Being handy with the spanners broadens your options a bit ,
you don,t allways have to go for the new bikes if you can do repairs yourself.
like you say ,have the bike for sometime before your trip , work on it ,get to know it , build up i suppose a bond with it and so its one less thing to worry about , reliability .
t,alp 650 been sound , boringly reliable lump in em , a bit on the slow side if your like me used to road bikes BUT shes not made for racing around on
had a super ten 750 and an xlv 750 , no probs