I still miss my 1700 Nomad. The only thing I could find fault with was in its inability to properly tow my Bunkhouse camper trailer. Otherwise, I really liked that bike. But would I buy a Harley? Not for what they want for one, and I'm not willing to spend that much just to buy into a "lifestyle." About the 900? Pretty much it's an HD Heritage Softail Classic with a smaller motor, at half the price. And I love the 900, too. I think Ma Kaw has hit the nail on the head with the Vulcan series. Nope, they're not Harleys, but I doubt that Kawasaki really meant them to be, but there's just only so many ways you can style a motorcycle around a V-Twin engine.
I'd say, sorry about your friend, but, well, seeing the light is a great experience.
"Don't sweat the small stuff---it's all small stuff"
'09 650 VStrom