I wouldn't be too hard on non-riders considering their first bike, they're always going to "go to the specs" because they don't know any better. It's just like megapixels in cameras. Not knowing any better, a squid-to-be is going to use CC's or HP or whatever to judge a bike.
I'm lucky that I had a couple experienced rider friends to guide me, and wound up with a used F650GS as my first bike. It doesn't win any spec wars but damn it was a good bike. I wound up riding it for 8 years!