U.S.). The Triumph has a respectable aftermarket, but very few actual dealers near me. That says to me that waiting for parts for the Sportster would be much more tolerable.
I get a big dumb grin thinking about either of them, as they are both "essence of motorcycle" type bikes. There's a front wheel, a back wheel, a big ol' motor in between and a bar to hang on for dear life.
SO! The choice comes down to passenger comfort (and whether I want to give money to an evil American corporation, or an evil British corporation). There are aftermarket saddles for both bikes. One of them MUST be somewhat comfortable.
I guess the trick now will be finding a way to get Lady Luck into a motorcycle dealership to hop on the back and tell me which one is the most comfy. That oughta be easy after I finish painting the remaining rooms in our house...