Our rural roads in New Mexico are rough in places. I ride a 2001 Kawasaki ZG1200 Voyager XII full tourer. When I replaced the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) front fork springs with aftermarket Progressive Springs made a huge difference in steering, braking and riding comfort. Previous owner replaced rear shocks with Progressive Spring shocks. Both make rough riding roads much more comfortable on this heavy bike.Regarding "Wife's Bike Stigma", I didn't think Philippines would have that. Here, some call the Harley Sportster the "Skirtster", yet I have male friends who own and love their Sportster. I never thought of the Vulcan S as a woman's bike. I guess if push came to shove, later you could add a sidecar and convert the bike to a tricycle.As of now, I have it ranked like this: 1. Vulcan S, 2. VN 900, 3. Versys .... The Vulcan S seems like a good compromise. It's quicker, lighter, has sportier handling. Kinda looks like a cruiser. But it has that "Wife's Bike" stigma.... Something more nimble and light is a huge plus.
You may to check into options including aftermarket upgrades for the bike you're thinking of getting. Sometimes simply replacing shocks with better quality ones can make a big difference. A lot depends on what is available where you are at.