Welcome aboard, Barco (I used to run a projector by that name). Read the online print comparisons and watch the online videos as well. I'm about your age, and my only concession to the aging process is tightness in my hips. At 5'8", the "7" is just about the right size for me, whereas the "9" is a wee bit taller and more difficult to straddle. But for all the bells and whistles the "9" comes with, remember, that's all stuff that YOU'LL have to pay to keep operating properly when it runs out of warranty. Like the Ducati 749 I traded in, the "7"'s only modern convenience is fuel injection, and that's just fine with me. Narrower than the "9", too, as well as lighter. One of the online video reviewers candidly admitted, the "7" makes more sense for most riders. And it's certainly cheaper to buy and insure, too. Gotta' admit, though, that XS900 in racing yellow is one sweet-looking ride. The day I demo-rode a "9" a guy rode in on one, and had it been the same price as the "7"... Good luck with your decision, sir.